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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Music Quals and Prelims Guide (DMA and PhD): Writing Your Thesis or Dissertation

Thesis Office

The Graduate College Thesis Office offers student walk-in hours from 1:00 to 4:45 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

204 Coble Hall 
801 South Wright Street
Champaign, IL 61820
Phone: 217-333-6278
Fax: 217-333-8019

Writers Workshop

The Music & Performing Arts Library cannot proofread your thesis or dissertation. However, the Center for Writing Studies provides a Writers Workshop. They provide free writing assistance for University students, faculty, and staff from all disciplines and at all stages of the writing process.

Call 333-8796, or drop-in at the Undergraduate Library, to set up a 50-minute session.

Final Product

What is the dissertation or thesis supposed to look like? Use the Thesis Office's examples and/or look at examples in the School of Music's collection in IDEALS.

Dissertation options

(From the Graduate Handbook 2011-2012)

2. Research Requirement
a. Performance and Literature Candidates
The required research is expected to demonstrate the candidate’s intellectual and scholarly capacity and must result in one of the three options detailed below. All three options require more than a derivative presentation of work already in print, and every document should aim for the highest possible level of rhetoric and writing style. The minimum page length given should be read as a fixed limit, exclusive of bibliography; maximum lengths represent only suggested guidelines.

Presentation and defense of a lucid project proposal as outlined in section IV. F is essential in all cases.

Option 1: A Dissertation of ca.100-200 pp. in length. This document will constitute a comprehensive scholarly investigation of a clearly defined research topic that has not been previously explored and that will arguably make a new contribution to some area within the field of music studies.

Option 2: A Thesis of ca. 50-100 pp., accompanied by a recital of music related to the thesis topic. The selected topic should 1) address repertory that has not previously been extensively performed or investigated, or 2) provide new perspectives on, or a critical inquiry into, previous studies of standard repertory and/or performance practice. In both cases the thesis should discuss the repertory and present original insights, however broad, into pertinent stylistic, historical, or analytical problems. While these insights may not necessarily result from the discovery or elucidation of new facts, they should derive from and represent the author’s synthesis of preexisting scholarship with his or her own understandings, performance experience, and analysis of the selected repertory.

Option 3: A Scholarly Essay of ca. 30-50 pages for which the subject matter will inform two public lecture recitals on a single topic. It is expected that the essay and recitals will 1) address repertory that is little known (i.e., that has not previously been extensively performed or investigated), but that is historically or artistically significant, or 2) provide new insights into the performance practice or interpretation of standard repertory.

NOTE: If the chosen research requirement option includes one or more recitals, those performances are in addition to recitals that are part of the Performance Requirement as discussed in Section E.1.

b. Choral Music Candidates may do opition 1 or 2 above.

c. Composition Candidates

Subject Guide

Music and Performing Arts Library's picture
Music and Performing Arts Library
1300 Music Building
1114 W. Nevada St.
Urbana, IL 61801
Subjects:Dance, Music, Theatre