Student Handbooks 
    
    Jun 23, 2024  
Student Handbooks

ASOTA Graduate Student Handbook



University of Mobile Introduction and Overview

University of Mobile is a four-year institution of liberal arts and sciences affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention. It is committed to providing fully accredited educational programs of the highest quality to its students. Its primary emphasis is establishing and maintaining a tradition of excellence in undergraduate and graduate studies, as well as in professional, graduate, continuing education, and specialized degree-granting programs.

All educational programs of the University are designed for the intellectual, spiritual, cultural, and personal growth of students. As a Christian institution, University of Mobile explicitly seeks to combine the critical pursuit of knowledge with the cultivation of religious awareness and to unite academic excellence with a dedication to service at local, state, national, and international levels.

Accreditation

University of Mobile is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, 404-675-4501) to award Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees. University of Mobile is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music [11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21, Reston, VA 20190-5248, 703-437-0700]. The Bachelor of Science Degree in Music (for teacher certification; p-12) is approved by the Alabama State Board of Education, and the University holds membership in the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.

ASOTA Mission Statement

Alabama School of the Arts (ASOTA) is a Christ-centered, academic community providing liberal arts and professional programs of music, worship leadership, theatre, and technology. Our 21st century program provides stylistic and experiential cross-training in a collaborative and innovative environment. Our faculty fosters creativity through individualized instruction and intentional mentorship.

ASOTA Vision Statement

Alabama School of the Arts is committed to being a premier Christ-centered academic community providing stylistic and experiential cross-training to equip 21st century artists to answer God’s call on their lives and transform the world.

Department of Music

Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in the Alabama School of the Arts

The Alabama School of the Arts offers the following graduate music degrees:

  • Master of Music in Vocal Performance
  • Master of Music in Piano Performance
  • Master of Music in Music Education (Non-Certification)
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance

General Information

The Master of Music (M.M.) in Vocal Performance has been designed to provide professional training to performers who wish to concentrate on multiple styles of singing and teaching through focused courses in voice, pedagogy and performance. 

The Master of Music (M.M.) in Piano Performance has been designed to combine knowledge from piano literature with advanced piano pedagogy. The ASOTA piano festival provides an opportunity for students to hear and work with world-renowned performing artists.

The Master of Music (M.M.) in Music Education (Non-Certification) program will expand the outreach of current academic programs by providing master’s level instruction in music to full-time and part-time music educators, while providing advancement opportunities for each student.

The Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) in Vocal Performance provides opportunities for students to develop their performance abilities while expanding their knowledge of music literature and vocal technique. 

 

These programs are designed to prepare students for performance and teaching across multiple styles and settings, including contemporary, musical theatre, opera, chamber, and academia.

Cognates and Concentrations

The following cognates are offered within the M.M. (6 credit hours) and D.M.A. (12 credit hours) in Voice degree programs

  • Pedagogy (please note that the D.M.A. cognate requires an additional elective outside of vocal pedagogy)
  • Musical Theatre
  • Theatre
  • Worship

Department of Theatre

Degree Program

The Department of Theatre offers the following degree:

  • Master of Arts in Musical Theatre

General Information

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Musical Theatre prepares the student as an advanced professional practitioner or teacher of theatrical practice in order to become a vested marketable performer in theatre or to further their educational training and goals toward a D.M.A. or D.F.A. The Master of Arts in Musical Theatre consists of 31 - 34 graduate semester hours. 

Program Benefits and Professional Opportunities

  • Develop and maintain efficient technique and compelling artistry
  • Further essential stage skills and experience
  • Opportunity to learn from professors with real-world experience and established records of successful teaching
  • Gain practical experience for application of pedagogy
  • Development of cross-styles both in performance and in teaching
  • Potential professional association with Mobile Opera, Mississippi Opera and professionally accredited companies

Department of Worship & Technology

Degree Program

The Department of Worship Leadership offers a degree program of study designed to prepare individuals for performance or instruction in the musical & worship arts by developing skills needed to succeed in the fields of business or technology and serve as worship ministry leaders.

The Department of Worship & Technology offers the following degree:

  • Master of Arts in Worship Leadership & Theology

General Information

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Worship Leadership & Theology is designed to deepen the Worship Leader’s theological framework while providing practical, hands-on training in the arts, technology, and ministry leadership. The Master of Arts in Worship Leadership & Theology consists of thirty-six graduate semester hours.

Admission Requirements

Regular Admission

Students seeking regular admission to masters and doctoral level programs at University of Mobile, Alabama School of the Arts must:

  • Have a grade point average of at least 2.75 GPA on a 4.0 scale on undergraduate coursework.
  • Provide official copies of transcripts from any post-secondary education.
  • Have completed a degree from an accredited institution.
  • Pass a candidacy audition.
  • Submit at least three strong letters of recommendation and/or undergo a successful personal interview.
  • Write an essay that explains the following:
    • Why you selected University of Mobile to continue your academic career.
    • Why you have chosen your area of study. (DMA applicants only)

Transfer Credit

A maximum of six hours of credit may be transferred from another accredited institution and applied toward a graduate degree. However, application of transfer credit to the plan of study MUST be approved by the ASOTA graduate committee or the student’s graduate advisory committee.

Examinations

Entrance/Diagnostic Examinations

Students entering the M.M. or D.M.A. programs are required to take diagnostic entrance examinations in music theory, music history and diction/IPA (voice majors only). The purpose of the examinations is:

  • To determine whether the student has foundation-level deficiencies needing to be addressed in order for the candidate to be successful in graduate courses. Additional coursework may be required to address any deficiencies.
  • To provide information that will guide the student and their advisor in selecting useful and appropriate academic courses.

Diagnostic examinations are administered on campus each Thursday and/or Friday preceding the first day of classes in the fall and spring.

Students who do not pass the diagnostic exams will be required to enroll in courses to correct the deficiencies. The Chair of Graduate Studies and Advisory Committee Chair will meet with each student to discuss strengths and weaknesses revealed in the exams in order to determine courses for degree. 

For entering DMA students: A Diction Proficiency Exam will be offered with Placement Exams. If the student does not pass the Diction Proficiency Exam in any of the three language areas, the student will be required to take the corresponding course. The extra diction courses will be added to the student’s Plan of Study by the Chair of Graduate Studies. Advanced Diction courses are as follows: 

MU 545, Advanced Italian Diction 

MU 546, Advanced French Diction 

MU 547, Advanced German Diction

Students who exhibit proficiency in any or all of the three languages with the respective IPA transliterations, may be exempt from taking the courses. If the student does not pass the proficiency, the student is given the option to either take the course(s) for credit or audit and pass the final exam.

Special Foreign Language Requirement for Voice Performance

M.M and D.M.A. The students’ transcript(s) must show grades of B- or better in at least one semester each of German, French and Italian language courses. Students may be admitted to the program without meeting the above requirement but must take the necessary courses to meet this before they graduate. All MM and DMA students must meet the language study requirements.

 

M.M. and D.M.A. Performance: Language Requirements for Voice Majors must have at least one course in diction for singers. Students lacking these will be required to pass these courses in addition to the requirements for the degree.

Comprehensive Examinations

Comprehensive examinations are required for all masters and doctoral candidates in voice at the conclusion of the program of study. Master of Music in piano candidates complete a thesis and oral comprehensive exam. Generally, comprehensive exams are given on the Saturday of the second full week in November and April; however, the exact dates of the examinations are determined by the Graduate Coordinator and are publicized as soon as the university’s academic calendar is available. Students must register for the exam one month in advance with the Graduate Success Coach.

M.M. Comprehensive Examinations

How are the tests prepared and graded?

The tests are standardized and will be prepared and graded by graduate faculty. MM candidates will be tested on vocal performance specific courses: Italian diction, German diction, and French diction, song literature and pedagogy. The song literature and pedagogy portion of the exam will be structured to cover material based on the courses taken by the students. 

What happens if the results of the comprehensive exam are unsatisfactory? 

A student who fails the comprehensive examination may repeat the exam once; the test must be repeated within one year of the first comprehensive examination. 

Results

The Chair of Graduate Studies in ASOTA receives the results of the comprehensive examination and will give students either a pass or fail grade in the course MU 696 Comprehensive Exams.  

DMA Procedure for Comprehensive Exams, Prospectus, and Dissertation

ASOTA faculty has set deadlines to help students complete the DMA in a timely manner. Late completion of requirements will result in a deferral of graduation to a future semester. 

Comprehensive Exams

Comprehensive examinations are required for all doctoral candidates in voice at the conclusion of the program of study. Generally, comprehensive exams are given on the Saturday of the second full week in November and April; however, the exact dates of the examinations are determined by the Chair of Graduate Studies and are publicized as soon as the university’s academic calendar is available. Students must register for comprehesive exams the semester they intend to take them. 

How are the tests prepared and graded?

DMA candidates will be tested on music theory, music history and vocal performance specific courses: Italian diction, German diction, French diction, song literature, and pedagogy.

What happens if the results of the comprehensive exam are unsatisfactory?

A student who fails the comprehensive examination may repeat the exam once; the test must be repeated within one year of the first comprehensive examination. 

Results

The Chair of Graduate Studies in ASOTA receives the results of the comprehensive examination and will give students either a pass or fail grade in the course MU 896 Comprehensive Exams.  

***With the exception of extenuating circumstances approved by the graduate committee, students must take the exams before they defend their dissertation.  Exams are offered after dissertation defense deadlines so students should plan to take comprehensive exams the semester(s) before they defend their dissertation.

Prospectus Procedures

A prospectus is required of all DMA candidates and should describe an original project that contributes new information to the field of study.  It should be defended early in the degree program and no later than one semester before the dissertation defense. The prospectus should include a statement of research, a synopsis of the proposed research, an outline for the dissertation and a sample of the dissertation.  The prospectus approval form must be submitted by the committee chair immediately after the proposal defense.

* Students should be prepared to give faculty two weeks to read the prospectus and provide feedback. With the exception of extenuating circumstances, students should avoid turning in a prospectus during the last two weeks of class.

Dissertation Procedure

Getting Started

A dissertation is required of all DMA students and should follow the successful defense of the prospectus. As appropriate, the Institutional Review Board (IRB) must approve the project methodology before any research begins. Guidelines and templates for the preparation of the dissertation as dictated by The University of Mobile must be followed. 

Defense

A defense of the dissertation/doctoral project cannot occur until after the student successfully completes the comprehensive examination.  The dissertation must have been submitted by the student to the graduate committee with ample time for their review.  The oral defense will be conducted by the graduate committee.  Members of the graduate committee only will vote on the results of the examination.  A simple majority will designate a pass.  The committee chair must submit the Results Form to the Registrar and ASOTA staff immediately following the defense. If the student fails the defense on the first attempt, he/she has one additional attempt to defend the document successfully. Failure to defend the document successfully on the second attempt will result in dismissal from the program. Following a successful defense any required revisions should be completed in a timely manner and the finalized document submitted.

Deadlines

Students are responsible for meeting all published deadlines found on the ASOTA website and the Canvas class MM/DMA. If a student fails to submit the document prior to the published deadlines, the degree will be awarded the following semester.

Prior to the final submission of the dissertation to University of Mobile for publishing, the committee chair must be able to verify that the thesis has been checked to ensure originality and that the student has made all requested revisions to content and grammar.

Dissertation, Doctoral Project and Thesis Deadline Schedule

ASOTA maintains a schedule of deadlines for students writing theses, doctoral projects, and dissertations. The schedule is updated yearly and is available in Canvas in the MM/DMA course. The proposal must be defended at least one semester before the dissertation defense. The last day to defend the doctoral dissertation for a Fall 2020 graduation is October 11, and March 19 for Spring 2021 graduation.

Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC)

Early in the first term of full-time residence or before nine (9) hours of graduate credit have been earned, the student and the major professor select those faculty who will serve as the student’s Advisory Committee.

Master’s committees must include three members: 1) the major professor, 2) another professor from the major area, 3) a representative from music theory or music history.

Doctoral committees must include five members*: 1) the major professor, 2) three other professors from the major area and/cognate area 3) a representative from music history or theory.

These faculty members will help the student plan their program of study, attend, and grade the candidate’s recital, and prepare and grade the comprehensive exam.

Changes to this formula must be approved in writing by the Chair of Graduate Studies in ASOTA.

*A Doctoral candidate may choose up to One (1) faculty member outside of the Alabama School of the Arts and/or University of Mobile as part of their GAC.

Degree Check Sheet

The student and their advisory committee chair shall fill out the Degree Check Sheet based upon diagnostic examination results and course requirements. In cases where a student is required to take additional remedial course work, there is opportunity to list these requirements on the degree check Sheet. The degree check Sheet must be completed and should be filed electronically on Sharepoint by the advisory committee chair during the first semester of enrollment.  The degree check sheets are available for all graduate students in the Canvas Graduate Student page.

Policies

Continuous Enrollment

Masters and doctoral students are expected to enroll continuously after they have taken required coursework until they complete their degree using the guidelines listed below.

Students must register for at least one (1) credit hour of dissertation/thesis in the Fall and Spring semesters if they:

  • Have incomplete grades in one or more courses
  • Have completed all coursework but must take comprehensive exams
  • Have not completed their dissertation/thesis
  • Have not completed their recital

Students must enroll for one (1) credit hour of dissertation/thesis in the Summer semester if they are using university services, e.g., library and/or technology services.

Students must register for three (3) credit hours of dissertation during the semester they expect to defend and complete the dissertation/thesis. All required coursework must be completed before the semester in which the student defends the thesis. The thesis must be deposited in the Office of Graduate Studies and with the Graduate Success Coach in ASOTA.

Failure to enroll for the appropriate hours will result in the student being discontinued from University of Mobile and the Alabama School of the Arts and require that the student reapply for admission to the program.
Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR module training is TBA pending UM licensing

Please refer to umobile.edu/irb for additional information.

  1. All researchers listed on projects submitted for IRB approval must complete the Human Subjects Research Protection Training program, or a similar training program (such as CITI) approved by UM faculty. 
  2. Researchers should determine the level of review of the proposed research: Exempt, Expedited, or Full Board. Use the appropriate application form. Also see “Level of Review” document under the General Information module for further clarification.
  3. Include the .pdf of your application form as well as any additional documentation that is needed. All documents should be sent in a single email to ghollingsworth@umobile.edu.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is scholarly theft, and it is defined as the unacknowledged use of secondary sources. More specifically, any written or oral presentation in which the writer or speaker does not distinguish clearly between original and borrowed material constitutes plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious offense. An act of plagiarism will lead to a failing grade submitted for the work involved and for the course, as well as sanctions that may be imposed by the department, the Graduate School, and the University.

Application for Degree

In the final semester of a degree, students should submit their application for graduation to the Registrar’s office. 

Recital Scheduling and Hearing Requirements

Before scheduling a recital, the student must contact all members of their Graduate Advisory Committee and work to find a date that all can attend. In order for the recital to be given, a majority of the advisory committee must be in attendance. If members of the committee are unable to attend, a quality recording must be provided.

A recital hearing should be scheduled three weeks prior to the performance and must be successfully completed at least two weeks prior to the performance. A hearing is attended by the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee and each committee member provides positive feedback for the student.

For DMA students, ASOTA does not allow roles in opera, oratorio or musical theatre to substitute for a doctoral recital.

M.M., D.M.A., And M.A. Degree Requirements

Ensemble Participation Requirement

All full-time students pursuing a master’s in music are required to participate in a major ensemble during each term of residence. Master of Music in Voice Candidates are required to sing in the University Chorale each semester.

Note: M.M. Ed and Master of Arts in Musical Theatre students are exempt from this requirement.

Audition Repertoire Requirements

Piano Performance: The audition must be memorized, consist of a minimum of 30 minutes in length, and performed before the piano faculty. Students will perform pieces from four contrasting styles:1) Baroque 2) Classical Sonata (all movements) 3) Romantic 4) Contemporary. The faculty may select portions from the repertoire submitted.

 

Vocal Performance: Vocal performance majors must demonstrate, by audition: 

  1. advanced vocal technique and
  2. good diction in Italian, German and French. 

A recording may satisfy preliminary entrance requirements, but continued study requires a successful voice jury to be completed at the end of the student’s first semester.

Musical Theatre: Musical Theatre auditions must include the following from memory:

  • 2 Contrasting MT songs: 1 Golden Era, 1 Contemporary
  • 2 Contrasting 1-minute monologues

Jury Requirements

All graduate voice students will sing for a faculty jury at the end of each semester. Absence from jury will result in an F for the semester. Makeup juries are only allowed under extreme circumstances where participation is impossible.

In semesters where students are giving a recital, the recital hearing will take the place of the voice jury.

If a graduate student fails two juries, they will be dismissed from the program.

Students majoring in the Master of Arts in Musical Theatre are required to present the following repertoire for their jury:

  • 2 pre-1965 songs
  • 2 post-1965 songs
  • 1 operetta aria
  • 1 jukebox musical style song
  • Songs must include at least 2 up-tempo pieces and 2 ballads.

Recital Requirements

Using sheet music is not allowed for singers in recitals or cabarets except for oratorio repertoire or in chamber music repertoire when it is being performed with non-keyboard instruments. Only one recital may be presented by a student in a single semester. A recital hearing is required three weeks prior to the recital. If a hearing is not completed, the recital will be canceled. 

M.M. in Vocal Performance students must include at least 55 minutes of music in French, German, Italian, and English and represent a variety of musical style periods. At least one piece from the Classical period or before is required. A maximum of three arias may be included. All graduate recital programs must be approved by the graduate committee as soon as the repertoire is selected. Program notes must be prepared and presented to the graduate committee at the recital hearing.

D.M.A. in Vocal Performance students must have two recitals.
Recital one must include at least 55 minutes of music with groups of songs in French, German, Italian, and English and represent a variety of musical style periods. At least one piece from the Baroque/Renaissance, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary periods are required. A maximum of three arias may be included. All graduate recital programs must be approved by the graduate committee as soon as the repertoire is selected. Program notes must be prepared and presented to the graduate committee at the recital hearing.

Recital two must include at least 55 minutes of music, and may be a traditional academic recital, or themed recital. There are no specific requirements as to style periods covered, but the recital program must be approved by the graduate committee as soon as the repertoire is selected. Lecture recitals are allowed but must still include 50 minutes of music. Program notes must be prepared, and presented to the graduate committee at the recital hearing.

M.M. in Piano Performance students will present a 60- minute solo recital from memory which must include one concerto movement.
MM Piano students must write a Master’s Thesis which is listed as “Independent Study and Research” MU575. 

A hearing is required at least two weeks prior to the scheduled solo recital for faculty evaluation. The student must also submit their Master’s Thesis to the committee during this evaluation.
The ‘oral exam’ must be scheduled within five days after the solo recital.

Examples of Piano Repertoire Selections:

  • Polyphonic Style (from baroque to contemporary) J.S Bach: Well-Tempered Clavier, Suites (Partitas), Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue in D minor Shostakovich: Prelude and Fugue Franck: Choral et Fugue
  • Classical Sonata [1750 - 1820] all movements: Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn 
  • Romantic [1820 - 1900] (virtuosic work around 12-20 minutes) Chopin: Scherzo, Ballade, Polonaise-Fantaisie, Andante Spianato et Grande Polonaise Brillante, 24 Preludes Schumann: Papillons, Davidsbundlertanze, Carnaval, Etudes Symphoniques Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsodies, Grandes Etudes de Paganini or The Transcendental Etudes (2 or 3), Mephisto Waltz, Spanish Rhapsody Brahms: Op. 79, 116, 118, 117 119, Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Variations on a Theme of Paganini
  • Contemporary [1900 - present day] Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Skryabin, Debussy, Ravel, Copland, Ives, Bartok

Concerto Repertoire:

Mozart - No. 20-27 

Beethoven - all 

Prokofiev - all 

Rachmaninov - all 

Chopin - all 

Bartok - all 

Ravel - all 

Schumann - all 

M.A. in Musical Theatre students will present at a New York Showcase as the Capstone requirement for the M.A. in Musical Theatre Degree. M.A. in Musical Theatre students may choose to present one of the following in lieu of presenting at a New York Showcase to satisfy the Capstone requirement… 

  1. Original one-person show or cabaret with the approval of both Theatre Chair and Student’s Applied Voice Instructor. The cabaret should be a 55-minute minimum, three set show incorporating dance, music, and interaction with the audience (chat, dialogue, etc.) 
  2. Pre-existing one-person show with the approval of both Theatre Chair and Student’s Applied Voice Instructor
  3. Recital Program including the following material… 
  • 4 contrasting monologues (classic, modern or contemporary) 
  • 2 duet scenes (one from a play, one from a musical) 
  • Stage movement piece 
  • Dance piece 
  • pop songs in contrasting styles 
  • golden age songs
  • contemporary- post ‘65 songs

Recital Procedures

Students will consult an applied instructor concerning recital procedures involving publicity, programs, recording, facility arrangements, apparel, and reception.

While the private instructor offers assistance with recital arrangements, when possible, the student is responsible for the following:

Facility Arrangements

Please contact the calendar/facilities coordinator (Collin Clardy) to schedule Moorer Auditorium (and the Jackson Room and Donald Gallery if a reception is to be held) as soon as the jury and recital dates are set. The calendar/ facilities coordinator must also be notified to remove the dates in the event of a postponed or cancelled jury and recital. No recitals may be scheduled during finals week.

Recital Program

It is the responsibility of the recitalist to have the final program typed under the advisement of the applied instructor, and according to specified guidelines. Three hard copies of the recital program must be brought to the hearing. The final program must be emailed to Collin Clardy (cclardy@umobile.edu) for printing two weeks prior to the recital.

The program format will follow the guidelines found in the appendix. NOTE: All recital program materials must be submitted to the private instructor for proofreading before printing. Please refrain from placing personal notes in professional programs.

Recording

All recital recording will be handled by the Recital Recording tech-service crew leader. You can request a digital copy of the recording from Collin Clardy (cclardy@umobile.edu) at any point following your recital.

Apparel

Suits and dresses or formal attire are appropriate for graduate recitals.

Personnel

Secure ushers, page turner, reception servers, etc., and acknowledge their assistance in the printed program.

Reception

Receptions, normally held following the senior recital, are optional. The student is responsible for set up and clean up.

Recital Checklist

  • Facility Reservation for Jury 
  • Facility Reservation for Recital - Schedule Moorer Auditorium, Jackson Room and Foyer for reception with calendar/facilities coordinator. 
  • Program - Emailed to cclardy@umobile.edu and 3 hard copies brought to Jury 
  • Final approved program must be submitted to the ASOTA office two weeks prior to the recital. 
  • Publicity/Posters - Approved by ASOTA Marketing Team. 
  • Personnel- enlist ushers, receptionists, etc. 
  • Reception - Tablecloth, punchbowl, etc. 

Graduation Requirements

Degree Conferral Dates

Students may complete degree requirements in Fall, Spring or Summer academic periods. The student’s official degree conferral date will be the last day of the academic period in which all degree requirements are satisfied. - Fall 2022, Spring 2023, and Summer 2023.

All degree requirements must be completed and certified by the Registrar’s Office prior to the degree completion date. Students who need official certification that degree requirements have been met, prior to receiving a diploma, may request an official letter of notification be sent by the Registrar to any agency or employer. For more information, please contact the Registrar’s Office. 

Degrees are posted within two weeks of the date of conferral. Important note for Summer graduates: It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Registrar’s Office once all coursework has been completed to have the degree processed.

Any student planning to participate in the graduation ceremony on May 6, 2023, should complete the Intent to Graduate Form by the application deadline of February 3, 2023. The Intent to Graduate form is an online submission through MyUM.

All final grades/projects/recitals/examinations for doctoral students must be approved and completed by April 7th for the student to participate in commencement (be hooded, etc.). 

Any outstanding requirements that need to be met for graduation will be acknowledged within the first week of the intended graduation semester with the student and chair/committee all signing off on the appropriate outstanding requirements. 

M.M. students may walk in graduation with up to three outstanding credits, assuming that they will be completed in the summer. All recitals must be complete in order to walk in graduation.