Graduate Entrance Assessment

in Music History and Music Theory

Each entering graduate student takes an assessment that documents their knowledge of undergraduate-level music theory and musicology. This assessment, taken shortly before the start of the Autumn semester, helps the student and advisor select appropriate courses.

Music Theory

The graduate Theory assessment has seven parts:

  1. General concepts
  2. Grand staff score analysis
  3. Chamber score analysis
  4. Orchestral score analysis
  5. Sonata exposition cadences
  6. Listening for harmony
  7. Listening for formal types

Suggested review topics


  • Loudness
  • Frequency
  • Timbre

Rhythm and meter

  • Hypermeter
  • Clave rhythm
  • Syncopation
  • Hemiola

Tonal harmony

  • Roman numerals and figured bass
  • Embellishing tones
  • Blues progression
  • Diatonic harmony
  • Applied chords (secondary dominants)
  • Modal mixture
  • Augmented sixth chords
  • Neapolitan chords
  • Closely-related keys


  • Major and minor scales
  • Church modes (Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian)
  • Key signatures for tonal scales and church modes
  • Pentatonic scales
  • Octatonic and whole tone scales


  • AABA song form
  • Verse/chorus
  • Strophic
  • Rondo (5-part, 7-part)
  • Binary
  • Ternary
  • Sonata
  • Binary

Suggested study resource

Robert Hutchinson, Music Theory for the Twenty-First Century Classroom

This resource includes some practice exercises with an answer key.


The Musicology assessment has the following parts:

  • General knowledge of terms and concepts used in musicology (multiple choice)
  • Repertory knowledge of Western music history from the Middle Ages through the present (multiple-choice questions, mostly listening)
  • Repertory knowledge of global and American musics (multiple-choice questions, mostly listening). This part is required for students in musicology, optional for all others
  • Short essay on a historical topic (about 12 sentences; you will be given a choice of topics)
  • Short answers on library skills and information access (about 6 sentences)