The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Diagnostic Exams for Graduate Study

All entering Masters students must take diagnostic examinations in Music History and Music Theory before they may enroll in graduate-level coursework for these subject areas. (Students enrolled in Jazz Composition/Arranging take the diagnostic exam in jazz theory instead of the general theory exam.) The exams are administered before classes begin in the fall and spring semesters or at the time of the on-campus audition/interview. Each exam takes approximately one hour to complete.

The results of the Music History exam are used to advise students into appropriate graduate-level history courses.

Students who do not pass all sections of the Diagnostic Exam in Music Theory (general or jazz) must retake and pass those sections before they may enroll in relevant graduate-level theory courses or form a comprehensive exam committee. The Department has created two general practice exams and two jazz practice exams to help incoming students prepare (see PDFs below). Students who must retake a section (or sections) of the theory exam can enroll in Graduate Theory Review (MUSIC 493A/B) in the fall, hire a tutor, or study on their own. (Note: the review course is designed primarily for students taking the general theory exam.)

Practice Diagnostic Theory Exam_General Version 1 (2016).pdf

Practice Diagnostic Theory Exam_General Version 2 (2016).pdf

Practice Diagnostic Theory Exam_Jazz Version 1 (2019).pdf

Practice Diagnostic Theory Exam_Jazz Version 2 (2019).pdf