Graduate Studies

Placement Exam Information

All entering graduate students are required to take placement examinations in music theory and music history before registering.  In addition, MM students in Performance and Literature, Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music, Early Music, Conducting, Contemporary Media/Film Composition, and Opera Stage Directing are required to take a listening exam.

Students majoring in Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media (Performance or Writing) and/or Contemporary Media and Film Composition should read the information for Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media Film Composition students below.

Should you have any questions about placement exams, please contact Mr. Peterson at

Music Theory

Graduate Placement Exams in Music Theory

Attention Continuing ESM Graduate Students: MM and MA degree students who continue on to a DMA or PhD program will be required to take only Part 3 of the Graduate Placement Exam in Theory (Counterpoint/Style Composition), as distinct from Parts 1-2, which they previously took when entering the Master’s degree.  DMA degree students majoring in Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media must complete the full exam.


Music History

Music History placement exam study guide

Note:  MM students majoring in Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media (Performance or Writing) do not take this exam.

Attention Continuing ESM Graduate Students: Students entering a doctoral program with an MM or MA from Eastman must have achieved passing scores on the Medieval and Renaissance portions of the music history placement exam when first taken. Deficiencies in these areas will be evaluated prior to registration, the Musicology Department Coordinator will contact students individually should they need to retake any part of the exam, and students will be advised as to recommended or required courses as needed.

Listening Exam

The Listening Exam is required for Master of Music degree students in the following majors: Performance and Literature (PRL), Piano Accompanying & Chamber Music (ACM), Early Music (EMH), Conducting (CNC, CNW, and CNO), Contemporary Media/Film Composition (CMFC), and Opera Stage Directing (OPS).

The MM Listening Test evaluates the student’s ability to identify by ear specific works taken from a published list of works which represent a broad spectrum of historical periods and performance media. It also tests the student’s ability to identify works not on the published list, by style-period rather than by title, with some brief description of the characteristics of the work that suggest the period choices. The exam consists of 25 excerpts, 20 of which involve identification of specific works from the published list and 5 of which cover style-identification. The basic list of works is published annually and serves as the source for the Listening Test administered prior to orientation. Streaming audio of all the repertoire is available at (you will need your NetID to log on; see the orientation website for information on obtaining your NetID).

Special Note for Jazz Studies (JCM/JCW) and Contemporary Media Film Composition Majors

MM students in Jazz Performance (JCM) and Jazz Writing (JCW) must take the jazz history and theory exam (MM JCM and JCW students do not take the traditional music history or music theory exam).

MM students in Contemporary Media/Film Composition (CMFC) must take the traditional music history exam. CMFC students with undergraduate degrees in jazz take the jazz theory placement test, while all others take the traditional music-theory placement test.  Mr. Peterson will confirm this via e-mail.

DMA Jazz students must take both traditional music history and music theory exams in addition to jazz history and theory exams.

For more information about the graduate jazz placement exams, please contact Professor Campbell at