Music (MM) in Jazz Studies

Volume 1: 2020.2021

Effective 1 June 2020 through 31 May 2021

Please see the Temporary Adjustments to Policy on Grading for Graduate Courses for Spring 2020

Please see the Graduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

This program is offered by the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts and is only available at the St. Louis home campus.

Program Description

The Webster jazz studies program centers on the small group performing experience. The MM in jazz studies allows for students to focus on composition or performance. Students who elect to study jazz history may pursue the MA in music. Students work directly with a faculty member on various graduate jazz studies projects.

Graduates of the MM program will be trained to further their careers in private studio teaching or public performance as soloists, ensemble members, or composers. The area of study for each student's training will be determined by individual consultation with the major professor and the Director of Graduate Studies in Music.

The MM in jazz studies conforms to the guidelines specified by the National Association of Schools of Music for accreditation. Webster University is a full member of the National Association of Schools of Music.

Students who desire a more general course of studies may pursue the master of arts (MA) with a major in music.


Students who are interested in applying to this degree program should also see the Admission section found in the front of this catalog for general requirements.

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to the MM in jazz studies must submit or complete the following:

  • An official transcript that documents the awarding of a baccalaureate degree in music from an accredited institution.
  • A satisfactory audition/interview before an appointed faculty committee. Guidelines for audition repertoire are available upon request from the Director of Graduate Studies in Music or the specific program director (voice, piano, jazz, instrumental studies, and so forth). Please read the following section on Audition Procedures. Additional information on audition procedures and requirements may be found at the Department of Music website.
  • A satisfactory performance on an entrance examination in music history and theory. Remedial studies (without credit) may be prescribed for students who have deficiencies in either or both of these areas.
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which should be from former music teachers.

Send all admissions materials to:

Webster University
Office of Admission
470 East Lockwood Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119

Audition Procedures

Applicants for the MM in jazz studies should prepare a minimum of three works from memory. Instrumentalists should demonstrate improvisation skills on a 12-bar blues, a standard by Ellington or a similar composer, and a contemporary jazz work. Vocalists should perform two standards from the jazz repertoire. Scat singing may be requested. Percussionists will demonstrate an understanding of swing, Latin, fusion, and other styles. A brief sight-reading demonstration may be required.

Departmental Standards and Policies

Students should consult the Academic Warning, Probation, and Dismissal sections of this catalog for further information. In addition, the Department of Music Handbook, available at the Department of Music website, includes departmental policies on admission to candidacy, degree recitals, theses, applied music, and ensembles, as well as other areas that pertain to MM and MA students. This departmental policy manual constitutes an extension of the Webster University Graduate Studies Catalog.

Ensemble Requirement for Graduate Students

All graduate students in music are required to complete two semesters in a major ensemble. Jazz studies majors fulfill this requirement through participation in jazz ensemble, Jazz Singers, and/or the Jazz Collective. Additional performing groups may be chosen for elective credit, or substituted for one semester of major ensemble with the approval of the Department. Specific ensemble requirements are listed with each degree and area of emphasis or study.

Graduate Oral Examinations

The Graduate Oral Examination is required of all students at the graduate level. This examination is based on the student’s program of study, and includes topics in music history and literature, music theory, and the area of emphasis or study. Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to integrate and interpret materials and issues in the major field. The exam emphasizes topics dealt with directly in the student’s thesis, recital, or other major project presented in fulfillment of the degree requirements.

This is an oral examination conducted by a committee that is appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the Director of the Area of Study and other members of the faculty. The committee will include a majority of full-time faculty members. The oral examination is usually taken during the last semester of study toward the degree.

Students who fail the oral examination may retake it upon the recommendation of the committee.

Required Courses

Core Music Courses

  • MUSC 5100, MUSC 5110 Analytical Techniques I, II (6 hours)
  • MUSC 5120 Seminar in Music Literature (3 hours)

Performance Courses

Applied Lessons

  • MUSC 5003 Applied Jazz (four semesters) (8 hours)

Major Ensemble
Two semesters (2 hours) to be selected from:

  • MUSC 4955 Webster University Jazz Singers (for vocal students only) (1 hour per semester)
  • MUSC 4960 Webster University Jazz Ensembles (1 hour per semester)
  • MUSC 4970 Webster University Jazz Collective (1 hour per semester)

Supportive Courses

  • MUSC 4340 Jazz Scoring and Arranging I* (3 hours)
  • MUSC 5200 Independent Study: Advanced Arranging (two semesters) (4 hours)
  • MUSC 5800 Advanced Studies in Music: Jazz History (2 hours)
  • Electives (4-6 hours)
    Suggested electives include:
      • MUSC 4320 Jazz Education Methods (2 hours)
      • MUSC 4360 The Working Musician (3 hours)
      • MUSC 5200 Independent Study: Jazz Pedagogy (2 hours)
      • MUSC 5200 Independent Study: Topics in Jazz Improvisation (2 hours)

*Students who completed MUSC 4340, or equivalent, as undergraduates (with grades of B or higher) may choose electives.

Final Project (0 hours)

Two recitals or one major arranging project, or one major historical document.

Oral Examination (0 hours)

Total: 32-34 credit hours

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are admitted to their graduate program upon completion of all admission requirements. Students are advanced to candidacy status after successfully completing 12 credit hours of graduate credit, with grades of B– or better. In the MBA program and other specialized programs, courses required as prerequisites to the program do not count toward the 12 credit hours required for advancement.

Library Holdings

Books, periodicals, scores, records, compact discs, and videos, as recommended for music libraries by the National Association of Schools of Music, are conveniently housed in the Emerson Library. In addition, the library subscribes to a number of significant online music-related resources including Oxford Music Online, RILM, Music Online, Opera in Video, and Naxos Music Library.

Graduate Assistantships

The Department of Music offers graduate assistantships in jazz studies, music theory, orchestra, and choral music. For further information, interested applicants should contact the Director of Graduate Studies in Music. Assistantship stipends do not include tuition remissions. Applications for assistantships must be received by April 1.

Graduate Scholarships

The Department of Music offers a limited number of scholarships to graduate students based on merit. Among these are the Buder Foundation Scholarships, the James Moroney Nigh Endowed Scholarship Fund in Opera, and the TKT Jazz Scholarship. These scholarships are available to graduate students only after the first year of study. For more information, interested applicants should contact the Chair of the Department of Music. Scholarship applications are due by April 1.

Adjunct Teaching Appointments

In addition to graduate assistantships, exceptionally qualified graduate students may be considered for employment as instructors in one of the following areas: academic studies, jazz studies, orchestral instruments, piano, and voice. Employment determination is made by the Chair of the Department of Music with the Director of Graduate Studies in Music in consultation with the director of the specific academic area.

Graduate Student General Financial Aid Information

For information on non-music related sources of financial aid, including work study and loan programs, interested applicants should contact the Webster University Office of Financial Aid.