Buffalo State Music Department
Master of Music Education Degree Handbook
Mission, Goals and Objectives
The music department at Buffalo State is committed to excellence in music studies and music teacher preparation. The music department is mindful and reflective of Buffalo State’s commitment to urban and rural education and remains dedicated to this charge. The music department endeavors to furnish graduate students with the methodologies, knowledge, scholarship, skills, passion, and discipline to teach, appreciate, and analyze, music at the highest attainable level of artistry and communication. Through carefully constructed curricula and stewardship, Mus.M. students at Buffalo State will be holistically prepared for a personal and professional life in music education.
To engage graduate music education majors in advanced learning experiences necessary for the development of professional-level musical skills and understanding. Learning experiences include those that develop technical/pedagogical proficiency, grounded in the theoretical and historical traditions, and an understanding and appreciation of the profession.
To offer music educators the opportunity to engage in advanced coursework and experiences that pragmatically and intellectually challenge them and are applicable to the structures, decisions, rigors, and opportunities commonly encountered in urban and/or rural music education.
To foster the exploration of innovative and advanced approaches to curriculum, instruction, assessment, leadership, musical understanding, program development, research, and opportunities that serve to enhance the overall quality of the candidate’s pedagogical and professional abilities.
Students demonstrate advanced competencies in music education. Studies in this area may comprise as much as two-thirds and at least one-third of the total curriculum.
Students gain knowledge and skills in one or more fields of music outside music education including but not limited to performance, conducting, theory and analysis, and history and literature.
Students develop graduate-level perspectives on contemporary issues and problems in music education. This may include a review of curriculum developments, teaching methodology, innovations, and multidisciplinary concepts in advanced seminars or by other means.
Students complete a program emphasizing theoretical studies, research, and/or projects in music education. The capstone experience of a master’s project (non-research based) or master’s thesis (research-based) is required in order to complete the Mus.M Degree at Buffalo State College.
In furtherance of the stated goals and objectives, the Music faculty will work together to recruit and retain highly qualified graduate degree candidates from throughout New York State. Recruitment will aim to increase size, scope, breadth, diversity, depth, and quality of the music student population at Buffalo State College. The Department Chair, in consultation with the graduate music faculty and administration, will ensure adequate resources to support the Music Department as it grows and continues to evolve.
Admission is granted jointly by the Graduate School and the music department. To apply to the Buffalo State Mus.M program, potential students must supply the following required and supplemental materials to the Graduate School no later than March 1st for summer admission. Sequentially, the degree program is designed for part-time, in-service music educators to begin seeking the degree in the summer. Students who have not completed their application for admission by March 1st may choose to apply as a non-degree student. A maximum of six graduate credits earned as a non-degree student may be applied to the degree program.
Readmission to Graduate Study
Students who do not register for at least one course within one year of initial acceptance must reapply for admission in accordance with established deadline dates and current admission requirements.
Students who do not register for and complete one graduate course within four academic semesters (fall/spring) must apply for readmission to graduate study in accordance with established deadline dates and current admission requirements.
Upon admission to the Mus.M degree program, each student will be assigned an advisor from the full-time music education faculty. The academic advisor for each student will be responsible for overseeing the student through the appropriate required coursework in order to reach degree completion.
Advisors will consult in person, via phone or online technology with each student at least once during each academic semester to discuss progress in the degree and decide upon registration for the following semesters. After six credit hours have been completed, each advisor will meet in person, via phone or online technology with students to outline the courses needed for graduation. Each advisor will complete a degree checklist for their advisees and monitor academic progress both through online meetings and via DegreeWorks.
In most cases, the academic advisor will be responsible for the supervision of the final project or thesis prior to degree completion. The academic advisor will serve as the committee chair for all project and thesis defenses. Though unusual, academic advisors may be changed at the discretion of the music department chair in consultation with the graduate music education coordinator and the student.
Academic Probation and Dismissal
All graduate students are required to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale). A student is automatically placed on probation if the GPA falls below 3.0. Full-time students are given one semester, and part-time students are given 9 credit hours to achieve a 3.0 GPA, provided total credit hours do not exceed the degree program by more than 6. Failure to achieve a 3.0 GPA within the specified time or to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA during each semester of academic probation results in academic dismissal.
Students must be in good academic standing and may not be on academic probation while enrolled in MUS 690 and MUS 695. If a student is put on academic probationupon completion of 24 credits, but prior to enrollment in MUS 690 or MUS 695, the student must remediate their GPA in no more than 6 credit hours and courses must be drawn from MUS electives. If the student is unsuccessful in returning to good academic standing by taking an additional 6 credit hours of MUS electives, the student will be dismissed from the degree program.
Master’s Thesis or Project
Master’s Thesis Guidelines
The function of the thesis is to systematically investigate a research problem, with outcomes that generate insights or answers related to that problem. These outcomes may or may not yield new knowledge, but they are expected to investigate a new problem or to replicate a published study in a different setting in order to verify or dispute previous findings
Each student will be assigned an advisor prior to matriculation in the Mus.M degree. After the completion of all coursework, a student under the supervision of the advisor may elect to complete a master’s thesis. The student’s advisor will be the thesis advisor, unless otherwise requested by the student. The student is responsible for requesting additional thesis committee members (for a total of 3) from the graduate faculty of the music department and/or the School of Education. All members of the thesis committee must approve the thesis proposal.
Criteria for the music department thesis:
After committee approval is granted, but before research and data collection begins, the student must obtain requisite permission from the Institutional Review Board by submitting the Human Subjects Review Form available from the SUNY Research Foundation.
Students are advised to remain in frequent electronic contact with all members of the committee throughout the thesis process. All members of the committee must approve deviations from the accepted proposal.
When completed, the proposal is submitted to each member of the thesis committee for approval. It is the student’s responsibility to distribute copies of the proposal to each full-time member of the music education department in a timely fashion allowing each member adequate time to read and comment on the document. Signature approval from all committee members on the music department thesis proposal form is required prior to beginning data collection. This form is available at https://music.buffalostate.edu/students
The thesis proposal should contain:
a working title and statement of the purpose of the study, including such topics as the need for the study;the research question or questions which the thesis will attempt to answer;a literature review containing a presentation of relevant research so that the proposed study is placed in a theoretical context;a detailed presentation of the methods that will be used in the study;a copy of the signed approval from the University Institutional Research Board (IRB) if the research includes participation by human subjects
After the proposal has been approved the student may begin the process of implementing the study. A critical element in this process is close phone and/or electronic contact and collaboration with the thesis advisor.
The thesis should conform in scope and content to the original proposal. A thesis generally contains five sections:
The thesis must conform to a standard style manual. Most educational research conforms to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Associationcommonly called the “APA Style Manual.” Formatting specifications for the master’s thesis can be found on the Buffalo State Graduate School website:
A master’s thesis is between 50 and 150 double-spaced pages in length. The research design may be qualitative or quantitative. It is required that students have completed MUS 640: Research in Music Education as preparation for the completion of the master’s thesis.
When the thesis is completed, the student’s thesis committee must approve the document, and each student must be prepared to orally defend their thesis either in person or via online technology with all thesis committee members. These meetings may be held on campus or using the campus supported video and web conferencing software for those who are at a distance.
Via online technology, each student shall consult with an appropriate person in the Buffalo State Graduate School for purposes of determining adherence of thesis to written policies of the Graduate School. Copies of the thesis in final form must be filed with the Graduate School according to regulations specified on the Graduate School website, and an additional copy must be filed with the music department.
Master’s Project Guidelines
Students are encouraged to complete a project relevant to their experiences, interests, and needs as music educators. The project is customarily completed at the end of the degree program and will require significant scholarly, creative, and intellectual effort in the area of music or music education. Salient examples include curriculum development, assessment, creative endeavors, theoretical, analytical, or historical explorations, technological innovations, or any other type of scholarly or pedagogical project that is approved by the project committee. The Master’s Project should consist of a written document that demonstrates or reports the results and/or what was undertaken in completion of the project. The specific format used for the Master’s Project should be appropriate to the nature of the project itself and the discipline, and is at the discretion of the faculty. However, the written Project should follow the APA style manual.
Criteria for the Master’s Project:
Discuss proposed project with project advisor in person, via phone or online conference.
Develop project proposal in consultation with project advisor and submit in written form to all members of the project committee. A written proposal describing this project must be submitted no later than the week prior to the semester in which the student plans to graduate.
After approval is granted, the student should begin work on the project.
Students are advised to remain in frequent contact with all members of the project committee throughout this process. All members of the project committee must approve deviations from the accepted proposal.
Each student will be assigned an advisor prior to matriculation in the Mus.M degree. After the completion of all coursework, a student under the supervision of the project advisor completes a master’s project. The student is responsible for requesting additional project committee members (for a total of 3) from the graduate faculty of the music department and/or the School of Education. All members of the project committee must approve the proposal.
There are no formal requirements for the proposal or prescribed final documentation of a master’s project. In close consultation with the academic advisor, the project will be designed by each student to meet individual needs. Depending on project needs, guidelines will be mutually developed by the student in consultation with advisor and committee members.
When the project is completed, the student’s project committee must approve the project documentation, and each student must be prepared to present and orally defend their project either in person or via online conference with all project committee members. Copies of the project documentation in final form may need to be filed with the Graduate School according to regulations specified in the Graduate School Handbook, and an additional copy must be filed with the music department.
In order for a graduate student to be awarded a master’s degree the following minimum requirements must be met:
Time Limit for Degree Completion
All coursework and degree requirements must be completed within the six-year period immediately preceding a student’s graduation. Coursework completed more than six years prior to date of graduation cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements unless approved by the advisor, music department chair, and dean of Arts & Humanities.
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