Placement Exams

Distance Learning Update:

There will be no written placement exams for the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 semesters.
Instead, please follow these steps to enroll in required music classes:
  1. If you passed Music Theory Fundamentals (MUS 13100) in Spring 2020, you already have permissions entered for Harmony 1 (23100) and Ear Training 1 (26100). Please register now.
  2. If you passed Music Theory Fundamentals (MUS 13100) before 2020, or passed an equivalent course elsewhere, please contact Professor Pieslak ( ) for course permissions and advising. Please include your EMPLID in all correspondence.
  3. If you have musical training outside the university system, and you're comfortable with music theory fundamentals (scales, keys, intervals, triads, and basic reading from notation), please contact Professor Pieslak ( ) with a brief summary of your experience.
  4. If you have no prior formal training, you should register for the preparatory courses listed at the bottom of this page (MUS 13100 and 16100). No permissions are necessary.

All prospective music students, except those already accepted by audition into our Jazz Studies program, must take the Music Placement Exam prior to departmental advising and registration for major courses. These exams are given the week before each semester to help place students in the appropriate courses to move through our program successfully.

Next exam:

  • Fall 2020 exam: Tuesday, August 18, at 11a in Shepard Hall 95
  • Fall 2020 makeup: Wednesday, August 19, at 11a in Shepard Hall 95

The exams are graded immediately upon completion and music advisors will be on hand throughout the same afternoon to help students complete the registration process.

Basic Exam
The entry-level exam covers fundamentals such as scales, keys, intervals, and triads. This is a brief timed exam, assessing comfort with the material, so please arrive early; late students will not be accommodated. Passing the basic exam grants access to the required first semester courses, as well as departmental approval to declare a major in music.

Advanced Exams
Students with prior formal training who seek advanced placement can request additional exams covering harmony, voice leading, and sight singing. Qualified students should arrive early enough to alert the proctor that they wish to add advanced testing to the entry-level exam. Passing these components can place students into second or third semester courses, depending on their results.

Please note:
Students with no prior formal training do not need to take the exam. Instead, we recommend that they register for these two courses to prepare for the next round of placement exams:

  • MUS 13100, Theory Fundamentals
  • MUS 16100, Aural Fundamentals

Alternatively, students can study on their own by mastering a text such as:
Scales, Intervals, Keys, Triads, Rhythm, and Meter by Clough et al. (Norton, 1999).

Please keep in mind that students are not eligible to become music majors until they pass the placement exam and are enrolled in the required degree courses.