University of North Texas

College of Music | Graduate Studies

Graduate Placement Exams (GPE)

During the spring prior to matriculation, the Graduate Studies offices sends each incoming student an email specifying the Graduate Placement Exams that he or she is required to take. Those who have not received such an email should contact the Graduate Studies Office via email for this information.

The Graduate Placement Exams (GPE) must be taken during orientation of the first semester in which the student is enrolled as a graduate student. Review courses assigned due to the results of the GPE do not count towards the degree and must be taken in the first semester in which they are available. The results of the GPE will be posted on the College of Music GPE Grade Center, which is listed as an "Organization" on Blackboard Learn, by noon on the Thursday before classes begin.

All incoming graduate students must take the GPE in Music History and Music Theory with the following exceptions.

  1. UNT College of Music continuing students (undergraduate to master's or master's to doctoral) are not required to take the Aural Skills portion of the GPE in Music Theory. (They must still take the Analysis/Part-Writing portion.) No action is required of continuing students to qualify for the exemption. Those who qualify for it have been so notified via the email from the Graduate Studies Office mentioned at the top of this webpage.
  2. All incoming students may qualify for an exemption from the GPE in Music History if they meet the criteria outlined here. Those who qualify for this exemption have been so notified via the email from the Graduate Studies Office mentioned at the top of this webpage.

Beginning in the fall 2015, there will be no retakes allowed for the GPE in music history or theory.


Graduate Placement Exam in Music History

The recommended method of preparing for the test is to study A History of Western Music (9 ed.) and the Norton Anthology of Western Music (6 ed.). The GPE in music history consists of two sections, pre-1750 and post-1750, each of which comprises:

  1. Thirty multiple choice questions that measure understanding of the genres and styles characteristic of particular periods and major composers;
  2. Six multiple choice questions based on three listening excerpts drawn from the Norton Anthology;
  3. One essay question.

Sample multiple choice and essay questions appear here.

Other Important Information

  • You need to know your 8-digit UNT ID number for the test. Attendance will be monitored via your ID number, not via your name.
  • You are not allowed to have your cell phone in sight during the test.
  • All DMA students who have qualified for exemption from the multiple choice portion of the exam must still take the essay portion. All incoming doctoral students must take the essay portion of the GPE.

Scoring Rubrics

The multiple choice and essay questions of the GPE in Music History are graded independently. You must correctly answer at least twenty-two of thirty-six multiple choice questions (i.e. 61%) and earn six points out of ten on the essay to pass the entire exam. Your essay will not be graded 1) if you fail to answer at least eighteen multiple choice questions correctly or 2) if you do not follow the instructions for the essay prompt, e.g. by writing on two topics or two score excerpts instead of one each.

GPE in Music History (Pre-1750)

Mulitple Choice Essay Review Course
22-36 / exempt* 6-10 No review course necessary
22-36 / exempt* 0-5 MUMH 5500
0-21 Not graded MUMH 5500

*Applies to doctoral students who qualify for an exemption from the multiple choice portion only.

GPE in Music History (Post-1750)

Multiple Choice Essay Review Course
22-36 / exempt* 6-10 No review course necessary
22-36 / exempt* 0-5 MUMH 5510
0-21 Not graded MUMH 5510

*Applies to doctoral students who qualify for an exemption from the multiple choice portion only.


Graduate Placement Exam in Music Theory

The GPE in Music Theory consists of two separate exams:

  1. Ear Training

    A two-part excerpt is performed at the piano, including chromaticism such as secondary (or applied) dominants, augmented sixths, and the Neapolitan chord. You notate both voices, pitch and rhythm, as well as provide a harmonic analysis. A sample is given below, where gray notation represents a student response.

  2. Part-Writing and Analysis

    Part-Writing: the bassline of a chromatic chorale is given with figured bass. You provide a harmonization in chorale style (SATB) and a harmonic analysis. A sample is given:

Scoring Rubrics

Part Writing and Analysis  Ear Training
70-100: Pass (no remediation necessary) 70-100: Pass (no remediation necessary
69 or less: Fail (take MUTH 5010) 69 or less: Fail (take MUTH 5010)