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Academic Policies and Regulations

*Download the complete conservatory catalog

The Conservatory Catalog contains official statements of degree requirements and policies that pertain to all Conservatory degree, certificate, and diploma programs. Faculty listed in the Catalog are those who have active contracts in academic year 2014–2015. 

Students entering the Conservatory are subject to the degree requirements and policies defined in the Catalog in effect at the time of matriculation. The Conservatory reserves the right to change requirements and policies. In instances where degree requirements change and/or a required course is no longer offered, the Conservatory will provide adequate equivalencies for substitution.

The Conservatory underwent a comprehensive Academic Program Review from 2010–2012 that resulted in new or adjusted requirements in many programs. This Catalog contains the requirements for students entering in academic year 2014–2015. Students who matriculated prior to academic year 2014–2015 should refer to the semester-by-semester progress charts available on the Conservatory’s website. Individual charts are posted for each matriculation year in which program requirements were implemented.

Progress charts for all matriculation years can be found at the following pages:

Requirements are housed within department pages.



Degree Completion

Residency Requirements

At the undergraduate level, first-time matriculants are required to complete eight full-time semesters in residence; transfer students are required to complete a minimum of four full-time semesters in residence.

Graduate students are required to maintain residency throughout the expected length of their program, as defined thusly:

  • Master of Music* / four semesters
  • Graduate Performance Diploma* / four semesters
  • Professional Studies Certificate / two semesters
  • Artist Diploma Program / four semesters
  • Master of Fine Arts / four semesters plus one summer session

Exceptions to the standard residency requirements may be made at the discretion of the Division Director.

*Does not apply to the M.M. or G.P.D. in Music Education.

Full- and Part-time Staus By Program

Students who exceed their full-time limit are subject to additional tuition charges.

International students who are in the United States under F-1 status are subject to strict federal regulations. International students under F-1 status must seek the authorization of the Director of International Student Affairs before dropping below full-time enrollment. Unauthorized part-time enrollment will result in immediate termination of visa status.

Leave of Absence and Withdrawal from the Conservatory

Students in good academic and artistic standing may request a leave of absence. Leave of Absence (LOA) forms are available on the Registrar’s Office’s website and are processed by that office. A leave of absence allows a student to return to the Conservatory for up to one year from the start of the leave without the necessity of re-applying and re-auditioning. Students on scholarship will retain their award upon their return. If a student does not officially return from LOA within one year, they will be withdrawn from the institution. International students must also receive written authorization from the Director of International Student Services before taking a LOA.

Students who withdraw from the institution may not re-enroll without participating in the standard admissions and audition process. Students who withdraw or take an LOA after the Add/Drop period will receive grades of W in the courses in which they were enrolled.

Change of Program

Students must complete at least one semester in the program in which they first matriculated before requesting to change programs. If the change involves a change in discipline, the student must formally audition for admission to the new program and will be reevaluated for Conservatory scholarship. If a student wishes to switch from a certificate or diploma program to a degree program within the same discipline, they must receive permission from the Division Director but do not need to re-audition.

Students switching from a Graduate Performance Diploma to a Master of Music must complete the program change before the end of the second semester in residence. One additional semester of Conservatory scholarship (beyond the standard four semesters) may be extended through an appeal to the Division Director.

International students who wish to change their program may do so only with the approval of the Academic Affairs Office. Changes from G.P.D. to M.M. will require new proof of English proficiency, as appropriate, along with a review of academic and artistic progress to date. Before final approval for a change of program is given, F-1 international students must qualify for a new I-20 from the Director of International Student Services.

Time Limits

Undergraduate students must complete their program of study within 10 years of the student’s first matriculation date; graduate students must complete their program within five years.


The Conservatory holds a single commencement ceremony each year during the month of May. Students who have completed their degree programs during the previous summer term or during the fall and spring semesters of that academic year are invited to participate. Students who have not completed their degree requirements but are within six credits of doing so may participate in the ceremony. A student’s participation in the Commencement ceremony and/or the student’s listing in the Commencement program does not mean that they have completed all degree requirements. Commencement participation is limited to one ceremony per degree program. In order to participate, students must wear appropriate academic regalia supplied by the Conservatory.

Addendum as of November 2014 (does not appear in print version): The Conservatory graduates in January and May. Students are graduated on the graduation date following the semester during which degree requirements are completed.

Awards and Honors

Dean’s List

Dean’s List distinction is awarded to full-time undergraduate students chosen for their high scholastic standing. Students must receive at least a B in every course and achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.80. Any Incomplete or unfinished grade disqualifies a student for inclusion on Dean’s List, regardless of the cumulative average.

Latin Honors

The GPA thresholds for Latin Honors are determined by the previous year’s cumulative GPA distribution. For example, the necessary GPA level for students graduating in May 2014 is based on the GPA threshold determined by the combined graduates from January 2013 and May 2013.

For these calculations, cumulative grade point averages will not include the final semester in residence. To be eligible for these awards, students must have completed at least five semesters in residence. Only those credits earned at the Conservatory will be computed in the final average.

Undergraduate students whose cumulative grade point average indicates high scholastic attainment will be awarded the degree as follows:

  • Summa cum laude: GPA within top 5% of previous year’s graduating class
  • Magna cum laude: GPA within the next 10%
  • Cum laude: GPA within the next 15%


Academic Advising

All students are assigned an academic advisor upon arrival at the Conservatory. Advisors are charged with providing both academic and artistic support, assisting in course selection, and the maintenance of degree progress. While advisors are essential resources, the student is responsible for knowledge of their degree requirements and maintaining successful degree progress.

Course Changes: Add, Drop, and Withdrawal

The Add/Drop period is defined in the Academic Calendar. Students may add or drop a course with no financial implications provided they remain within their allowable full-time credit load. After the Add/ Drop period, students may withdraw from courses until the end of the tenth week of the semester. Courses from which students withdraw are noted on the student transcript with the grade of W.

Non-Standard Courses

Remedial Courses

Registration in remedial courses is mandatory for students who do not pass proficiency exams held upon matriculation. Any deficiencies revealed by these exams must be corrected within the first year in residence through successful course completion. If enrollment in a remedial course results in a total credit load in excess of the full-time credit limit for that program, students are charged at half of the per-credit course rate applicable to the appropriate degree, diploma, or certificate program. This charge does not apply to the Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theater or the Master of Music in Opera Performance.

Auditing Courses

Students auditing a course should attend and participate in classes but are not responsible for assignments or examinations and will receive neither grades nor academic credit. Part-time students and full-time students for whom the credit associated with the audited course would exceed their full-time credit limit are charged. Students are charged for audited courses at half of the per-credit course rate applicable to the appropriate degree, diploma, or certificate program.


A maximum of four credits earned through internships may be applied to a degree, diploma, or certificate program. Undergraduate students may enroll in an internship for a maximum of four semesters, and graduate students may enroll for a maximum of two semesters. Internships are awarded one credit for every six to eight hours of work for 14 weeks. Internships must be approved by a student’s Division Director and the Associate Dean for Academic Operations.

Independent Study

Independent Study offers Conservatory students an opportunity to engage in self-directed study of an area of academic or artistic inquiry not regularly offered through traditional coursework. Students are responsible for identifying an appropriate faculty member to advise the work undertaken in the Study as proposed. Students are also responsible for completely and properly filling out the Independent Study Proposal form, which includes a description of the study, the work the student will do independently, how many hours of work the student plans to commit to the study, and the expectations of the meetings between student and faculty mentor. The Proposal must then be reviewed by the appropriate Department Chair or Division Director; once approved by the Chair or Director, the Proposal must be submitted to the Associate Dean for Academic Operations for final approval and assignment of credit hours.

Curricular Practical Training

International students whose F-1 visas normally prohibit paid work off campus may seek authorization for such work through Curricular Practical Training (C.P.T.) when the employment is an integral part of their degree program. In order to pursue off-campus employment and internships, international students must receive authorization from the Director of International Student Services before beginning any employment.

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