Thesis/Honors Thesis Guidelines

Timeline of the Thesis process:

April 15 of junior year

A provisional plan for the one semester fall thesis developed in consultation with the thesis advisor will be submitted by the student in electronic format to the music department by April 15. This plan will include a written description of the intended topic, provisional performance program, or planned composition.

Students who would like to pursue a two-semester thesis must petition for this allowance, in consultation with the thesis advisor, by April 15.

October 1 of senior year

Final thesis proposal is due for Fall and two-semester theses. Students must submit the Music Thesis Proposal Form to the chair of the music department (gfatone@bates.edu).

November 1 of senior year

Final thesis proposal for winter semester only thesis is due.

Further specified requirements for students in the composition track:

  • Music majors on the composition track will present to the department a portfolio of their work in the semester before registering for thesis. This portfolio will include original compositions demonstrating familiarity with vocal, instrumental, and electroacoustic genres, and with computer notation software.
  • Theses will be in the general range of (at a minimum) 10′ for chamber orchestra, 15′ for chamber ensembles, or 20′ for solos with accompaniment or synthesized sound. Thesis length should be approximately 15-20 pages.

Further specified requirements for students in the performance track:

  • In discussion with their music advisor, students will have taken the relevant performance course 220, S26, 222 or 360 by the end of junior year.
  • Upon approval by audition, students will present a 30-minute juried recital prior to the end of junior year. This recital will serve as an audition for acceptance into the performance track, and must take place prior to Study Abroad.
  • In consultation with the advisor, the student designs and submits program notes that will appear in the Thesis Performance printed program. These notes must be submitted to the department chair three weeks prior to the performance date.
  • There is a written component to the performance track thesis, which is a substantial piece of research and writing that ordinarily is connected to the student’s concert program and or/medium of performance.

Posted October 21, 2014

 Honors Thesis in Music

At the invitation of the music faculty, students may pursue an Honors Thesis in Music. Students interested in participating in the Departmental Honors Program should discuss their intentions with potential thesis advisors in the winter term of their junior year, or in the fall term in the case of performance track. Maintenance of a minimum overall GPA of 3.30 and a minimum departmental GPA of 3.50 through the second semester of the junior year is expected. Students will have completed the theory sequence by the end of junior year.

Timeline of the Departmental Honors Program process:

March 15 of junior year

A provisional plan for the project, developed in consultation with the thesis advisor, will be submitted by the student in electronic format to the music department by March 15, along with a completed Music-Honors-Thesis-Intention-Form to the department chair (gfatone@bates.edu). A portfolio of work specific to your major track must be included in this submission (excepting those on the cultural musicology track, for whom the deadline is April 15).

May 15 of junior year

By this date, the music department will have met to discuss student pre-proposals and will notify students of provisional acceptance or non-acceptance into the Departmental Honors Program.

Following provisional acceptance, students work out a plan for summer thesis work with their advisors.

First week of classes, senior year Music department reviews student’s fulfillment of mutually agreed upon deadlines for summer thesis work.

September 15 of senior year

By this date, students will have met with their thesis advisors and will have provided evidence of thesis project work over the summer. If preparation is satisfactory to the advisor, student and advisor together design a work schedule for the honors project that includes substantial intermediate deadlines.

October 1 of senior year

Final thesis proposal is due. Students must submit (electronically) the Music Honors Thesis Proposal Form to the chair of the music department [gfatone@bates.edu]

January of senior year

Music department sends Departmental Honors Program nominations to the Honors Thesis Committee.

Further specified requirements for students in the composition track:

  • Music majors on the composition track will present to the department a portfolio of their work in the semester before registering for thesis. This portfolio will include original compositions demonstrating familiarity with vocal, instrumental, and electroacoustic genres, and with computer notation software.
  • The thesis composition proposal itself will be submitted in the semester before thesis registration, and result from discussions between the student and his or her thesis advisor. Theses will be in the general range of (at a minimum) 20′ for chamber orchestra, 25′ for chamber ensembles, or 30′ for solos with accompaniment or synthesized sound.
  • To accompany the scores and/or recordings, composition theses include a written component comprised of an analysis of the music and a survey of its historical context. An abstract of the written component will serve as program notes for the thesis concert performance.

Further specified requirements for students in the performance track:

  • In discussion with their music advisor, students will have taken the relevant performance course 220, S26, 222 or 360 by the end of junior year.
  • Students will present a 30 minute juried recital prior to the senior year that will serve as an audition for pursuit of the Honors Thesis Performance.
  • The March 15 portfolio submission must include a provisional program for an Honors Thesis Performance in the senior year.
  • There is a written component to the performance track thesis, which is a substantial piece of research and writing that ordinarily is connected to the student’s concert program and or/medium of performance.
  • In consultation with the advisor, the student designs and submits program notes that will appear in the Honors Thesis Performance printed program. These notes must be submitted to the department chair three weeks prior to the performance date.

Further specified requirements for students in the cultural musicology track:

  •  An April 15 submission comprises a portfolio of term papers that demonstrates exceptional critical and analytical skills, and a potential for excellence in scholarship. Students are encouraged to consult with music faculty as they choose writing samples for the portfolio. Among these papers should be at least one piece of writing about music.