All required courses are offered during two full days each week (usually on Wednesdays and Fridays) during the fall and spring semesters. On occasion, a summer course will be offered as well, meeting one long day a week; or Summer Independent Studies, meeting when convenient. In addition, students with special interests are welcome to pursue relevant courses in other departments that meet at other times; all such courses must be approved in advance by the program head.
Total of 12 courses, 36 credits (full-time load is 3 courses per semester–either way, courses can be finished in two years). In addition attendance is required at one Wednesday evening guest lecture per month, and at one or two Wednesday afternoon grad student thesis presentations per semester.
Typical Courses Offered:
6 credits: Year-long jazz historiography sequence (Porter). Must be taken in the first year.
6 credits: Year-long jazz theory sequence (Martin). Will be taken in first or second year, based on placement test. See below.
3 credits: Literature of Jazz
3 credits: Big Bands
3 credits: Stride Piano
3 credits: Charlie Parker
9 credits: Topics courses: changing topics each semester, for ex., John Coltrane, or Songwriting, or Lester Young, or Duke Ellington, or Jazz on Film, Monk and Mingus, Big Bands, Jazz and Race, etc., etc.
3 credits: Thesis (can be compiled partly from research projects for other courses; is always taken in the fall of the year that you will graduate)
Most students choose to take all courses, required or not. However, for the ones that are not required, students with special interests are welcome to substitute relevant courses in other departments; all such courses must be approved in advance by the program head. One may take courses with faculty in history, African American studies, or philosophy, on related topics. Other options are Writing Arts Criticism, Internships at the IJS and elsewhere, and graduate jazz courses and performance courses at Mason Gross (Rutgers-New Brunswick) and William Paterson University.
Private lessons in theory or performance and participation in the Mosaic jazz ensemble are highly recommended (or may in rare cases be required) in addition to the required 36 credits. Mosaic does not count towards the M.A. degree, so grad students usually audit it. Private lessons and ensembles at the graduate level are offered at the New Brunswick campus and at nearby colleges, and these will count towards the degree if you have cleared this with the program director before registering.
Please note: The theory sequence starts with fairly basic materials but quickly moves to more advanced topics. New students will take a placement test to determine if they should take the theory sequence during their first or second year. Those who are selected to take the course in their second year will be asked to study during the first year, using books and software that we will recommend, and take the placement test again at the end of their first school year.