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Graduate Advising: Registration Guidelines for Incoming Graduate Students

Students enrolling in their first semester can find helpful advising tips below.
Frequently Asked Questions...
When can I enroll for classes?
New students will be able to enroll for the Fall semester around the last week of June. The Registrar’s Office maintains a schedule of specific dates on which you will be eligible to enroll each semester.

Is there a deadline for enrollment in classes?
The deadline for enrollment in the Fall semester is usually the first Friday in September. Enrollment changes can be made up until the date Add/Drop privileges expire. See the registrar’s deadlines at

Who is my advisor?
You will have two advisors: your major professor and the Director of Graduate Studies. Generally, your major professor focuses on your progress in the major area, and the Director of Graduate Studies is a resource for overall aspects of your degree, such as developing a multiple-year plan, choosing courses outside your major field, etc. Some major professors take a more active role in these matters. In either case, we recommend that you talk regularly with your major professor about your progress, and also drop in or schedule an advising appointment with the Director of Graduate Studies at least once each semester.

How do I find a list of courses offered in each semester?
On your MyUW page, open the “Course Search and Enrollment” app. You may also access the listing through MyUW Student Center. Search for courses in the category MUSIC (660) or MUSIC PERFORMANCE (MUS PERF or 664).

What do the course categories in music mean?
Those labeled MUSIC (or 660) meet in groups—everything from chamber ensembles and large performing ensembles to musicology and music theory classes. Those labeled MUSIC PERFORMANCE (or MUS PERF, or 664) are courses with one-on-one meetings, such as lessons. They are considered “independent study” courses by the University, and do not usually have a designated meeting time in the course listing.

Help me understand the course numbering system!
Both MUSIC and MUS PERF courses for music majors generally have a three-digit number, i.e. 101 or 502. It is important for graduate students to remember that graduate degree credit can be earned only in courses numbered 300 and above. Graduate students usually take many MUSIC courses numbered in the 400 ‘s and 500’s, and those numbered 600 and above are considered graduate-only courses. For MUS PERF courses, graduate students almost always take courses numbered above 500.

Which courses should I take in my first semester?
The Director of Graduate Studies will provide several opportunities for advising, beginning in June and extending through the first week of classes. In general, incoming graduate students in performance will want to enroll first in lessons (being sure you find your major professor’s section) and try to enroll in a musicology or theory course numbered 400 or above if there is space available. Performance majors may also be enrolling in a large ensemble and/or chamber music, but those courses will require an audition or conferral with the instructor before you will be able to enroll. If you enroll for at least 8 credits in the first semester you will be well on your way to making good progress toward your degree. Some students (M.A., PhD, DMA) will need to think about enrolling in MUSIC 619 as early as possible, and some others may need to fulfill language requirements. Check with the Director of Graduate Studies about these special cases.

More Frequently Asked Questions...

The enrollment app says I need to have the instructor’s consent. What should I do?
If the course is a large ensemble, you will need to wait until auditions are held just before the beginning of classes. In the case of chamber ensemble courses, you will need to confer with your major professor once you arrive on campus. For other courses, you may contact the instructor by email or phone. Many of our faculty are engaged in research, performing, or traveling during the summer months and may not be immediately available, so be patient. You may need to wait and attend the first day of that class in order to receive permission to enroll in the course.

What if I cannot register for any of the music courses I would like to take?
Make sure that you have tried a first, second, and perhaps third choice. If you find that courses are full, you should see the Director of Graduate Studies during Welcome Week.

Should I contact the Director of Graduate Studies if I have questions about course requirements?
After the initial June advising period is over, further questions about course requirements will have to wait until Welcome Week when you are on campus. If you would like to contact your major professor, you may do so, but with the understanding that many of our faculty are engaged in research, performing, or traveling during the summer months and may not be immediately available.

Will courses I have taken at another institution count towards requirements at UW-Madison?
Possibly, although there is a limit of 6 credits that can be waived in any graduate program in music. A waiver must be based upon based upon previous graduate-level study, and the instructor teaching the similar course at MWSoM must review materials to determine course equivalency. Once you are on campus, any potential course waivers need to be addressed directly with the Director of Graduate Studies and the UW-Madison professor in charge of the correlative course offered on our campus.  You will normally have to supply the syllabus and your written work for any of these courses, so be sure to collect all materials and bring them with you to Madison.

Do I need to enroll as a full-time student in order to receive financial aid?
If you will be supported with financial aid originating from the School of Music or College of Letters and Sciences (TA/PA/Fellow), you need to enroll full-time each semester. Full-time enrollment is 8 credits for Fellows and 6 credits for TA/PA.

What is the maximum number of credits for which I can enroll?
The UW-Madison Graduate School limits enrollment to 15 credits. Occasionally, a student needs to take more than 15 credits to meet requirements. (Examples: A vocal performance major who needs to take French 101 (4 credits), or a Musicology major who needs to take a seminar in East Asian studies that is only offered every fifth semester.) The Director of Graduate Studies must discuss this with you and must approve it using a Credit Overload Request Form, which is then reviewed for approval at the Graduate School.

Why are so many courses already full?
Because the registration period for continuing students begins before the registration period for new students, continuing students have already had a chance to enroll for courses. You may wish to revisit the registration process in a few weeks, just in case someone has withdrawn from a course, thus creating a space for you. Do not despair – you will have plenty of opportunities to meet your requirements in subsequent semesters.

Will there be space in my assigned instructor’s studio for me to enroll in my applied study?
Yes, if you have already informed us that you are attending UW-Madison in the Fall.

Keywordsregistration, incoming, graduate, new, enrollment   Doc ID114258
OwnerJames D.GroupMead Witter School of Music
Created2021-10-12 14:38:03Updated2022-10-13 16:58:07
SitesMead Witter School of Music
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