May 30, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Music, Theatre, and Dance

Bryan Pinkall, Director
Frederick Burrack, Director of Graduate Studies (Music)​
Sally Bailey, Director of Graduate Studies (Theatre)

109 McCain Auditorium
Fax: 785-532-6899

Music Program

Kansas State University’s graduate program in music is designed to furnish specialized professional training supported by competence in those fundamental areas needed by all musicians. Emphasis is placed on the personal growth and development of the student toward individual goals. The program is large enough to provide ample variety, yet small enough to allow personal attention to each student. While students are given considerable responsibility in all phases of the educational program, faculty guidance is available constantly.

The Music program offers the master of music with a specialization in the following areas: music education, music history/literature, performance with pedagogy emphasis, and composition.

Areas of Emphasis

Bands: Goins, Tracz, Wimmer, Payne
Brass instruments: Fassler-Kerstetter, Parker, Maxwell, Kilgore, Hinman
Chamber music: All faculty as approved by the Graduate College
Choral groups: Oppenheim, Yu-Oppenheim
Conducting: Dirks, Oppenheim, Tracz, Wimmer, Yu-Oppenheim
Jazz studies: Cochran, Gartner, Goins, Payne
Keyboard instruments: Dobrzanski, Pickering
Music education: Burrack, Gurgel, Oppenheim, Payne, Tracz, Ward, Wimmer, Yu-Oppenheim
Music history and musicology: Cochran, Hunt, Parker, Goins
Opera and musical theatre: Rosine, Pittman
Orchestras: Dirks
Percussion instruments: Gartner
String instruments: Dirks, Jansen
Theory: Fassler-Kerstetter, Morris, Pickering, Weston
Voice: Pinkall, Pittman, Rosine, Thompson
Woodwind instruments: Kerstetter, Morris, White, Wytko
Composition: Morris, Weston

Theatre Program

The graduate program in theater offers a master of arts degree in theater with concentration in drama therapy. Students take courses in drama therapy, play writing, and psychology/family studies/human development/counseling to fulfill the requirements for registry with the North American Drama Therapy Association. The degree is approved and accredited by the North American Drama Therapy Association.

Music, Theatre and Dance Facilities

The School of Music, Theatre and Dance is housed in McCain Auditorium, Nichols Hall, and the Purple Masque Theatre (West Stadium). Ample classrooms, rehearsal halls, practice studios, and offices are supplemented by a small hall for chamber music, a 1,800-seat auditorium, a 240-seat thrust theatre, and a 100 seat thrust theatre. The Piano Lab provides 15 midi work-stations with a state-of-the-art teaching/presentation station. Midi Workstations also exist in Nichols Hall. The department is an official Steinway School and owns four concert grand pianos, several studio grands, and a number of well-maintained practice uprights. Organs include a concert Austin (40 rks), a Bosch tracker (9 rks), and a J.W. Walker Continuo organ. An electronic studio centers around digital and analog synthesizers with ample supporting equipment. For the performance of early music, the department owns one harpsichord, a chest of matched viols, and assorted wind instruments.

The music division of Hale Library contains a growing reference and research collection fully adequate to master’s level work, as well as an extensive collection of recordings. The Special Collections Division holds a number of rare items, from 16th century prints to one of the two largest collections of the manuscripts of Gail Kubik, world-renowned 20th-century composer. The Graduate Music Seminar-Study Room offers a place in the Music Program in which materials may be placed on reserve for easy, convenient availability to graduate students.

Music Careers

In addition to enriching the quality of one’s life, enhancing the understanding of other epochs and cultures, and providing outlets for self-expression, graduate study in music prepares students for a variety of professions. K-State’s music alumni perform professionally with symphony orchestras, military bands, chamber music ensembles, opera and musical theatre companies, choral ensembles, jazz, rock, country, and bluegrass groups, in recording studios, and as soloists and accompanists. Others are active as composers of concert, commercial, liturgical, and/or educational music. K-State graduates also hold prominent positions in the fields of music education (pre-school through collegiate levels), private teaching, church music, music therapy, librarianship, and in the music industry. In addition, several K-State music graduates have used their arts degrees as preparation for professional schools such as law and medicine.

Music Performance Opportunities

A full range of performing organizations and small ensembles provides the graduate student with a variety of performance opportunities. These include Concert Choir, Collegiate Chorale, University Treble Chorus, University Choir, Grand Chorus, In-A-Chord, Collegium Musicum, Madrigal & Motet Ensemble, Opera Workshop, Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Concert Band, University Band, Concert Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Lab A, Jazz Combos, Brass Ensemble, Woodwind Ensemble, Percussion Ensembles, Marching Band, Additional Athletic Bands, Symphony Orchestra, Theatre Orchestra, Opera Theatre, and multiple small ensembles. Moreover, the Collegium Musicum performs early music on authentic instruments, and chamber music flourishes in a number of small groups of various instrumentation.

Although not directly associated with the School of Music Theatre, and Dance, the McCain Auditorium Performance Series brings to the campus large musical attractions, world-famous soloists, and chamber music, as well as dance troupes and theatre companies. Faculty recitals expand the opportunities to hear performances of professional caliber.

Theatre Season and Outreach Programs

The Theatre program offers 4 main stage shows each year: one musical, produced in conjunction with the music and dance programs, and three straight plays, usually directed by faculty. The Purple Masque season presents four non-musical plays per year. These productions are often directed by graduate students in theatre as part of their creative projects for their degree. Drama therapy graduate students are involved in the Barrier-Free Theatre, a company for actors with and without disabilities, among other outreach opportunities in the community.

Admission to the Graduate Program in Music

Admission to the Graduate School of Kansas State University is handled through individual departments. Applicants interested in the Graduate Program in Music should send inquiries to Frederick Burrack, Director of Graduate Studies, School of Music, Theatre and Dance, Graduate Music Studies, 109 McCain Auditorium, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506-4702. Graduate Teaching Assistantships are selected in January. (International Student should note the deadlines for admission as seen on the Graduate website).

Application is made through requiring the following:

  1. The application fee.
  2. One copy of an official transcript from each undergraduate and/or graduate institution previously attended.
  3. Three letters of recommendations.
  4. A statement of applicant’s personal and professional goals.
  5. Requested but not required: YouTube link demonstrating performance skills (if specialization performance, pedagogy; conducting/teaching skills if specialization is music education), sample original scores (if specialization is composition), or an example of scholarly work (if specialization is history/literature). On-campus auditions are usually required.
  6. International students are also required to send TOEFL scores and Affidavit of Financial Support. 

Admission to the Graduate Program in Theatre with concentration in Drama Therapy

Application is made through requiring the following:

  1. A completed application form (completed online -
  2. The application fee.
  3. One copy of an official transcript each undergraduate and/or graduate institution previously attended.
  4. Three letters of recommendations of professors or professional employers who can speak to your potential to succeed at the graduate academic level.
  5. A statement of the applicant’s personal and professional goals.
  6. International students are also required to send TOEFL scores and Affidavit of Financial Support.

Students interested in drama therapy need to arrange an interview with Sally Bailey, Director of the Drama Therapy Program at


Entrance requirements

Admission with full standing

To be considered for admission with full standing, the applicant must have:

  1. A bachelor’s degree from an approved institution.
  2. Adequate preparation in the field of music: normally a B.M., B.M.E., B.S. in music education, B.A. in music, or the equivalent.
    Adequate preparation in the field of drama therapy: normally a B.A., B.S. or B.F.A. in theatre or the equivalent. Undergraduate electives in psychology are not required, but are helpful.
  3. An undergraduate average of B or better.

If all of the foregoing requirements are not met, probationary admission may be considered, provided there is other evidence that the applicant has the ability to do satisfactory graduate work. Such evidence might include a post-graduate record at another institution or successful professional work.

Probationary admission

Students may be admitted provisionally if there is uncertainty in evaluating transcripts.

Full standing for probationary or provisional students is attained automatically upon completion of at least 9 hours of work for graduate credit with a grade of B or better. Students admitted on probation may be denied continued enrollment if they receive a grade less than B.

Special students

An application for admission to the Graduate School in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance ordinarily implies the student’s intention to work toward an advanced degree. Students who do not plan to work toward an advanced degree, however, may be admitted as special students. Those who later wish to enter the degree program must undergo a full review. No more than 9 semester hours earned as a special student may be transferred into a regular degree program.

Admission to the Graduate School in the Department of Music does not necessarily imply admission to a particular program within the department. For special requirements, see the individual areas of emphasis.

Residence requirements

Candidates in music will require 4 semesters to complete the degree. The summer program can be completed in 3 summers. Summer study in music education requires on-campus attendance during residency week. Candidates who serve as graduate assistants or hold positions outside of their academic responsibilities must be completed in four semesters.

Candidates in drama therapy will need at least 4 semesters and one summer to complete all of the academic requirements of the degree and of the North American Drama Therapy Association.

Courses taken more than six years before the completion of the degree generally cannot be credited toward the degree.

Transfer credit

Graduate credit with a grade of B, or better, may be transferred from other accredited institutions. Transfer of more than 6 hours requires special action; in no case may more than 10 hours be transferred.

Assistantships and financial aid

A limited number of graduate assistantships in the Music program are available during the regular academic session, but they are not available in the summer. Assistantships are given in specific areas, according to departmental needs. Teaching assistants are usually needed in aural skills, music theory, music education, accompanying, band, choir, orchestra, collegium musicum, music appreciation, piano class, and voice (class and/or studio teaching). Other assistantships involve work in the Music Library, the instrument room, and various aspects of administration. All assistantships include monitoring the technology lab and taking attendance at recitals.

The Theatre program offers a limited number of Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA) in theatre. Students may also apply to other departments and offices on campus for GRAs, GAs, and GTAs.

Graduate assistantships require up to 16-20 hours a week, which is regarded as five-tenths of full time. Such an appointment entitles the student to a full waiver of tuition and out-of-state fees, as well as eligibility to apply for university health insurance. Graduate assistants who are appointed to a .25 tenths position work 8-10 hours per week. All applicants for full-time study in the Master of Music program are automatically considered for assistantships; no additional application form is needed. Drama therapy students interested in an assistantship should submit their application by February 1 for the coming academic year to meet the deadline to apply for assistantships offered in other campus offices.

Assistantships are awarded with the expectation that the student will spend two years in residence and that satisfactory performance of duties and satisfactory academic work will bring renewal of the assistantship. Assistantships are not available for more than two years. Graduate assistants in the Music Program are expected to participate in a large ensemble each semester.

For eligible students, work-study funds are available for a variety of jobs on campus. There are work-study positions in the costume shop and scene shop for individuals who have the appropriate skills. Inquiries regarding eligibility for work-study should be addressed to the Office of Aids and Awards, Fairchild Hall, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

All non-native English-speaking applicants, including those with a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university, must score at least 550 on the TOEFL and at least 50 on the Speak Test before being appointed to a graduate teaching assistantship in the Kansas State University Music Program.

Course loads

No graduate student in music shall take more than 16 hours of credit during fall or spring semesters. Most graduate students in theatre take a minimum of 11 credit hours during fall and spring semesters and are typically involved in drama therapy internships and/or production work throughout the year. Courses taken during the summer are not covered under most assistantships. Graduate assistantships will only cover the tuition for 10 credit hours per semester.  Any credit hours above that amount are paid for at the in-state tuition cost.  Graduate assistants may not take less than six hours in any semester.


Registration procedures are outlined each semester in the Schedule of Classes and Enrollment Procedures. First-term graduate students may be required to arrive on campus (for orientation and testing) one week before classes begin. The needed information will be communicated to each student in ample time by the Director of Graduate Studies. All music graduate students will register through the office of the Director of Graduate Studies in Music. All theatre graduate students will register through the office of the Director of Graduate Studies in Theatre.

Music Placement tests

Each entering music graduate student will take placement tests. The written tests will consist of two sections, theory and music history. The tests will include components equivalent to those of the KSU undergraduate program.

The results of these tests will be used in planning a suitable program of study for each individual. If remedial work is indicated, it may be accomplished through coursework or by doing independent study before re-examination.

Supervisory committee

During the music student’s first semester, the director of graduate studies in music shall, in consultation with the student, appoint a major professor for each student. No later than the second semester, the major professor will organize a Supervisory Committee consisting of himself/herself as chair, the Director of Graduate Studies in Music, and at least one other faculty member.

By the end of the first semester all theatre students should have identified a major professor in consultation with the director of graduate studies in theatre. No later than end of the second semester, a Supervisory Committee of three faculty members, including the major professor, should be identified and a program of study filed with the Graduate School.

The duties of the Major Professor will be to (1) meet no later than the student’s second semester to review the student’s work, (2) meet with the student no later than the second semester in order to formulate and approve the student’s academic program, (3) offer counsel and advice to the student throughout his/her academic career and to approve such changes in his/her program as are agreed upon, (4) advise the student in the selection of a topic for the master’s thesis, report, or creative project or the program for master’s recital, and to approve the final choice, (5) The Supervisory Committee will act as the final reading committee of the master’s thesis, or report, or as the judging committee for the student’s final master’s recital (music) or creative project (theatre), (6) serve as the examining committee for the student’s comprehensive examination.

The initial organization of the Supervisory Committee and the scheduling of its first meeting shall be the responsibility of the major professor. Thereafter, the student has the responsibility for consultation with members of his or her committee and for obtaining the approval of the committee on appropriate matters.

Student’s program of study

No later than the end of a student’s second semester, each student will, at some time before preregistration for the following term, meet with his/her major professor and, in consultation with other members of his/her Supervisory Committee, plan his/her academic program. This program is entered on an electronic form on the Graduate School website. Signatures from committee members are gathered electronically.

The student is then responsible for following the program through his/her academic career, for obtaining the Supervisory Committee’s approval for any desired or needed changes, and for seeing that his/her major professor registers such changes with the Graduate School office.



Master of Arts

Master of Music




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