Department of Music

Senior Project Guidelines

Purpose and Eligibility

The Senior Project in Music (MUS 99d) is designed to provide the opportunity for music majors to complete a thesis, musical performance, composition or some combination of these, appropriate to the particular track the student is enrolled in. In all cases, it must include written work.

The Senior Project is a two semester, two-credit course (yields eight semester-hour credits) open to seniors majoring in music who have earned a minimum of 3.00 GPA in music major courses by the end of their junior year. Except in the case of the performance track, the senior project does not count as credit toward the music major; it is done in addition to the major. Successful completion of the project may lead to departmental honors.

Students should review the general guidelines below with their project adviser.

Process for Initiating the Senior Project

Length and Format of the Written Portion

There are no fixed limits to the length of the written portion of the project. It is expected that a thesis will be a minimum of 40 pages double-spaced. The length of the written portion accompanying a composition or performance will be shorter, but must represent an appropriate level of scholarship and gravity. For a composition, a full score and set of performance parts is required. See individual track descriptions for more details.

A recommended resource for style of a written thesis is The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (or higher).


Funding for MUS 99d (except for copying and binding costs) is available from the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences on a first-come, first-served basis. An application form is available on the dean's website. Undergraduate Research and Creative Collaborations also offers funding opportunities, including the Fisher Explorer Grants. In certain cases, additional funding may be available from the music department and/or the Office of the Arts. 

Submitting a Copy of the Project to University Archives

The Robert D. Farber University Archives collects and houses senior honors theses produced by Brandeis undergraduate students. Senior honors theses and projects play an important role in documenting the history and evolution of undergraduate scholarship at Brandeis.

Written work is bound and catalogued in OneSearch and then exported to WorldCat (a national bibliographic database); as a result, archives receives many requests for them from members of the Brandeis and outside research communities. Students awarded honors for their project must comply with the following request:

A loose (that is, unstapled), unbound, clean copy of the thesis/project must be provided to the music department coordinator no later than May 10. It will be sent from the music department to the library to be bound in hard-cover. If the project includes a performance, a CD recording should also be submitted.

The following information (in no particular order) must be included on the title pages of the thesis/project, so that it may be catalogued correctly in OneSearch:

  • Title

  • Author/Performer

  • Senior Project in Music

  • Department(s) of ____________

  • Adviser(s)

  • Brandeis University

  • Year

A completed and signed release form granting other researchers permission to reproduce senior theses and/or projects for research/educational purposes must also be included. A copy of the release form may be downloaded from the Archives & Special Collections website, then click on the link, "Download senior honors thesis release form [PDF]." This form should be signed and submitted to the music department coordinator along with the unbound copy of the thesis/project.