What are these tests?

These placement exams ensure that you are ready for graduate seminars. The deficiencies we are identifying result for a number of reasons. Some schools focus on different areas in the subject, and there may be some gaps in your knowledge. For example, some theory departments emphasize analysis over part-writing. It may be an issue of fluency – while you “know” the material, it has been a few years and you take a moment to recall it; you will learn much more in seminars with an increase in your speed. The issue may come from learning different notation conventions in your undergraduate program. Whatever the reason, the point of these tests (and the review courses) is to ensure that you benefit the most from your time at Peabody.

Who has to take the exams?

The requirements differ based on which degree program you are in.


You are required to take the Music History, the Ear Training, and the Music Theory placement exams.

Exception: If you are a Musicology major, you are exempt from the Music History exam. The requirement is satisfied by the Audition Week exam (“Music History Entrance Exam”).

Exception: If you applied for a Theory GA:

       If you passed the GADMA during Audition Week, you do not need to take the Music Theory exam.

       If you passed the Ear-Training Exam during Audition Week, you do not need to take the Ear-Training exam.

GPD, MA, or AD

You are not required to take either exam. If, however, you wish to take musicology classes, you must pass the Music History placement exam. If you wish to take music theory seminars, you must take the Music Theory exam.

If you have any questions regarding your specific situation, such as test results from Audition Week, please contact the test supervisor:

Music History – Dr. Remi Chiu ([email protected]

Music Theory – Dr. Stephen Stone ([email protected])

Ear Training – Dr. Jenine Brown ([email protected])

If I know I need the review class, may I skip the exam?

Yes. If you plan to take the review class, you do not need to take the placement exam. You will be notified that you did not pass the exam, and you will then be able to register for the online review course.

How can I study for the tests?

If you wish to review for the tests, here are some recommended textbooks and practice advice.

How do I access the exams?

The exams are hosted in Canvas, JHU’s learning management system. To access them, follow these steps:

  1. Use your JHED-ID to log into canvas.jhu.edu.
  2. Once in Canvas, you will see a tile called “PY.GraduatePlacement – 2024.” Click on that.
  3. Once you are in the testing site, you will see all three tests – Music History, Music Theory, and Ear Training.

How many times may I attempt the exams?

Exams are offered at the end of May and in the middle of August. Within a single testing period, you may take the exam only once. The exams are graded by hand, so the faculty grade them once the test closes.

You are welcome to retake the tests in later testing periods. For example, if you take an exam in May and do not pass, you may study on your own over the summer and retake the test during the August testing session. If you do not pass after the August testing, you will automatically be enrolled in the appropriate class. If you fail a review class, you may re-attempt its test during one of the testing periods the following year to satisfy the requirement.

Note that if you fail a review class, there are two important details to these retakes.

  1. Passing the test will not affect the grade from the class; the F will remain on the transcript. But it will keep you from having to take the class again.
  2. You only get one more try at the exams. It is best to take the test during the May testing period. If you do not pass, you should sign up for the summer review class. This will make it possible to graduate on time without doubling up on history or theory courses.

How do I find out if I passed the exams?

Official notification of your results will come in an email from Academic Affairs. It will arrive approximately a week and a half after the exam testing period ends.

Optional Placement Tests

Building a Brand: Option to Test Out

About the Course

Building a Brand & Portfolio is a foundational course that is part of the Breakthrough Curriculum. This course examines diverse career paths in the arts, along with the skills and materials that prepare students for various roles in the arts industry. Students construct a digital portfolio which is then refined throughout the course, and study topics include fundamental career skills, professional materials, personal finance, networking, promotional activities, and more. This course is required for all master’s degree students.

How to Test Out

If you have already developed fundamental career skills and a robust digital portfolio, you may be able to test out of this course. For the test, you will submit your professional materials for review and participate in a brief interview to discuss your experience with professional skills. If interested, you can see more details here (access with your JHU credentials) and sign up through this form by July 26. The test will be open between July 29 and August 4. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

Foundations of Music Research: Option to Test Out

Foundations of Music Research introduces research from the roles of consuming and creating information. Students analyze and produce a variety of research outputs relevant for music researchers and performing professionals. Students engage with secondary and archival research materials, discuss how to publish and disseminate their own research, and explore how information is organized to optimize the use of academic library resources now and post-graduation.

If you have taken a graduate research skills course or have the equivalent experience, you may take the exam. To successfully test out, you must pass the exam with a 90% score and provide a sample of a 10-page English language research paper for evaluation as part of the exam.

A diagnostic exam including multiple choice, short essay questions, and a short research assignment will be available from July 29 to August 4. Please contact [email protected] with any questions.