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Department of Music
The University of Mississippi

Music Theory:

I. Undergraduate Theory Diagnostic Exam

The University of Mississippi accepts freshman music theory transfer credits from community colleges. Sophomore music theory credits, however, are not automatically transferred. In order for students from community colleges to receive sophomore music theory credit at the University of Mississippi, two requirements must be met:

  1. Students must have received a grade of C or higher for sophomore theory at their community college.
  2. Students must pass a diagnostic exam for Music Theory III (Mus 205) and Music Theory IV (Mus 206) given by the theory area at the University of Mississippi.

For those students who meet the first requirement and wish to take the diagnostic exam, below is a study guide detailing what is on the exam, and a practice exam. Students have one hour maximum to complete the written exam.  The diagnostic exam is given during the first week of classes in the Fall semester.

Music Theory Undergraduate Diagnostic Exam Study Guide

The exam is comprised of two parts, written and sight singing. Students must pass both parts to receive transfer credits. The textbooks we use for our theory classes are The Complete Musician by Steven Laitz (Textbook and Workbook vol. 1) and Progressive Sight Singing by Carol Krueger.

Written Part:

The written exam focuses on three skills:

  • Score Analysis using Roman numerals and inversion
  • Part-writing in SATB style given Roman numerals
  • Part-writing in SATB given figured bass.

Topics and chords types covered include applied chords, tonicization, modulation, modal mixture chords, Neapolitan chord, augmented 6th chords, enharmonic modulation, augmented triad, altered dominants, chromatic sequences, common-tone diminished 7th chord, common-tone augmented 6th chord, and symmetrical division of the octave.

Sight Singing Part:

The sight singing diagnostic exam tests students on both melody and rhythm. We use moveable Do, Do minor for pitch solfege and the Ta-Ka-Di-Mi system for rhythm solfege, but for this exam students may use any system they wish. Topics covered for the melodic part of the sight singing exam include:

Chromatic alterations to major and minor scales including:

  • Neapolitan 6th
  • Augmented 6th
  • Semitonal voice leading
  • Enharmonic reinterpretation of vii diminished
  • Symmetrical melodic elements
  • Common-tone augmented 6th & diminished chords
  • Chromatic sequences (D2 Chromatic falling 5th, A2)

And for the rhythmic part of the exam:

  • Simple and Compound Meter
  • Sixteenth notes, eighth notes, triplets
  • Quintuplets
  • Sextuplets
  • Septuplets
  • Hemiola

Practice Theory Exams (Written and Sight Singing):

You may find a practice theory exam here.

II. Graduate Theory Diagnostic Exam

You may find a study guide for the Graduate Theory Diagnostic Exam here.


If you have any questions please contact Dr. John Latartara at