The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Music Admissions: Graduate

Requirements | Deadlines | Audition Dates | Audition or Not?GRE | TA | Jazz | More Info

Click for a pdf of the Graduate Application Process Overview, seen below.

Overview: The graduate application process is composed of three equally-important elements. Leaving any one of them incomplete will result in an incomplete application and/or lack of funding.

The Application Process

Contact faculty from your area (*)
Deadline: Feb. 1, or 3 weeks before audition (Jan.15, music theory only)
Required Materials: Audition Request Form; Audition/Interview; Teaching materials

Portal: SPIRE admissions portal (Click "Apply for Graduate Study")
Deadline: Feb. 1, or 3 weeks before audition (Jan. 15, music theory only)
Required Materials: College transcripts; Recommendations; Resume; TOEFL scores (if applicable)

Link: GenEd Teaching Assistantship Application
Deadline: Feb. 1
Required Materials: Writing Sample(s); Summary of Teaching Experience

* TAships in the GenEd area may be combined with TAships awarded by studio faculty


General Requirements

Acceptance into a Music Department Graduate program requires academic acceptance by the University as well as acceptance by the Music Department. Acceptance to the Music Program is based on the quality of your audition and/or supplemental materials, depending on your desired area of study. The Graduate School will issue acceptance to the University to applicants who meet the admissions requirements upon Departmental recommendation. The Graduate School cannot process our Department's acceptances until your application is complete.

Have music graduate admissions questions?  Contact our Graduate Program Coordinator, Maddy Benjamin at, 413-545-0311.

Academic application forms for admission to graduate study are available from the UMass Amherst Graduate School web page or from the Graduate Admissions Office, Goodell Hall, (413) 545-0722,

Application Deadlines

For fall admission, the application deadline for all graduate programs in Music, except Music Theory, is February 1. The application deadline for graduate study in the Music Theory MM is January 15. Applications must be submitted by October 1 for spring admission.

Music Audition Days for Fall 2020 entry:

Auditions must be scheduled at least three weeks before the requested audition date, by filling out the Audition Request Form. Students should schedule an audition as early as possible, and may do so even before submitting the application for academic acceptance.  However, the University application must be submitted prior to the actual audition date. Auditions may take place prior to academic acceptance by the University, but not before a University application has been submitted.

All Instruments & Voice (except Strings):
Saturday, January 25, 2020 (No clarinet, flute, or classical saxophone)
Saturday, February 1, 2020 (No percussion)
Saturday, February 8, 2020

Violin, Viola, Cello, Double bass only:
Monday, February 10, 2020
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Click to view String Studies at UMass video >

(Click for Graduate String Quartet program info)


If you are unable to attend on any of the available dates, please contact the appropriate faculty member to request an alternate date.


Graduate Degree Programs: Audition or Not?

Graduate programs which DO require an audition:

On-campus audition required:

  • Master of Music in Collaborative Piano
  • Master of Music in Music Education / Performance
  • Master of Music in Performance (all instruments/voice)
  • Ph.D. in Music Education (Performance)
  • Professional Performance Certificate (Graduate non-degree program; see webpage for description)

AUDITION REQUIREMENTS  >  (by instrument/voice)


20-minute DVD of rehearsal and performance footage in lieu of a live audition:

  • Master of Music in Conducting (Choral, Orchestral, or Wind)
  • Master of Music in Music Education (Conducting)
  • Ph.D. in Music Education (Conducting)

See Supporting Materials page


Graduate programs which DO NOT require an audition:

Masters in Music: (see Supporting Materials page)

  • Composition
  • Jazz Composition and Arranging 
  • Music Education / Research
  • Music Education / Pedagogy
  • Music History
  • Music Theory

Ph.D. in Music: (see Supporting Materials page)

  • Music Education

You must submit any required scores or other documents to the Graduate Program Director, Prof. Erinn Knyt


Graduate Record Exam: Applications to M.M. concentrations DO NOT require the GRE.  Application to the Ph.D. program in Music Education also DOES NOT require the GRE.


Teaching Assistantship: If your degree program does not require an audition, you may elect to perform an audition if you would like to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship (TA) that includes performing.

Ensemble auditions, which take place at the start of each semester, are always required for placement in ensembles.

Jazz MM: Graduate applicants in Jazz Composition and Arranging are not required to audition, but are encouraged to do so. While the portfolio is the primary focal point of the Composition/Arranging application and subsequent degree, a sample CD or live audition of the applicant's performing abilities is encouraged, as is the participation in large and small jazz ensembles while pursuing the Masters degree. A particular performing strength can sometimes compensate for a smaller writing portfolio as an initial foray into the Masters in Jazz Composition/Arranging.


More Info: As well as applying through the UMass Amherst Graduate School, graduate applicants in Music may wish to contact the appropriate area coordinator if more specific information is desired. DEGREE SUBPLANS (required & optional courses) for graduate programs are also available on the Master's Degree and PhD Degree webpages and the Graduate Handbook (pdf).


Diagnostic Exams Required:
Information on Diagnostic Exams in Music Theory & Music History >>.


The University of Massachusetts Amherst prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, national origin, mental or physical disability, or veteran status, in any aspect of the admission or treatment of students or in employment.