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Music Degrees & Programs:


Click for the Graduate Music Student Handbook (pdf)
Click for the Annotated Graduate Course Guide 2016-17 (pdf)
Click for the 2017 Grad Teaching Assistantship Application (pdf)

Page Index: click on one of the links below to go to that section, or scroll down
General Description
Departmental Contacts
The Master of Music Degree: Concentrations/Requirements
Professional Performance Certificate
Music Teacher Licensure Program
The Doctor of Philosophy Degree
Diagnostic Exams in Theory & History
List of Instruments/Voice

General Description

The UMass Amherst Department of Music & Dance offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Music (M.M.) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree. These programs offer optimal professional training for careers as music teachers, performers, composers, arrangers, and conductors. The specific concentrations offered are described below.

Individuals may complete up to twelve hours of academic study as an "undesignated" graduate student before being required to apply and be accepted into a specific graduate degree program.

To enter a graduate music degree program, prospective students must meet the admissions requirements of both the Graduate School and the Department of Music & Dance. The Graduate School Admissions Office is located at Room 530 in Goodell Hall, (413) 545-0722. While applications, transcripts and letters of recommendation must be submitted to the Graduate School, all supporting materials relating to music, such as CD's, scores or research papers, should be sent to the Music & Dance Department:

Prof. Brent Auerbach, Graduate Program Director
Department of Music & Dance, UMass Amherst
265 Fine Arts Center East
Amherst, MA 01003-9330
(413) 545-0521

The Graduate Music Student Handbook gives details about Admission, Auditions, Graduate Assistantships and other financial aid, placement exams, jury, thesis and language requirements and many other topics.


Departmental Contacts

Graduate Program Director
Professor Brent Auerbach
Department of Music and Dance, Fine Arts Center Room 265
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003-9330
Phone: 413-545-0521

Areas of Concentration (link to website) & Coordinators:

Collaborative Piano:
Prof. Nadine Shank,, 413-545-0053
Composition: Prof. Salvatore Macchia,, 413-545-6053
(For both MM in Conducting & MM in Music Education/Conducting Emphasis)
    Wind Conducting:
Prof. Matthew Westgate,, 413-545-6056
    * Orchestral Conducting:
Ng Tian Hui,, (Admissions temporarily suspended)
    Choral Conducting:
Prof. Tony Thornton,, 413-545-0437
Music Education:
Prof. Lisa Lehmberg,, 413-545-0612
Music History: Prof. Ernest May,, 413-545-0624
Music Theory: Prof. Gary Karpinski,, 413-545-4229
Jazz Composition & Arranging: Prof. Jeffrey Holmes,, 413-545-6046
Performance: Contact the Professor who teaches your instrument/voice (See Music Faculty by Discipline/Instrument). For the Graduate String Quartet Program, contact Prof. Kathryn Lockwood.

Additional information or mailed forms may be obtained from the Music & Dance Department Director of Admissions:

Director of Music Admissions/Recruiting
(413) 545-6048
Fine Arts Center Room 271
UMass Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9300

* Masters in Orchestral Conducting: Admissions temporarily suspended until further notice.


The Master of Music Degree

Download: Graduate Music Student Handbook (pdf)
Annotated Graduate Course Guide 2016-17 (pdf)
2017 Grad Teaching Assistantship Application (pdf).

Click or scroll down for information on Diagnostic Exams in Music Theory & Music History.

Total of 33 graduate credits, of which six may be transferred from other institutions (with approval by the Graduate School and Graduate Program Director)

Concentrations: (Click on each for Subplan/Degree Checklist, pdf file)

Core Requirements for all Master of Music concentrations:
Graduate Music Theory - 2 approved courses, 500 level or higher (6 credits)
Graduate Music History - 2 approved courses, 500 level or higher (6 credits)

All M.M. students majoring in History/Musicology, Theory or Music Education/Research are required to write a thesis. In lieu of the thesis, Accompanying majors must accompany four recitals, Composition and Jazz Composition/Arranging majors must submit an original composition in large form, and Performance and Music Education/Applied Music majors must perform a full recital.

Vocal Performance and Music History/Musicology majors have a foreign language proficiency requirement. Please see the Graduate Handbook, pp. 16 & 27 for Vocal Performance majors and p. 25 for Music History majors.

All M.M. students must take a one-hour comprehensive oral examination, conducted by three faculty members, usually in April of the last year of study. Group meetings and consultation with the major professor are offered to help students prepare for the exam.


The Professional Performance Certificate

Administered by the Department of Music & Dance through Continuing & Professional Education, the PPC offers performing musicians in the early stages of their careers the opportunity for private instruction with the faculty members of the UMass Music Department and for participation in the many small and large ensembles of the Department. The pre-requisite for participation in this program is an undergraduate degree in music or demonstrated equivalent musical training. The purpose of the Certificate program is to provide a concentrated year of artistic development, career preparation, and work experience for aspiring professional musicians.

Link to details of the Professional Performance Certificate program
Link to the Application/Audition Request Form (to apply for the program)
Contact with questions: Elizabeth Chang at


Post-Baccalaureate Music Teacher Licensure Program

Administered by the College of Education and Continuing & Professional Education.

Qualification: Applicants must have earned a Bachelor's degree in Music (any area).
Description: This program consists of coursework leading to qualification for an Initial Educator License in the state of Massachusetts, in the field of Music: All Levels (PreK-12). Candidates seeking licensure through the Post-Baccalaureate route must formally apply for admission to the licensing program through the College of Education. As part of the application process, candidates submit transcripts for review. The transcript reviews are conducted by music education faculty members, and each transcript is carefully compared to the standard sequence of music content courses required for undergraduates at the university. When courses are identified as missing, candidates must complete the designated university courses to satisfy the requirements. Post-baccalaureate candidates must complete the same university courses as undergraduates in order to fulfill the Content and Professional Standards for Teachers, as outlined in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Regulations for Educator Licensure.

The program is administered through the College of Education and CPE - click for application information.

Contact with questions: Professor Lisa Lehmberg at


The Doctor Of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D.)

The Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Music is intended for advanced musician/scholars who desire to complete their graduate study in a specific area of music and continue the development of their creative, analytical, theoretical, pedagogical and scholarly analytical skills and knowledge.

Concentrations: (Click on each for Degree Checklist, pdf file)

The Ph.D. degree is conferred upon satisfactory completion of a curriculum consisting of a minimum of sixty semester hours of approved course work beyond the Master's degree in Music, including eighteen hours of dissertation credit.

A Ph.D. student must spend a minimum of one academic year of full-time study beyond the Master's degree in residence (not including summer). There is a two-language reading requirement for Ph.D. candidates in Music Theory. Please see the Graduate Handbook (pdf) for details about the language requirement, admissions requirements, the qualifying exam and the dissertatation process.


Diagnostic Examinations

All entering Masters students must take the Diagnostic Examinations in Music Theory and Music History before they may enroll for coursework in these subject areas. Each test takes approximately one hour to complete. The exams are offered during Departmental auditions and/or at the time of the on-campus audition/interview. The exams are also administered before classes begin in the fall and spring semesters.

Applicants for a concentration in Music Theory must pass the corresponding Diagnostic Exam as an entrance test prior to acceptance. Theory applicants must pass all sections of the written theory exam.

The results of the Music History exam will be used to advise students into appropriate graduate level history courses.

Students who do not pass section(s) of the Diagnostic Exam in Music Theory must retake and pass those sections before they may take graduate-level theory courses. Students may study on their own, participate in summer music theory review online, hire a tutor, and/or take the Graduate Theory Review course in the fall to prepare for retaking the exam.

The Department has created two practice exams (pdf) for incoming students, as preparation for the Diagnostic Exam in Music Theory.
Practice Theory Exam 1     Practice Theory Exam 2


List of Instruments/Voice

For a faculty list, please see the Faculty by Discipline page.  Click for Graduate String Quartet program info.
Private Lessons (as part of graduate music degree programs) are offered in:

Horn (French horn)


String Bass
Guitar (Jazz only)

Please note: There is no graduate degree in Jazz performance, but candidates for the Masters degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging (click for requirements) may study one of the traditional jazz instruments: saxophone, trumpet, trombone, percussion/drums, bass, piano, voice or guitar. Please contact the Jazz Program Director, Jeffrey W. Holmes,, 413-545-6046 if you have questions.



The UMass Amherst music degree programs are fully accredited by all appropriate state and national agencies such as the Massachusettes Board of Higher Education, the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).


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