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Music Admissions: Graduate

Requirements | DeadlinesAudition or Not?GRE | TA | Jazz | More Info | Open House Days

Click for a description of our Graduate Degrees and Certificates

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

Portal: SPIRE admissions portal (Click "Apply for Graduate Study")
Priority Deadline: December 1st
Required Materials: College transcripts; Recommendations; Resume; TOEFL scores (if applicable)

Contact faculty from your area (*)
Priority Deadline: December 1st for Supporting Materials. Instrumental auditions do not need to be completed by the Priority Deadline.
(Percussionists, please see the Graduate Percussion Audition Procedure for an additional deadline.)
Required Materials: Audition and/or appropriate Supporting Materials

3. APPLY FOR FUNDING (*)     Teaching Assistantship webpage=>
Link: GenEd Teaching Assistantship Application
Priority Deadline: December 1st
Required Materials: Writing Sample(s); Summary of Teaching Experience, send to the Grad Coordinator

* 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, Nicole Avakian,, 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 priority application deadline for all graduate programs in Music is December 1. This includes a complete application to the UMass Graduate School, Supporting Materials relevant to the M.M. program applied for, and applications for funding. Submissions after this date will be reviewed in the order that they are received. Graduate applicants requiring an audition can audition after the priority deadline, but should have their audition completed by March 1. For spring admission, the application deadline is October 1.

Graduate Degree Programs: Audition or Not?

Graduate programs which DO require an instrumental audition:

  • Master of Music in Collaborative Piano
  • Master of Music in Music Education (Performance)
  • Master of Music in Performance
  • Professional Performance Certificate (Graduate non-degree program; see webpage for description)
  • Jazz or Classical Performance Certificate (Non-degree supplemental programs for current MM students)

GRADUATE AUDITION REQUIREMENTS  >  (by instrument/voice)


    All graduate student applicants who need to complete an audition should file a Music Application to sign up for an audition.

    Audition dates for Fall 2022 entry are as follows:

    CLASSICAL STRING INSTRUMENTS (violin, viola, cello, double bass)
    Wednesday, January 26, 2022
    Monday, February 7, 2022

    Saturday, February 5, 2022  (No clarinet)
    Saturday, February 12, 2022
    Saturday, February 19, 2022

    Graduate applicants unavailable for these audition dates may opt to perform a Remote Audition (by permission of the faculty) or a Special Arrangement audition (organizing a date/time separate from the live audition days). All graduate auditions for Fall 2022 should be completed by March 1st.

    Learn more about Graduate Audition Requirements and Special Arrangement audition policy.

    Graduate programs which DO NOT require an instrumental audition:

    See Supporting Materials page

    Graduate areas which require a portfolio, writing samples, and/or additional information:

    • Master of Music in Composition
    • Master of Music in Jazz Composition and Arranging
    • Master of Music in Music Education (Research or Pedagogy)
    • Master of Music in Music History
    • Master of Music in Music Theory
    • Ph.D. in Music Education

    Graduate areas which require a 20-minute DVD of rehearsal and performance footage, repertoire lists, etc.:

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

    In addition, the Conducting program may require a live interview with the conducting faculty as well as conducting/rehearsing a UMass ensemble.

    All Supporting Materials for areas which do not require an audition must be submitted to the Graduate Program Coordinator.


    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: (Webpage=>) 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.  There is now also a Masters in Performance (Jazz track), which requires applicants to audition; see the Graduate Audition Requirements for details..


    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 file).


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



    Although visitors are welcome at any time, prospective students and their families are highly encouraged to visit during the Music program's Open House Days!  Each day has a variety of opportunities to explore, including Admissions Q&A, Department Tours, Open Studios, Classes, Rehearsals and Performances.

    Spring 2022 Open House Days:
    April 19   April 20   April 21

    Contact Music Admissions Director, Nathaniel Gowen at or 413-545-6048 for more information.
    Download pdf flyer =>


    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.