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School of Music


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Graduate Admissions

How to apply

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in music or music education (or the equivalent) to meet minimum admission requirements for the certificate program or for a master’s degree. Applicants must hold a master’s degree in music or music education (or the equivalent) to meet minimum admission requirements for a doctoral degree. Additional prerequisites may be listed under Degree Programs.

All applications, including auditions, should be completed by the indicated deadline below. Please allow sufficient time for transcripts, exam scores and recommendations to be prepared by the originator and sent to the School of Music.  The Graduate Music Diagnostic Examination must be taken before initial enrollment.

Semester of Initial Enrollment         Application Deadline
Fall (late August)                                     June 15 (May 1 for international students)
Spring (January)                                      November 1 (September 1 for international students)
Summer (June/July)                                April 15 (March 1 for international students)

An applicant desiring to be considered for a graduate assistantship should complete the application process by March 7.

An applicant may be fully admitted to a graduate program, admitted to a graduate program with conditions, admitted on probation, or declined admission. Students admitted with conditions or on probation are expected to complete required courses and remove all deficiencies.

If you would like to be contacted by the School of Music admissions team, complete the online form and indicate your interest of study.

The following application materials are required:

1. Graduate School application form and fee. You may apply online.

2. One official copy of a transcript from each previous college or university attended.

3..Three letters of recommendation (one of the recommendations should be completed by the applicant’s most recent major professor and/or employer).

4. If born after 1956, proof of immunization against measles (Rubeola) and German measles (Rubella); this may be provided any time before initial enrollment. Download an immunization form.

5. For applicants to the Master of Music degree with concentrations in composition, music history, or opera theater, Master of Music Education degree, the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition, or the Doctor of Philosophy degree in music education, an acceptable score on either the general (V/Q/A) portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogy Test (MAT) is required.

For international applicants

International applicants who have not completed an undergraduate or master's degree at an English-speaking institution must provide evidence of English language skills, based on the chart below. Applicants whose scores do not meet the minimum standard will be evaluated on an individual basis. Exceptional abilities in the major area and past academic success and professional prowess must be demonstrated.

 

 

TOEFL (paper/Internet)

 

MAT

GRE (Verbal) old/new

Cambridge IELTS

USC English Oral Exam

USC Placement Writing Exam

Certificate

520/68

 

 

5.5

5

5+

MM in Composition, Conducting, Jazz, Opera Theater, Performance, Piano Pedagogy (recital and thesis), Music History, Music Theory

570/80

390

340/142

6.5

5

5+

MME

570/80

390

340/142

6.5

5

5+

DMA in Composition, Conducting, Performance

600/100

399

380/145

7.0

5

5+

DMA in Piano Pedagogy

600/100

399

380/145

7.0

5+

5+

Ph.D. in Music Education

600/100

399

380/145

7.0

5+

5+

 

6. International students must provide a VISA Information Form and must also complete a VISA processing and Financial Certification Form . A one-time registration fee is charged by the Office of International Students and must be paid before your initial enrollment. Visit International Programs for Students to review important immigration information.

7. Complete the reservation form for the Graduate Music Diagnostic Examination to be taken after admission is granted.

8. Provide a typed summary (résumé or c.v.) of educational and professional experience, with dates and names of teachers and employers.

9. For doctoral applicants, provide forms for doctoral residency and doctoral studies statement.

10. Auditions. See audition information and download an audition reservation form.

The following are requirements according to program:

Certificate of Graduate Study in Music Performance

a. Typed repertory list (with works publicly performed clearly identified) and copies of recital programs
b. On-campus audition (if distance to the campus is a factor, an applicant may submit an audition recording for provisional admittance; the applicant will need to complete an on-campus audition, however, before initial registration...see the audition information for how to submit a recording); voice majors must also demonstrate diction proficiency in English, French, German, and Italian as well as document the successful completion of two years of college-level study in one of the three foreign languages.

Master of Arts in Teaching

a.  An on-campus interview, which is scheduled after all admission materials have been received by the Graduate School and the School of Music. Contact the School of Music graduate studies program coordinator to confirm that all application materials are on file prior to contacting the music education coordinator to schedule an on-campus interview.
b.  Submission of a 5-10 minute video-recorded audition on primary instrument or voice. The recording must have been made within the last five years, and the repertoire included should be identified.
c.  One college-level term paper with title page and references

Master of Music, concentration in Composition

a. Two or three compositions that display an understanding of different media; if possible, include complete recordings (CD or DVD preferred; MIDI realizations discouraged)
b. Complete list of compositions that includes the following information: date of composition, duration, instrumentation, and list of all performances
c. A writing sample in the form of a term paper or published article
d. A brief (1-2 page) essay outlining goals, ambitions, and interests as a composer as well as goals for graduate study at USC
e. Applicants who do not have a bachelor's degree in music must take the Music Diagnostic Examination before the application can be considered

Master of Music, concentration in Conducting

a. Typed repertory list of works publicly conducted as well as copies of representative programs
b. On-campus audition (if distance to the campus is a factor, an applicant may submit a video recording for provisional admittance; the applicant will need to complete an on-campus audition, however, before initial registration)
c. Keyboard skills for applicants in choral conducting

Master of Music, concentration in Jazz Studies

a.  Typed list of jazz performances
b.  On-campus audition (if distance to the campus is a factor, an applicant may submit an audition recording for provisional admittance; the applicant will need to complete an on-campus audition, however, before initial registration)
c.  For jazz composition, several compositions that display an understanding of different jazz idioms (if possible, include recordings)
d.  Keyboard skills 

Master of Music, concentration in Music History

a.  Submission of at least two college-level term papers in music
b.  Results of the Graduate Music Diagnostic Examination
c.  Keyboard skills 

Master of Music, concentration in Opera Theater

a.  For opera performance: admission into the Master of Music degree in voice performance (see items 'a' and 'b' under 'Master of Music in Performance'); note: The three required letters of recommendation should address qualifications for admission to both the voice-performance and opera-theater programs
b.  For opera stage directing: audition before the voice faculty (see items 'a' and 'b' under 'Master of Music in Performance')
c.  A typed summary of previous musical/theatrical study and experience as well as previous professional performing experience
d.  On-campus audition:

1) For singers, two contrasting arias or solo scenes, one of which may be staged
2) For stage directors, an analytical presentation of an opera for production that includes information on the composer and librettist, with period and historical references, character analysis, set and costume concepts, and comments on the musical style; presentation of an impromptu movement audition

Master of Music in Performance

a.  Typed repertory list (with works publicly performed clearly identified) and copies of recital programs
b.  On-campus audition (if distance to the campus is a factor, an applicant may submit an audition recording for provisional admittance; the applicant will need to complete an on-campus audition, however, before initial registration); voice majors must also demonstrate diction proficiency in English, French, German, and Italian as well as document the successful completion of two years of college-level study in one of the three foreign languages.

Master of Music, concentration in Piano Pedagogy

a.  Typed repertory list (with works publicly performed clearly identified) and copies of recital programs
b.  On-campus audition (if distance to the campus is a factor, an applicant may submit an audition recording for provisional admittance; the applicant will need to complete an on-campus audition, however, before initial registration)
c.  Thesis track: submission of at least two college-level term papers in music or music education

Master of Music Education

a.  Documentation of appropriate education and teacher certification
b.  On-campus interview, to be scheduled after all supporting materials are on file 
c.  Submission of one college-level term paper with title page and references regarding some aspect of music or music education. Thesis track applicants should submit two college-level term papers with title page and references regarding some aspect of music or music education.
d.  Recital track: submission of a typed repertory list (with works publicly performed clearly identified) and copies of recital programs; vocalists must demonstrate diction proficiency in French, German, and Italian before acceptance into the recital track
e.  15-minute video of prospective student teaching elementary, middle school, or high school music class or ensemble.

 

Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition

a.  Three or four compositions that display an understanding of different media; if possible, include complete recordings (CD or DVD preferred; MIDI realizations discouraged)
b.  Complete list of compositions that includes the following information: date of composition, duration, instrumentation, and list of all performances
c.  A sample of writing in the form of a published article or term paper
d.  The required Doctoral Statement should include your goals, ambitions, and interests as a composer as well as what you hope to accomplish while at USC

Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting

a.  Typed repertory list of works publicly conducted as well as copies of representative programs
b.  Video recording for initial screening; on-campus audition and interview (by invitation; wind conducting applicants must have video in by Jan. 15) for acceptance; applicants in choral conducting must also demonstrate diction proficiencies detailed under degree prerequisites
c.  Evidence of at least two years of successful teaching or professional experience (applicants of exceptional ability who do not have prerequisite experience may be admitted on the condition that such experience be completed before the final degree recital is presented)
d.  Submission of at least two graduate-level term papers

Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance

a.  Typed repertory list (with works publicly performed clearly identified) and copies of recital programs
b.  On-campus audition (if distance to the campus is a factor, a student may submit an audition recording for provisional admittance; the student will need to complete an on-campus audition, however, before initial registration)
c.  Evidence of at least two years of successful teaching or professional experience (applicants of exceptional ability who do not have prerequisite experience may be admitted on the condition that such experience be completed before the final degree recital is presented)
d.  Submission of at least two graduate-level term papers
e.  For voice majors, demonstration of diction proficiency in English, French, German, and Italian (see under degree prerequisites)

Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Pedagogy

a.  Typed repertory list (with works publicly performed clearly identified) and copies of recital programs
b.  On-campus audition (if distance to the campus is a factor, a student may submit an audition recording for provisional admittance; the student will need to complete an on-campus audition, however, before initial registration)
c.  Evidence of at least two years of successful teaching or professional experience (applicants of exceptional ability who do not have prerequisite experience may be admitted on the condition that such experience be completed before the Oral Dissertation Examination)
d.  Recital/Treatise track: submission of at least two graduate-level term papers
e.  Dissertation track: submission of a master?s thesis or equivalent demonstration of the ability to undertake and complete significant, original scholarly work

Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education

a.  Documentation of appropriate education, certification and teaching experience. (Minimum of three years and expectation of five years successful teaching experience).
b.  On-campus interview, to be scheduled after submission of all supporting materials.
c.  Two college-level term papers with title page and references
d.  30-minute video of prospective student teaching elementary, middle school, or high school music class or ensemble.