Admission and Degree Requirements

All applicants are required to furnish a statement of intent in graduate study and three letters of reference pertaining to their potential for graduate work in music. Graduate Record Examinations scores are not required for composition, conducting and performance applicants. Applicants seeking admission to performance degree programs typically must perform a live audition. Exceptions and detailed instructions can be found on the Butler School of Music graduate admissions website. Those seeking admission to conducting and certain other areas must submit prescreening videos before arranging for a live audition on campus; those planning to major in composition must send scores and recordings of their music; and those planning to major in musicology, ethnomusicology, and music theory must submit samples of their written work. Those applying for admission to doctoral degree programs in music and human learning must submit samples of written work and video recordings of their teaching.

Diagnostic examinations in music theory and in music history and literature are required of all students before registration for the first semester of graduate work. Passing these examinations or remediation of the deficiencies by completing assigned courses is necessary for completion of every degree, and, in the case of doctoral students, is a prerequisite to doctoral comprehensive examinations.

Entering graduate students in voice are expected to have taken the equivalent of one semester each of Italian, French, and German and two semesters of diction. All entering graduate students in voice are given a diagnostic examination consisting of reading in these three languages. The examination stresses proficiency in pronunciation and is used to help the student plan a program of study.

Master of Music

The Master of Music is offered in performance (including collaborative piano, conducting, opera coaching/directing, and chamber music), composition, theory, music and human learning, literature and pedagogy, musicology, and ethnomusicology. Entering students should have a bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent) from an accredited institution.

Most programs of study leading to the Master of Music require between thirty to thirty-six semester hours of coursework depending on the specific degree plan. A program with a report in lieu of the thesis is used for musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, and literature/pedagogy. A comprehensive examination is required of all master’s degree candidates, usually in the final semester of study.

Further information about master’s degrees is given in Degree Requirements. Details of departmental requirements in the various areas of concentration are available from the graduate admissions coordinator.

Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in music is offered with major emphases in music and human learning, musicology, ethnomusicology, and music theory. Candidates for this degree are required to pass a comprehensive examination and to write a dissertation based on original research. Information about requirements in the various areas of concentration is available from the graduate admissions coordinator.

Doctor of Musical Arts

The Doctor of Musical Arts degree allows for four majors: performance (including opera, collaborative piano, and voice pedagogy emphases), conducting, composition, and music and human learning (including jazz pedagogy and piano pedagogy emphases). Candidates for this degree must pass a comprehensive examination. They must demonstrate outstanding professional competence, artistic maturity, and exceptional knowledge of the historical and practical aspects of their major field. Each candidate must prepare a scholarly treatise in a field appropriate to the major or complete the alternative requirements of the non-treatise degree option. For composition majors, an original musical work replaces the treatise. A jazz emphasis is also available in the performance and the composition majors.

Further information about requirements in various areas of concentration is available from the graduate admissions coordinator.

Artist Diploma in Music Performance

The Artist Diploma is a highly specialized and performance-oriented non-degree graduate certificate program for exceptional musicians who have great potential for a professional career in music performance at the international level. To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the admission requirements for performance majors. The program requires completion of at least twenty-seven semester hours of graduate coursework, including but not limited to courses in performance, performance practice, and advanced music literature, as well as an artist recital course taken for each of three required recitals. Additional information is available from the graduate admissions coordinator.