Graduate Degree Programs Admissions & Enrollment Policies

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Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for specific degree programs that supplement the Graduate School requirements are discussed in the degree program descriptions that follow. Students are urged to take the general (verbal, quantitative, analytical) portions of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). GRE scores are required as part of the application to the PhD programs, and are recommended for the DMA, MM in music theory, and Master of Music Education degrees.

Preliminary Examinations

Just before the beginning of their first semester of work toward a master’s or doctoral degree, students are given preliminary exams covering the major field, several areas of music theory, and music history. Specific requirements vary with the student’s degree and program. Students pursuing the master’s and doctoral degrees in voice also must pass proficiency requirements in piano and diction (English, French, German, and Italian).

Any deficiencies demonstrated by the preliminary examination scores must be removed early in the degree program. Application for candidacy and required examinations cannot be approved until deficiencies are removed. Thesis and dissertation projects may not be completed while preliminary examination deficiencies remain.

Results from the major-field examination serve as one basis for recommending specific course work in the program. The major-field examination in musicology includes essay questions, score analysis, and identification of terms. Conducting majors should be knowledgeable in areas of repertoire, score analysis, and conducting techniques. Performance majors are examined in the areas of technique, repertoire, stylistically informed performance, and pedagogy. Students enrolled in the master’s degree in Jazz Performance and Pedagogy must demonstrate knowledge of jazz theory and history, and jazz keyboard proficiency.

College Teaching Area

For graduate students in music who intend to teach at the college level and who have had no prior college teaching experience, a teaching module of at least 6 hours of courses is recommended. This module can consist of professional education courses, music education courses, teaching-skills courses, or teaching practica. The teaching-area module is not normally used toward the minimum 30-hour course requirement for master’s or DMA programs. Workshops, videotaping of students’ teaching, observation, and consultation services are available through CU’s excellent Graduate Teacher Program. Students who participate in this program are eligible to receive a graduate teacher certificate. For more information, visit

Financial Aid

In addition to the opportunities for financial aid described in the Graduate School section, the College of Music grants teaching assistantships and part-time instructorships to numerous graduate students each year. The assistantships and instructorships, which are usually one-quarter time, include both a stipend and the waiver of 5 or 6 credit hours of tuition each semester. There are also scholarships offered by the individual departments, grants-in-aid given for various college-related responsibilities, and fellowships awarded through the Graduate School. All prospective students who have completed their applications by December 1 will automatically be considered for available scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships.

English Language Requirements

A student who is noticeably deficient in the use of the English language may not obtain an advanced degree from the University of Colorado. Satisfaction of this requirement depends not so much upon ability to pass formal tests, although these may be required, as upon the consistent use of good English in all oral and written work.

Graduate Auditions

Auditions are required for all performance and performance/pedagogy programs. A personal audition is strongly preferred, but students may be accepted into most programs by submitting a recorded audition. Note that some studios require a preliminary, recorded audition before a student may be invited to schedule an audition on campus. For specific information and audition dates, refer to the website ( or contact the office of the associate dean for graduate studies at 303-492-2207 or