The nationally renowned College of Music offers a comprehensive array of programs in an environment that provides the feel of an excusive conservatory nestled within a larger university community. Graduate studies at the University of Colorado, College of Music provide students with the flexibility to reach a variety of professional goals in the traditional areas of performance, pedagogy, composition, conducting, music education, musicology, ethnomusicology, and theory, as well as music technology, jazz studies, and world musics ensembles. Students are encouraged to develop skills in marketing and in communicating their musical expertise through activities in the College's innovative Center for Music Entrepreneurship.

The college, with approximately 300 undergraduate and 250 (120 master's and 130 doctoral) graduate students, boasts a ratio of approximately one faculty member for every six students, which enables students to benefit from dynamic, personal interaction with their professors. Graduates of the University of Colorado occupy positions at prestigious universities and in internationally recognized performance venues.

Degrees Offered


Degree Details

Master of Music (MM)
The major fields for the Master of Music (MM) degree are composition, conducting, theory, performance, and the combined major of performance/pedagogy. Conducting students may concentrate in choral, orchestral, or wind symphony/band areas. Performance and performance/pedagogy majors may concentrate in brass instruments, early keyboard, jazz, piano (piano performance, performance/pedagogy, or collaborative piano), percussion, organ, harpsichord, string instruments (including harp), voice, or woodwind instruments.

Master of Music Education (MMEd)

The Master of Music Education degree is designed with a flexible structure that allows students to create personalized plans of study. MMEd students are challenged to develop a greater understanding and mastery of music teaching-learning processes, to improve personal musicianship, and to become committed leaders within the music education profession. A special master's program leading to certification is designed for students who have completed an undergraduate degree in music, but in a major area other than music education. Graduate students in music education may complete a significant number of their requirements during the summer and in late afternoon classes in order to accommodate busy teaching schedules.

Dual Master's Degree Program

Students may apply for a dual master's degree that incorporates any two master's programs in the College of Music. Before beginning any of the degree work, students must be accepted into each program individually through the normal application process and take the full complement of courses in the major area of each degree program. In other words, students must start and complete both programs concurrently.  Non-thesis courses common to both programs may be counted for each. A minimum of 45 credit hours must be earned.

Professional Certificate in Opera and Solo Vocal Performance 

This program provides instruction and experiences for a select number of young artists who have already completed a master's degree in performance. Participants in the certificate program will concentrate intensively on the performance aspect of their work. The certificate program is designed for students seeking a specialized career in solo vocal performance.

Professional Certificate in String Quartet Performance 

The Professional Certificate in String Quartet Performance is designed to provide instruction and experiences for young artists who have already completed a master's degree in performance. Students are accepted into the certificate program as part of a pre-formed string quartet, whose members which will apply for admission into the College of Music graduate program as a unit.

Professional Certificate in Woodwind Performance

This program is designed to provide intensive training and experience for woodwind musicians. Admission to the program is highly selective and is restricted to the most qualified and advanced candidates who have the talent and motivation to succeed in a highly competitive area of music performance. Applicants should have a minimum of a Master of Music degree in performance. In addition, applicants must have an excellent record of performance and are required to submit a résumé that summarizes their performance experience.

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) 

The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) is a professional degree for performers and composers who possess the talent as well as the breadth of knowledge, background, outlook, and scholarly capacity requisite to a doctoral program. Fields of study are composition, instrumental conducting and literature, literature and performance of choral music, performance, and performance/pedagogy. Performance and/or performance/pedagogy concentration areas are brass instruments, harpsichord, organ, percussion, piano (piano performance or collaborative piano), string instruments, voice, and woodwind instruments.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 

The principal areas of emphasis are music education and musicology. The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree, with music education as a field of specialization, is offered for students who demonstrate scholarly promise and a superior commitment to the music education profession. The Doctor of Philosophy degree in musicology is intended for the student who seeks a terminal degree emphasizing research in music history, music literature, music theory, ethnomusicology, or some other aspect of music in culture.

Outlines of specific programs may be obtained from Music Graduate Office and on the program website.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants to all master’s programs must:

  1. Hold a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent, in their area of specialty, from an accredited college or university.
  2. Have an undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.75.
  3. Provide four letters of recommendation.
  4. The GRE general test is required for the MM program in music theory. The University GRE code is 4841 and the College of Music GRE code is 2404.

Applicants to all doctoral programs must:

  1. Hold a master's degree in music, or its equivalent from an accredited college or university. Musicology applicants may apply directly from undergraduate study.
  2. Have a grade point average of at least 2.75.
  3. Provide four letters of recommendation.
  4. Provide a writing sample (e.g., research paper) that demonstrates ability in critical thinking and argumentation, appropriate research techniques, and cogent use of English.
  5. Submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. The GRE general test is required in the PhD degree programs (musicology and music education) and the MM program in music theory. Applicants to the MMEd program are strongly advised to submit GRE scores, particularly if they desire to be considered for fellowships and assistantships. Students should take this exam in the fall in order to ensure timely receipt of scores. The University GRE code is 4841 and the College of Music GRE code is 2404.

Applicants to all master's and doctoral programs:

Must complete an audition, interview, or some other demonstration of their ability in the major field. If at all possible, a visit to the campus is strongly encouraged - please contact the department directly. However, submission of a high quality recording is acceptable. Applicants in the following areas MUST submit a pre-audition screening recording thru Acceptd: Voice (MM and DMA), Flute (MM and DMA), Jazz (MM and DMA), Piano and Collaborative Piano (MM and DMA), Percussion (MM and DMA), Strings (MM and DMA), Choral Conducting (MM and DMA). Some units in the college have specific requirements for auditions.  

Otherwise submission of the following is requested:

Composition: approximately three representative scores of original compositions along with recordings. Recordings should be of live music, not synthesized MIDI versions of orchestrations.

Conducting: a personal audition/interview or a video/DVD.

Music education: a personal interview or video/DVD of teaching. Students interested in applying for a music education degree must also submit two essays. Music education applicants who wish to use conducting or a performance medium as a minor must pass an audition in that area.

Musicology and Theory: provide one or two writing samples (Research paper, excerpt from master's thesis, etc.) that demonstrate ability in critical thinking and argumentation, familiarity with relevant scholarly literature, and cogent use of English. Some portion of the writing sample should involve music analysis/criticism and/or should explore historical, aesthetic, or other aspects of music in culture.

Performance or performance/pedagogy degrees: an audition or recording approximately 20 minutes in length that demonstrates an ability to perform in three different style periods. Depending on the applicant's specialty, selections in various media such as chamber music or orchestral repertoire would be appropriate. Additionally, applicants interested in pedagogy should submit examples of research and writing in pedagogy or video demonstrations of teaching.

Applicant Instructions

The application for Fall 2017 admissions will be available September 1, 2016.

Spring admission is only permitted for the Music Education program. Deadline: October 1, 2016.

Fall Domestic Application Deadline

December 1, 2016

Fall International Application Deadline

December 1, 2016

Spring Domestic Application Deadline

October 1, 2016

Spring International Application Deadline

October 1, 2016

Contact Information

University of Colorado Boulder
College of Music
Graduate Program Assistant
Imig Music Building C109
301 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0301
Phone: 303-492-2207
Fax: 303-492-5619

College of Music website