College of Music

University of Colorado Boulder

Degrees & Admissions

For information about auditioning for the Thompson Jazz Studies Program, visit the auditions page.
For information about admissions, see below.


CU offers the BM in Jazz Studies – a rigorous performance oriented program with a solid emphasis on academics.

The Jazz Studies Program also offers a certificate in jazz studies for undergraduate music majors. The certificate program consists of an intense 18-hour curriculum in both the academic and performance areas, concluding with a jazz recital.

In addition, jazz courses may also be selected by undergraduate music students from outside the jazz program and include such offerings as ensembles, jazz theory and aural foundations, improvisation, history of jazz, scoring and arranging, jazz piano, and jazz techniques for the music educator. For general information about undergraduate admissions, please visit the College of Music Undergraduate Admissions page.

Degree Plans
Bachelor of Music (BM) in Jazz Studies
Bachelor of Music (BM) Saxophone with Emphasis in Jazz Performance
Jazz Studies Certificate 

Audition Requirements
Undergraduate degrees


The Thompson Jazz Studies Program offers a MM in Jazz Pedagogy and Performance.
Students admitted into this program will receive a blend of experiences in jazz performance, 
pedagogy, theory, and history. A bachelor’s degree in music or the equivalent is required. Students must demonstrate an advanced ability to perform in an ensemble setting, and in many styles.

We are proud to be one of the few higher education institutions in the nation offering a doctoral degree in jazz studies.  This intensive degree program is intended to prepare students for a career in jazz education and professional performance.  The DMA degree combines studies in performance, history, theory, jazz literature, and pedagogy.  A master's degree in music or equivalent is required.

For complete information about graduate admissions, please visit the College of Music Graduate Admissions page.

Note: Completed applications for both MM and DMA degrees are due by December 1st.

Program Descriptions
Master of Music (MM) in Jazz Performance and Pedagogy
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Jazz Studies

Audition Requirements        

For complete information about the audition process please visit Audition and Interviews.

MM in Jazz Performance and Pedagogy
DMA in Jazz Studies   

The application for DMA Jazz applicants is closed except for DMA Trombone Jazz applicants. 

Due to the number and instrumentation of current and returning doctoral students in our program, we are only able to consider applicants who play trombone for entrance in the fall semester of 2015.     Those whose primary instrument is Sax, Trumpet, Guitar, Piano, Bass or Drums will not be considered at this time.     As a faculty we feel it's necessary to apply these restrictions this year in order to maintain the quality and balance within the overall program.    We apologize for any inconvenience and to those who had begun the application process.    We hope you'll consider our program in the future and reapply.  This year we we have a MM or DMA graduate teaching assistantship available for a qualified trombonist. 

Those who do want to apply to the DMA Jazz Trombone program must contact Prof. John Gunther, Dept. Chair directly at for specific instructions to apply.