Graduate Music Students

Students Playing Violin

Graduate Degrees in Music


The graduate program in the School of Music and Dance offers in-depth preparation and training for careers in performance, conducting, composition, research, and teaching, as well as providing advanced-level preparation for further advanced study, in ten distinct areas:

  • Composition
  • Choral Conducting
  • Instrumental Conducting
  • Jazz Studies
  • Music Education
  • Music History
  • Music Systems/Theory
  • Instrumental Performance
  • Keyboard Studies
  • Vocal Performance

The master's program is a 30-unit course of study, typically taken in four semesters over two years, and consists of four "core" graduate seminars, one-on-one private lessons, area course work, and performance ensembles.  The program culminates with a graduate recital for performance, conducting, and jazz studies majors, and a thesis for composition, music education, music history, and music systems/theory majors.

For more information about any of these areas in our degree program, please contact the coordinator of your area of interest.

General Requirements


A. Undergraduate Degree:

The School of Music and Dance graduate program requires all applicants to have an undergraduate degree in music from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association and to be in good academic standing at the last college or university attended.  In rare circumstances, however, well-qualified students with degrees in areas other than music may be admitted to the program.

B. Undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA):

The School of Music and Dance requires a minimum GPA of 3.00 in the last 60 units of undergraduate coursework.

C. Audition, Portfolio, Interview

Each area requires an audition, submission of a portfolio of work, and/or interview.  For area requirements, see audition and portfolio requirements

D. Three Letters of Recommendation:

The School of Music and Dance requires three letters of recommendation sent directly to the Graduate Coordinator.

E. English Language Proficiency:

Students who attended an institution of higher education outside of the U. S. where the primary language of instruction was not English are required to submit a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or PTE (Pearson Test of English),or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score. The minimum entrance score for the TOEFL is 590 (paper based), 243 (computer based), or 96 (internet based), with a score of 5 in the Writing Section, while the minimum score for the PTE is 68, the IELTS is 7.0.  All test scores must be less than 2 years old. Test scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service office to SJSU (institution code is 4687).

F. GRE:

The School of Music and Dance does not require the GRE.