Graduate Programs


As you contemplate the next step in your musical journey, consider the music department's graduate programs. These programs serve as a platform for you to delve deeper into your musical discipline, be it performance, composition, musicology, or conducting. You can immerse yourself in advanced studies, engaging with cutting-edge research, and deepening your understanding of music in a sociocultural, historical, or psychological context. You'll find yourself surrounded by scholars and performers, creating a rich tapestry of knowledge and skill from which you can learn and draw inspiration. The programs often provide teaching and research assistantships, where you balance your studies with mentoring undergraduate students or contributing to ongoing research. It's a challenging journey, but one that hones your skills, expands your knowledge, and equips you with the expertise to thrive in your chosen musical path. At the end of your journey, whether your aspirations lie in academia, performance, composition, or education, the graduate programs in the music department can help transform these aspirations into a rewarding reality.

Application Steps

  1. Apply for Graduate Admission to Central Washington University.
  2. Contact the specific Program Advisor for the degree program of interest. They will provide you with the area specific information you need as well as your particular audition or admission requirements. Program Advisors are listed in their specific sections below.

If you are interested in becoming a Graduate Assistant, optionally, complete the Graduate Assistant Application by Feb 1. To be considered for a position.

Please note that all application materials must be sent to the CWU Graduate Studies Office. Once your file is complete and evaluated by the Office of Graduate Studies, the Music Department will be sent materials for admission and/or assistantships consideration.

Music Graduate Admission Requirements

Admission into the institution does not assure admission into the music program. In addition to general university guidelines for admission to the master’s program through the Graduate School, the following requirements apply to the master of music degree:

  • Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college with a major in music or its equivalent.
  • Acceptance into a specific major field will require an evaluation of a candidate’s ability conducted by a committee of three faculty members, two of whom will be from the particular major field. Normally one of these two will serve as the candidate’s graduate advisor, and the committee as a whole may serve as the candidate’s graduate committee.
  • In addition, non-performance majors must also demonstrate a level of musicianship equal to what would be considered appropriate for 300-level study. Students may demonstrate this level of musicianship in several ways, appropriate to the desired degree program or deemed appropriate by the evaluating committee after consultation with the student. Examples include, but are not limited to, a performance audition in an applied area or conducting (live or taped), a videotape or audiotape of a performance directed by the applicant, or a videotape of a music lesson or class taught by the applicant.
  • For admission requirements to each particular field of study, see appropriate section below.

Students may elect to take the diagnostic exams in Graduate Music Theory and/or Graduate Music History . If the student earns a grade of “Pass” in either test, general program requirements will be reduced by 3 credits in the respective area. These exams must be taken by the end of the first week of residency.

Once a prospective graduate student submits completed university applications to the CWU Office of Graduate Studies, then a complete audition/interview process with CWU Music Department should be set up. A request for an audition/interview should go to the Program Adviser of the desired degree program. Results of the audition/interview are gathered and brought into the evaluation process.

The CWU Music Department Graduate Committee receives completed university application materials from the CWU Office of Graduate Studies, reviews these materials and the music audition/interview results, in consultation with appropriate faculty.

Once all application materials are complete, a decision on acceptance for admission is made, preferably before April 1, but in some cases can be extended into May or June.

Additional consideration is made for Graduate Assistant applications, attempting to match capabilities with possible duties. This process can take longer, but decisions are made as soon as possible, based upon the qualifications of the applicant and department needs. Frequently, these decisions are finalized by April, but may continue until positions are filled.

Specific Steps for Music Graduate Admissions


See the steps below for applying to grad school for music.
  • Composition

    Audition to this program will require evaluation by graduate composition faculty. For consideration, applicants must submit a portfolio of three to five works for varying ensembles. Portfolios may be submitted via e-mail in PDF format or through regular mail. Recordings are encouraged, but not necessary, and may be submitted through e-mail, regular mail, or by submitting links to online sites (YouTube, Soundcloud, etc.)

    All questions may be directed to Dr. Jiyoun Chung.

  • Collaborative Piano

    Admission to this program will be based upon faculty evaluation of evidence of an appropriate level of performance and knowledge on collaborative piano skills, musicianship, and keyboard skills. All applicants in Collaborative Piano (vocal, instrumental) must have completed an undergraduate course of study in piano performance. Exceptional applicants with different educational backgrounds and training other than piano performance will be considered as well with the evaluation by the piano faculty. Applicants will be auditioned and placed into one primary track and one secondary track. Students will be encouraged to study and work with all areas and instruments whenever possible.

    The program offers pianists specialized training in instrumental and vocal accompanying with appropriate emphasis in each student’s area of interest and strengths. In addition to private lessons and collaborative piano practicum, pianists explore the activities of the collaborative art through opera productions, choral and instrumental ensembles, diction courses, and jazz ensemble. Students also have the opportunity to play for the various performance studios and get invaluable coaching from renowned faculty across the department.

    All questions may be directed to Dr. Yerin Kim.

  • Conducting

    Admission to this program will require evaluation by graduate conducting faculty. Evidence of an appropriate level of musicianship must be satisfied in one of the following ways:

    • A live performance or conducting audition
    • A videotape/DVD of a performance of a performance and/or rehearsal directed by the applicant
    • Other evidence deemed appropriate in consultation with the evaluating committee.

    The program will require a minimum one-year residency prior to graduation. Candidates must indicate a specialization in Wind Band, Orchestra, or Choral conducting. If accepted, students will work under the direct supervision of one of the three conductors of the major performance ensembles during each quarter of their residence.

  • Performance

    Admission to this program will be based upon an evaluation of an audition equivalent in scope to at least one-half of a full baccalaureate recital.

    Performance program advisors are:

  • Pedagogy

    Admission to this program will be based upon an evaluation of an audition equivalent in scope to at least one-half of a baccalaureate recital, and evaluation of a paper written for an undergraduate class in the field of music.

    Performance program advisors are:

  • Music Education

    Admission to this program will be based upon:

    • Evaluation of an undergraduate paper in the field of music education.
    • The completion of at least one year of successful public school music instruction. This requirement may be waived by the music education committee upon petition by the applicant.
    • Evidence of an appropriate level of musicianship, satisfied in one of the following ways:
      • A live performance audition
      • A video or audio recording of a performance directed by the applicant
      • A video recording of a music lesson or class taught by the applicant
      • Other evidence deemed appropriate in consultation with the evaluating committee.

    The Music Education program advisor is Dr. Bret Smith.

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