Admissions

Instructions for Application for Graduate Admission

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Graduate Applicants

The Eastman School of Music will be accepting applications for graduate programs starting in Spring, Summer, and Fall 2021.

Please note that the following programs are not accepting applications for Spring 2021 starting term.  If you are interested in these programs, please select Fall 2021 instead:

  • Flute, Harpsichord, Oboe, Organ, Percussion, Piano Performance, Tuba
  • PhD Theory, Musicology, Composition
  • MA Theory, Musicology, Theory Pedagogy, Ethnomusicology
  • Conducting
  • Opera Stage Directing

Applicants are responsible for complete applications. Applications that are incomplete cannot be processed. Application fees are non-refundable, and application materials cannot be returned. The Eastman School of Music reserves the right to rescind admission to any applicant whose file documentation is found to be insufficient and/or incomplete.

See below for complete instructions:


Application Deadlines

  • October 1: Submission deadline for Spring 2021 applicants. 
  • November 1: EarlyPriority” deadline for Fall 2021 applicants. $75 application fee

Applicants who submit the online application, and all required documents by this deadline will receive priority handling.

  • December 1: Application deadline for Fall 2021 applicants. $125 application fee. 
    Note: Please see audition repertoire page for the deadline to submit your pre-screening or audition recordings.

We strongly encourage early submission of your application and materials. Our processing time increases significantly as the deadline approaches.

Application Fee

The non-refundable application fee is payable by credit card at the end of the online application. Applications will not be processed without the application fee or an approved application fee waiver as described below.

Please note: While the Eastman School of Music is a school of the University of Rochester, the Eastman application process is separate.  All applicants applying to degree programs at Eastman must pay the application fee to Eastman regardless of whether the applicant has paid an application fee to another school of the University of Rochester.

Graduate application fee waivers are not offered, with the exception of applicants who are veterans of the U.S. military or who are actively serving.  The U.S. Military application fee waiver will be automatically applied within the online application.

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Requirements for all graduate applicants:

Online Application and Application Fee All applicants must complete and submit the online application by the deadline.
Personal Statement Write a personal statement of two to three pages in length on the following topic:
Describe your professional goals and plans.  How has your background influenced your goals, and how will your graduate studies help you to achieve them?  Save this document on your computer and upload within the online application. Preferred formatting is double-spaced with standard margins in an easily-readable 12-point size font.
Résumé or Curriculum Vitae Upload within the online application.
Academic Transcript(s)

Applicants are required to submit academic transcripts from each college/university attended.  You may submit your transcript using one of the following methods:

  1. Upload a PDF or scanned copy of your transcripts within the online application (strongly preferred). This can be either an official or unofficial copy. However, a grade report from a student portal is not acceptable. Please upload the transcript on the “Academic” page of the application, on the same section where you enter the name of your school. Include any transcript key or guide that your school provides. Scanned transcripts must be clear and legible, and documentation for each institution should be saved in a separate single file.  Non-legible transcripts will not be accepted.
  2. Send transcripts electronically or via email to the Eastman Office of Admissions: admissions@esm.rochester.edu. 
  3. Postal Mail: If neither of the submission options above is possible, transcripts can also be sent by postal mail. Mailing address: Office of Admissions | Eastman School of Music | 26 Gibbs St | Rochester, NY 14604. 

International applicants: If your transcript is not in English, you must also provide a certified English translation. In addition, we strongly recommend that you have your transcripts evaluated by an organization specializing in foreign credential evaluation, such as World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (www.ece.org).  In many cases we will require this evaluation before you can be admitted, so it is in your best interest to seek out an evaluation at the time that you apply.

Please note that the Eastman School of Music reserves the right to verify the accuracy of all transcripts, and to require submission of official documentation at any point in the admissions review process.  Official final transcripts will be required for students who ultimately enroll.  Offers of admission are contingent on receipt upon receipt of final official transcripts.

Current Eastman students and alums should contact the Office of the Registrar to request that a copy of the official transcript be forwarded to the Office of Admissions.

Recommendations (3 required)

All applicants must list their recommenders in the online application.  For DMA applicants, one recommendation must be from a teacher of music history, musicology or music theory. Recommenders are notified via email and given instructions to submit the recommendation online. You will be able to view the status of each recommendation.

If a recommender does not receive the email prompt to complete their recommendation, we advise that they start by checking their “spam” folder or equivalent.  If they continue to have difficulty, they can contact the Office of Admission at: admissions@esm.rochester.edu.

Additional requirements for some programs:

Recording Upload Required for most programs – See  Audition Repertoire Requirements  for details. If a recording is required for your degree program, is must be uploaded by the date specified for your degree program/instrument on the Audition Repertoire Requirements page.
Composition Scores

Applicants to majors in Composition, Jazz Writing, DMA Jazz, and Contemporary Media/Film Composition must submit the following materials for review by the faculty. 

  • Composition applicants must upload PDF copies of three or four scores within their application for review by the composition faculty. Each score must be clearly marked with the applicant’s name. Please note that all score submissions for 2020-21 will be digital, and hard copies are not needed. 

    If your piece is electroacoustic and does not have a score, you may upload a PDF indicating this along with the recording.

    Recordings: Composition applicants are also encouraged, but not required, to submit recordings of their works if available. You may upload recordings on the “Portfolio” page of the application. MIDI recordings are acceptable.

  • Jazz Writing applicants and all DMA Jazz applicants must submit scores that display writing for large and small jazz group formats, arrangements can also be included. Jazz Writing applicants who have a background in classical composition are also encouraged to submit one or two examples of original non-jazz works. Jazz Writing applicants must also upload recordings of these works with the application. Recordings from reading sessions and rehearsals are acceptable. If live performances are not available, recordings of computer sequences of works may be submitted. Please note that a separate jazz performance recording featuring improvisation on your primary instrument is also required.
  • Contemporary Media/Film Composition must submit a minimum of four compositions by the application deadline. These pieces should show a range of styles and instrumental forces. Submitted pieces must have both a score (PDFs are acceptable) and a recording (both uploaded to the “Portfolio” page of the online application). At least two of these pieces must be composed to picture. If the applicant has not had the opportunity to score such a project, they should extract a suitable example from an existing TV, film or video game and compose an original score to it for the purposes of their application. These examples should not exceed five minutes each in length. If possible, at least two of the submissions should be recorded by live musicians. A MIDI realization can and should be used for the remaining submissions. Please note that the applicant’s technical abilities will be considered however such abilities are not a requirement.
Interview An online interview may be required for many degree programs and some Graduate Awards.
Duolingo English Test Scores & Non-Native English Essay
A Duolingo English test and Non-native English essay are required for all applicants whose native language is not English. (Note: a TOEFL exam score is not required for applicants during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle) Please see the International Students page for details.  

GRE Score Required of all MA and PhD candidates (including current Eastman students). Optional for all other candidates.  Eastman’s school code for score reporting is 2224.  If you are having difficulties scheduling a GRE exam, please contact the Office of Admissions.
Research Paper(s) Required for all DMA, MA and PhD degree applicants. Upload within the online application. Additional details for each degree program below.
Special Instructions

See special instructions for the following programs:

Teacher Preference Form MM and DMA Applicants who wish to request a specific studio teacher should submit this data online within the application. Use the Teacher Preference Form only if you want to submit updated preference information after submitting an application.

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Master of Arts Requirements

Required of all majors: Application and Application Fee
GRE General Test scores
Online Interview – Applicants will be notified if they are selected for an interview
Personal statement and résumé (uploaded online within the application)
Recommendations (3)

Research paper(s):

  • Composition, Music Education, and Music Leadership applicants must submit one music research paper;
  • Ethnomusicology and Musicology must submit two research papers;
  • Music Theory and Theory Pedagogy applicants must submit two papers, one or both of which are music analysis papers.
Transcripts (must represent all collegiate study)
Required of some majors: Music Education Essay: required of Music Education applicants(different from personal statement and research paper)
Scores: required of Composition applicants

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Master of Music Requirements

Required of all majors: Application and Application Fee
Recording upload – See Audition Repertoire requirements for details
Personal statement and résumé (uploaded online within the application)
Recommendations (3)
Transcripts (must represent all collegiate study)
Required of some majors: Music Education Essay: required of Music Education applicants(different from personal statement)
Online Interview or faculty interaction: required for most programs
Scores: required of Composition applicants, and Jazz applicants who are applying for the writing concentration, and of Contemporary Media/Film Composition applicants

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Doctor of Musical Arts Requirements

Required of all majors: Application and Application Fee
Audition or Prescreen Recording upload – See Audition Repertoire requirements for details
Music Research paper – at least one music history or theory research paper demonstrating advanced analytic, scholarly, and writing abilities.
Personal statement and résumé (uploaded online as part of the application)
Recommendations (3) – one of these should be from a professor of an academic subject, such as musicology, music theory, or history.
Transcripts (must represent all collegiate study)
Required of some majors: Online Interview or faculty interaction: Applicants will be notified if they are selected to advance to this round of the process. 
Scores: required of Composition and DMA Jazz applicants
Teaching portfolio: required of DMA Music Education applicants.  See Music Education special instructions for details.
 

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Doctor of Philosophy Requirements

Required of all majors: Application and Application Fee
GRE General Test scores
Online Interview: Applicants will be notified if they are selected to advance to this round of the process. 
Personal statement and résumé (uploaded online as part of the application)
Recommendations (3)
Research paper(s): composition and music education applicants must submit one music research paper;

musicology applicants must submit two music research papers; music theory applicants must submit two papers, one or both of which are music analysis papers.

Transcripts (must represent all collegiate study)
Required of some majors: Scores: required of Composition applicants
Teaching portfolio: required of Music Education applicants.  See Music Education special instructions for details.

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Pre-Screening Requirements (MA and PhD)

Applicants to the following degrees and majors are pre-screened, meaning that completed files and supplemental documents (rather than recordings) are reviewed before interviews are scheduled:

  • MA Composition
  • MA Ethnomusicology
  • MA Music Theory Pedagogy
  • PhD Composition
  • PhD Music Education
  • PhD Musicology
  • PhD Music Theory

There is no pre-screening requirement for the Master of Arts in Music Education.  However, candidates for this degree must submit all required materials for faculty review as specified in the special instructions for Music Education

All required materials must be received by December 1 for faculty review.  Auditions recordings are not required for entry into MA and PhD degree programs.  Students in these degree programs who wish to continue applied study on an instrument or voice may do so at the secondary level once they are enrolled.

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Audition & Interview 

Recording upload: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Eastman will not be able to offer on-campus auditions during the 2020-21 academic year.  Instead, applicants will upload a video recording as directed on the Audition Repertoire requirements page.

Online Interview/Faculty Interaction: Selected applicants will be schedule for an online interview and/or faculty interaction. These will occur in late January and February, and will vary in format by program and instrument.

Additional Details for Recording:

  • Applicants must submit a video recording. Audio-only files are not acceptable.
  • Recording files must be uploaded with the application. Do not send recordings to the faculty.
  • The Eastman faculty members evaluate all recorded auditions.
  • Recordings must follow repertoire requirements, and should have been recorded within the past two years 
  • Each piece, excerpt or movement should be recorded in a separate video file and uploaded within the application.
  • Applicants submitting recordings for more than one instrument must clearly designate each recording.

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After the Audition

Notification of decision and financial aid

The Eastman application process includes a thorough review of each applicant’s file following his or her audition/interview. Notification of decision may occur at any time after the application has been evaluated, with most graduate applicants being notified between March 15 and April 1.  Accepted applicants normally receive notification of Graduate Awards and the possibility of need-based aid with the offer of admission.

April 15 reply date

We make every effort to provide notification of decision as soon as possible after the audition and review process is completed.  In return, we ask for the courtesy of a response as soon as the graduate applicant has made a decision, no later than April 15. After this date, graduate decisions are considered binding.   The Eastman School of Music does maintain a wait list in most departments.  A prompt response from accepted applicants allows us to proceed with decisions for candidates on our wait list.

The Eastman School of Music subscribes to and upholds ethical admission practices outlined in the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).  In accordance with Article V of the Code of Ethics of NASM, “[The Eastman School of Music allows]….students to choose without penalty among offers of admission and financial aid…until April 15 for graduate level programs. Written declarations of intent become binding on [this] date….”

It should be emphasized, however, that whenever candidates can reach a decision before this date, they are encouraged to notify all institutions as soon as that decision has been reached.  Even if the decision is to not attend, the candidate must notify the institution.

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Forms & Special Instructions

Special Instructions:

Other forms:

 

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Statement on Diversity

The Eastman School of Music and the University of Rochester value diversity, and are committed to equal opportunity for all persons regardless of age, color, disability, ethnicity, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Please also see www.esm.rochester.edu/diversity/ and www.rochester.edu/diversity. The University complies with all applicable nondiscrimination laws in the administration of its policies, programs, and activities. Questions on compliance should be directed to the school or department and/or to the University’s Equal Opportunity Coordinator, University of Rochester, PO Box 270039, Rochester, New York 14627-0039. Phone 585.275.9125.

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