Instructions for Application for Graduate Admission

Your next opportunity to apply will be:

  • For degree programs and transfers starting in January 2021 (select programs only): Apply August 1 through September 25

  • For degree programs that start in Fall 2021: Apply September 1 through December 1

Already applied? Click here to check for status updates.

Graduate Applicants

Welcome to the Eastman graduate application. 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.

Most application materials can be submitted electronically within the application. Composition applicants should mail portfolios to: Eastman School of Music/Office of Admissions/26 Gibbs St./Rochester, NY/14604.

See below for complete instructions:

Application Deadlines

  • November 1: EarlyPriority” deadline. $75 application fee

Applicants who submit the online application, transcripts, and any required pre-screening materials by this deadline will receive priority handling, and will likely be scheduled for their first choice audition/interview date.

  • December 1: Final deadline. $125 application fee

    All application and pre-screening materials must be submitted by December 1. International applicants who are unable to submit TOEFL by December 1 must submit by January 1 in order to be scheduled for an audition at Eastman, or by February 15 in order to audition by recording.

We strongly encourage early submission of your application and materials. Our processing time increases significantly as December 1 approaches. Once a file is complete, there is a preliminary review before the audition is scheduled.

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.

[back to top

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 scanned copy of your official transcripts within the online application (preferred method).  A transcript from your school which is marked “unofficial” or “student copy,” or an official transcript which you have unsealed and scanned is also acceptable.  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 transcript must be clear and legible, and documentation for each institution should be saved in separate single file.  Non-legible transcripts will not be accepted.
  2. Send transcripts via postal mail or electronically to the Eastman Office of Admissions (address above).  If you  are uploading your transcript, please do not send a hard copy unless requested by Admissions.

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 ( or Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (  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 hard copies of 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 prefers to submit a hard copy recommendation, give them the Recommendation Form after completing the top portion.

Additional requirements for some programs:

Pre-screening Materials/Recording Required for most programs – see Pre-screening Requirements below for details.  If pre-screening materials are required for your degree program, they must be uploaded by the application deadline.  CDs and DVDs are not accepted.
Composition Scores

All applicants for Composition or Jazz Writing programs must submit 3 or 4 scores in hard copy by postal mail for review by the faculty. All scores must arrive in the Office of Admissions by December 1st.

Mailing address:
Office of Admissions
Eastman School of Music
26 Gibbs St
Rochester, NY 14604

Each score (each individual piece) should be separately spiral-bound (no stapled or loose pages), no larger than 11” x 17” in size, and clearly marked with the applicant’s name and intended program.  Scores will not be returned.  Composition applicants are also encouraged, but not required to submit recordings of their works.

Scores from Jazz Writing applicants and all DMA Jazz applicants must display writing for large and small jazz group formats, and can include arrangements. 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.

Audition Required for all MM and DMA degree applicants. See  Audition Repertoire Requirements  for details and dates. Bring a completed Audition Repertoire Form and a complete repertoire list to your audition.
Interview Required for many degree programs and some Graduate Awards.
Special Instructions

See special instructions for the following programs:

TOEFL Exam Scores & Non-Native English Essay
All applicants whose native language is not English 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.
Research Paper(s) Required for all DMA, MA and PhD degree applicants. Upload within the online application. Additional details for each degree program below.
Vocal Accompanist Request Form All voice applicants who successfully pass pre-screening and will audition in Rochester must complete and submit the Vocal Accompanist Request Form Those requesting an Eastman accompanist must also include clear copies of their music and a $25 accompanist fee.
NASM Release Form Transfer applicants (students currently matriculated in a degree program at an accredited college who will not graduate before enrolling at Eastman) must complete the NASM Release Form before an offer of financial aid can be made.
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.

[back to top]

Master of Arts Requirements

Required of all majors: Application and Application Fee
GRE General Test scores
Interview (may be conducted via Skype for some programs)
Personal statement and résumé (uploaded online as part of 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

[back to top]

Master of Music Requirements

Required of all majors: Application and Application Fee
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)
Interview: required of Conducting, Composition, Contemporary Media/Film Composition, Music Education and Opera Stage Directing applicants

Pre-screening recording: required of Conducting and Jazz applicants. Required of all applicants whose instrument is Clarinet, Flute, Horn, Percussion, Piano performance, Saxophone, Trombone, Violin, Violoncello, Voice.  Pre-screening materials are also required for Opera Stage Directing applicants (see details under Pre-Screening Requirements) 

NOTE: Contemporary Media & Film Composition applicants are exempt from this requirement.

Scores: required of Composition applicants, and Jazz applicants who are applying for the writing concentration, and of Contemporary Media/Film Composition applicants

[back to top]

Doctor of Musical Arts Requirements

Required of all majors: Application and Application Fee
Audition at the Eastman School of Music
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: Pre-screening Recording: required for Conducting, all piano performance, brass, winds, strings and voice applicants (except as follows).  Not required for Accompanying majors, or for lute, harpsichord and organ.  Upload your recording with your application.
Interview: required of Composition, Music Education, and Piano Accompanying & Chamber Music applicants
Scores: required of Composition applicants, MM Jazz Writing and DMA Jazz applicants
Teaching portfolio: required of DMA music education applicants.  See Music Education special instructions for details.

[back to top]

Doctor of Philosophy Requirements

Required of all majors: Application and Application Fee
GRE General Test scores
Interview (at the Eastman School of Music for Theory and Music Education; via Skype for Musicology)
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.

[back to top]

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 are not required for entry into MA and PhD degree programs, and will not be scheduled on the interview day.  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.

[back to top]

Pre-Screening Requirements (MM and DMA)

Certain degree programs and majors require additional pre-screening materials, as noted here.  Pre-screen recordings should be uploaded within the application. (Only composition and jazz writing applicants should submit pre-screening materials by postal mail. ) Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit pre-screening materials and their online application well before the application deadline to facilitate the pre-screening process. All application materials must be received by December 1 at the latest.

Specifications for Pre-screening Recordings

  • A video pre-screening recording is required for Cello, Clarinet, Conducting, Guitar (DMA), Harp (DMA), Horn, Percussion, Saxophone (classical), Trombone and Tuba.
  • All other applicants may submit either a video or audio pre-screening recordings.
  • Each piece or selection must be recorded in a separate file.  The maximum size for each file is 1GB, however large files will take longer to upload from your Internet connection.
  • Accepted file formats
    • Video: .avi, .flv, .m1v, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .wmv
    • Audio: .aac, .aif, .aiff, .iff, .fla, .m4a, .mpa, .mp3, .ra, .wav, .wma
  • Applicants to more than one major must clearly designate each recording for each major.
  • Important: review your recording for quality before uploading

MM and DMA applicants in ALL MAJORS: See pre-screening requirements for your instrument.

MM applicants in Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media (performance and writing concentrations) must upload a preliminary audio recording with the application. Writing concentration applicants must also submit scores by postal mail.

MM applicants in Opera Stage Directing must upload supporting materials with their application to demonstrate their experience in opera directing.  Artwork and/or theatrical designs may be included.  Application materials are reviewed, along with the pre-screening recording, and selected applicants will be invited to interview/audition.

MM applicants in Performance & Literature: Woodwind Specialist must list both primary instruments in the application.  Applicants will be scheduled for an interview, and for auditions on both instruments. Pairings of primary instruments within the same family (flute/piccolo, clarinet/bass clarinet, oboe/English horn, etc.) are not acceptable for this major.

MM and DMA applicants in Composition must submit scores via postal mail for screening by composition faculty.  In addition, composers are also encouraged (but not required) to upload digital scores and recordings online via the application. If your primary instrument requires a pre-screen recording, you must also upload a separate instrumental or vocal pre-screen recording. Those invited to Rochester to interview will also be scheduled for an instrumental or vocal audition on the day of the interview.

DMA applicants in Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media must submit a recording and scores of original arrangements/compositions.  Following review, a number of applicants will be invited to Rochester.  Recordings must be uploaded with the application.  Hard copies of scores must be mailed to the Eastman Admissions Office; scores may also be uploaded (optional).

DMA applicants in Music Education are prescreened and must submit a video (DVD) of the applicant presenting a lesson in a current teaching situation (classroom, studio, rehearsal).  See the Music Education special instructions for more details.

[back to top]

Audition & Interview Options

Note: With the exception of Musicology, Ethnomusicology, and Music Leadership programs which allow for online interviews, all graduate applicants are strongly encouraged to audition on-campus at Eastman for priority consideration for admission and graduate scholarship awards. DMA applicants are required to audition/interview on-campus.

On-campus Auditions at the Eastman School of Music

On-campus audition dates vary, depending on instrument and major.  See the Audition Dates page for dates, but be sure to refer back here for important details about your audition requirements.

  • This option is required for applicants to majors in Composition, Conducting, and Jazz Studies, and for all DMA applicants.
  • All applicants should plan to attend for the entire day of their audition, generally from 9am until 6pm.
  • All auditions are performed unaccompanied, with the exception of vocal auditions.
  • Harp applicants do not need to bring their own instruments; contact Professor Kathleen Bride for more information.
  • Percussionists should bring their own sticks, mallets, cymbals, etc.; other equipment is provided.
  • Voice applicants may either bring their own accompanist or request the School to assign one ($25 fee required).  Applicants who successfully pass pre-screening must submit the Vocal Accompanist Request Form, the accompanying fee and copies of music chosen for the live audition before the audition date can be confirmed.

Audition by Self-prepared Recording

  • This option is NOT permitted for DMA applicants, nor for applicants in Composition, Conducting, Jazz, Piano Performance, or Piano Accompanying & Chamber Music.
  • Applicants who audition by self-prepared recording 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 final deadline for uploading recorded auditions is December 1.
  • The Eastman faculty members evaluate all recorded auditions.
  • Recordings must have been made within the past 9 months, and must follow repertoire requirements.
  • 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.

[back to top]

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.

[back to top]

Forms & Special Instructions

Required supplemental forms:

Special Instructions:

Other forms:

[back to top]

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 and 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.

[back to top]