Important Update: Due to the delays caused by UCLA’s transition to a new admission system, the deadline for submitting the Graduate Division Online Application has been moved to December 11.  The deadline for submitting the Pre-Screening Application is still December 1.  Please carefully review the following information regarding changes to the application procedures.


Thank you for your interest in applying to the Music Department in the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.  UCLA is currently transitioning to a new admissions system.  Due to this transition, if you did not submit your application on or before November 13, you must complete your application in the new Graduate Division Online Application system, now available at https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/admission-application-for-graduate-admission/.  If you began your application on or before November 13 in the prior application system, please do not start a new application. You will receive an email soon from UCLA Graduate Admissions with instructions on how to view and continue your application.

Additionally, if  you did not submit your application on or before November 13, you must submit your pre-screening material in a separate online application.  Therefore, you must submit online application material in two places:

1)  Pre-screening Application: Submit all prescreening material (composition portfolio) and your statement of purpose via the Supplemental Application Upload System, which is now available at https://supplemental.schoolofmusic.ucla.edu/grad

2)  Graduate Division Online Application: Submit all core application material, including your statement of purpose, unofficial transcripts, writing sample (if required), and letters of recommendations via the new Graduate Division Online Application (https://grad.ucla.edu/admissions/admission-application-for-graduate-admission/).

The deadline for submitting the Pre-screening Application in December 1, and the deadline for submitting the Graduate Division Online Application is December 11.  Because of the delays caused by the transition, we will continue to accept letters of recommendation through the end of January.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we undergo this transition.  We look forward to receiving and reviewing your application. If you have any questions, please contact


The Department of Music accepts applications for the fall quarter only. Admission to the department is based on acceptance by the UCLA Graduate Division and a faculty review of the applicant's work. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an acceptable institution, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the last two years of upper-division coursework.

A major in music is not required as long as the applicant has the necessary background and musicianship to pursue graduate study. While the portfolio carries the most weight, the entire dossier is evaluated in making admission decisions.

In the MA and PhD programs, the department offers two specializations: one in the field of composition and one in the field of composition for visual media.  In consultation with their faculty adviser, students will select their area of specialization in the second or third quarter of their first year of study. Applicants interested in either specialization apply to the MA or PhD in Composition, as the specialization is declared after beginning the program.

Application

The application includes the following components:

  • Unofficial transcripts: Upload unofficial copies of transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended.  Community college transcripts are not necessary, as the coursework will be reflected on the undergraduate transcript.
  • Personal Statement: A statement discussing your reasons for applying to this program and your academic and musical goals.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Enter the names and contact information of three recommenders and send them electronic recommendation requests within the online application.
  • Writing Sample (PhD applicants only): Provide a scholarly/research paper on a subject in the field of music of a level of intellectual and critical engagement appropriate to graduate level work.
  • Pre-screening Portfolio: Applicants are required to upload a composition portfolio for pre-screening purposes.  Please see the Pre-Screening Information for detailed instructions about the portfolio requirements.

In addition to the unofficial transcripts included in the online application, applicants must submit official transcripts as part of their application.  Please request an official transcript be sent from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended either electronically to Zoe Ashmead, Director of Enrollment and Recruitment, at  or by mail to  

Graduate Admissions - Music
2520 Schoenberg Music Building
445 Charles Young Drive East
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1616

Interview and Assessment Examination

Those applicants who advance beyond the pre-screening round will be invited to UCLA for a 30-minute interview with the composition faculty. All applicants will be notified whether they have been invited to interview by the end of December; click here for interview dates. In addition to an interview, semi-finalists will be asked to take the composition assessment exam as detailed below. Semi-finalists unable to visit campus can request a video call interview and arrange to take the assessment exam in absentia.

The exam consists of:

  • Harmony: Writing standard 4-part harmony from a given figured bass
  • Counterpoint: Writing counterpoint in your choice of 16th C. specie, 16th C. Imitative or 18th C. styles
  • Dictation: Taking 2-part melodic dictation and taking harmonic dictation by writing chord symbols of a given progression
  • Analytical Essay: Writing an essay on an analytical/stylistic topic
  • Diagnostic tests in sight singing and keyboard sight reading (Applicants who take the exam in absentia will have the diagnostic tests as a deficiency upon admission.)

International Applicants

Academic Records: Please see the Graduate Division website for information about the official academic records you are required to submit with your application.

English Language Requirements: All applicants are required to demonstrate English language proficiency in order to be eligible for admission.  Proficiency can be demonstrated in two ways:

1) Holding a bachelor's or higher degree from a university located in the United States or in another country in which English is the primary spoken language of daily life (e.g., Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, United Kingdom) and the medium of instruction

OR

2) Submitting scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

If admitted, applicants may also be required to confirm their English language proficiency upon arrival.  Please see the Graduate Division website for more information.


Music Graduate Admissions Frequently Asked Questions