Do I have to have a degree in music to be eligible?

No, you do not. However, you need to have the necessary background in music to pursue graduate study.  Composition requires proficiency in harmony, counterpoint, melodic and harmonic dictation and music history and analysis.  Performance requires a firm foundation in music theory and musicianship skills as well as a thorough understanding of music history and the development of form and style. 

I have not taken music theory or analysis, what should I do?

We would strongly recommend that you go to a college or university and get the necessary music major background so that you can apply in a year or two. We do not require that you complete a BA in music, only that you have the background necessary for graduate study.

Can I be accepted provisionally and take the necessary undergraduate preparation at UCLA?

We do not accept students who are not qualified to be at the graduate level in music.  We strongly suggest that you find a college or university that will allow you to take the necessary coursework and then apply later.

Can I transfer a year of courses from another school toward my master’s?

UCLA has a limit of 2 courses (8 quarter or 5 semester units) transferable from another school, subject to petition and the approval of your advisor and department. The limit is a little higher for courses from another UC school.

What if my degree is from another country?

Bachelor’s degrees from many countries are accepted at UCLA. Please visit the Graduate Division website for international requirements.  For additional information, please contact the department graduate advisor  to check on a specific degree from a school in a specific country.  Please do not translate the degree when writing.

Do you accept a conservatory diploma or an Artist’s Diploma?

If music is not normally offered at universities in your country, we could accept a diploma for application consideration.  Since an Artist’s Diploma does not have the same breadth of study required of a conservatory diploma, we do not normally accept Artist's Diplomas.  A conservatory diploma from a school that also offers a bachelor’s degree is not accepted.

How do I find out if my school is accredited?

Look at your school’s main web site. There should be a Registrar’s Office or accreditation page. If you can’t find it, ask your Registrar’s Office. We will not accept a degree from a non-accredited institution.

What Grade Point Average is required?

The University and the Department require a B (3.0) minimum overall GPA.

What GRE score do you require?

We do not require the GRE.


Do you accept applications for Spring or Summer?

We only accept applications for Fall quarter.  The online application becomes available mid-September for admission the following fall quarter.

Can I get a “Letter of Invitation” or a commitment that I will be a student before my application is complete?

UCLA will not give any kind of guarantee of acceptance before the fact.  To be accepted you must go through the application process and be accepted into a specific degree program.

How many applicants do you usually have? How many get accepted?

The number of applications accepted varies greatly, based on departmental need in particular instrument or program areas.  For composition, we generally receive about 120 applications and accept 10 students.  For performance and conducting, we generally receive about 225 applications and accept between 20-30 students.

How many students are there in each instrument?

The numbers vary.  However, we are a small department and are very selective.


What is needed for recommendation letters and what is the recommendation letter process?

Three letters of recommendation are required. When submitting your online application, you will be required to list one e-mail address for each recommender. Since hardcopies of the letters of recommendation are not accepted, recommendations may only be submitted online. Once you have officially submitted your application (by paying the fee), an email will be sent to your recommenders.

What is the deadline for applications?

The Online Application deadline is December 1st.  Please plan to submit the application before the December 1 deadline to avoid any last-minute technical delays.

Please be advised that applicants who submit a completed UCLA Application for Graduate Admission but fail to pay the application fee or provide necessary documentation for fee waiver will jeopardize having their application processed and audition scheduled.


I am an international student but my degree is from a U.S. school. Do I still have to take the TOEFL?

If your degree involved at least 2 years of study at the U.S. school, you do not need to take the TOEFL. Please read the application information carefully for any and all exceptions to the English requirement

Applications are not considered complete without the test scores from either the TOEFL or IELTS tests.

Are admissions standards different for international students?

No, the only difference will be in requirements of English proficiency and items related to the visa.

Can International students get Financial Aid?

International students are eligible for most forms of merit-based support.  However, they are not eligible to apply for need-based financial aid.


How long does it take to become a resident for tuition purposes?

For residency information, please visit the Registrar’s Office website.


What kinds of financial support are available?

There are a variety of sources for financial support.  Please visit the Financial Support page for more information.

Applicants to program will automatically be considered for departmental funding; no departmental scholarship application is needed. 

Teaching assistantships are part of merit-based funding awarded by the program.  Applicants do not apply directly for this funding.

Do all your students get support, or at least all your doctoral students?

We wish we could provide support for everyone.  Typically, the most outstanding students in each entering class are offered some kind of support.  After that, further support depends on your work in the field and the needs of the department.  We encourage all eligible students to apply for need-based Financial Aid.

Can I work full-time while in school?

We strongly discourage working full-time. Graduate study is a full-time job.

Do you offer tuition waivers?

At UCLA, tuition and/or fees are never truly “waived”: these fees must still be paid, be it from the department, applicant, or outside source.


Do you have a graduate program in Music Management / Music Business / Music Education?

Our programs are in Performance, Conducting, and Composition.

Do your conducting and/or voice programs include Musical Theater or Opera?

We offer only classical singing as a primary practice, and have an Opera Workshop in which most of our graduate voice students participate. 

Do you offer a master’s program in jazz performance?

Yes, in conjunction with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance.  Applicants applying for the M.M. in jazz performance receive consideration on a biennial basis (next entering class, Fall 2020).

Do you offer distance learning, i.e. courses through the internet?

No, we do not. The individual interaction of faculty and students that comes from classroom and one-on-one instruction is too valuable.

Can I get my degree by going part-time or on non-degree status?

We require full-time status and are open only to those selected by our application process.

Can I take courses outside the department?

This is generally between you and your faculty advisor. If time allows, it is fine.

If I’m in composition, can I take instrumental lessons?

We are unable to provide individual instrument instruction for graduate composition students.


If you have any questions that have not been answered, please contact