Graduate Admission

When applying for graduate study in the Department of Music, applicants should comply with all requirements on the Department of Music website regarding graduate admission. Do not apply to the Howard University Graduate School or reference its requirements, policies or deadlines.

Prerequisites. All applicants to the graduate program in music must have earned either a BA, BS or BM degree in music granted by an accredited college or university. Applicants to the Music Education Master’s program must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited music program with a completed major equivalent to certification by a state agency to teach music (K-12).

The applicant must have a cumulative GPA of no lower than 3.0 based on a 4.0 scale and a GPA of no lower than 3.0 in all major field courses for admission consideration.

All applications for graduate study must be approved by the Department of Music's Executive Committee. Any additional prerequisites will be determined after evaluation of the applicant's transcripts and entrance examinations. The Department of Music reserves the right to require any additional tests, performances, and/or interviews deemed necessary to fully evaluate an applicant or to determine his/her Graduate Certifications.

Application. The requirements for admission to the Department of Music graduate program are:

1. A successful audition (see below); and
2. Timely submission of all required admissions materials, including:

  • the GradCAS Application for Graduate Study;
  • a non-refundable $99 application fee to be paid online through the application website;
  • an official transcript from each college or university attended;
  • three (3) letters of recommendation uploaded to your online application;
  • an Autobiographical Sketch (personal biography); and
  • a Statement of Academic and Research Interest.

Additional requirements for Music Education candidates are:

  • a phone interview with a faculty member in the music education area;
  • two (2) letters of recommendation only; one from the student’s student teaching cooperating teacher and one from the student’s music education professor;
  • a copy of the PRAXIS Music Content Exam score; and
  • one year of teaching is preferred but not required.

For those wishing to major or minor in performance, one of the three letters of recommendation must come from the most recent instructor in voice/instrument. Performance major applicants must also submit a complete list of compositions in their repertory.

Application Deadlines. All applications must be submitted online via the GradCAS website.

The deadlines for receipt of all application materials are:

  • November 15 for admission in the Spring semester;
  • November 15 for Early Action for admission in the Fall semester; and
  • April 1 for regular action for admission in the Fall semester.

Audition. With the exception of recent Howard University music alumni (see below), all graduate applicants are required to pass an entrance audition before admission to the program. The audition is of primary importance for admission to music graduate study.

Howard University Department of Music undergraduate alumni applying to the graduate program within two years after graduation may submit a copy of the program of their undergraduate senior recital to the Chair of the Committee on Graduate Studies for consideration in lieu of the entrance audition.

All performance major applicants are auditioned during the semester before that in which they plan to enroll. Generally, auditions are held on campus according to a published schedule, but special appointments may be arranged when necessary. When an in-person audition is not feasible, an applicant may request permission to submit a recorded audition.

It is the applicant's responsibility to contact the appropriate Performance Area Coordinator prior to published audition dates to schedule an audition.  Please download and complete an audition form and bring it with you to your audition.

On-campus auditions for admission in Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 are scheduled as follows:

Saturday, October 26, 2019 – for admission in Spring 2020 and Early Decision for admission in Fall 2020

Saturday, January 25, 2020 – for admission in Fall 2020

Saturday, February 1, 2020 (alternate in case of inclement weather on January 25)

Saturday, March 7, 2020 – for admission in Fall 2020

Performance Area Coordinator Email
Classical - Instrumental Fred Irby, III
Classical - Organ Mickey Thomas Terry
Classical - Piano Karen Walwyn
Classical - Voice Liana Valente
Jazz - Instrumental Charlie Young, III
Jazz - Vocal Connaitre Miller

Audition Requirements

All audition materials are to be performed from memory, and should satisfy the following audition requirements:

Classical Instrumental, including Saxophone and Guitar: Advanced technical skill on the chosen instrument.

Classical Piano: All major and minor scales and arpeggi; solo works (no concerti) from the following eras or composers: Bach, prelude and fugue from the Well Tempered Clavier, or a complete suite or other work including a movement in fugal texture; Beethoven, a complete sonata (excluding Op. 49); a 19th-century Romantic work; a 20th century work; an extended composition of the applicant's choice, e.g., a Chopin Ballade or Brahms' Rhapsody.

Classical Voice: Two songs in English; one early Italian song; two German lieder; two French songs; one aria from an opera or an oratorio; and one 20th century song.

Instrumental Jazz Studies: Advanced technical skill on the chosen instrument; good improvisation skills as they relate to standard jazz literature.

Vocal Jazz Studies: Please be prepared to present a mini-recital 25-30 minutes in length. (this will probably result in 5-6 selections). Original arrangements or original tunes encouraged. Demonstration of piano skills a plus. Selections should be in contrasting jazz styles and tempos (e.g. med. swing, fast swing, blues, ballad, bossa nova, samba, jazz waltz, etc.). Improvisation (scat singing) required for at least two tunes. Bring sheet music or lead sheets in the keys in which you sing. You may bring your own accompanist or one will be provided. An interview will follow the audition.

Please download and complete an audition form and bring it with you to your audition.

Audition Form

Graduate Certifications

Applicants who are admitted on the basis of having presented acceptable credentials and results of entrance testing are classified into one of five categories: graduate standing, conditional, special and non-degree, provisional, or transient. Criteria for each classification are as follows:

  1. Graduate Standing
    • This classification is given to: (1) students holding the Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.) or Bachelor of Music Education (B.Mus.Ed.) degree from Howard University or from a similarly accredited institution, who have maintained an average no lower than B in the major area of undergraduate concentration, and whose entrance examinations reveal no deficiencies; and (2) holders of the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree with a major in music, provided that they have met undergraduate requirements equivalent to the course offerings in the Department of Music at Howard University, and who have maintained an average no lower than B in the major area of their undergraduate concentration.
  2. Conditional
    • This classification is for students who either: hold a baccalaureate degree from a non-accredited institution; have a cumulative average lower than 2.9; have prerequisite work to be completed; or are insufficiently prepared in professional studies. Students so classified must be reclassified in Graduate Standing by the beginning of the second semester of residence.
  3. Special and Non-degree
    • This classification is for music students who hold a baccalaureate degree and who desire to pursue elective or certification requirements. It is also for other students who are not seeking a master's degree in music but who desire postgraduate study in this area. The latter students must meet general admission requirements and must maintain the same academic standards as regular graduate students. The non-degree student who subsequently wishes to become a degree candidate will receive credit for work already completed as determined by the Committee on Graduate Studies in Music.
  4. Provisional
    • Applicants who request admission during their final undergraduate year may be accepted on a provisional basis, pending subsequent filing of a supplementary transcript showing that the undergraduate degree was in fact granted. Admissions clearance must be made at least one month in advance of the semester in which registration is requested.
  5. Transient
    • Students actively pursuing work at other institutions, including consortium colleges or universities, who wish to earn credits for transfer to that institution will not be required to submit official transcripts but must present two copies of a statement verifying that they are in good standing at that institution and that they have the approval of its dean and registrar to seek transfer credit.