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Master of Arts in Music




Admission to all M. A. programs requires a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. In addition to the general requirements for admission to graduate programs in Arts & Sciences of Hunter College, applicants must have completed an undergraduate concentration in music (with a minimum of 29 credits) or the equivalent; these 29 credits must include:

  • three semesters of music history
  • four semesters of music theory, and
  • four semesters of musicianship (sight singing, ear training, and keyboard studies)

Applicants must have at least elementary facility at the keyboard and a reasonable mastery of an instrument (which may be a keyboard instrument) or voice. They must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in music and 2.8 cumulative. In reviewing each application, the entire transcript (including particular subjects which display any special strength or weakness) is considered.

Students who have completed Bachelor's degrees with majors in other subjects may register as non-matriculants or second-degree undergraduates at Hunter College in order to take the prerequisite undergraduate courses. It is not necessary for these students to complete a second Bachelor's degree, but only to take 29 official credits of music, which should include the classes listed in the first paragraph.

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Submissions of Samples of Work

Applicants who wish to be Composition, Music History, Music Theory, or Ethnomusicology students must present samples of their work in the area in which they wish to concentrate. (Samples of papers or compositions are not required for prospective Performance students).

  • Students who want to concentrate in Composition should submit a portfolio of samples of recently completed works. Send one copy along with the application and one copy to the Graduate Adviser, c/o Music Department, 416HN, Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY, 10065.
  • Students who want to concentrate in Music History or Ethnomusicology should submit one or two sample research papers on a musical subject. Send one copy along with the application and one copy to the Graduate Adviser, c/o Music Department, 416HN, Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY, 10065.
  • Students who want to concentrate in Music Theory must send - along with their application - a short essay dealing with some aspect of music (this essay could take the form of a term paper that was prepared for an undergraduate music theory or music history class), as well as samples of work in music theory (such as a choral harmonization, a figured bass realization, and/or a short tonal composition prepared for an undergraduate music theory class). Music Theory applicants also must arrange for an interview, during which they will be given a dictation exam and a diagnostic exam in music theory. Applicants in music theory should contact the Music Department Graduate Adviser, Prof. Philip Ewell, to arrange for an interview and to find out more about our program and our admission procedures.

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Applicants to the Performance concentration must audition. Auditions are held on two or three different dates each semester; click here for audition dates. To register for an audition, prospective students must:

  1. send in an official application to the Admissions Office, and then
  2. fill out the online audition registration form.

Each applicant will be contacted to confirm the audition time and date; please note that an audition time and date can be confirmed only after the official application has been received by the Admissions Office.

Each audition is about 15 minutes long and held in front of a panel consisting of two or three members of the Music Department faculty. Auditions consist of a program of three or four representative works from different style periods; singers should prepare at least one work in a language other than English. Students auditioning to become Performance students may prepare one piece in the jazz idiom, but they should prepare at least three other pieces in classical music idioms. (Hunter College does not have a concentration in Jazz Performance.)

Students should present each of the jurors with a list of the pieces (not copies of the music) prepared for the audition, as well as the name and affiliation (if any) of their current private teachers. The panel will ask to hear portions of these pieces and will interview each candidate briefly.

Students are required to provide their own accompanists. Upon request, Geoffrey Burleson, Director of Performance Studies, will provide names of students available to accompany auditions. Students are expected to dress formally (men: coat and tie; women: dress, skirt and blouse, or formal pants outfit).

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To apply to Hunter, prospective students must complete and send in the official application provided by the Admissions Office.

Applications can accessed at:

The Admissions Office will require prospective students to forward transcripts from their previous school(s), provide a statement of purpose (that is, a brief essay, about one page in length, describing the reasons for pursuing graduate studies), and provide two letters of recommendation. The final decision regarding each application is made by the Admissions Department, based largely on the recommendation of the Music Department.

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Application Deadlines

Admission deadlines may be found at; note that deadlines for international students and students who have earned any college credits at non-U.S. institutions are approximately two months earlier than these dates. See the Admissions Department for further details.

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There are no GRE exams required for prospective M.A. students at Hunter College.

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Students whose native language is not English and/or whose post-secondary education was in a country where English in not the native language must take a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and receive a grade of 550.

For International Students in need of supplemental language study prior to matriculating in the music program, please contact the International English Language Institute (IELI) at Hunter College. It is possible to auditon for the music program and, with positive performance audition results, defer matriculation in music while studying English at the Hunter College IELI.

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