Graduate - How to Apply

Application Deadlines

The admission cycle for the 2020-21 academic year is now open.  The deadline for all applications, supplemental materials, and test scores is January 10, 2021 for admission to Fall 2021. Some pre-screen materials for performance applications are due earlier (please click here to review those deadlines).

Graduate Admissions

Applications are only accepted for the fall quarter; the Department of Music does not review or accept applications for winter, spring, or summer.

Applicants for all degree programs must first meet entrance requirements for the University of California. See the Graduate Division Website for more detailed information.

Applicants to the MA and MM degree programs or the combined MA/PhD and MM/DMA programs must have completed a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Music degree, or an equivalent as determined by the UCSB Graduate Division. Applicants to the PhD and DMA programs must have a graduate degree comparable to the relevant MA or MM degree at UCSB.

Please see Graduate Admissions Materials below for detailed information on what is required. In addition to this, some performance applicants must submit a pre-screen audition. Please see the Prescreening and Audition information page for detailed information. Live auditions are by invitation only and the applicants must have a complete application on file to be considered. Live auditions are mandatory for DMA or MM/DMA applicants and are strongly encouraged for MM applicants as well. Composition applicants must send in a portfolio of compositions (no live audition is required).

Students interested in applying to UCSB should visit the Graduate Division's Website on Admissions & Outreach. This website will describe the requirements and procedures for admission, give information for international applicants, offers step by step instructions to complete the application, and has a link to a page of frequently asked questions (FAQs). For departmental details, please contact Carly Yartz, Music Staff Graduate Advisor.
The graduate online application can be found at the link below.

Graduate Admissions Deadlines

The admission cycle for the 2020-21 academic year is now open.  The deadline for all applications, supplemental materials, and test scores is January 10, 2021 for admission to Fall 2021.  Some pre-screen materials for performance applications are due earlier (please click here to review those deadlines). Be sure to be in touch with faculty in the area you want to apply to. Further, it is important to note that the longer you wait to complete your application and submit your materials, your chances of receiving a funding package decreases.

See the ‘Graduate Admission Materials’ section below to determine which supplemental materials you are required to submit along with your application.

In order to be nominated for the Centrally Administered University Fellowships, all supplemental materials, including a live audition, if required, must but be complete by the January 10 deadline. A live audition cannot be scheduled until all supplemental materials are received. Please visit the Financial Support section of this website for more detailed information. Although the application deadline has been extended to April 1 in past years, the January 10 deadline still applies to Centrally Administered University Fellowships. If your applciation is not complete by January 10, you are not considered for these special fellowships.

For details or more information please contact Carly Yartz, Music Department Staff Graduate Advisor.

Graduate Admissions Materials

Each of our Graduate Programs is selective and due to the highly competitive nature of our admissions, only applicants who complete an application and submit all of the required supplemental materials will be considered for admission.

All Graduate Applicants are reviewed on and must submit the following materials:

  1. Three Letters of Recommendation and rating scale submitted in the online application by the recommender.
  2. Statement of Purpose, Resume or CV, and Personal Achievements/Contributions submitted in the online application (see the Statements and Supplemental Documents section of the Graduate Division website for more information).
  3. TOEFL scores (if applicable) - see the Exam Scores section of the Graduate Division website for more information
    • Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS
    • The GRE is not required for any applicants to the Department of Music
  4.  Transcripts
    • Unofficial (with name and school seal) transcripts uploaded into the online application from all schools at which you completed one or more full academic term (or equivalent)
    • Official copy of transcripts from all institutions attended are required to be sent to the Graduate Division only for those applicants who have been accepted and plan to attend
  5. Writing Sample
    • For applications to Theory, Ethnomusicology, Musicology, Composition:  Please submit copy of your Master's thesis (if applicable) or recent term papers into the online application system for your writing sample.  In addition, in your statement of purpose please address your agenda for study and research including your specific area of interest, both over the past years and projected into the future.
    • For applications to MM, MM/DMA, and DMA:  Please submit a writing sample, in the form of a term paper, or other lengthy essay.  Music History is the preferred topic.  Upload the document into the online application system.

In addition to the materials mentioned above, the Composition degree program requires the following:

A portfolio of scores (one of substantial length) and recordings via online links should be entered in a single PDF file and uploaded into the documents section of the UCSB Graduate Application (titled composition scores).


For detailed information on the required pre-screening and live audition materials in the following areas:

Choral Conducting, Keyboard, Strings, Voice, and Woodwind & Brass

Please go to the Graduate Prescreening and Audition Information page.