Graduate Audition Requirements

General information

All applicants to the Composition Area must apply and be accepted by The Catholic University of America as well as the School of Music, Drama and Art. MM and DMA applicants may apply to CUA online.

Please read through the how to apply page and our FAQ page as you prepare your materials. Any questions you might have about studying composition at CUA should be directed to the head of composition, Dr. Stephen Gorbos (Gorbos@cua.edu).

Master of Music Composition (Stage Music or Concert Music) admission and entrance requirements

Audition
  • Students seeking admission to the MM Composition programs (either the Concert Music track or Stage Music track) must submit a representative portfolio of compositions. Prospective students should hold a Bachelor's degree in Music (or, preferably, in Music Composition) from an accredited institution; if the degree is not in Composition, it should incorporate substantial studies in composition, or the applicant's work should reflect the equivalent experience.
  • Portfolios for the MM should consist of scores and recordings, if available (MIDI or other electronic realizations of pieces should not be sent unless they are of exceptionally high quality) which show original creative work of high quality and technical merit. Please see the guidelines above (under the BM program) for tips on presenting the best possible portfolio. Details on portfolio submission can be found here.
  • All students applying to the MM Composition programs (both Concert Music or Stage Music emphasis) are required to complete either an on-campus interview or video-chat interview with the composition faculty as part of the admissions process. These interviews, whether live or via video-chat, will be scheduled on the designated Departments of Music audition days. Please email the head of composition, Dr. Gorbos (Gorbos@cua.edu), to schedule interviews on audition days. A prospective student's portfolio should be uploaded at least one week in advance of any scheduled video interview. 
  • All MM Composition applicants with significant performing experience and technical skill on their instrument are encouraged to schedule an audition on that instrument, in order to be eligible for a performance-based music scholarship. The area where prospective composition students have been most successful in this regard is orchestral instruments. 
  • During the first semester of full-time study (generally on the weekend preceding the beginning of the fall semester), all graduate students in Composition are given the Theory Placement Examination and the Graduate History Examination. These exams determine whether or not any remediation in theory or history coursework is required. Should students require remediation in any areas, they may take these courses concurrently with graduate courses (provided that the remedial courses are not prerequisites for the graduate courses taken). Remedial courses do not count towards the degree, but must be successfully completed in order to receive the degree.
Doctor of Musical Arts Admission and Entrance Requirements
  • Students seeking admission to the DMA program in Composition must submit a representative portfolio of compositions. Prospective students should hold a Master's degree from an accredited institution.
  • Portfolios for the DMA should consist of scores and recordings (MIDI or other electronic realizations of pieces should not be sent unless they are of exceptionally high quality) which show original creative work of high quality and technical merit and demonstrate that a student is capable of independent work. Please see the guidelines listed above (under the BM program) for tips on presenting the best possible portfolio. Details on portfolio submission can be found here.
  • All students applying for the DMA are required to complete either an on-campus interview or video-chat interview with the composition faculty as part of the admissions process. These interviews, whether live or via video-chat, will be scheduled on the designated Departments of Music audition days. Please email the head of composition, Dr. Gorbos (Gorbos@cua.edu), to schedule interviews on audition days. A prospective student's portfolio should be uploaded at least one week in advance of any scheduled video interview. 
  • Audition on an instrument (or voice) is not required for the DMA in Composition, although a student wishing to pursue applied study must pass an audition in the requisite applied area. All applicants with performing experience are encouraged to schedule an audition, nevertheless, in order to be eligible for a music scholarship. The area where prospective composition students have been most successful in this regard is orchestral instruments. 
  • During the first semester of full-time study (generally on the weekend preceding the beginning of the fall semester), all graduate students in Composition are given the Theory Placement Examination and the Graduate History Examination. These exams determine whether or not any remediation in theory or history coursework is required. Should students require remediation in any areas, they may take these courses concurrently with graduate courses (provided that the remedial courses are not prerequisites for the graduate courses taken). Remedial courses do not count towards the degree, but must be successfully completed in order to receive the degree.