This section addresses many common questions asked by prospective graduate students.

If you cannot find the information you are looking for, please contact cua-music@cua.edu or call 202-319-5414.

  • General

    What is the application process?
    The application process is two-fold. You must apply to the University through graduate admission and also audition or interview through the School of Music.

    How long will it take to process my application?
    Once complete, the application decision may take anywhere from three to eight weeks, depending on the application review process of each department.

    How will I find out my decision?
    You will receive a letter in the mail the week following your audition. This letter will inform you whether or not you passed your audition. Passing your audition does not grant you acceptance into the University. Therefore, you must also complete an application through graduate admission. Once all necessary materials are submitted, your file will be reviewed and you will receive a letter from the University informing you of the final decision.

    I've missed the application deadline. May I still apply?
    Applications received and/or completed after the deadline will be referred to the appropriate department for review if space in the program remains available. Because of enrollment constraints, some departments are unable to review applications after the deadline. If you wish to determine whether your department is still reviewing applications, please contact cua-music@cua.edu. Please note that you will need to complete both an application to the University and an audition for the School of Music. If you missed all audition dates, you will need to submit online. Please visit our audition page for further information.

    Do you have a spring admission cycle?
    Our programs will consider admission for the spring semester. However, it is important to note that merit-based financial aid is generally not available in the spring.

    Do you offer any graduate assistantships?
    We offer teaching assistantships only in music theory. These are not available every year and are normally determined close to the start of the fall semester. Should you have further questions regarding theory assistantships, please contactcua-music@cua.edu.

    Do I really need to submit transcripts from every university I've attended?
    Yes. You must submit a transcript from each university you've attended regardless of whether or not a degree was earned. We need a record of all your past studies.

    I completed my undergraduate degree a long time ago, and I'm unable to acquire recommendations from my former professors. What should I do?
    While academic references are generally preferred, we understand that not all applicants may be able to provide them. In that case, you should request recommendations from individuals able to address your qualifications for graduate study. If you have worked in a relevant field, recommendations from your supervisors are acceptable.

    Do you require the GREs?
    The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music does not require GREs for acceptance. However, if you wish to be considered for any University scholarships, the office of graduate admission will require you take either the GRE or MAT.

  • Composition

    Do I have to audition for this program?
    No. An audition is not required for admittance into the graduate composition program. You will need to schedule an interview with our composition faculty. To do so, please contact Elise Morrow-Schap. Please note that if you do wish to be considered for a music scholarship, an audition is required. Should you have any questions please contact Dr. Andrew Simpson.

    Will my work ever be performed at Catholic University?
    The great thing about our program is that we have the ensembles, orchestras, and students eager to perform new works. We offer a New Voices Festival each year that allows new works to be submitted to a committee and performed at a festival right here on campus. For further information on this festival feel free to visit their website.

  • Conducting

    Is an audition required?
    You are not required to audition on an instrument unless you wish to be considered for a music scholarship. However, you must contact the School of Music in order to request an interview and conducting evaluation.

    What is the application process for conducting candidates?
    The application process is two-fold. You must apply to the University through graduate admission. You must also contact the School of Music in order to set up an interview and conducting evaluation. Your application will not be considered without both of these elements. An audition is not necessary unless you wish to be considered for a music scholarship.

  • Instrumental Music

    Are there many performance opportunities for students?
    Students are provided with multiple performance opportunities throughout the D.C. metro area. On campus, students perform in several concerts during the school year using facilities such as Hartke Theatre, Ward Recital Hall, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center. Additionally, there are ample opportunities for students to perform solo and chamber music both on and off campus. Students are also able to perform with various opera, musical theatre, and new work ensembles. Student musicians may choose to collaborate with composition students to play, perform, premiere, and possibly even record their work. Each fall semester a selected group of students is given the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall during a three day concert series given by University faculty, staff and students.

    Where do students keep their instruments?
    Students can store their instruments in lockers in Ward, where they are safe and accessible. Lockers are available to rent for the entire school year.

    How are students matched with private teachers?
    Graduate students are able to request with whom they wish to study. Should a student not have a preference, the faculty will place that student in a studio based on ability and level of development.

  • Joint Degree in Music Librarianship (M.A./M.S.L.I.S.)

    What is the application process?
    In order to be considered for the joint degree in M.A./M.S.L.I.S.,, students must apply to both the Department of Library and Information Science and the School of Music separately. Please review information and requirements for the M.S.L.I.S. portion of the degree.

    Is an audition required?
    No. Candidates must submit a research paper on a musical subject instead. Please contact Dr. Andrew Weaver for more information on this.

    What materials are needed for consideration in the department?
    Beyond the general graduate admission requirements, only the research paper is required.

    Are the GREs required for admission into the department?
    No. The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music does not require GREs for acceptance. However, if you wish to be considered for any university scholarships, the office of graduate admission will require you take either the GRE or MAT.

  • Musicology

    Do I need experience in performance to be a better candidate for admission into the Musicology department?
    While performance experience can add a valuable perspective to musicological scholarship, there is no requirement that musicology graduate students be proficient performers, and applicants with performance experience do not have an advantage over those with none. Do be aware, however, that incoming students must pass placement exams in harmony and aural skills; those who do not pass the exams are required to take review courses. If you are a proficient performer (especially on an orchestral instrument), you may want to consider playing an audition, which may qualify you for a scholarship.

    How successful are the graduates of the musicology program at Catholic University?
    We pride ourselves in the fact that our graduates have gone on to pursue a variety of successful careers in which they are able to apply their musicological education. In addition to traditional careers in academia (including full- and part-time faculty positions), Catholic University musicologists have thrived in careers in research libraries and archives (including the Library of Congress), in musical journalism, and as internationally recognized independent scholars. Recipients of the M.A. in musicology, moreover, have gone on to pursue doctoral work at prestigious Ivy League institutions.

    What kind of financial support does the department provide its graduate students?
    A variety of teaching and research assistantships are available through the School of Music, and the University also offers a number of teaching assistantships and fellowships. For more information, please visit our assistantship website. Scholarships may also be available to proficient musicians, especially orchestral musicians. To be considered for a performance-based scholarship, please schedule an audition on one of our official audition days.

    Is an audition required?
    An audition is not required of any applicant to a Catholic University graduate program. Proficient musicians are invited to audition; the results will be used for scholarship purposes only and will in no way affect the application. Ph.D. students interested in pursuing a minor in performance must audition for the appropriate applied faculty to be accepted into the minor; that audition need not occur at the time of application and can be scheduled at the student’s convenience after matriculating at Catholic University.

    What materials are needed for consideration in the musicology division?
    In addition to the standard university application and official college transcripts, an application to both the M.A. and the Ph.D. consists of a personal statement (which should stress why the student is pursuing graduate education in musicology and also provide evidence of the student’s preparation for the degree), letters of recommendation (at least one of which should be from a musicology professor), and at least one writing sample. For M.A. applications, the writing sample should be a research paper on any musical topic that demonstrates facility with scholarly sources, the ability to formulate an original argument, and solid writing skills. For Ph.D. applications, the writing sample should be a substantial original research paper on any musical topic that demonstrates solid bibliographical skills, critical use of sources, good writing and organizational skills, and proficiency in identifying a problem and formulating an original argument. The master’s thesis (or a portion thereof) is often appropriate for the Ph.D. writing sample. Many students also include a recent curriculum vitae with the application, but that is not required.

    Do I need to have a specific research specialization or know what my thesis/dissertation topic will be at the time of my application?
    While some students already have a research specialization at the time of their application, we do not require this, and those with an already established research plan do not have an advantage over those without one. It is very natural for students to find their scholarly niche only as a result of the courses they take after entering the program. In many cases, in fact, a student who enters the program with a clear idea for the thesis or dissertation ends up selecting an entirely different topic.

    Are the GREs required for admission into the musicology division?
    We do not require GRE scores for admission to either the M.A. or Ph.D. in musicology. High GRE scores, however, may qualify a student for a University-wide fellowship.

    Is there anything else about Catholic University’s musicology program that you would highlight over similar programs?
    One important benefit of the Catholic University musicology program is our small size; we are a tight-knit, vibrant community of scholars who support and encourage each other, without the competitive and often cutthroat atmosphere found at many of the larger schools. Our colloquium series is also more extensive than that found at many schools, providing weekly access to visiting scholars and the most recent developments in musicological research. While the musicology division is a distinct community within the School of Music, we are also fully integrated into the school and university at large, which offers a wide variety of performance options, as well as options to take courses and/or pursue minors in other departments of the university, as well as at other schools in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Our location in Washington, D.C. is also a tremendous benefit, providing access to such important research institutions as the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Archives. For more information on the musicology division, please visit our website.

  • Piano

    How is my private piano teacher chosen?
    Graduate students are given the option to choose their private instructor. However, should a student not have a preference, the piano faculty will assess the student’s ability and level of development to place each student in a studio most suitable for his or her development.

    Will I be able to find a practice room?
    We have approximately 30 practice rooms, 12 of which have baby grand pianos. You should not have a problem finding practice room space. There is an option to reserve a practice room at the start of the school year so that it is your private space for that certain day and time. For more information regarding practice room reservations please contact Lee Polites.

    Are there a variety of solo and chamber music performance opportunities?
    Yes. Catholic University offers pianists frequent opportunities to perform in solo and chamber recitals. Past performance venues include: the Bulgarian Embassy, The Kennedy Center, Ward Recital Hall’s piano series, and more. All graduate piano majors are required to present recitals as well.

    What are the different graduate piano programs offered?
    We offer four major disciplines for graduate studies in piano: Chamber music, piano pedagogy, piano performance, and vocal accompanying. Each requires an audition for acceptance into the program. For further information and specifics of each program, please contact Dr. Ivo Kaltchev.

  • Sacred Music

    What is the application process for a graduate degree in Sacred Music?
    The application process is two-fold. You must apply to the University through graduate admission as well as audition for the program through the School of Music. 

    What does the audition consist of?
    The audition for the sacred music program is a full-day commitment. You will interview with our faculty, meet other applicants and current sacred music students, conduct and participate in an ensemble, and attend a sacred music colloquium. 

    Please note: The School of Music is temporarily not accepting applications or auditions to the D.M.A. in Sacred Music.

  • Voice

    What are the performance opportunities for students?
    The voice program produces two major operas a year as well as numerous workshop performances. A vocal recital is also required for program completion.

    What is “open-studio”?
    Catholic University offers a very unique opportunity referred to as open-studio. While you are assigned a primary private instructor, this gives you the opportunity to take lessons from another member of our voice faculty. This allows you further insight from a perspective other than your primary teacher.

    How are students matched with their teachers?
    During your first week of classes, our voice faculty will hear you sing again. Based on their assessment of your abilities and development, you will be placed with a teacher the faculty feels most appropriate.

    What are the differences between Voice Performance and Vocal Pedagogy?
    The graduate voice department offers a degree in voice performance and vocal pedagogy. The voice performance concentration is a performance-based program consisting of performance, physiology, and workshop courses. The vocal pedagogy concentration is offered for students who wish to learn the intricacies of teaching voice. This program consists of physiology, technique, and some performance courses. For more information on either program, please contact Professor Sharon Christman.

  • International Students

    What is the minimum TOEFL score?
    For specific score requirements, please refer to the International Student website.

    If I received another degree in the United States, am I required to take the TOEFL?
    Usually in this situation a TOEFL is not required. Please contact cua-music@cua.edu to be sure your situation is reviewed.

    May a translator come into the audition with me?
    This is not encouraged, but may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact cua-music@cua.edu for further questions.

    For more information on international applications, forms and processes, please refer to the International Students website.