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Graduate Admissions

Thank you for your interest in the graduate programs for the Department of Music at UC San Diego!

The Department of Music offers graduate work leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) with areas of emphasis in Composition, Computer Music, and Integrative Studies, as well as the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Contemporary Music Performance. 

Note: We no longer offer a standalone MA program. Applications are for the doctoral program only.

Admissions Committees will review submitted applications and make recommendations for admission to the Graduate Dean. Admission decisions are based on the quality of the application materials and the fit between the applicant's research interests and those of the program's faculty. We strongly encourage all applicants to read our faculty pages to identify professors with compatible research and practice orientations with whom they would be interested to work; discussing aspects of a possible mentorship relation in the application.

To Apply:

Application Opens:  Early September 2024 for the Fall 2025 application cycle

Application Deadline: Early December 2024 for the Fall 2025 application cycle

Applications are currently CLOSED for the Fall 2025 application cycle. Admissions deadlines are TBD.

  • If materials are added to a submitted application past the deadline, they may not be considered along with the rest of the application.

Admission Requirements

  • Statement of purpose 
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Minimum of two papers illustrating writing ability in any area of music scholarship related to your degree goals (Your most recent writing and writing on twentieth- and twenty-first-century musical practices is preferred.)
    • Note: This can be added to the Portfolio section of the application
  • Unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended (scanned copies are acceptable. Official copies will be required upon admission)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required for this application and should not be submitted. 

  • For international students: The TOEFL exam (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is required of ALL international students whose country of citizenship does not have English as its primary language, unless you have been enrolled in a full-time program of study for a minimum of one year in a country whose primary language is English. The minimum TOEFL score is 550 (or 213 for the computer-based exam). The minimum IELTS score is 7. The minimum speaking TOEFL score is 25 and 28–30 for IELTS. For further information see: Language Proficiency Requirement

Materials to Submit for Area of Emphasis

In addition to the general university admissions requirements, each area of emphasis requires additional admissions materials. See below for more information.

  • For Composition, Computer Music, and Integrated Studies area applicants: select Doctor of Philosophy, Program of Interest- Music. You will select your area of emphasis under the 'Music Application Questions' section in the application.
  • For Perfomance area applicants: select Doctor of Music Arts under Degree Type in the 'Program Selector' section of the application.


Three scores of instrumental worksideally accompanied by recorded examples of the works being performed. Such evidence may include, but should not be exclusively, electroacoustic works or installation documentation. At least one of the submitted works must be a score involving traditional instrumental writing. A repertory list of works (solo and chamber) performed or composed during the past few years and digital or scanned samples of printed concert programs in which you have participated, either as performer, composer, or collaborator.

Computer Music

Appropriate documentation of prior work (e.g., papers, performances, intermedia works, computer programs, etc.).

Integrative Studies

At least one of your writing samples should represent substantial and sustained engagement with a topic of relevance to contemporary music scholarship. If appropriate, documentation of performances, compositions, computer music projects, installations, or intermedia work.


Audio/video files demonstrating the level of vocal and/or instrumental performance. In-person auditions are desirable when possible, but not required. A repertory list of works (solo and chamber) performed or composed during the past few years and digital/scanned samples of printed concert programs in which you have participated, either as performer, composer, or collaborator.

For additional information regarding Admissions Requirements, please visit  


If at any time you have questions about the application process or the materials you should submit, please contact our Graduate Advisor at