Prospective Graduate Students

The Graduate Program of the Hunter College Music Department
At Hunter College, we offer a flexible music program – allowing us to meet the diverse needs of our students – at surprisingly affordable prices. Students may study full-time or part-time, which makes our program ideal for the busy NYC professional; indeed, a number of our students are professional musicians and music teachers who are able to complete their M.A. studies at night: all required courses in our department are offered at night.


Course Information
Proficiency Exams
Graduate Handbook


We offer an M.A. in Music with concentrations in Composition, Ethnomusicology, Music History, Music Theory, and Performance; students with specific needs might also be able to get an M.A. in Music with a “mixed concentration.” We also offer a master’s degree in Music Education. This program is sometimes referred to as the TEP (Teacher Education Program in Music) and is jointly administered by the Music Department and by the Hunter College School of Education. Upon graduation from the program, students receive an MA in Music Education and are recommended for New York State Certification as a music teacher (Pre-K-12). Since one of the primary purposes of the TEP program is to earn teacher certification, individuals who are already certified music teachers are not eligible for admission to the program.

Prospective Graduate Students

  1. Graduate Music Programs at Hunter:
    We offer M.A. concentrations in Composition, Ethnomusicology, Music History, Music Theory, Performance, the possibility of a “mixed” concentration combining any two of these disciplines, and an M.A. in Music Education, via Hunter’s Teacher Education Program. For information regarding prerequisites, auditions, work sample requirements, and academic admission for all programs except Music Education, please go to the following link: M.A. in Music . Those interested in our graduate program in Music Education should go to the following link instead: Teacher Education Program in Music, and follow all instructions on that page.After reading the information on Graduate Degree Programs and Requirements, some of your additional questions might be answered by reading the Graduate FAQs.  NOTE: For prospective MA students who come to us with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than music, we expect them first to complete the equivalent of 29 undergraduate credits in music — that is, four semesters of music theory, four semesters of musicianship (sight singing, ear training, and keyboard), and three semesters of music history — as a pre-requisite to entering our MA program. This sequence of courses begins in the fall only. You would apply to Hunter first as a “second-degree” undergraduate (transfer student), and remain in that status in order to fulfill the undergraduate course requirements. In your final semester of completing the pre-requisite courses you may officially apply and audition for the MA program. Please read the information above under Prospective TRANSFER Students and follow the instructions accordingly. Additional information is available here.
  2. Submitting an Application for Admission:
    To apply to Hunter, prospective students must complete and send in the official application provided by the Admissions Office. Applications can accessed at: 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.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.NOTE: 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 audition for the music program and, with positive performance audition results, defer matriculation in music while studying English at the Hunter College IELI.
  3. Auditions (M.A. in Performance) [NOTE: applicants for the M.A. Teacher Education Program must also submit an audition form. For more information on the MA TEP program, please go to No. 5, below].  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 M.A. Audition Registration Form.
  4. 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. Audition repertoire for the M.A. in Classical Instrumental or Vocal Performance should 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. Instrumentalists auditioning for an M.A. in Jazz Performance must include at least one selection that is fully or mostly notated (Note: Hunter College does not have a concentration in Vocal 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).
  5. Submission of Work Samples (M.A. Concentrations in Composition, Music History, Music Theory or Ethnomusicology)
    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.
  6. M.A.-Teacher Education Program in Music
    For information on our graduate program in Music Education, please click on the following link: Teacher Education Program in Music.
  7. Further Information for Prospective Graduate Students
    Below is a list of many of the important links covered above, including links to the M.A. Audition Registration Form, and information on Graduate Financial Aid.

Prospective students are also encouraged to contact the Music Department Graduate Adviser, Prof. Poundie Burstein, if you have any specific questions about our programs.

Poundie Burstein, Director of Graduate Studies
Room 400D Hunter North; 212-772-5152

Advising Hours
FALL 2017: Advising Hours

Tuesdays, 8:15-9:30pm
Wednesdays 9:00-9:30pm
Thursdays 6:15-6:45pm, 8:15-9:00pm

For Frequently Asked Questions, see FAQs – Graduate.