Graduate Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need a degree in music to be eligible?

No, you do not. However, you need to have the necessary background in music to pursue graduate study. 

What if my degree is from another country?

Bachelor’s degrees from many countries are accepted. Please visit the Graduate Division website for international requirements.

What Grade Point Average is required?

The University and the Department require a B (3.0) minimum overall GPA from all college level coursework.

Is the GRE required? What is the minimum score?

The GRE is NOT required for any applicants to the Department of Music.


Do you accept applications for Winter, Spring or Summer?

We only accept applications for Fall quarter.  The online application becomes available mid-September for admission the following fall quarter. The online application can be found here.

How many applicants do you usually have? How many get accepted?

The number of applications accepted varies greatly, based on departmental need in particular instrument or program areas.  

Application Materials

Music Department

Graduate Divison

What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for all applications, supplemental materials, and test scores is January 10 for admission to Fall.  In past years, the deadline has been extended to April 1.  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.  Please check the graduate admission page for the most up-to-date information.

May I audition by CD/DVD or online links?

Most performance programs and degrees require a prescreen audition (links to be uploaded into the online application). Please refer to specific programs for requirements. Application to the DMA program requires a live audition. Composition requires a portfolio of scores (one of substantial length) and recordings of recent works (links to be uploaded into the online application).

International Students

I am an international student but my degree is from a U.S. school. Do I still have to take the TOEFL?

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL or the IELTS.  The university minimum TOEFL score requirement is 550 when taking the paper based test (PBT) and 80 when taking the internet based test (IBT). The university minimum IELTS score for consideration is an Overall Band Score of 7.  Exemptions will be considered for students who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at an institution whose official language of instruction is English. Applicants must provide final/official transcripts indicating (1) completion of the degree program and (2) English as the official language of instruction.

Applications are not considered complete without the test scores from either the TOEFL or IELTS tests.

Are admissions standards different for international students?

No, the only difference will be in requirements of English proficiency and items related to the visa.

Can international students get Financial Aid?

International students are eligible for most forms of merit-based support.  However, they are not eligible to apply for need-based financial aid.


How long does it take to become a resident for tuition purposes?

For residency information, please visit the Registrar’s Office website.

Financial Support

What kinds of financial support are available?

There are a variety of sources for financial support.  Please visit the Music Department Graduate Financial Support page, the Graduate Division's Financial Support page, and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships page for more information.

All applicants will be considered for departmental fellowships and teaching assistantships and all doctoral applicants will also be considered for central fellowships as long as all admissions deadlines and requirements are met. There is no separate application.

Do all your students get support, or at least all your doctoral students?

Generally speaking, the Music Department at UCSB tries to provide all accepted students a funding offer of some sort.

Can I work full-time while in school?

It is not possible to work full time and complete a degree in the music department at UCSB.  Also, living in Santa Barbara, or close proximity, is important.


Do you have a graduate program in Music Management / Music Business / Music Education?

Our programs are in Performance, Composition, Theory, Musicology, and Ethnomusicology. We do not have a pedagogy program, but offer pedagogy courses occasionally.

Do you offer distance learning, i.e. courses through the internet?

No, we do not. The individual interaction of faculty and students that comes from classroom and one-on-one instruction is an important part of our program.

Can I earn my degree by going part-time or on non-degree status?

We require full-time status and are open only to those selected by our application process.

Can I take courses outside the Department of Music?

Yes, as time allows, you are welcome and encouraged to take courses outside the department.

If I’m in composition, theory, musicology, or ethnomusicology, can I take instrumental lessons? If I am in the performance area, can I pursue more in depth studies in the academic areas?

The UCSB Department of Music supports and encourages students who wish to do graduate-level work in both performance and academic areas. Students may either pursue multiple degree objectives, or combine high-level course work or performance opportunities with the degree program of their choice.  Music graduate students in all areas are welcome to audition for ensembles and take one-on-one lessons with faculty.


If you have any questions that have not been answered, please contact Carly Yartz, staff graduate advisor.