The College of Arts and Architecture

Graduate Frequently Asked Questions

1. What kind of undergraduate degree is required for admission to graduate programs at the PSU School of Music?
2. Can I still be accepted into a graduate program if I have not satisfied all of the undergraduate requirements for that degree?
3. Are GRE scores required?
4. What types of financial assistance are available?
5. What is the process for applying for graduate programs?
6. Is it possible to apply for admission to more than one graduate degree program?
7. Is the TOEFL required for international applicants and if so, what is the required score?


1. What kind of undergraduate degree is required for admission to graduate programs?

A candidate applying for admission to the master's degree program in any of our music majors must have earned a recognized bachelor's degree in music with at least a 2.8 junior-senior grade-point average. A typical bachelor's degree in music includes the following:

  • 12-16 credits in music theory and analysis
  • 6-9 credits in music history

Some programs have requirements beyond those listed above. Check the individual degree program descriptions for the specific requirements.


2. Can I still be accepted into a music graduate program if I have not satisfied all of the undergraduate requirements for that degree?

A candidate who is deficient in any area may be considered for admission, but must be prepared to make up the deficiency, without credit toward the degree, during the first year of graduate study.


3. Are GRE scores required?

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is required for admission to the Master of Arts degree in Music (with tracks in music theory, music theory and history, and musicology).

The following should be submitted to Penn State by the testing agencies at your request.  Select "Penn State University" as the destination for your GRE scores by selecting the correct school code below:

  • GRE scores (general test) - School Code 2660

4. What types of financial assistance are available?

The graduate financial aid page explains the different types of assistantships, fellowships, loans, and grants offered by Penn State and the School of Music.  The most common of these are graduate assistantships, which provide full tuition, 80% of health insurance premiums and a monthly living stipend in return for service doing research or assisting in teaching undergraduate courses. The School of Music offers a limited number of quarter-time and half-time graduate assistantships to outstanding applicants. School of Music assistantship awards include a 10-month stipend and a grant-in-aid which covers all tuition and fees.

Not all graduate applicants are offered assistantships. We usually have approximately 65-70 graduate students enrolled for fall and spring semesters. Of those, approximately 50-55 graduate students receive an assistantship for the academic year.

To be considered for a graduate assistantship, please complete the Graduate Assistantship application and upload it to the University application. If you are unable to access the form, a paper copy can be requested from the following address:

School of Music Graduate Admsisions

The Pennsylvania State University

233 Music Building I

University Park, PA 16802-1901

Phone: 814-865-1052

Fax: 814-865-6785

Email: music-gr-adm@psu.edu


5. What is the process for applying for graduate programs?

General information on the graduate application process can be found here. Information regarding the specific graduate degree programs and their admission requirements can be found here. Audition requirements for performance degrees can be found here.


6. Is it possible to apply for admission to more than one graduate degree program?

Admission is granted jointly by the Graduate School and by the department or graduate program in which the student plans to study. Graduate applicants may apply for admission to only one program at a time. The graduate admission online application allows applicants to choose only one degree and major. However, if an applicant is accepted and begins study at Penn State, a graduate student is permitted to apply to a second graduate degree or a teacher certification program.


7. Is the TOEFL required for international applicants and, if so, what is the required score?

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below.

The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the internet-based test (iBT). Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, which requires completion of specified remedial English courses ESL 114G (American Oral English for Academic Purposes) and/or ESL 116G (ESL/Composition for Academic Disciplines) and attainment of a grade of B or higher. The minimum acceptable composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. Graduate programs may have more stringent requirements.

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.

Note: If applying to the M.M.E. or Ph.D. in music education, non-native English speakers must submit a language test score regardless of academic background.

The following should be submitted to Penn State by the testing agencies at your request.  Select "Penn State University" as the destination for your TOEFL or IELTS scores by selecting the correct school code below:

  • TOEFL and IELTS scores (international applicants only) - School Code 2660