NIU student Keelan Wright with his saxophone.

Graduate Admissions

At NIU, you get the best of everything. You’ll learn from and perform alongside world-renowned, award-winning faculty who are dedicated to your growth as a musician, all while gaining the benefits and resources of a major research university. Since we’re just 65 miles west of Chicago, you’ll be close to a vibrant music scene, surrounded with numerous opportunities to perform on campus, in the community and in the city.

Application Process


The Graduate School sets a minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.00, though a lower GPA may be considered. You must have completed a Bachelor of Music degree to be considered, with limited exceptions to this requirement. The School of Music does not require the GRE for admission.

International Applicants

If you are an international applicant, you must report your TOEFL or IELTS scores to the Graduate School. Master's and Performer's Certificate applicants must have a score of 80 on the computer-based TOEFL. Students who have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from a U.S. college or university are exempt from taking the TOEFL or IELTS again.


There are various funding opportunities for graduate students, including tuition waivers and graduate assistantships. You are encouraged to apply for both funding opportunities. To be considered for either of these opportunities, all graduate application, music audition and funding application materials must be submitted by March 15 for priority consideration. You will be contacted in late March/early April about the status of your tuition waiver and/or assistantship.

Application Deadlines

All graduate application, music audition and funding application materials should be submitted by March 15 (priority deadline). Auditions are held in February. If you are unable to attend one of our scheduled audition days, you must receive permission to schedule a separate audition or submit a video audition.

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