Graduate Programs

The NIU School of Music provides all of the advantages of a conservatory program with the features and experiences of attending a major university. You will receive a strong artistic, intellectual, and practical foundation for a professional career in music. Through our diverse programming, you have the opportunity to focus on jazz, contemporary and new music, a number of world music ensembles, and traditional Western music. 

You will receive personalized attention from engaged and dedicated faculty, who are nationally and internationally recognized. Your classroom and other scholarly experiences will feature broad cultural and academic perspectives, which are essential in continuing to develop as a versatile musician.

Graduate admission for music majors is a two-step process. Every student must be accepted by both the Office of Graduate Admissions and the School of Music in order to pursue a degree. Review your Music Admissions Requirements.

For questions about the graduate application, programs or funding, please contact the coordinator of graduate studies, Professor James R. Brown at jbrown35@niu.edu. For questions about auditions, please contact the music admissions coordinator, Brigid Crawford at bcrawford@niu.edu.  

Master of Music (M.M.)

The Master of Music degree is a 32-semester hour program consisting of 13 semester hours of core requirements plus 19 semester hours taken within one of three specializations: music education, music performance or individualized study.

Degree requirements for the M.M. can be found in the graduate catalog. Please contact the coordinator of graduate studies for more specific information.

Specialization 1: Music Education

Applicants are admitted to this specialization only after review of application documents and a brief interview/audition with a committee of the music education faculty. Applicants must have public school teacher certification and a minimum of three years of public school teaching experience to be considered for admission. See music education requirements in the graduate catalog.

New for music education: MUSC 699 portfolio option.

Specialization 2: Music Performance

Applicants are admitted to this specialization only upon the recommendation of a committee of the performance faculty after an audition and review of application documents. Candidates should be prepared to perform a full-length program of the undergraduate senior recital caliber or higher for their audition. Where distance precludes an in-person audition, a CD or DVD of a full recital program may be submitted. See music performance requirements in the graduate catalog.

Specialization 3: Individualized Specialization - Music

Typical individualized specializations where the program concentrates entirely on music include composition, world music, jazz studies and recording arts. Applicants are admitted to this specialization only upon the recommendation of a committee of the music faculty after an in-depth examination for competence in music and/or other applicable fields, and a review of application documents. See individualized specialization requirements in the graduate catalog.

Performer's Certificate (P.C.)

The Performer's Certificate is a post-master's certificate program. The purpose of the P.C. is to enable advanced students to attain greater mastery of their chosen fields than they can achieve in formal study through the master's degree level. This 24 semester-hour program includes private instruction, research related to performance, and performance experience designed to develop fully-independent professional musicians.

Requirements for the Performer’s Certificate can be found in the graduate catalog. Please contact the coordinator of graduate studies for more specific information.