Application Overview for Graduate Studies
All applicants seeking admission to the Graduate Program in Music must submit forms and materials as described on the Graduate Division website by the Graduate Admissions deadline.
Forms may be submitted online or via the postal service at:
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Graduate Admissions Office
2540 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822
Graduate Applicants must also submit the following to the Music Department by the appropriate deadline:
- three confidential recommendation letters (not more than two years old) to be uploaded via the application portal, Mākālei
- a copy of a transcript from each post secondary institution attended. Official transcripts sent directly from the institution in a sealed institutional envelope must be submitted after the student is admitted. Transcripts are not required for any coursework completed at any of the UH campuses since Graduate Admissions will obtain UH transcripts on behalf of applicants;
- statement of objectives; and
- supporting materials (see below) specific to the intended area of specialization for Master’s students, for PhD students.
These materials should be submitted through Music Mākālei, our application portal:
Graduate Division requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 for unconditional admission, and 2.7 for conditional admission. Most applicants amply exceed these minima.
Note: Students completing a master’s degree in music at UHM and wishing to continue for a PhD in Music at UHM may apply by submitting the Petition for Admission to a Doctorate in Same Discipline to the Graduate Chair who will supervise an internal admissions process. This option is available only to students who move on to the doctoral level with no break. Transcripts and Graduate Admissions Application form are not necessary, nor does the Graduate Division charge a fee.
International students should start to collect application materials and information ten to twelve months before they expect to begin their studies at the University of Hawai’i because of the extra time necessary to process applications, receive transcripts and schedule standardized tests.
For more information about music graduate programs, please contact the Music Department Graduate Chair.
Applicants who are not native speakers of English must take the Test of English as a Second Language (TOEFL) and have the TOEFL score sent directly to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Paper-based (P), computer-based (C), and internet-based (I) minimum requirements for UH Music are:
- 560(P), 220(C), or 83(I) for all PhD students, and
- 600(P), 250(C), or 100(I) with subtest scores of 25 for listening and 25 for speaking for all teaching assistants.
Other TOEFL score minimum requirements for the Music Department are:
- 500(P), 173 (C), or 61(I) for MM performance majors
- 540(P), 207 (C) or 76(I) for all other master’s students.
TOEFL scores cannot be more than two years old. Scores are not required for admission if you have earned a bachelor’s or advanced degree within the last five years at a regionally accredited or recognized institution in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, or United Kingdom.
Applicants for admission to the master’s degree program must have an undergraduate degree with a major in music or a bachelor’s degree and evidence of an equivalent musical background; three confidential (not more than two years old) letters of recommendation on forms provided by the music department; and, for non-native speakers of English, a TOEFL score of 500 minimum for performance or 540 for other concentrations and 600 for teaching assistants (see TOEFL description above). A GRE General Test score is welcomed but not required. In the following concentrations, students must meet additional admission requirements:
A personal statement of 800 words minimum (3 pages) including the purpose of study. Background in cultural anthropology is desirable and, depending on the thesis research, may be required.
MA, Music Education
- BEd degree (music education) or equivalent
- Minimum one year of paid, full-time music teaching experience at the elementary, intermediate, or secondary level in a public or private school.
- Of the three letters of recommendation for admission, two must be from a past or present principal or other supervisor.
- Each applicant needs to submit a videotape/DVD demonstrating current teaching expertise. Suggested minimum length of the videotape/DVD is 20 – 30 minutes. Applicants may include segments from more than one class session or rehearsal. A lesson or rehearsal plan must be included with your demonstration video. This videotape/DVD serves as the general examination (part 3) for music education applicants. Videotapes will not be returned unless a SASE is provided by the student with the application materials sent to the music department. Decisions concerning both requirements and evaluations are made by the music education faculty. For more information, contact Dr. Barbara McLain.
Sample of academic writing proficiency (a minimum 10-page term paper from an upper division music history course is preferred).
Three original scores which are representative of various forms and media, and a recording of at least one of the three submitted works. Applicants must also have a bachelor’s degree in music composition (or equivalency in course work) or submit music scores that demonstrate sufficient preparation for studies in composition at the master’s level.
An audition of works representative of various musical styles.
- Applicants residing in Hawai‘i must audition in person.
- Applicants not residing in Hawai‘i must submit an unedited recording comparable in scope and length to an in-person audition and, if admitted, will audition before the department admissions faculty before the student registers for the first semester of residency to ascertain appropriate placement in the curriculum sequence.
- A recent University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa graduate may be admitted without a hearing if the BM senior recital is considered to be of high enough quality by the majority of the department admissions faculty.
Please see the recording instructions as well as audition information on the Auditions page. Recordings will not be reviewed until the application is complete.
Applicants for admission to the PhD program must present:
- a master’s degree in music (in the area of emphasis) or equivalent;
- an excellent academic record;
- two copies of a transcript from each post secondary institution attended
(official transcripts sent directly from the institution in a sealed institutional envelope must be submitted after the student is admitted; transcripts are not required for any coursework completed at any of the UH campuses since Graduate Admissions will obtain UH transcripts on behalf of applicants.);
- three confidential letters of recommendation (not more than two years old) on forms provided by the music department;
- a sample of academic writing proficiency such as a recent term paper; and
- for non-native speakers of English a TOEFL score of 560 or better.
NOTE: At the doctoral level the Department welcomes a GRE score but does not require that applicants submit one.
In the following concentrations, students must meet additional admission requirements:
A master’s degree in composition or equivalent, in terms of course work and original compositions. A score of a large-scale work, scores of two shorter works, and a recording of at least one of the above. Evaluation of these scores will constitute one part of the applicant’s doctoral qualifying exam in composition (part 3).
A master’s degree in ethnomusicology or the equivalent in terms of coursework and fieldwork. A major research paper in ethnomusicology as evidence of extensive background in musical traditions other than Western art music.
PhD, Music Education
- A master’s degree in music education is preferred, but an equivalent background is acceptable.
- A minimum of two years full-time music teaching in a public or private school at the elementary, intermediate, or secondary level.
- Three confidential letters of recommendation must address the applicant’s teaching ability; at least two of these letters must be written by a past or present principal or other supervisor.
- One of the following: (a) a videotape of a teaching demonstration (or actual teaching), or (b) an in-person teaching demonstration. A lesson or rehearsal plan must also be provided.
The evaluation of submitted teaching demonstrations (taped or in person) will constitute part of the applicant’s qualifying examination in music education.
A master’s degree in musicology or a minimum of four graduate seminars in musicology. A 7,500 word research paper in English on a subject in historical musicology.
Financial Aid for Graduate Studies
Scholarships, grants, loans, and student employment are the principal forms of financial assistance available to students enrolled in degree programs. To be eligible for such assistance, students must be enrolled full time in coursework relevant to the graduate degree.
Please note: due to stringent INS regulations full-time enrollment according to federal standards is required of international students.
Students on F-1 (self-support) and J-1 (institutional support) visas, as well as those in most other non-immigrant classifications are ineligible for financial aid through Basic Educational Opportunity Grants, federal work-study programs, guaranteed loans and similar programs. Non-citizens eligible for assistance through these programs include:
- permanent residents of the U.S.,
- conditional permanent residents, and
- individuals with I-94 designations.
Prospective students will find financial aid application forms and extensive information about the various aid programs, including all relevant deadlines, posted at the Financial Aid Services website. For specific financial aid questions, it is also possible to contact the Financial Aid Office by e-mail.
The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa offers graduate assistantships to students who have excellent scholastic records, suitable background for the duties required by the assistantships, and a high level of English proficiency. International students applying for graduate assistantships must have a minimum TOEFL score of 600 (paper), 250 (computer), or 100 (internet) with subtest scores of 25 for listening and speaking, and a valid U.S. work permit. TOEFL scores cannot be more than two years old. Graduate assistants (GAs) must be full-time, classified graduate students in music.
Application for Graduate Assistantships
Applicants for a graduate assistantship must complete the online application, available in Mākālei, no later than January 15 for appointments beginning in the subsequent fall semester, and no later than September 1 for appointments beginning in the subsequent spring semester. Applicants who seek an assistantship commencing in the spring semester must upload their applications by August 1. Incomplete or late applications may not be considered. The application must be supported by three recent letters of recommendation (the letters you solicit as part of your application to the program will serve this purpose) attesting to the applicant’s academic abilities, achievements and suitability for teaching assignments. Referees selected by the applicant will receive an email prompt from Mākālei to upload a letter on the applicant’s behalf. Recommendations must be uploaded by February 1 for fall semester applicants and September 1 for spring semester applicants. Because all graduate assistants (GAs) must be enrolled as classified students, the Department must also have evidence of a completed application for admission to the graduate program in music and copies of the applicant’s academic transcripts. All applicants whose native language is not English and whose Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is not from an approved English language university must request that the Educational Testing Service send TOEFL scores directly to the Graduate Division.
Current music graduate students may apply for a GA-ship. These students need only complete and submit the Graduate Assistant Application form, which is available in the “Documents” section of the student’s Mākālei account. These students may use recommendations already on file, if they are less than two years old, and/or submit recommendations from faculty members whose courses and/or seminars the applicant has completed since admission.
If an applicant does not receive an assistantship, s/he is automatically considered for an Achievement Scholarship (see Achievement Scholarships below). Contract duty periods normally begin one week prior to the first day of class and run through spring commencement (approximately August 15 to May 15). The stipend is pro-rated in twelve monthly installments. The GA receives a tuition waiver for the fall and spring semesters and may apply to Outreach College for a tuition waiver that covers a maximum of six credits for either of the two summer sessions, if they fall within the GA’s contract period. These summer waivers are limited in number. GAs are personally responsible for the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) fee and other fees, including the general and special fees listed in the Graduate Information Bulletin.
Normally master’s level GAs serve for a maximum of four semesters and doctoral level GAs for a maximum of six semesters. The department may choose to terminate a GA’s contract at the end of any semester, including the first, if a student fails to maintain a B (3.0) or better average and/or performs his assigned duties inadequately. Renewal for a third semester is also linked to satisfactory progress toward the degree. This progress is measured in part by successful completion, before the end of the second semester of study, of Parts I and II of the General Examination (for master’s students) or Parts I and II of the Qualifying Examination (for PhD students).
All students selected as graduate assistants should be aware of the Graduate Division policies governing their employment. The Music Department Chair will assign twenty hours a week of duties to a student given a full graduate assistantship.
For applicants from countries where accessing Makalei is not possible, please print and use the forms below:
See the Scholarship page.
Fellowships for Graduate Study in Ethnomusicology for Students from Pacific & Asian Countries
This fellowship is intended to aid in developing ethnomusicological expertise in Asian and Pacific Island nations by providing support for two years of graduate study to qualified students entering the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Renewal of the fellowship after the first year is contingent upon satisfactory progress in the program.
Recipients of an Achievement Scholarship (applicable toward tuition and fees) must maintain full-time enrollment (8 credits) in degree-related coursework, maintain a 3.5 average or better, and be making satisfactory progress toward degree completion. The last will be measured, in part, by successful completion, prior to the second semester of study, of Parts I and II of the General Examination (for master’s students) or of Parts I and II of the Qualifying Examination (for PhD students). The amount of this award varies, but the minimum is $500. It is valid for one semester (renewable). Students are personally responsible for all fees, including the general and special fees listed in the Graduate Information Bulletin as well as any remaining tuition balance, by the payment deadline posted in the MyUH website. To be awarded an Achievement Scholarship, students must apply at least once; both this application and recommendation letters will remain valid for four (MA level) or six (PhD level) semesters.
All students who apply for a Graduate Assistantship (GA) are automatically considered for an Achievement Scholarship as well. Students who do not apply for a Graduate Assistantship but still wish to be considered for an Achievement Scholarship must submit, by posted deadlines, the Application for Graduate Assistantship / Achievement Scholarship to:
University of Hawai’i at Manoa Music Department
2411 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822
Applicants may also apply for Music Department Scholarships.
The Student Employment Office helps students find on-campus jobs after they have registered for classes. Any UHM student enrolled in a degree program and carrying the equivalent of a half-time courseload (i.e., four credits for graduate students) is eligible to work on campus. Please note that the INS requires international students be enrolled full-time (i.e., eight credits of coursework relevant to the degree). In addition, students on F-1 visas must first receive clearance from the foreign student advisor in the International Student Office before seeking on-campus employment.
More information about Student Employment & Cooperative Education.
Requests for further information or for clarification of any information presented here may be addressed to the Graduate Chair, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Department of Music, 2411 Dole St., Honolulu HI 96822. The GC may also be contacted by e-mail (email@example.com) or telephone (808-956-2130).