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Department of Music

Graduate Degree FAQs

What is required for admission to the graduate program in music?

A bachelor's degree in music (or the equivalent) is required. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 is also required. Applicants with a GPA between 2.75 and 2.99 may be considered; however, for these applicants the GRE General Test is required. An audition is required for conducting, instrumental, and vocal performance applicants. Composition and music education applicants must arrange an interview with the appropriate faculty member(s). Applicants must also submit academic transcripts, a personal statement, a writing sample, and three letters of recommendation.

How long will it take to finish the M.A. Music program?

The M.A. Music program is a 30-unit degree that is typically takes four semesters (two years) to complete. Those students fulfilling prerequisites or enrolled part-time may require more than four semesters to complete their degree. 

What are the areas of emphasis within the M.A. Music program?  

Graduate degree options are offered in Music Education and Music Performance. The Performance Option includes emphases in conducting, composition, instrumental, and vocal performance. The Music Education Option is designed for new or experienced teachers seeking advanced study in classroom music instruction, theories of teaching and learning, and research in music education. 

Will my employment prospects be enhanced once I complete my graduate degree in music?

The skills obtained through graduate study often lead to enhanced career opportunities. For classroom teachers, the completion of a graduate degree usually means a higher rate of pay as well as an increase in leadership responsibilities within their districts. For composers and performers, the academic and artistic rigor of a master's degree can lead to a college-level teaching position, a successful private studio, and potentially greater opportunities to collaborate with other highly-trained music professionals.  

Will a master's degree in music from Fresno State increase my opportunities for doctoral study?

Over the years, numerous Fresno State graduates have gone on to Ph.D. and DMA programs at major music institutions in the U.S. as well as other parts of the world.  Several of these Fresno State graduates now hold positions at community colleges and universities. 

What about the faculty?

The music faculty at Fresno State consists of scholars, performers, educators, composers and conductors with national and international reputations. The faculty is committed to providing a quality graduate education and strive to help students reach their personal and professional goals. 

Are there special learning opportunities?

Dependent upon funding, a limited number of graduate assistantships and teaching associate positions may be available for any given semester. Graduate assistants and teaching associates work under the supervision of a faculty member. The application period normally begins by early June. Positions will be listed on the University's eRecruit webpage.

What type of facilities are available?

The Department of Music at Fresno State offers some of the most extensive music facilities within the California State University system. The 65,000 square foot expansion of the Music Building, completed in 1991, combined with an extensive remodeling of the existing facility includes a 320 seat Concert Hall, the 200 seat Wahlberg Recital Hall, a 220 seat Rehearsal Hall, as well as over 30 practice rooms, classrooms, a large dance studio, faculty office space, a conference room, student lounge, and 700 student lockers. The building also contains a recording studio, computer labs, and a tracker-action organ. 

Is there financial aid for graduate students in music?

There are a variety of ways to finance your graduate career. The Financial Aid Office at Fresno State provides information on how to apply for aid, scholarships, and resources. The Division of Research and Graduate Studies ( offers a number of scholarships, fellowships, and awards including The Graduate Research and Creative Activities Support Award and Travel Grants to present at a paper or poster at a major association professional conference or society meeting. In addition, there are a number of Music Department scholarships available to graduate students along with possibilities for a graduate assistantship or teaching associate position. 

What are educational and living expenses like in Fresno?

In recent years Fresno State has been recognized as a top university in national ranking publications such as Washington Monthly and Money Magazine. Tuition costs for graduate education at Fresno State are generally lower than other California State University or University of California campuses. Housing costs in Fresno are among the most affordable in California. 

What sorts of recreational opportunities exist in Fresno?

Situated in the center of the San Joaquin Valley in Central California, Fresno is within short driving distance to Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks as well as ski areas, Monterey, Big Sur, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The climate in Fresno allows for year-round outdoor sports.