Music Department

Graduate Studies

Program Overview

Master of Music and Professional Certificate Programs

The graduate degree program in music offers specializations in Composition, Music Education, and Performance. As well as three post-graduate programs: Professional Studies in Music Performance Certificate Program, K-12 Multiage License in Music Education – Post Baccalaureate Non-Degree Program and Post Baccalaureate Equivalency Program in Music Therapy.

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Cross-disciplinary study among these specializations is encouraged.

The Department of Music offers outstanding facilities. A state-of-the-art building houses two performance halls, three large rehearsal halls, two chamber music rehearsal rooms, four electronic music/computer laboratories, and dozens of practice and specialized teaching spaces. Cleveland is one of the most outstanding centers for music in the United States, and students have many opportunities to observe and study with some of the finest performers in the world. A number of members or former members of the Cleveland Orchestra teach at the University, and Cleveland State vocal ensembles perform annually with the Orchestra. The Cleveland Contemporary Players, which is devoted to performing contemporary music, is in residence at the Cleveland State Department of Music. Composition students are able to have their works performed by the Cleveland Contemporary Players. Opportunities to perform early music, both vocal and instrumental, are available through Collegium Musicum and through private study. Internships for teaching college-level music are offered for students wishing to pursue an academic career. Workshops in Orff, Kodaly, and other approaches to music education are offered during the academic year and as part of the Summer Arts Institute through the Center for the Study of the Arts and Innovation for music educators who wish to continue their studies. The annual Thyagaraja (Aradhana) Festival at Cleveland State is the largest international festival of Indian music held outside of India.

Through its core and specialized courses, Cleveland State’s graduate music program is designed to provide solid musical training and to prepare students for careers in their area of specialization. The program is an excellent foundation for doctoral study. Students have gone on to careers in composition, arranging, conducting, choral music, electronic music, musicology, criticism, performance, library science, and teaching at the university level and in elementary and secondary schools. Cleveland State students have won awards for international study and have received appointments overseas. The music program attracts international students, as well as students from across the United States.

Current faculty information can be located on the Cleveland State University Faculty Profile page.


The Department of Music: Music and Communication Building, Room 334; Phone (216) 687-2033
Dr. John M. Perrine, Chair of the Department of Music
Dr. Victor Liva, Graduate Program Director

Graduate Degree Programs
  • Masters of Music in Composition
  • Masters of Music in Performance
  • Masters of Music in Music Education
Post-Graduate Program

Financial Assistance

The Music Department offers graduate assistantships, which pay tuition plus a stipend, and graduate tuition grants without stipend. To be eligible, students need a grade-point average of at least 3.0. Applications must be received by March 15 for the following academic year. Application forms are available from the Department of Music. Further details on requirements and service obligations are in the music department’s Graduate Student Handbook. Students are encouraged to audition for the Graduate String Quartet and the Graduate Woodwind Quintet.

Admission Information

All College of Graduate Studies admission requirements must be met.

The Department has different entry requirements for each area of specialization: Performance: An audition is required prior to admission for all students who wish to specialize in performance. In the audition, which should last fifteen minutes or longer, the student must demonstrate performance proficiency with some stylistic breadth. An audio tape or videotape may be provided in lieu of a live audition, with prior approval of the Department.

Composition: Applicants must submit a portfolio of representative works for evaluation.

Music Education: Two letters of recommendation from supervisory personnel who can attest to the applicant’s teaching ability are required.

All applicants are administered a diagnostic advisory examination in music history. Those who do not pass the examination are required to take MUS 511 and/or MUS 512. The examination must be taken before the student’s first registration. Arrangements can be made by contacting the Director of the Graduate Program Dr. Victor Liva at

Students who wish to change from non-degree status to degree-seeking status should consult the Degree Admission section of this Catalog.

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Degree Requirements

A candidate for the Master of Music degree must fulfill a total of thirty credit hours in approved graduate courses.

Graduate Handbook

The Department of Music’s Graduate Student Handbook is the definitive source for current curriculum requirements and course listings. The handbook is available in hard copy and online. Click here for the online graduate handbook.