Music Department

Graduate Award Application - How to Apply to the Department of Music?

The graduate degree program in music offers specializations in Composition, Music Education, and Performance. 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. Visit faculty and staff webpage for more information.

Apply to CSU's College of Graduate Studies
In order to pursue a graduate degree in music, you must be admitted to Cleveland State University's College of Graduate Studies. Information on University admissions requirements, financial aid, and other general information may be obtained from Cleveland State's Graduate Admissions Office.

Admission Information: All College of Graduate Studies admission requirements must be met. The Department has different entry requirements for each area of specialization:

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 at (216) 687-3768.

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

Apply Now:

Additional information can be found by following the links for each track or in the Graduate Music Handbook. Please view the Graduate Catalog for specific degree requirements and information on the application process.


Dr. Brian Bailey
(216) 687-2039

Dr. Angelin Chang
(216) 687-2036

Prof. Birch Browning
(216) 687-3768

Dr. Victor Liva
(216) 687-6931

Mr. Tom Freer
(216) 687-5060

*Graduate Percussion Auditions: Please refer to Percussion Homepage for instructions:

Entry Requirements: An audition is required prior to admission for all students intending to earn the Master of Music in performance. In the audition, which should be 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 an in person audition, with prior approval of the head of the appropriate performance area.


    Dr. Andrew Rindfleisch || (216) 687-2029 ||

    Entry Requirements: Students intending to earn the Master of Music degree in composition are required to submit a portfolio of representative works. This portfolio will be reviewed by the composition faculty who will recommend on its merits and on the potential of the applicant to complete graduate work. Submit your portfolio directly to the head of the Composition area.

      Music Education:

      Dr. Heather A. Russell || (216) 687-5099 ||

      Entry Requirements: Students planning to earn the Master of Music degree in music education must provide two letters of recommendation from supervisory personnel who can attest to their teaching ability. For those with teaching experience, this could be a principal, supervisor of music, or other administrator. For those who have not yet taught professionally, letters from university supervisors of student teaching and co op teachers may be substituted.

      Students intending to earn the Master of Music degree in music education must submit one sample of formal writing on any topic. Submissions will be evaluated by the music education faculty on the strength of content and on the use of the English language.

        Apply for Graduate Awards - Master's Candidates and Performance Certificate

        Apply for Graduate Awards - Master's Candidates and Performance Certificate

        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 and auditions music be must be received and completed by last posted audition date prior to your anticipated enrollment at Cleveland State University. 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.

        Formal Notification of Acceptance: After a review of applicants' transcripts and supportive documents relevant to the intended major track, the Music Department makes its recommendation for acceptance to the Graduate Program in Music to the College of Graduate Studies. The Graduate College sends successful applicants the notification of acceptance.

        **If you have questions after you receive the graduate music program information packet, please contact:

        Dr. Victor Liva
        Coordinator, Graduate Music Program
        Department of Music
        Cleveland State University
        2001 Euclid Avenue MU 429
        (216) 687-6931