Music MM or DMA (Conducting)

Application Requirements

The Department of Music accepts applications to the MM and DMA programs in Choral Conducting, Orchestral Conducting, and Wind Conducting for the Fall quarter only. Admission to the department is based on acceptance by the UCLA Graduate Division and a faculty review of the applicant’s work. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited US institution or comparable international institution, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.


The graduate application opens for submission every September. Applicants must submit the UCLA Graduate Division Application for Graduate Admission by December 1, 2024 at 11:59 PM PST.

All required components must be submitted by the deadline, including letters of recommendation. Applications submitted after this deadline are not guaranteed to be reviewed. We do not accept applications off-cycle.

The application includes the following components:

  • Unofficial Transcript(s): Upload unofficial copies of transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. The institution logo and your name must be present on the copies.
  • Statement of Purpose: Your statement can be up to 500 words in length (approximately 1-page, single spaced, using 1-inch margins and 12-point font). Respond to the following prompt: Please discuss your academic and musical goals and your reasons for applying to UCLA’s graduate music program.
  • Letters of recommendation: 3 letters of recommendation are required. Applicants must enter the names and contact information of the 3 recommenders within the application. An electronic recommendation request will be sent to recommenders, and recommendation letters must be submitted via this request. It is strongly advised that letters of recommendation are completed before the December deadline. Recommendations submitted after this date are not guaranteed to be reviewed.
  • Writing Sample (DMA applicants only): Provide a scholarly/research paper on a subject in the field of music of a level of intellectual and critical engagement appropriate to graduate level work.
  • Prescreening Audition: Applicants are required to submit a prescreening video audition containing at least 15 minutes of rehearsal and 15 minutes of performance footage. For more information, see Choral Conducting Information, Orchestral Conducting Information, or Wind Conducting Information.
  • Personal History Statement: Your statement can be up to 500 words in length (approximately 1-page, single spaced, using 1-inch margins and 12-point font). To be considered for a Cota-Robles or Graduate Opportunity fellowship, be sure to describe your contributions to diversity. The University of California Diversity Statement can be found online.


Applicants who advance beyond prescreening review will be invited to interview and audition with department faculty. Additionally, DMA applicants will complete a 45-minute writing assessment following the audition to test their ability to respond to a topic in the moment.

Information for International Applicants

  • Academic Records: Please see the Graduate Division website for information about the academic records international applicants are required to submit with the application.
  • English Language Requirements: All applicants are required to demonstrate English language proficiency in order to be eligible for admission. Proficiency can be demonstrated in two ways: 1) Holding a bachelor’s or higher degree from a university located in the United States or in another country in which English is the primary spoken language of daily life (e.g., Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, United Kingdom) and the medium of instruction; or 2) Submitting scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL; minimum score of 87 on the TOEFL iBT required) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS; minimum overall band score of 7.0 required).

Scholarships & Teaching Assistantships

At the campus level, UCLA offers the Graduate Opportunity Fellowship Program (GOFP). We strongly encourage applicants to apply. Please see here for a guide to Graduate Division fellowships and how to apply.

At the school level, students are automatically assessed for scholarships if they proceed past the prescreening round. Scholarships from The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music are offered on the basis of merit after the final audition round. Scholarships are not guaranteed for all admitted students. Information about fees and tuition for graduate students can be found here.

Similarly, teaching assistantships are not guaranteed, but several School of Music graduate students are hired for assistantships after the first year; these may include the Music department’s undergraduate music appreciation course and non-major courses offered by the sister departments of Ethnomusicology and Musicology. Once enrolled, graduate students may also access UCLA’s TA Marketplace, which advertises open assistantships in other schools. TAships are an excellent source of financial support, as they usually include a waiver of in-state tuition and fees, along with a salary.

Conducting Faculty

James Bass
Professor and Chair of the Department of Music, Director of Choral Studies
Travis J. Cross
Professor - Conducting, Director of Bands
Dwayne Milburn
Lecturer - Conducting and Composition
Neal Stulberg
Professor - Conducting, Director of Orchestral Studies