School of Music

Graduate Studies - How to Apply

Program Overview

Master of Music, Master of Arts, and Professional Certificate Programs

The graduate degree program in music offers specializations in Composition, Music Education, Performance, Music Therapy. 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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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.

The School 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. Our students have the opportunity to study with members of The Cleveland Orchestra, Playhouse Square Theatre Orchestra, Akron Symphony, Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, a GRAMMY® Award-Winning Pianist, and more.

The Cleveland Contemporary Players, which is devoted to performing contemporary music, is in residence at the Cleveland State School of Music. Composition students are able to have their works performed by the Cleveland Contemporary Players. 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.  The annual Thyagaraja (Aradhana) Festival at Cleveland State is the largest international festival of Indian music held outside of India.

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


The School of Music
Music and Communication Building, Room 334
Phone (216) 687-2033

Dr. Heather A. Russell, Director of the School 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
  • Master of Art in Music Therapy
Post-Graduate Program

Admission Information

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.  All College of Graduate Studies admission requirements must be met.  Apply Now: 

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.

Performance 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 audiotape or videotape may be provided in lieu of an in-person audition, with prior approval of the head of the appropriate performance area.

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

Apply Now:

Performance Faculty:

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. Chester Englander
(216) 687-5060


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.

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 School 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.

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

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.

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

Financial Assistance: The School of Music 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 School 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.

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

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