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Admissions Process

Admissions Process

Berklee College of Music seeks focused, motivated, innovative, and above all, passionately creative students with excellent academic and professional backgrounds who can contribute skills that will benefit their master’s program and class.

Our board of admissions thoroughly reviews each application, considering every aspect of an applicant's strengths. Our audition and interview process, along with our holistic evaluation of each applicant, provides us with a wealth of information to assess each applicant’s ability to succeed at Berklee. It is recommended that applicants begin the admissions process as early as possible to ensure enrollment into the desired academic year.

Three-Step Process

1. Application and fee

Submit your completed online master's application and supporting materials accompanied with a $150 non-refundable application fee. Review the how to apply section to see the steps needed to complete the application.

The application fee is waived for Berklee alumni, and for citizens of Brazil and Chile.

2. Audition and interview

This experience is an integral part of the selection process for our master’s programs. It is designed to show your strengths and helps us assess your aptitude and ability to succeed in Berklee’s highly charged and dynamic environment.

Applicants to the Master in Contemporary Performance are required to do both an audition and interview. Click to learn more about the audition process.

All other master's applicants will be contacted by admissions if selected to move forward in the admissions process with an interview. Click to learn more about the interview process.

3. Final admission and decision

Once the audition and/or interview requirements are fulfilled, the Graduate Admissions Committee will evaluate and screen applicants based on the completed application, supporting materials, and the audition and/or interview. You will be notified by email of your admissions status by March 1 for early action and June 1 for regular action.

Eligibility Requirements

Each master's degree has specific eligibility requirements. Please open each section below to discover the requirements for each program.


Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games

Applicants are required to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in music composition, electronic music production, or performance along with a working familiarity with ProTools or one of the other most commonly used music sequencing programs, such as Logic, Cubase or Digital Performer.

The master’s program as conceived builds upon the strong framework of Berklee’s bachelor of music degree in film scoring; therefore, applicants not possessing this degree should further consult the Berklee College of Music Bulletin to become aware of the competencies desired of individuals seeking entrance into the master’s program.

Contemporary Performance

Applicants are required to hold a bachelor of music degree, or a bachelor of arts degree with a major in music, with a good academic record. Applicants should demonstrate strong working knowledge of harmony, leadership qualities, sequencing skills, ensemble experience, motivation, intellectual curiosity, and the promise of great achievement in their area of study.

Global Entertainment and Music Business

Global entertainment and music business applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and demonstrate leadership, motivation, intellectual curiosity, and promise of great achievement in their area of study.
Music Technology Innovation

Music technology innovation applicants should possess a bachelor’s degree in music from an accredited institution, while demonstrating technological proficiency, musical excellence in performance and/or composition, leadership, motivation, intellectual curiosity, and promise of great achievement in their area of study.

How to Apply

The Graduate Admissions Committee will only evaluate complete applications. Please review the admissions checklist to ensure you have completed and submitted all required materials.

Submit Online Application

Submit your completed online master’s application and supporting materials accompanied with a $150 non-refundable application fee. If you want to be considered for a scholarship or financial aid, complete the Master's Scholarship Application from within the online application portal and submit before deadline.

Pay $150 Application Fee

Before submitting the application, you will be asked to pay the application fee by credit or debit card. If you are Berklee undergraduate program alumni, or a citizen of Brazil or Chile, do not pay the application fee. This will be waived for you once we receive your application.

Submit Required Supporting Materials

Please consolidate all supporting materials in one email (in PDF format when possible), with the subject line “Last Name, First Name: Supporting Materials” and send to: admissionsvalencia@berklee.edu


Statement of purpose

This is your chance to tell us all about you, your musical journey, and why you would like to pursue a master’s degree program at Berklee College of Music (must be in English between 400-500 words).
Résumé/curriculum vitae

Include your personal details, educational, and work experience in English. For tips on how to write your résumé, click here.
One letter of recommendation

Recommendation should come from someone you have worked or collaborated with who can convey your musical strengths and skills. Must be written in or translated to English.

Transcripts

We only want transcripts from your undergraduate bachelor’s degree. Please do not submit transcripts for additional degrees or high school. If you are in the final year of your bachelor's degree you may send us unofficial transcripts. Applicants need to successfully complete their degree in order to start the master's program and will be asked to submit a copy of their bachelor’s diploma before the start of the program.

For applicants who attended university in the U.S. or Canada:

  • Please submit a copy of your official undergraduate transcripts and a scanned copy of your corresponding bachelor’s diploma via email at admissionsvalencia@berklee.edu. If email is not possible, you may mail them to the following address:
    Berklee College of Music, Valencia Campus
    Office of Admissions
    Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía - Anexo Sur
    Avenida Autopista del Saler, 1
    46013 Valencia (Spain)

For applicants who attended university outside the U.S. or Canada:

  • Transcripts from institutions outside the U.S. or Canada must be evaluated by an approved third-party credential evaluation service, such as the Education Evaluators International or Education Credential Evaluators. Please ask for a course-by-course evaluation and ask to send grades to the postal address above.
  • Send a scanned copy of your undergraduate diploma via email.

English exam

Applicants for whom English is a second language must submit the results of one of the following standardized tests. If you completed your undergraduate studies at an English-speaking university this requirement may be waived. Click to see PDF on specific English requirements.


Submit Program Specific Supporting Materials


Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games

Please submit three audio and/or video files (MP3 or Quick Time) of original compositions and corresponding scores (cues) that you have written expressly for picture or created with a visual idea in mind. The average length should not exceed one and a half to two minutes. If you have not had the opportunity to score a film or video project, the following option is acceptable:

  • Extract clips from existing film and television projects via a number of available applications and import them to your music sequencing program for the purpose of your application portfolio only. Please remember copyright-protected works may not be publicly exhibited, but for the purpose of evaluating your application it is acceptable.

Contemporary Performance

Please submit a link to a website where we can see the breadth and depth of your performance/ensemble skills. Examples may include youtube, myspace, or personal website portfolio, etc.
Global Entertainment and Music Business

The GRE or GMAT exams are not required for admission but are highly recommended. If you choose to submit official GRE or GMAT exam results, please do so prior to the published application deadline. PDF copies are accepted as part of the application process, although official copies will be required prior to enrollment.
Music Technology Innovation

  • Please submit a proposal between 500-1000 words outlining a major project that you would like to complete for your culminating experience (thesis). This could be an original piece of music incorporating innovative technology, a hyper-instrument you would like to invent, an App you would like to design, or some other project. This description should be as specific as possible, with the recognition that your project will evolve as the academic year progresses. Also describe how you think the project will foster your academic, artistic, musical, and professional growth.
  • Additionally, a portfolio with one to three recorded examples of recent work should be submitted in the highest quality audio possible, along with a detailed explanation of your specific role in the work. If written scores or other documentation are available, please submit these as well.


Download Application Checklist

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact the Valencia Admissions Office at admissionsvalencia@berklee.edu.

Application Deadlines

All master’s programs in Valencia begin in September.

Early Action

  • Application deadline: December 1, 2013
  • Audition/Interview* Deadline: February 1, 2014
  • Admissions decisions issued: March 1, 2014

Regular Action

  • Application deadline: March 31, 2014
  • Audition/Interview* Deadline: May 1, 2014
  • Admissions decisions issued: June 1, 2014

Extended Deadline

  • Application deadline: April 30, 2014
  • Audition/Interview* Deadline: May 30, 2014
  • Admissions decisions issued: June 15, 2014

*Auditions only apply to contemporary performance master’s applicants. All other applicants will be contacted if selected for an interview.

Interviews

Required for All Master’s Program Applicants

The interview experience is an integral part of the selection process for our master’s programs. It is designed to show your strengths and helps us assess your aptitude and ability to succeed in Berklee’s highly charged and dynamic environment. An interview is required for entry into all of our master’s programs; applicants to the contemporary performance master’s program must also complete an audition, whereas applicants to other programs need not audition.

Once your application is complete and submitted, the Graduate Admissions Committee will review your application and contact you if you are selected to continue on in the admissions process. Interviews take place at our Boston and Valencia campuses or online via Skype. If you are an applicant to the contemporary performance master’s program, your interview will be scheduled for the same day and location as your audition.

Interview Question Areas

The interviewer will use the information provided on your application as the foundation for this discussion. Depending on the master’s program you are applying to, you may be asked technical or field-based questions during the interview. Come prepared to highlight your strengths and share your creative aspirations. There are four primary areas of discussion in the interview:

There are four primary areas of discussion in the interview:

1. Preparation to begin study at Berklee.
In addition to each candidate's musical preparation to meet the rigors of our curriculum, consideration will be given to your understanding of Berklee's history and mission and your affiliation with Berklee's open and inclusive approach to music, including the self-discipline needed for excellence, the empathy required of music-making, and the openness and inquisitiveness essential to creativity.

2. Professional/career goals.
Why have you chosen music as the primary focus of your master’s education? What outcomes are expected as a result of your attending Berklee? Do you have a clear idea of career goals beyond a master’s degree?

3. Why Berklee?
In researching your options for pursuing an education in music, what aspects of the Berklee model are most appealing to you? What are your motivations behind applying to Berklee for a master’s degree?

4. What will you bring?
In selecting our entering class, the board of admissions must identify how each admitted student will contribute to the quality of our community. How will you contribute to the Berklee network and improve the quality of the Berklee experience for all?

Auditions

Required for Contemporary Performance Applicants Only

In addition to an interview, applicants to the master’s program in contemporary performance are required to partake in an audition. Applicants to other master’s programs do not need to audition. The audition is an integral part of the master’s admissions process for Berklee contemporary performance students and is designed to help you show your strengths while helping us assess your talent and potential to succeed at Berklee.

Scheduling the Audition and Interview

Once your application is submitted and complete, you will be contacted by Admissions to schedule your audition and interview. Auditions are held on an ongoing basis at our Valencia and Boston campuses, online, and in cities around the world. Your interview will be scheduled for the same day and location as your audition. To see information about the interview click here. You will find a listing of our audition and interview sites and dates on the audition dates section.

Audition Process

Please plan to arrive at the audition and interview site no later than 30 minutes before your appointment in order to warm-up and prepare. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to accommodate any travel delays.

The audition staff will be looking primarily at quality of sound, interpretation/style, intonation, stage presence, rhythm, musicality, preparation, and quality of improvisation. The audition staff may ask you to demonstrate other musical or technical abilities depending on your unique strengths. The audition will be approximately 20-30 minutes long and may consist of the four parts outlined below.

Part one: Prepared Piece

Your prepared piece should demonstrate significant understanding of musicality, expression, phrasing, appropriate articulation, excellent intonation and tonal quality, clarity of articulation or enunciation of notes (and lyrics for vocalists), and should be performed in a manner that is appropriate for the style of the piece.

Berklee embraces and values all music styles, so you should prepare a piece that you are comfortable with and that displays your strengths as a musician. It should be approximately three to five minutes in length and should be in any style that demonstrates your instrumental proficiency and your overall musicianship. Here are some guidelines that may help when selecting your prepared piece:

  • You might choose a tune from a well-known artist or band (in any style).
  • You might choose a jazz or blues standard tune (which may include rhythm changes) to which you have the option of adding your own improvisation.
  • You might choose a composition from the instrumental/voice repertoire or a movement, sonata, concerto, or etude.
  • You might choose a transcription of a well-known artist's solo.

If composing or songwriting is your primary focus, you may choose to play an original piece that showcases your individual style. However, the original piece should be no longer than three minutes, and you should also prepare a second piece drawing on the guidelines above.

If you require accompaniment for your prepared piece, you may bring an accompanist, a play-a-long CD, or a digital music player. It is not recommended to use the original tracks of artists or bands as play-a-longs.

Part two: Sight Reading

While sight-reading, you should display strong accuracy of rhythm, pitch, and tone in order to achieve an interpretation that conveys musical substance with phrasing and expression appropriate to the style of the example provided.
Part three: Improvisation

We would like to hear you improvise over a short progression to gauge where you are in your development. Your prepared piece may also include improvisation, but it is not required.
Part four: Melodic and Rhythmic Play Back

You will be asked to participate in call-and-response exercises. The audition team will play short rhythms and melodies. For melodic playback, if you are an instrumentalist, you will be expected to sing it back and play it on your instrument, and if you are a vocalist, you will sing back melodies in diatonic and non-diatonic formats (chromatic lines in one- or two-bar phrases, in various styles). For rhythmic playback, tracks and rhythms will be supplied and you will be expected to reproduce syncopated examples in genres such as swing, funk, Afro 6/8, or samba.

We recognize it is common for applicants to have imbalances in their playing abilities, and we realize that applicants may not have advanced skills in improvisation, reading, or ear training. We take a holistic approach in our evaluation process; each component of the audition helps the audition team assess your overall abilities as a musician and your potential for success at the master’s program level.

Audition Location Options

Applicants to the master’s program in contemporary performance will be invited to their audition and interview via the admissions portal at apply.berklee.edu approximately one week from the submission of the online application for admission. Upon receipt of your audition site, you must confirm your audition immediately or your space will be given to another qualified applicant.

There are two ways to audition and interview: on-site or online.

On Site Audition and Interview

Audition locations and dates are offered at Berklee’s Valencia and Boston campuses, and audition and interview events are held in various locations throughout the world.

Click here to see future audition and interview dates and locations.

Audition Facilities and Equipment

Audition rooms are typically equipped with a piano, drum set, guitar and bass amplifiers, a PA system, a CD player, and music stands. Vocalists may choose to bring a microphone and cable but it is not necessary. A standard drum set with cymbals for drum set players is provided. Double-bass pedals are not provided.

If you require accompaniment for your prepared piece, you may bring an accompanist, a play-along CD, or an iPod. Berklee does not provide an accompanist to applicants.

You must bring your instrument to the audition if you play acoustic or electric bass, brass, guitar, hand percussion, a string instrument (including the harp, mandolin, and banjo), or woodwinds.

Bass players, guitarists, and string players (including mandolin and banjo players) are reminded to bring a tuner, instrument cable(s), and any effects needed for their prepared piece.

Drummers should bring their sticks as well as a practice pad to use in the warm-up room, as many warm-up rooms will not have a drum set.

Due to rental limitations, orchestral percussion principals are required to audition and interview in Boston or Valencia.

Online Audition and Interview

To successfully participate in the online audition and interview, you must have:

  • completed and submitted the application form and paid the $150 application fee;
  • access to a private room where you can participate without interruption;
  • access to a computer with internet connection and audio/video capability;
  • a Skype account;
  • access to a set of headphones for use during the online audition and interview;
  • access to all instruments and accompaniment you need to participate.

Audition Dates

Applicants to the master’s program in contemporary performance will be invited to their audition and interview via the admissions portal at apply.berklee.edu approximately one week from the submission of the online application for admission. Upon receipt of your audition site, you must confirm your audition immediately or your space will be given to another qualified applicant.

There are two ways to audition and interview: on-site or online. Click here to read about the two ways to audition.