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 graduate program and class.
Our Graduate 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. All graduate programs on the Valencia campus begin in September and are completed in one year (fall, spring, and summer).
Each applicant is allowed to submit one graduate application per admissions cycle. Applicants not admitted to a graduate program may not reapply until the following year.
Three-Step Admissions Process
1. Application and fee
Submit your completed online graduate application with your supporting materials and pay the $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.
2. Audition and interview
This experience is an integral part of the selection process for our graduate 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 (Production Concentration) are required to do both an audition and interview. Click to learn more about the audition process.
All other master's degree 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 admissions decision
Once the audition and/or interview requirements are fulfilled, the Graduate Board of Admissions 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 the notification deadline. Admissions decisions are valid for the current admissions cycle and cannot be deferred.
Each master's degree has specific entrance requirements for the 2016/2017 academic year. Please open each section below to discover the requirements for each program.
Applicants should possess a bachelor's degree in music. Bachelor's degrees in other disciplines will be considered, provided the student demonstrates a high degree of musicianship. 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.
Who We Are Looking For
We seek highly skilled and creative instrumentalists and vocalists from all styles of contemporary music who wish to develop their live performance career further while also immersing themselves in the production process and experience.
Ideal candidates will:
- Enter the program with a very advanced level of instrumental or vocal technique and musical skill;
- Desire to expand their experience through further exploration of familiar and new styles including fusions of genres;
- Be deeply motivated to learn and apply strategies for music production (including the preproduction, recording, and mixing processes) to their craft, with a focus on artistic identity and intent; and
- Demonstrate a strong interest in learning and applying new performance technology, electroacoustic instruments, and video into their live and recorded performances.
Global entertainment and music business applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree and demonstrate leadership, motivation, intellectual curiosity, and promise of great achievement in their area of study.
Who We Are Looking For
We seek focused, motivated, creative candidates with excellent academic and professional backgrounds who can contribute skills that will benefit the program.
Ideal candidates want to:
- Explore advanced concepts and models in the global music industry;
- Apply managerial and/or entrepreneurial skills to existing entertainment and music business environments;
- Lead and influence the direction of the profession as visionaries, executives, and entrepreneurs; and
- Gain a thorough understanding of the elements of a successful enterprise.
Ideal candidates should demonstrate:
- Professional goals of working at an executive/managerial level in a company or creating a business/organization;
- Prior academic success;
- Prior knowledge in business;
- Good understanding of the current situation of the entertainment industry and technology; and
- Leadership in professional and/or academic environments.
Music production, technology, and innovation applicants should possess a bachelor’s degree in music 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. Bachelor's degrees in other disciplines will be considered, provided the student demonstrates a high degree of musicianship.
Applicants are required to hold a bachelor’s degree in music composition, electronic music production, or film scoring. Outstanding musicians with bachelor's degrees in performance or other disciplines, who have a strong background in songwriting or composition, will also be considered.
Who We Are Looking For
We seek focused, motivated, innovative, and, above all, passionately creative candidates with excellent academic and/or professional backgrounds. Additional study and/or work experience in the following areas will be helpful but is not required: interactive scoring techniques, conducting to picture, basic music editing skills, and project collaboration. Prospective students do not need to have extensive direct experience working with live orchestras.
Ideal candidates will:
- Demonstrate a strong compositional foundation from their studies and/or professional experience;
- Possess the ability to notate one’s ideas competently, follow an orchestral score, and conceive material in an orchestral context; and
- Exhibit passion for musical storytelling and a demonstrated aptitude for visual music.
How to Apply
The Graduate Board of Admissions 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 graduate 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 Graduate Scholarship Application 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 a Berklee alumnus contact your admissions office to waive the fee.
Submit Required Supporting Materials
You will be prompted to upload your supporting materials to a cloud file service after the $150 application fee is paid.
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).
Include your personal details, educational, and work experience in English.
Your recommendation should come from someone you have worked or collaborated with who can convey your musical strengths and skills. The letter must be written in or translated to English.
We need the official transcripts from your undergraduate bachelor’s degree. Do not submit transcripts for additional degrees or high school. Applicants need to successfully complete their bachelor’s degree in order to start the master's degree program and must submit official transcripts before the start of the program.
You must also submit a scanned copy of your corresponding bachelor’s diploma in PDF format.
For applicants who attended university in the U.S. or Canada:
- If you are in the final year of your bachelor's degree, you must upload your unofficial transcripts for initial review. You will need to submit your official transcripts when you graduate.
- Send your official transcripts to this address:
Berklee College of Music, Valencia Campus
Office of Graduate Admissions
Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía - Anexo Sur
Avenida Profesor Lopez Piñero, 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 World Education Services, 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.
- If you have not yet finished your degree, you must submit a credential evaluation report of all your courses completed so far. If you are admitted, you will be required to submit a copy of your diploma from your college/university before enrolling at Berklee.
- Download a PDF with frequently asked questions about credential evaluations.
Applicants for whom English is a second language must submit the results of one of the following standardized tests taken within two years of starting the graduate program. If you completed your undergraduate studies at an English-speaking university this requirement may be waived. Click to see PDF on specific English requirements.
Contemporary Performance Graduate Program Applicants
- TOEFL*: iBT (internet-based) 80; computer-based 213; paper-based 550.
- IELTS: 6.5
- Cambridge English Language Exams: First (FCE) or Business Vantage (BEC Vantage) or higher
All Other Graduate Program Applicants
- TOEFL*: iBT (internet-based) 100; computer-based 250; paper-based 600.
- IELTS: 7.5
- Cambridge English Language Exams: Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Business English Certificate (BEC) or higher
To send exam scores, you may be asked for a code that represents Berklee College of Music. The institution code for Berklee is 3107.
In addition to your official transcripts, applicants must scan and upload a copy of their bachelor’s diploma.
Submit Program Specific Supporting Materials
Submit three video files of original compositions that you have written for picture. Also submit the corresponding scores. Each file should not exceed two minutes. If you have not had the opportunity to score a film or video project, you may extract clips from existing films and television shows via a number of available applications, import them to your music sequencing program, and create original compositions for the purposes of this application.
Contemporary performance applicants must submit a portfolio with the following content. The portfolio should be organized in one or two document(s) with all the links and sections clearly labeled, PDF format preferred.
- Provide links to three performances that demonstrate and showcase the diversity of your playing, motivation to experiment, and musicianship. These can include solo performances or performances with a small ensemble or band where you are clearly featured. At least one link should be a video. Write a short description of your role in each performance.
- Describe one to three potential projects that interest you as possible ideas for your culminating experience (thesis) project. These could be a musical performance idea, a recording project, an original album idea, or other initiative that you would like to pursue while at Berklee. Each description should be one paragraph long, as specific as possible, and include how each project will foster your academic, artistic, musical, and professional growth.
Optional: In addition to the above requirements, the following materials may also be submitted for consideration:
- A link to your personal website or Facebook artist page that conveys a sense of your artistry.
- One-page artist biography, not in first person. Note that this is different from the Statement of Purpose and Resume.
Applicants must answer the following questions, either by providing a link to a short video no more than three minutes long, or in a written document of approximately 500-750 words.
- Provide a brief analysis of the current state of the music and entertainment industry and identify professional opportunities that interest you.
- Describe one to three potential projects that interest you as possible ideas for your culminating experience (thesis) project. These could be research projects, entrepreneurial projects, or other initiatives that you would like to pursue while at Berklee. Each description should be as specific as possible, and include how each project will foster your academic, artistic, and professional growth.
- Describe one to three projects you would like to execute as your culminating experience (thesis) project. These projects could be original music incorporating video or innovative technology, a hyper-instrument or controller you would like to invent, a personal live-performance system, the development of your artistic voice, an App or virtual musical environment you would like to design, or some other project. Each description should be one paragraph long, as specific as possible, and include how each 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.
If you have any questions about the application process, please contact the Valencia Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To be considered for admission by our Graduate Board of Admissions, we must receive your completed application and all supporting documents by midnight of the deadline (eastern standard time).
The only difference between early and regular action is that early action applicants will be notified of their admissions decision several months before regular action applicants, giving them additional time to plan for the upcoming year. If you have any questions about early or regular action, contact email@example.com.
- Application deadline: November 1, 2015
- Admissions decisions issued: December 15, 2015
- Application deadline: February 1, 2016
- Admissions decisions issued: April 1, 2016
Required for All Graduate Applicants
The interview experience is an integral part of the selection process for our master’s degree 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 graduate programs; applicants to the contemporary performance (production concentration) program must also complete an audition, whereas applicants to other programs need not audition.
Interview Dates and Locations
Once your application is complete and submitted, the Graduate Board of Admissions 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. If you are an applicant to the contemporary performance (production concentration) 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 graduate 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 graduate 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?
Required for Contemporary Performance Applicants Only
In addition to an interview, applicants to the master’s degree in contemporary performance (production concentration) are required to partake in an audition. Applicants to other master's degree programs on the Valencia campus do not need to audition. The audition is an integral part of the graduate admissions process for contemporary performance (production concentration) applicants and is designed to help you show your strengths while helping us assess your talent and potential to succeed at Berklee.
Audition Dates and Locations
Once your application is submitted and complete, you will be contacted by admissions to schedule your audition and interview. Auditions are held on specific dates 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 graduate program level.
Audition Location Options
There are two ways to audition and interview: on-site or online.
If you are auditioning on campus or on site around the world, 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.
If you are auditioning online, you must have:
- completed and submitted the application 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 that meets the system requirements*;
- access to a set of headphones for use during the online audition and interview;
- access to all instruments and accompaniment you need to participate.