Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply?
Applicants are required to fill out two applications - one on ApplyYourself and one on Acceptd.
NOTE: BOTH applications are needed to be considered for graduate study in our programs (this includes performance areas that require pre-screen recordings).
First Stage: The first part of the application must be submitted through the Graduate School's application system (ApplyYourself). Go to our Application page for current links. In this part of the application you will indicate basic information, including your contact information, basic biographical information, your first language, your educational background, and other identifying information. The people who serve as your recommenders will submit their support letters through this system.
Second Stage: All supporting documents for your application will be submitted through Acceptd. Go to our application page for the current link. The particular documents submitted here will depend on the degree program to which you are applying. All pre-screening recordings, audition recordings for MM students, scans of transcripts, scholarly papers, scores and sound files MUST be submitted through Acceptd.
What is the application deadline?
The application deadline for Fall 2018 admissions is December 10, 2017. BOTH applications must be submitted by the deadline. In addition, your test scores (if applicable) and official transcripts must by submitted by the deadline.
The Music Department does not have Spring admissions.
What is required for an application?
Required application materials depend on the degree and area for which you are applying. Please go to our Application page for the list of required application items.
Can I apply for more than one program or performance area?
Applicants who wish to apply for more than one degree program (such as for a DMA and a PhD) must apply separately for each degree program and must be admitted by each program.
Applicants who wish to apply for more than one performance area (such as applying for a DMA in Violin and for a DMA in Viola) need to send only one application, but you should indicate on the application that you wish to apply for more than one area of specialization. You would be required to audition for both areas.
What if I have a technical problem with my online application?
Please contact the online system directly - either the Graduate School's application system (ApplyYourself) or Acceptd. The Music Department has no information on how to solve technical issues with those websites.
How do I submit my supporting materials?
Alll suporting documents to be submitted by the applicant MUST be submitted through Acceptd. Please do NOT submit supporting documents through the Graduate School's ApplyYourself application.
The only supporting materials that are submitted through ApplyYourself are your letters of recommendation, which are submitted directly by your recommenders.
In addition to transcripts that you will upload through Acceptd, you will also need to submit official transcripts to the Music Department. Please see "How do I submit transcripts?" below.
Do I still need to send official transcripts by the application deadline?
Yes - you must have official transcripts submitted to the department by the application deadline.
NOTE: MM or DMA applicants should NOT wait for pre-screen or audition results before submitting transcripts. You will go to your audition, and the performance faculty makes their recommendations for admission. After this is done, the faculty reviews the files for academic admissibility - to determine if you meet the academic requirements for admission to the program. It is only after both of these processes are concluded that you would receive any information regarding the results of your admission.
How do I submit transcripts?
Applicants will be uploading transcripts to AcceptdAND submitting official transcripts from applicable schools.
1. Applicants are required to upload a scan of their transcripts to their Acceptd application. This can also be an upload of a transcript printout from your school's online portal. Please make sure that when you upload your transcripts to Acceptd that it is ONE document per transcript (do not upload each page of a transcript as a separate document).
2. Applicants are also required to submit hard copy official transcripts directly to the Music Department by the application deadline. Please note the Graduate School's policy regarding official transcripts: Applicants are only required to submit transcripts from all undergraduate institutions attended from which a degree was earned. Applicants, however, must submit all transcripts relating to any graduate level work undertaken, regardless of whether or not a degree was earned. Please note a department's graduate program admissions committee always reserves the right to request additional information.
3. For the required hard copy official transcript(s): Have your school(s) send your transcripts to the Music Department directly and NOT to the Graduate School. For these, photocopies or scans of transcripts are NOT acceptable. We know that procuring transcripts from overseas schools and conservatories can be difficult, but you will not be admitted unless we have an official version. Please have them sent to:
Department of Music
3304 Staller Center, Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5475
4. If you have your school(s) send your official transcripts to you, do NOT open the envelopes. The unopened envelopes should be sent to us directly (see address above).
How do I know if you received my transcripts?
Please send your items via a service that provides tracking. The sheer volume of mail we receive at this time of year does not permit us to individually acknowledge every item of mail received. We ask that you please do not contact and ask us if we received your package. Please also understand that if you send a package via the US Postal Service, any tracking information received will tell you when it arrived in the Campus Mail Room, not when the Music Department received it.
How can I obtain a waiver of the application fee?
All applicants are required to pay the application fee. Exceptions include:
- Students who are U.S. citizens and have current documentation from a financial aid administrator of an appropriate college or university official substantiating that they are currently enrolled and that the payment of the application would create a financial hardship (complete financial information for the current academic year must be provided, including total cost of education and amount and types of financial aid received). To qualify, applicants must request a waiver from the Graduate School Admissions Office before they submit their application for admission, and should include the necessary documentation listed above.
- Students who have a fellowship/scholarship through McNair, Project 1000, SEEK, and AGEP. To qualify, applicants must have a letter or e-mail from the appropriate agency sent to the Graduate School Admissions Office.
Appropriate supporting documentation for the application fee waiver can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the Graduate School Admissions Office receives the appropriate documents we will waive the fee for the applicant so they may submit their on-line application without paying. Application fees cannot be refunded so please do not submit and pay the fee if you are requesting a waiver.
For more information, please visit http://sb.cc.stonybrook.edu/gradbulletin/current/admissions/
Who has to take the GRE?
MA applicants in History/Theory, Ethnomusicology, and Composition, and PhD applicants in History/Theory, Ethnomusicology, and Composition must submit GRE scores. MM and DMA applicants in performance are not required to submit GRE scores. Stony Brook University’s code is 2548. GRE scores can only be accepted if sent electronically; scores that are mailed in are not acceptable.
What are the TOEFL-IELTS Requirements?
If your native language is not English (regardless of citizenship), you will need to provide official TOEFL or IELTS scores to the department by the application deadline by having them sent electronically to Stony Brook University. The following requirements are in place:
- Overall score of 6.5, with no subsection recommended to be below 6
- Master's Degrees (MM and MA): 85 for admission, 90 to be eligible for appointment as a Teaching Assistant
- Doctoral Degrees (DMA and PhD): 90 for admission and to be eligible for TA/GA support
- All students with a TA/GA stipend whose native language is not English must demonstrate a sufficient level of English-speaking proficiency and may be required to take ESL courses based on these measures. Proficiency is determined by the speak subsection score. For IELTS and TOEFL speak subsection scores, please see the chart below:
TOEFL iBT Speak
7.5 or higher
Eligible to TA
Eligible to TA
Eligible to run recitation and lab sessions and/or grade
Not eligible to TA
Reporting of Scores
- IELTS : An official score report should be submitted to the Music Department. Copies or scans of these reports will not be accepted.
- TOEFL: Applicants should have Educational Testing Services (ETS) send official scores directly to Stony Brook University. Our institution code is 2548.
- The SBU Graduate School only accepts scores for tests taken within the last two years. For example, TOEFL exams taken prior to January 2016 will not be accepted for Fall 2018 applications.
- If you have taken either test multiple times, the Graduate School will consider the highest score for admission (the highest score must be an official score received directly from ETS).
Music Department Policy on Waivers
- No waivers will be granted to students applying to the Doctoral program (DMA or PhD) or to the MA program.
- Students applying to the Master of Music (MM) program may request a waiver if they have earned/will earn a four-year degree at an institution in which all instruction is in English.
Please see the Graduate School Websites for further clarification: https://www.grad.stonybrook.edu/ProspectiveStudents/faq.shtml#scores
What if I haven’t taken the TOEFL or GRE exam yet?
Iff you are unable to schedule a test that will allow scores to be received by the University by the application deadline, please make sure that you schedule a test so that the scores are recieved no later than the end of December. If your score is not received on time, it could jeopardize your admission to the program.
NOTE: MM or DMA applicants should NOT wait for pre-screen or audition results before taking the TOEFL or IELTS test (if applicable) or submitting test scores. You will go to your audition, and the performance faculty makes their recommendations for admission. After this is done, the faculty reviews the files for academic admissibility - to determine if you meet the academic requirements for admission to the program. It is only after both of these processes are concluded that you would receive any information regarding the results of your admission.
How do I know if you received my test scores?
Please make sure you provide ETS with the proper code (2548 for Stony Brook University) so that the univeristy will receive your scores electronically. The sheer volume of applicants and inquiries we receive at this time of year does not permit us to individually acknowledge every test score received. We ask that you please do not contact and ask us if we received your scores.
What sort of writing samples do I have to send?
Submit one original essay, in English, in music research, analysis, or criticism that demonstrate your ability to carry out scholarly work in music. The paper, typically generated in prior course work, should be at least ten pages in length and demonstrate knowledge of proper bibliographic citation practices (your paper must contain a bibliography).
Submit two original essays, in English, in music research, analysis, or criticism that demonstrate your ability to carry out scholarly work in music. The papers, typically generated in prior course work, should be at least ten pages in length and demonstrate knowledge of proper bibliographic citation practices (your paper must contain a bibliography).
History/Theory and Ethnomusicology Program Applicants (MA and PhD applicants)
Submit 2-3 original essays in music research, analysis or criticism. In addition to these, you may submit papers on other subjects if you think that they support some aspect of your application for admission. Please limit your essays to those that exemplify your best work.
Composition Applicants (MA and PhD applicants)
You do not need to submit essays; you only need to submit scores and recordings.
How can I be considered for financial support?
Everyone who applies is automatically considered for financial assistance from the Music Department, usually in the form of a Teaching Assistantship/Tuition Scholarship. There are no special forms to fill out for Departmental support. US Citizens and Permanent Residents are also eligible for other forms of financial aid, which are applied for via the FAFSA form. Most NY residents are also eligible for TAP.
Regarding Graduate Council Fellowships and Turner Fellowships – if you wish to be considered for either of these financial opportunities, you MUST have your application completed by the application deadline. Students wishing to be considered for these awards must be U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents, and Turner Fellows must self-identify as either African-American, Native American, or Hispanic on their application.
Do I need to submit a pre-screen recording?
Applicants to the MM or DMA program in Bassoon, Clarinet, Flute, Violin and Voice are required to submit pre-screen recordings, which are submitted as part of your Acceptd application. Repertoire requirements can be found on the Auditions page.
NOTE: Applicants MUST apply on both ApplyYourself AND Acceptd, even if you are applying to an area that requires a pre-screen recording.
I submitted a pre-screen recording. When will I be notified of the result?
Applicants who were required to submit a pre-screen recording will be notified by email in early January with the result.
How do I find out my audition date and time?
Actual audition schedules are set by the studios themselves. Studios contact applicants directly to set up audition times. You may contact the professor of your studio to follow up on this. Click here for the faculty information page.
What are the repertoire requirements for the audition?
Repertoire requriements can be found on the Auditions page. That page also includes the dates of the auditions.
Am I required to have an accompanist for the audition?
An accompanist is recommended but not required. The question "do you need an accompanist" is referring to whether you need an accompanist provided to you by the department. If you do need an accompanist, we will strive to accomodate your request, but cannot guarantee that an accompanist will be available. Information regarding accompanist fees will be sent to you by the Piano studio.
Do I have to come for a live audition?
All DMA auditions are expected to be live. MM applicants who live more than 250 miles from New York City may submit a recorded audition through the Acceptd application.
Please see the Auditions page for more information.
Admissions Decisions Information
How does the Department decide?
This is actually a very complex decision process. The Department looks for students who will benefit from the program, and for students who will contribute to the musical and academic climates at Stony Brook. For performers, it is a two-step process; first, you have your audition to determine admissibility on a performance basis, and then faculty reviews your file for academic admissibility.
When does the Department decide?
Offer letters for the Performance programs are generally sent out in late March. Offer letters for Composition and the History/Theory and Ethnomusicology programs are sent out in mid-to late-February.
Can I call for your decision?
Results are only given in writing. Please do not call for your result.