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Process for Application Through Graduation


Contact the department / professor in the content area you wish to study to discuss specifics (if considering performance, perhaps schedule a private lesson)


Go to the Graduate School website and fill out application (note you will need official transcript[s], 2 references and a personal statement along with a fee – a voucher for the fee can be obtained by attending a Graduate School Open House prior to application).


Provide any materials needed to the department chair / professor of record as indicated below:

  • Music Theory and Composition - In addition to their application materials, all applicants for this degree should submit the items listed below to Dr. Adam Silverman. Once these have been submitted, students will be contacted for an interview.
    • Those planning to focus in composition should also submit three original works (score PDFs and mp3 recordings) and one writing sample of music analysis.
    • Those planning to focus in music theory should submit two writing samples of music analysis and one original composition (score PDF and mp3 recording).
  • Music History – In addition to their application materials, all applicants for this degree should submit a writing sample related to music history or other musicological area to Dr. Adam Silverman. Once these have been submitted, students will be contacted for an interview.
  • Performance – repertoire list, audition
  • Conducting – repertoire list, videos tapes of conducting, in-person audition


After decision is made by the Wells School of Music and West Chester University, register for the Graduate Assessment Test in Theory and History. Learn more about the Graduate Assessment Test.

Note: Accepted students are encouraged to take these tests one at a sitting so that student can focus on one topic at a time. Failure (score below 70) of either or both portions of the test results in student having to take the associated remedial course (MHL 501, MTC 591) BEFORE taking the actual music theory or music history course required by the degree. THE REMEDIAL COURSES DO NOT COUNT TOWARD YOUR DEGREE!  Music History / Music Theory masters students must score above a 75 for final admission to the program.


Meet with professor of record or graduate coordinator to schedule classes (note: a program of study is located on the Academic page of the Well School of Music website for reference – it is expected that students take personal responsibility for their degree progress and registration).


Failure of any course during time of study will result in immediate dismissal from the Graduate School.


Students taking more than 2 regular semesters off from course work must sign up for GSR 799 (zero credit hours, zero fee) for each semester not taking courses beginning with the third semester of absence to avoid being dismissed from the Graduate School.


Students have a total of six years to complete degree. Extensions can be granted by filling out a Petition for Exception form found on the Graduate School website. Extensions are granted / denied on a case-by-case basis.


At the beginning of the student’s final semester, the student should apply for graduation via their MyWCU link. Deadline for graduation application occurs VERY soon after the beginning of the final semester. Associated fee must be paid at the time of application.


Along with applying to graduate at the beginning of your final semester, students who have an exit examination / thesis defense should work with their professor of record to schedule. Note: Performance students need to work with their private teacher to chedule their graduate recital the semester PRIOR to their final semester (performing it in their final semester).


West Chester University's graduate music program, The Samuel Barber Summer Institute, offers an innovative combination of traditional academic courses and special subjects seminars featuring nationally renowned leaders in 21st century Music education. These courses may be applied to NASM accredited master's degrees in music education, applied music, piano pedagogy, music history and literature, and music theory as well as meeting requirements for teacher certification renewal and professional growth programs. Master's degrees in the WCU Wells School of Music may be earned through an intensive four-summer program or a combination of regular semester and summer studies. The Samuel Barber Summer Institute is named in honor of West Chester-born composer Samuel Barber (1910-1981) noted for his wide range of symphonic and choral works including the well-known Adagio for Strings.

Some workshops and compressed format courses offered by the Wells School of Music will start and/or conclude on other dates within these sessions. These dates are included in the description for each course. Courses and workshops are held on the main WCU campus in West Chester, PA.

Learn more about Samuel Barber Summer Institute Class Offerings

Learn More about the Graduate Placement Test

Further Information:


Apply Now - New Students

Enroll Now - Current Students


  • Six semester hours of graduate credit may be transferred into a degree program upon approval by advisor, department chair, graduate coordinator and the Graduate College and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. No more than six semester hours of workshop credit may be counted toward fulfillment of degree requirements.
  • A limited number of graduate assistantships are available during the academic year. Students wishing to be considered must have been accepted to West Chester University no later than February 15.
  • Although faculty advisers and the Coordinator of Graduate Studies for the Wells School of Music will assist each student in the successful completion of the degree program, it is the responsibility of the individual student to become thoroughly acquainted with the policies and procedures outlined in the Wells School of Music Graduate Handbook and the Graduate Catalog and fulfill, in a timely fashion, all university and program requirements.
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