Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts / BOYER COLLEGE OF MUSIC AND DANCE

Learn more about the Master of Music in Vocal Arts.

About the Program

The interdisciplinary Master of Music in Vocal Arts is designed for graduate students who want to continue their education and practice in the disciplines of solo and choral singing in preparation for careers in community music, education or performance. The degree offers an opportunity to broaden the scope of graduate vocal education beyond the classical studio experience. Students complete a core of private voice lessons and choral ensembles, and may select electives in choral studies, music education, musical theater and voice/opera studies.

In contrast to the Master of Music in Voice Performance, which is a focused program that serves students whose career goal is to become a professional classical voice performer, the Vocal Arts MM allows students to broaden their vocal training to choral music, conducting, music education or musical theater. The Vocal Arts MM program allows students to balance the rigor of classical voice training with the freedom to select an area of focus in another genre.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 4 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Accreditation: Accreditation is being sought from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

Areas of Specialization: Within the prescribed credits for the MM in Vocal Arts, students can focus their studies on choral music, conducting, music education or musical theater.

Job Prospects: The program prepares students for various careers related to the vocal arts and for further academic training at the doctoral level.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students may enroll in select courses in music with permission, but may not take applied lessons until they have been fully admitted and matriculated.

Financing Opportunities: Boyer College of Music and Dance offers a number of assistantships and academic internships to matriculated graduate students. Full awards carry a cash stipend plus full tuition remission for the Fall and Spring terms. Partial awards also are available in values of 1/4 or 1/2 of a full award. Duties for assistantships and internships vary, but typically include teaching, tutoring, classroom assistance, research, artistic performance and/or direct service related to academic programs. Assistantship and internship awards are made only in the Fall term for up to two terms: Fall and Spring. Awards may be renewed on an annual basis (typically up to one additional year for master's students and up to three years for doctoral students) based on departmental needs as well as satisfactory academic and musical progress by the recipient.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: March 1
Spring: December 1

Applications are processed as they arrive up to the deadline date.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from evaluators who can provide insight into an applicant's abilities, talents and aptitude for graduate study.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate Bachelor of Music degree at Temple University, which is based on a curriculum of 124 to 135 hours.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: A degree in Music is expected.

Statement of Goals: Share your special interests within the discipline and expectations for the program.

Standardized Test Scores:
Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 75
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 51

Audition: Applicants must successfully pass a voice audition.

Resume: Current resume required.

Transfer Credit: A student who wishes to transfer credit should speak with their academic advisor and obtain a "Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within "University Forms." Transfer credits must be approved by the advisor, the department chair, and the Associate Dean. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 6.

Other: Due to the large number of applications for admission and the competitive nature of its music programs, the College admits only a portion of its applicants. In addition to the general admissions credentials required of all Temple University graduate applicants, specialized admission criteria (i.e., auditions, portfolios, interviews, recommendations, departmental term papers, and standardized examinations) are very heavily weighted in admission decisions of the Boyer College of Music and Dance. Graduate applicants may be rejected for admission for failing to obtain the required level of proficiency in any one area of the specialized admission criteria regardless of the level of success in meeting the Temple University general admission criteria. In addition to the level of success demonstrated in the above-mentioned criteria, a final admission factor is the College's Optimum Enrollment Policy. This policy may preclude the admission of any student who meets the minimum requirements.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30

Required Courses:

Core Courses
MUSC 8204Voice Major3
MUSC 8214Voice Major3
MUSC 8224Voice Major3
MUSC 8310Choral Ensemble (3 terms)3
MUST 8701Research in Music3
Select courses in Choral Conducting, Choral Literature, Music Education, Musical Theater, Opera Diction, Pedagogy, or Vocal Literature
Public Recital
MUSC 8284Voice Major-Recital3
Total Credit Hours30

Language Examination: To complete the degree, students must fulfill a foreign language requirement in French, German, Italian, Spanish or another language with approval of the chair. This requirement may be fulfilled in any one of three ways:

  1. The student successfully completed three terms of a foreign language (one term each of French, German or Italian) as an undergraduate.
  2. The student passes a foreign language examination with the requisite language department.
  3. The student completes three terms of a foreign language (one term each of French, German or Italian). Since language credits are at the undergraduate level, they do not count toward the MM degree, but they do fulfill the language requirement.

Additional Requirements:
Diagnostic Examinations:
Diagnostic examinations in Aural Theory, Written Theory, and Music History are required for all entering master's students. The exceptions are students in Jazz Studies and Music Therapy who have their examinations arranged within their respective departments. In addition, Keyboard students take an additional two-hour examination in Keyboard Literature. As stated in the Boyer College Graduate Handbook, master’s "students may not take final qualifying examinations nor perform graduation recitals until all diagnostic examinations have been successfully completed."

The exams may be taken in one day or split over three days, or the exams can be taken online for a fee. Preparations are provided upon registration. Visit the Boyer College of Music and Dance website for the graduate music examination schedule and registration form.

Please note that registration for a student's first term of study is completed in consultation with the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Please re-read the admission letter, especially the "Special Notes" section on page 2, regarding any entrance deficiencies. If any remedial coursework is required, it must be completed by the end of the first year of study. It is also best for students to complete MUST 8701 Research in Music, which is required of all students except those in Jazz Studies, Music Education, and Music Therapy in the first year of study.

A. Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Aural Theory

The examination lasts approximately 40 minutes and consists of a written portion in which students are asked to:

  1. Dictate a chord progression that modulates and contains chromatic harmony by writing out the bass line and identifying chords by Roman numerals and inversions.
  2. Complete a two-part melodic dictation that modulates and contains chromatic pitches.

B. Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Written Theory

The examination lasts one and one-half hours and is in two parts: 

  1. Harmonic analysis of two chorales: one that uses diatonic harmony, and one that uses chromatic harmony.
  2. Analysis of the form, motives and phrase structures of the first movement of a Classical-era piano sonata.

C. Graduate Diagnostic Examination in Music History

The examination lasts one hour and contains objective questions in a multiple choice and/or true/false format. It covers composers, forms, instruments, musical works, styles and terms from 1450 to the present. Sample questions are:

  1. The basso continuo came into use in about which year?
    (a) 1500  (b) 1600  (c) 1650  (d) 1700
  2. Who composed Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)?
    (a) Mahler  (b) Bruckner  (c) Brahms  (d) Schumann
  3. Which of the following instruments would not be found in the score of a symphony by Haydn?
    (a) horn  (b) oboe  (c) timpani  (d) trombone  (e) trumpet

D. Conditions for Exemption from Diagnostic Examinations

The requirement to take the Diagnostic Examination in any area is waived only for graduates of the Boyer College of Music and Dance who:

  • matriculate and enroll in the term immediately following completion of all undergraduate degree requirements; and
  • received grades of "B-" or better in every undergraduate course taken in each individual examination area to be waived.

Culminating Events:
Comprehensive Examination:
Candidates for the Master of Music degree are required to complete a one-hour comprehensive examination in music literature and music theory. The examination is in three parts, all of which must be passed:

  • identification of specific selections from a list of 100 musical works of the standard literature from the Middle Ages through the 20th Century;
  • identification of one "mystery" selection not found on the list; and
  • score analysis.

The examination, which is administered in both the Fall and Spring terms, may be taken at any time in a student’s program. Two graduate faculty members grade the examination.

Final Project:
The supervised final project (MUSC 8284) reflects the student’s areas of study, culminating in a unique one-hour public performance, at least half of which must be the candidate’s solo performance. The interdisciplinary nature of the degree affords several project options for the final project performance, including choral conducting, lecture recital, thesis or vocal recital that could include both classical and contemporary commercial music repertoire.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Dept. of Vocal Arts

Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts/Boyer College of Music and Dance

2001 N. 13th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6079


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


James Short


Program Coordinator:

Dr. Christine Anderson



Dr. Paul Rardin