Music: Conducting (M.A.)

Music: Conducting (M.A.)

Dr. Andrew Boysen and conducting student leading a rehearsal

Why get a master’s degree in music conducting?

The M.A. in music with a conducting option offers both a broad knowledge of music and the opportunity for in-depth study of either instrumental or choral conducting. This master’s program offers graduate musical training and mastery of music history, theory and education, culminating in a conducting recital and/or significant performances with one of the major university orchestral, instrumental or vocal ensembles. Our faculty’s interests span all styles, periods and approaches, and the program is intended for those who wish to improve their skills and knowledge for use in education or performance or to prepare for doctoral programs in conducting.

Why choose UNH for your music degree?

Take advantage of all of the resources of the music department, including a wealth of faculty expertise, lectures and performances by acclaimed musicians, conductors, composers and researchers. You can take part in a rich musical life at UNH, including chamber, vocal and concert ensembles, jazz bands, and the University Symphony Orchestra. Located within driving distance of Boston, central and northern New England, UNH is ideally situated to take advantage of the musical offerings of the many vibrant cities and communities in the area.

Potential career areas

  • Academia
  • Cinema/theatre 
  • Composition 
  • Conducting 
  • Education 
  • Music theory 
  • Performance 
  • Radio/television 
  • Research 
  • Sound design


Curriculum & Requirements

The master of arts in conducting option1 offers the opportunity for in-depth study of either instrumental or choral conducting. The program is intended for those who wish to improve their skills and knowledge for use in the school classroom or to prepare for doctoral programs in conducting.

Completion of the program requires a conducting recital and/or significant performances with one of the major university ensembles. A comprehensive oral examination will include discussion of the recital music, appropriate score identification, and questions focused on music history, theory, or education, to be determined in consultation with the members of the candidate's oral examination committee.

All of the Master of Arts in Music options require 30 credit hours as well as a final project for completion of the degree. 

MUSI 831Advanced Instrumental Conducting (3 semesters)6
MUED 983Instrumental Literature and Its Performance3
MUSI 991Research Seminar (conducting recital)3
Supportive Courses in Music
MUSI 955Introduction to Bibliography3
MUSI 994Theory Seminar3
MUSI 959Musicology Seminar3
Electives 19
Select nine credits from the following:
Techniques and Methods Courses
MUED 841
Techniques and Methods in Choral Music
MUED #845
Techniques and Methods in String Instruments
MUED 847
Techniques and Methods in Woodwind Instruments
MUED 849
Techniques and Methods in Brass Instruments
MUED 851
Techniques and Methods in Percussion Instruments
MUED 871
Marching Band Methods
MUED 865
Instrumental Music Methods
MUED 895
Special Studies 2
Applied Lessons Courses
MUSI 841
Graduate Piano
MUSI 845
Graduate Voice
MUSI 848
Graduate Cello
MUSI 850
Graduate Classical Guitar
MUSI 852
Graduate Clarinet
MUSI 853
Graduate Saxophone
MUSI 855
Graduate Bassoon
MUSI 856
Graduate French Horn
MUSI 857
Graduate Trumpet
MUSI 860
Graduate Tuba
MUSI 861
Graduate Percussion
MUSI 959
Musicology Seminar 3
MUSI 995
Independent Study in the History and Theory of Music
Total Credits30

Concentration and Supportive Courses are required; other electives are possible with the approval of the department.


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Feb. 15 (for funding); April 1 (recommended US; final international); July 1 (final)
  • Spring: Dec. 1
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: VT

Accelerated Masters: Yes (for more details see the accelerated masters information page)

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Additional Department Requirements

Accelerated Masters program: Applicants must have a minimum 3.4 GPA. Applicants are required to submit 2 letters of reference from UNH Faculty. 

Additional Requirements

Entrance Exam: An exam in music theory and music history is required. The exam will be sent to you upon completion of your on-line application with the graduate school. You are required to arrange for an instructor at your current institution or similarly qualified person to proctor the exam for you. Please contact the Department of Music graduate coordinator for details. 

Writing Sample: A sample of academic writing, preferably on a musical subject, should be submitted to the Department of Music graduate coordinator, either electronically (pdf file via email) or in hard copy. This might be a paper that has been submitted for a course. 

Conducting: Applicants must perform a live conducting audition with one of the university ensembles. Please contact the Director of Bands or Director of Choral Activities for details and to schedule an audition.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

The University of New Hampshire recommends that international applicants who are living outside of the United States, and are planning on pursuing a research based degree, submit a preapplication form before submitting a full application. Your preapplication request will be carefully reviewed and a decision usually provided within 3 weeks. If your preapplication is approved then it is recommended you then submit a full application. If you are currently living in the United States (on a H1B visa, etc.), or you plan on pursuing a professional master’s degree, then you do not need to submit a preapplication.

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

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