Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Master of Music (MM)
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Applicants to programs in Choral and Sacred Music must submit a pre-screen recording (video format preferred for undergraduate applicants, required for graduate applicants) to be pre-screened by the faculty. The results of this pre-screen will determine whether an applicant will be invited to perform a live audition on the USC campus in Los Angeles.
Please Note: All applicants who pass the pre-screen round MUST audition live to be considered for admission to the Choral and Sacred Music program.
Recordings will not be accepted via mail or email for this program. Recordings must be submitted online through the “Fall SlideRoom portal” by the December 1st deadline. Any application not complete by December 1 may be removed from consideration.
The pre-screen recording should include the following:
- BA applicants: Two selections, in contrasting styles, from the standard solo vocal repertoire. Applicants are encouraged to prepare at least one of these selections in a foreign language. Should you have conducting experience, please provide video footage.
- BA applicants: A Statement of Purpose (not more than two pages, 12-point type, double-spaced): what are your personal and career goals as a musician? Why do you want this degree and what do you hope to do upon successful completion of this program? And why, in particular, do you want to study at USC?
- MM and DMA applicants: A choral ensemble performance of a minimum of 10 minutes and a rehearsal of a minimum of 10 minutes conducted by the applicant, including choral works from several periods and styles, with at least one being a twentieth/twenty-first century composition. Although the stated application deadline is December 1, graduate choral applicants are encouraged to submit all materials by November 1 in order to allow greater time for pre-screen processing.
Please note the following additional requirements for MM and DMA applicants:
- DMA applicants are required to submit a “Personal Introductory Video” as part of their SlideRoom Portfolio. For detailed instructions click here.
- DMA applicants must take GRE verbal, quantitative, writing (no subject) test.
- MM applicants are preferred to have had a minimum of two years of experience as the conductor of a choral ensemble, however potential MM candidates are reviewed based upon potential, and ability to apply new concepts. DMA applicants should have a minimum of four years of experience as the conductor of a choral ensemble (for both MM and DMA, this can be full or part-time; church, synagogue, professional or community chorus).
- All applicants must submit a brief resume with Thornton’s SlideRoom application specifically noting conducting experience and a repertoire list divided into categories of works sung, works studied or conducted in rehearsal, and works conducted in performance.
- All applicants are required to submit 3 Letters of Recommendation via the SlideRoom portal. For DMA applicants, one of these letters must be from a professor who has assessed a substantial research or analysis paper that the applicant has written.
- A scholarly writing sample must be submitted with Thornton’s SlideRoom application (not more than 10 pages, an excerpt from a larger paper is acceptable).
- A Statement of Purpose (not more than two pages, 12-point type, double-spaced): what are your personal and career goals as a musician? Why do you want this degree and what do you hope to do upon successful completion of this program? And why, in particular, do you want to study at USC?
BA live audition
Based on the results of the pre-screen, the faculty will invite a select group of applicants to the USC campus in Los Angeles for a live audition, which is REQUIRED for admission to the Choral and Sacred Music program. At the live audition, each applicant will perform two solo vocal selections, for which an accompanist will be provided. In addition, applicants will be asked to demonstrate basic sight singing and pitch retention ability and will also take a one hour test covering basic aural and written theory skills. An interview with the faculty is also part of the audition process.
MM/DMA live audition
Based on the results of the pre-screen, the faculty will invite a select group of applicants to the USC campus in Los Angeles for a live audition, which is REQUIRED for admission to the Choral and Sacred Music program. At the live audition, each candidate will conduct a choral ensemble on a predetermined composition and rehearse an additional selection during a 20 minute live audition. Additionally, applicants will take examinations in choral literature, sight-singing, pitch retention, harmonic function, and keyboard skills. Moreover, each applicant will perform a solo vocal selection, for which an accompanist will be provided. DMA applicants must have taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within the past FIVE years and have scores sent to USC. See Test Score Guidelines page for details.
- Scans (PDF format) of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended must be uploaded into SlideRoom. Official transcripts are issued by the registrar’s office of each institution. Unofficial transcripts or documents printed from an on-line student system will not be accepted. Please note that official transcripts must also be submitted separately to the USC Graduate Admission office following the guidelines here.
- Also, all letters of recommendation should be submitted by recommenders through the SlideRoom portal.
- Late arrival of materials such as GRE & TOEFL results, Transcripts, etc. might impact potential financial awards should the candidate be accepted.
Applications for spring admission are not accepted for this program.
For more details about the undergraduate program refer to the USC Choral and Sacred BACM Handbook
For more details about the about the graduate program refer to the USC Choral and Sacred Graduate Handbook