Q. How do I make application to the program?
A. The University of Notre Dame requires that all applications for graduate programs be done on-line. The application can be found in the Notre Dame Graduate School web page.
Q. Who makes the admissions decisions for the M.S.M. Program?
A. The M.S.M. program is overseen by an interdepartmental group of faculty members from the Theology Department and the Music Department who oversees the admissions process. The members of the M.S.M. Committee make admissions nominations to the Graduate School based on the rankings of the applications received. An official letter about the admissions decision for the coming year comes from the Graduate School.
Q. Is it possible to enter the program in the spring semester?
A. The courses in the M.S.M. program are arranged on a two-year rotational basis, Therefore, normally it is only possible to enter the program in the fall term and to continue for two consecutive years.
Q. Is it possible to do the M.S.M. program only in summertime?
A. It is the firm belief of the faculty associated with the M.S.M. program that one learns music over a prolonged period with a sustained effort. Therefore, the M.S.M. program is an academic year program. There is, however, the possibility of doing certain liturgy courses during the summer session.
Q. What are you looking for in the Statement of Intent?
A. For the M.S.M. program we want to know what you plan to do with the M.S.M. degree when you are finished. You might briefly include what has prepared you to consider this program, knowing that your resume will give us precise information on your background. Your statement of intent should be no more than two double-spaced, typewritten pages, in normal font (Times New Roman 12). In it, you should give us a clear and vivid understanding of how you came to be interested in the study of music and liturgy, why you want to pursue it at the graduate level, and why you want to do the M.S.M. at Notre Dame (in contrast to any other school). A successful statement of intent will make the case that you clearly fit in the M.S.M. program at Notre Dame, and that you will both benefit from your two years here and will make a positive contribution to the program. We recommend that you work on your statement of intent with your advisor, or even all three of your recommenders, so that you might benefit from their advice, and so that their letters might match the interests you discuss in your statement.
Q. How does the committee weigh the various aspects of my application, i.e., audition, GRE scores, GPA and transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal statement?
A. Since the M.S.M. is training people to function as pastoral musicians, musicianship and consequently the audition carry great weight. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is NO LONGER REQUIRED for your file to be considered for admission. Your GPA should be around 3.5, although the GPA of courses most closely related to Music is more important. The core of the application, however, is the profile created by the statement of intent and the letters of recommendation. You should therefore draft your statement and choose your recommenders with great care, so that we have the most clear and vivid sense of what kind of student you would be in our program. You may have up to four letters of recommendation, but three of these letters must be from academic faculty who can speak to your ability to work in music and theology at the masters’ level, although they do not have to be music or theology professors themselves.
Q. The Graduate School website speaks about submitting a writing sample. Do I need to concern myself with this?
A. No. The M.S.M. degree is preparing students for pastoral music positions. Therefore, the musicianship is of great concern for admissions. In lieu of a writing sample, the prospective M.S.M. student should plan to do an audition.
Q. What is required for an audition?
A. For organists, one can either come to campus for a live audition on one of the organs on campus, or submit a recent recording. For the general M.S.M. prospective student, one should submit a recording that can be in CD format (or the equivalent) for singing or instrumental playing, or DVD (or the equivalent), for singing, instrumental playing, but particularly for conducting.
Q. What do I need to prepare for an organ audition?
A. Three pieces: a major work by J. S. Bach (a Prelude and Fugue; Concerto; Trio Sonata; Major Chorale Preludes from the Leipzig Chorales or the Clavierübung III) and two contrasting pieces of upper-division undergraduate repertoire.
B.Students are encouraged to submit materials as follows (in order of preference): a live audition on campus; a DVD; a CD of live performances (the pieces do not have to be taken from the same performance); a CD. Auditions may be schedule directly with Prof. Cramer.
Q. What do I need to prepare for a choral and/or instrumental audition?
A. Depending upon what you plan to audition (singing, playing an instrument, choral conducting) you should prepare a recording on CD or DVD format. For suggestions see the admissions page.
Q. Is it necessary to have a major in music to be a serious applicant to the M.S.M. Program?
A. Since the M.S.M. program is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, one of the formal requirements is that a student have a bachelors degree in music or the equivalent. If you do not have a bachelor degree but feel that you have the equivalent, you should contact the program director who will assess your background with you to see if you are eligible to apply.
Q. Do I have to be Roman Catholic, or come from a Roman Catholic school, to be admitted?
A. Our students and faculty come from a diversity of denominational backgrounds, including Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and other traditions. While the faculty and student body are ecumenical, the program is very grounded in the liturgical and musical tradition of the Roman Catholic Church which by its very nature is inclusive of the broader Christian tradition.
Q. I am an international student, not a citizen of the United States. Is there anything I need to do if I am accepted to the M.S.M. Program?
A. International students need to apply for a visa to come to this country to study. In order to obtain a visa from the U.S. government, students need to show that they have approximately $10,000 a year in funding for each year of study. While the M.S.M. Program does provide limited financial support in the form of assistantships and supervised placements, the international student still needs proof of complementary funding by the time you apply for a visa. If you have any questions about this matter, please contact Dean Terry Akai in the Graduate School, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. How long do I have to make a decision once I am admitted to the M.S.M. Program?
A. The University of Notre Dame, along with its peer schools, is a signatory to the Resolution of the Council of Graduate Schools. According to the Council, “The general spirit of the Resolution is that students should have an opportunity to consider more than one offer and should have until April 15 to do so, that institutions and students should be able to view acceptances in force after April 15 as binding, that everyone should know what the rules are, and that an offer by the institution and its acceptance by the student constitute an agreement which both expect to honor.”
Q. Is it possible for me to change my mind after April 15 if I want to accept an offer from another institution?
A. According to the Council of Graduate Schools, “Another part of the Resolution concerns what happens after April 15. The intent seems clear: commitments in force after April 15 can be considered by the institution as binding. Students may still change their minds but this now requires obtaining a written release from the institution. Similarly, institutions that make offers to students after April 15 are to require the student to present a written release from any previous offer.”
Q. What can I expect to receive to offset the cost of the M.S.M. program?
A. Each year the M.S.M. program has the capacity to admit up to 9 students. Each of these students automatically receives a full tuition scholarship. Additionally there is some financial support in the form of internships on-campus and in the form of supervised placements in area churches. Currently an M.S.M. student can expect to receive in the neighborhood of $12,500 a year. In addition, starting in the 2015-2016 academic year, the University of Notre Dame will offer a full health subsidy for eligible graduate students. Eligible graduate students are those who are enrolled in the university plan, receive full tuition support and receive a stipend at or above the eligible threshold for the degree level ($12,500 for students in master’s programs). Students who are covered through a different plan will receive $200 that they may apply to that plan.
Q. How much time does the Internship take?
A. Because the M.S.M. program is preparing students for church positions in sacred music, some experience in the field is desirable. On the other hand, the student must be free enough to pursue studies as well as to have sufficient practice time. Therefore, the internship aims at between 10-12 hours a week.