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Princeton University Course/Program Name
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Certificate Jazz Studies

 Course Level
Certificate / Diploma
Full Time

0 Months
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Department of Music
Scores accepted

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About this course

The Program in Jazz Studies is dedicated to providing an educational forum for the study of the performance practices and rich cultural legacy of jazz. As constructed, it provides student performers and composers (and others interested in the tradition) with the opportunity to study jazz by way of a wide range of course offerings. Students in the program participate in a number of academic courses from the music department curriculum, as well as other approved interdisciplinary offerings, that encourage the study of the historical, cultural, social, theoretical, stylistic, and creative issues that pertain to the jazz idiom. They also have the opportunity to be involved in a number of jazz outreach activities that are designed to enrich elementary, middle school, and high school students throughout the state, as well as the community at large.While the Program in Jazz Studies is not designed to produce professional jazz performers, it will provide a foundation upon which a student may build in order to go on to further training while receiving a superior liberal arts education.  

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Eligibility Criteria


  • Educational Testing Service administers the internet-based TOEFL. The Graduate School prefers scores from the iBT TOEFL. Due to the nature of the graduate admission process, the Graduate School has not set a recommended minimum score for the iBT TOEFL. Applicants who take the test in a country which does not offer the iBT TOEFL should take the PBT TOEFL.
  • Admitted students who score below a 28 on the speaking subsection of the TOEFL iBT will be required to take an English placement test at Princeton.  Students who do not pass the test will be required to enroll in English Language Program classes.


  • IELTS is a testing arm of Cambridge University, United Kingdom ESOL examinations and the British Council. Students who wish to demonstrate English proficiency through the IELTS test should visit their website(link is external), for information about the administration of this test and how to have test results reported to Princeton in a timely fashion.

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Course Modules

Program of Study
To qualify for a program certificate, students are required to complete four related courses and participate as a performer in one of the music department’s jazz performance groups.In addition, they must also be involved in educational outreach through the program’s Jazz-in-the-Schools initiative.

Course Requirements
Students are required to take four courses from the following four categories (Note: an asterisk indicates a one-time only course or topic). ). Other select music theory courses within the department of music may also be used to satisfy the elective requirement under the category of Jazz theory with the permission of the program director. Such a course would need to feature a substantial emphasis on jazz theory and composition:

1. Jazz history (1 course) from:

  •                 MUS 262 Evolution of Jazz Styles (also AAS 262); or 
  •                *MUS 320 Jazz Performance Practice in Historical and Cultural Context

2. Jazz theory and composition (1 course):

  •              MUS 311 Jazz Theory Through Improvisation and Composition I: The Bebop Paradigm; or
  •              MUS 312 Jazz Theory Through Improvisation and Composition II: Modal Approaches; or
  •             *MUS 319 Seminar in Jazz Composition; or 
  •              MUS 306 Understanding Tonality

3. Jazz performance (1 course):

  •             MUS 215 Projects in Jazz Performance
  •            *MUS 321 The Improvising Ensemble

4. Historical/cultural context electives (1 course) to be chosen from the following list or with the approval of the program director. New courses will be added to this area as they are developed; please check the program's webpage within the Department of Music's website for an up-to-date list of electives. Students are encouraged to consider historical/cultural elective courses from outside of the music department as well as those within music, as listed below. (Note: Students may take either MUS 264 or MUS 265, but not both, to satisfy the historical/cultural context elective.)



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How to Apply

Admission to the Program
The Program in Jazz Studies is open to juniors and seniors who have the appropriate background and are committed to studying the performance practices and rich cultural legacy of jazz. Admission to the program will be by application. The number of students in the program will be limited by available resources. Although enrollment is restricted to juniors and seniors, students may begin taking courses that count toward certificate requirements in their freshman year.

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