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Princeton University Course/Program Name
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Certificate Musical Performance

 Course Level
Certificate / Diploma
Full Time

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Department of Music
Scores accepted

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About this course

The backbone of any course of musical study is bringing music to life by performing it, and Princeton welcomes advanced student performers into the Music Department. The study of performance, allied with strong academic courses in theory, history, and composition, together are a rich path to deeper musical understanding. The Program in Musical Performance is designed to serve qualified students seeking to develop their skills as musical performers in college within a liberal arts context.

After being selected by audition, Program students have the opportunity to take courses from the department curriculum, many of which are either performance-oriented or have a significant performance component, and combine them with private study under the distinguished professionals of Princeton’sperformance faculty. This is rounded out by participation in University instrumental and vocal ensembles. “We want to attract students with a variety of musical interests, from classical to jazz to electronic media,” says Director Michael Pratt. While the primary purpose of the program is not to provide conservatory-style training, it can help aspiring performers prepare for professional study while receiving the benefits of a superior liberal arts education. Over the years, Program students have entered conservatories such as Juilliard, Eastman, New England, Royal Academy (among others) for graduate study.

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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

In addition, students in the program choose two other Department of Music courses from those that fulfill the requirement for the music major. These include a lengthy list of history, literature, theory, analysis, and composition courses.

  • Theory: Music 205, 206
  • Group I (Western music history): Music 230, 232, 234, 236, 238, 240, 242
  • Group II (non-Western and non-canonical musics): Music 250, 251, 255, 257, 258, 259,260, 262, 264, 265
  • 300 level (or higher): MUS 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 314, 315, 316, 318, 320, 321, 323, 324, 332, 333, 335, 336, 337, 339, 352, 366, 367, 430, 431

Performance Courses:

  • MUS 213 Projects in Instrumental Performance
  • MUS 214 Projects in Vocal Performance
  • MUS 215 Projects in Jazz Performance      
  • MUS 216 Techniques of Conducting
  • MUS 298 (Fall) and MUS 299 (Spring)  Independent Instruction in Voice or Instrument
  • MUS 314 Computer and Electronic Music through Programming, Performance, and Composition

Courses offered with a performance component include:

  • MUS 105 Music Theory through Performance and Composition (offered fall term)
  • MUS 106 Music Theory through Performance and Composition (offered spring term)
  • MUS 210 Beginning Workshop in Musical Composition
  • MUS 308 Contemporary Music through Composition and Performance
  • MUS 310 Advanced Workshop in Musical Composition
  • MUS 311 Jazz Theory through Improvisation and Composition I
  • MUS 312 Jazz Theory through Improvisation and Composition II
  • MUS 318/THR 330 Special Topics in Performance Practice
  • MUS 320 (OTO) Jazz Performance Practice in Historical and Cultural Context
  • MUS 321/DAN 321 (OTO) Music and Dance Collaborations in the 20th Century

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How to Apply

If you are thinking about obtaining this certificate upon graduation (or just thinking about how to develop your interest in the Middle Ages further), come and see the director, Sara S. Poor, even in your freshman year and even if your general plan of study tends more toward the sciences than the humanities.  There is a form to complete and we will put you on our mailing lists.

The time when you select your departmental major is the time to make or reaffirm your commitment as an official participant in the certificate program as an extension of your major.

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