Music MA in Conducting

Garrett Rigsby, conducting studentor

Master of Arts in Conducting

The Department of Music offers a Master of Arts degree in conducting designed to prepare students to conduct major symphonic and choral repertoire during their professional careers. In addition to developing practical technical skills, students study issues of performance practice and musical analysis, and gain experience in the preparation of performance materials.

Master of Arts candidates must be in residence for at least one academic year (typically two years), pass an exam in one foreign language (typically German, French, Italian, Spanish or Latin), and present a public concert and supporting written materials in lieu of a thesis.

Typical time to complete the Master of Arts degree is two years. Core course work requirements are the three proseminars in music plus at least three seminars and independent study (conducting lessons).


UC Davis CA residency requirements for graduate students are HERE. First year graduate students who are US citizens but not CA residents must complete the CA residency process before the end of their first quarter.

Contact Christian Baldini or Nicolás Dosman for more information regarding the master’s degree in conducting. For questions regarding the particulars of the program or application process, contact Graduate Program Coordinator Marian Bilheimer.

Graduate Coursework, Conducting

(48 units)

16 units of at least four seminars including the below,
18 units of conducting lessons (3 units each quarter for six quarters), and the balance of 14 units taking independent study (MUS 299 units over three quarters) in preparation for one public performance examination and a written project.

MUS 210A. Proseminar in Music (Theory and Analysis) (4)
MUS 210B. Proseminar in Music (Musicology and Criticism) (4)
MUS 210C. Proseminar in Music (Ethnomusicology) (4)

Admission Requirements

Consideration for program admission requires:

  • A bachelor’s degree comparable to a degree from the University of California in both distribution of academic subject matter and scholarly achievement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts (UC Davis requires academic records from each college-level institution you have attended.  You will be instructed to upload scanned copies of your transcripts after you have submitted your online application.  For more details visit
  • TOEFL or IELTS score (if applicable)
  • A CV (including a list of works conducted, rehearsed, and studied)
  • Links to conducting videos (of rehearsal or concert) with 2 or 3 works showing different styles 
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0
  • An Office of Graduate Studies online application with fee by the stated admission deadline.
  • The most qualified applicants will be selected to take part in a live audition (and interview) conducting a university ensemble.
  • For eligibility requirements to apply for fellowships and financial aid, see here.

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