Certificate Programs

Certificate Program enables students to pursue a secondary path of study alongside their major, like a “minor” at many other universities. By integrating one (or more!) of the Department of Music’s three Certificate Programs into your studies, you can make music performance or composition a rigorous part of your time at Princeton, regardless of your major.

Certificate in Music Performance

Vocal / Instrumental / Conducting / Electronic Music / Composition

For our most devoted musicians and composers—whether you are considering a professional career, or simply wishing to realize your artistic potential—this performance-based certificate provides a framework for immersing in private study.

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Jazz ensemble

Certificate in Jazz Studies

Broaden your understanding of jazz and its contribution to global culture through this program that combines academic course work, performing ensembles, master classes, and private study. Discover the vast history of jazz, establish a strong theoretical and stylistic foundation with regard to improvisation and composition, and be supported in the development of individual expression and creativity.

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Music theater

Certificate in Music Theater

Under the auspices of the Lewis Center for the Arts, the Program in Music Theater brings together students, faculty, and guest artists in the creation, study, and performance of music theater.

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Application Process

Admission to the Program in Performance for instrumentalists is by live audition in the spring semester for a panel of the Department of Music Program Directors.

The audition dates for admission for the Fall 2023 semester will be held on April 27, 2023 (between 3-8pm) and May 2, 2023 (between 2-7pm).

For questions about the Program in Music Performance and upcoming auditions, please contact the Program Manager in Performance Activities


Audition requirements
Piano & Orchestral InstrumentsOne (1) movement from a standard sonata or concerto, showing an element of contrast. Applicants may not get to play their selection in its entirety.  Music does not need to be memorized.
Classical VoiceTwo (2) selections from standard opera arias or songs.  The music offered must be in at least two (2) different languages, one of which is either Italian, French, or German. Music MUST be memorized
Vocal ConsortStudents who are interested in pursuing the Certificate in Vocal Consort Singing should contact the Director of Choral Activities for an interview and audition. The consort audition consists of vocal and musicianship tests, including some collaborative singing exercises. No prepared material is required.
ConductingStudents who are interested in pursuing the Conducting Certificate in Performance should contact the Program in Performance Director for an interview and audition in which they will be asked to conduct a small student ensemble. For any students enrolled in MPP 216, their performance in that class may constitute an audition. No prepared material is required.
Jazz Instruments & VoiceTwo (2) selections of contrasting style that demonstrate awareness of the jazz tradition and the ability to improvise. Repertoire selection is open across jazz genres, including Afro-Latin and Brazilian pieces. Applicants should be prepared to improvise over several choruses with their own ensemble accompaniment that students provide live or play along to, such as Aebersold or iReal Pro. Music does not need to be memorized
CompositionStudents who are interested in pursuing the Composition Certificate in Performance should contact the Composition Certificate Coordinator with a sample of their compositional work in the Spring term of the sophomore year.
Electronic MusicStudents who are interested in pursuing the Electronic Certificate in Performance should contact the Director of Electronic Music.

Students who are interested in pursuing the Certificate in Jazz Studies should contact the program director for an interview.

Plan of Study

Certificate Requirements

7 Required CoursesMUS 105
One (1) Materials & Making course
One (1) Materials & Making or Culture & Criticism course
Two (2) Music Performance (MPP) Courses
MPP 298 & 299 (one complete year of studio lessons for credit) 
Performance ProjectThe presentation of a performance project (usually a recital) in the senior year: see Student Recital Policies & Procedures
Studio LessonsThe completion of regular lessons with members of the performance faculty (or with outside teachers by special permission), including satisfactory performance of a jury at the end of the spring semester.
Ensemble ParticipationActive membership in one of the Departmental Ensembles.

All Certificate students in piano who are not members of a faculty-led ensemble must collaborate on at least one senior recital (including a full rehearsal process) by an instrumentalist or vocalist in each year of study; students should in addition engage in two approved collaborations per semester. Approved collaborations include any performance, masterclass or audition process which involves performance faculty. Students must notify the Program Manager in Performance Activities of their collaborative activities by March 1 of every year.

Certificate Requirements

6 Required CoursesMUS 105
MUS 106
Two (2) Materials & Making courses
Two (2) 300-level courses in composition
Composition ProjectA final composition project submitted to the Composition Certificate Coordinator before the end of classes in the Spring term of the senior year, graded on a pass/fail basis.
Composition LessonsStudents may enroll in 3-5 lessons per term with a graduate student composer. The Program Manager in Performance Activities will be in touch to coordinate these lessons.

Certificate Requirements

6 Required CoursesMUS 105
One (1) Materials & Making course
Two (2) 200-level (or higher) music courses
Two (2) 300-level electronic music courses, including MUS/COS 314, MUS 315, and MUS 316
Senior ProjectA senior project in the form of software/hardware development, instrument design, or electronic music composition.
Ensemble ParticipationActive membership in the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (“PLOrk”)
Composition LessonsStudents have access to private composition lessons with Princeton University graduate students, though lessons are not required.

Certificate Requirements

4 Required CoursesOne (1) course in Jazz History: MUS 262/AAS 262
One (1) course in Jazz Theory/Composition: MUS 261, MUS 263, and MUS 319 are preferred. MPP 252 and MUS 340 will also count.
One (1) course in Jazz Performance: MPP 251, MPP 252, MUS 340.
One (1) course in Historical/Cultural Context: Offerings in non-music departments are encouraged, such as African American Studies, American Studies, English, History, and Sociology. Program director approval is required.
Performance ProjectThe presentation of a senior recital: see Student Recital Policies & Procedures. The recital must be a demonstration of core study. The final program must be approved by both the studio instructor and a performance program director.
Ensemble ParticipationParticipation is required in both junior and senior years in the Creative Large Ensemble, or one of the small groups and jazz vocal ensembles.
Studio LessonsOne complete academic year of studio lessons in jazz performance with the jazz performance faculty (MPP 298/MPP 299) must be taken consecutively.

Recent Certificate Student Spotlights

Read More Senior Spotlights
Student Perspectives: The Musical Odyssey of Princeton’s Adrian Thananopavarn

Jan 18, 2024

Adrian P. Thananopavarn ’24, Math major with certificates in Computer Science and Music Composition, premieres “March of Dusk” with Princeton University Sinfonia

Congratulations to the Class of 2023 Senior Class Day Award Winners

Aug 4, 2023

Last May, the Department of Music is proud to announce the recipients of the Class of 2023 Senior Class Day awards. Join us in applauding these young musicians on their outstanding accomplishments!

Upcoming Certificate Recitals

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