Graduate Program Music: Performance

PSU choir performing

Music: Performance Master's Degree and Graduate Certificate Overview

Serious about pursuing music performance as a professional career? You’ll find the confidence you need to turn your ambitious dreams into real-world impact with a Master's in Music Performance from PSU School of Music.

Our program will immerse you in music history through rigorous instruction in theory, orchestration, research methods, music literature, and pedagogy. You will have the opportunity for individualized applied lessons in your instrument of choice, as well as hands-on experience performing in ensembles, concerts, and recitals both on and off-campus. In addition, you will have the chance to acquire small group experience in chamber music.

Our students are given opportunities to hone leadership skills and solo playing, as well as mentorship from renowned professionals on faculty.

Our alumni are in-demand as professional musicians and teachers. Join them in this rewarding field.

Degree Details

  • M
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term
  • GC
    Graduate Certificate
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Music Performance Master's Degree or Graduate Certificate: Why PSU?

You’ll graduate from one of the nation’s top 10 “most innovative” universities with a graduate degree from the most dynamic music performance school programs in Oregon.

Our diverse campus is located in the center of downtown Portland, right in the heart of the city’s vibrant performing arts district. Our deep community connections give you unmatched opportunities for hands-on learning.

As a graduate student in performance, we connect you to professional opportunities out in the community to help you gain real-world experience.

We are proud to be a national College of Distinction for our commitment to helping students to succeed. At PSU, you will gain the experience and knowledge you need to make a difference in your career and community.

What can I do with a Master's degree or graduate certificate in Music: Performance?

Most of our alumni go on to pursue a doctorate or a career as a freelance musician and studio teacher, as well as a solo chamber and ensemble performer. Related careers include: arts administrator, artistic director, professor, and music entrepreneur.

Recent graduates hold faculty positions at Pacific University and Portland Community College were accepted into doctoral programs at University of Miami and University of North Texas, and perform with the Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet Theater Orchestra, Portland Opera, and the Vancouver Symphony.

Required Courses

  • MUS 056 Graduate Music History Entrance Exam
  • MUS 057 Graduate Music Theory Entrance Exam
  • MUP 590 Applied Music
  • MUS 506 Graduate Project or Recital
  • MUS 511 Music Research Methods
  • MUS 520 Analytical Techniques

Other Courses

  • MUS 561 Music History: The Renaissance Period
  • MUS 562 Music History: The Baroque Period
  • MUS 565 Music History: Early 20th Century
  • MUS 566 Music History: Music Since 1950
  • MUS 530 Song Literature
  • MUS 534 Choral Literature
  • MUS 536 Opera Literature
  • MUS 537 Keyboard Literature
  • MUS 540 Jazz Literature
  • MUS 581/582/583 Pedagogy

Electives selected with advisor.


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

PSU's Music programs are fully accredited National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and holds the All-Steinway School designation.