Admission Requirements


VanderCook offers the Master of Music Education degree to candidates who are experienced and certified music teachers. For candidates who hold undergraduate degrees in music disciplines other than music education, VanderCook offers the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree in music education while completing the necessary coursework to satisfy the requirements for teacher certification. Entrance requirements for the Master's and Certification (MCert) option are as follows:

  1. Graduation from an accredited college or university with a bachelor's degree in music performance, composition, musicology or a related field.

  2. A minimum cumulative college grade point average of 3.0 or higher. (Note: Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 may still apply but will be required to take the GRE exam in addition to the regular application requirements.)

  3. Completion of an instrumental or vocal audition and interview.

  4. ACT/SAT (International applicants are exempt from the SAT/ACT requirement.)

    • Complete the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) with Writing and earn a combined score of 1110 (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing + Mathematics = 1110 or higher) AND a minimum score of 26 on Writing and Language on SAT exams taken March 5, 2016 or later; OR

    • Complete the American College Test (ACT) with Writing and earn a composite score of 22 with a Writing score of 6 or higher on ACT exams taken Sept 10, 2016 or later.

International students (non-native English speakers) must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  For applicants who have taken the test prior to September 30, 2006, a minimum score of 500 is required on the paper-based test, or 173 on the computer-based test.  The Internet-based TOEFL test (IBT) measures the areas of reading, listening, writing and speaking.  VanderCook requires a minimum score of 90 on the IBT with no subscores under 22.  The EIKEN test can be considered in lieu of the TOEFL; VanderCook requires a minimum grade of 2A, but admission is contigent on an interview.  (Note: All international applicants who are admitted must submit proof of total financial support before an I-20 will be issued.)


Students considering enrolling in VanderCook College of Music should contact the Admissions Office. Our admissions personnel are trained to assist you in completing your application, and to answer your questions about the college. Applicants for the MCert program should follow the following procedure:

  1. Apply online or download and complete the Certification and Entitlement Application.

  2. Send the completed application, all required materials, and the $50 non-refundable application fee to:
    Office of Admissions
    VanderCook College of Music
    3140 S. Federal St.
    Chicago, Illinois 60616

  3. Submit all official transcripts* indicating graduation from an accredited college or university as well as any previously completed graduate-level coursework. Applicants who wish to receive credit for graduate courses completed elsewhere should include a written request with their application. It is strongly recommended that course descriptions accompany these requests. 

  4. Submit three recommendation forms completed by professors, employers or non-family friends who can attest to professional, musical and personal attributes.

  5. Using the essay guidlines form included in the Graduate Application, complete an essay that states your philosophy of music education and addresses VanderCook's three dispositions:

    • Strength in Character

    • Excellence in Music

    • Professionalism in Teaching

  6. Complete an audition and interview.

  7. Pass the Illinois State Board of Education's Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP).

* Applicants with an undergraduate cumulative GPA below 3.0 must take the GRE and have the scores submitted to the Admissions Office before an admissions decision can be made.


Questions? Contact the Admissions Office at or 312.788.1120.


VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

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