The Artist Diploma (AD) program at NEC is designed to offer a small number of especially gifted performers the opportunity to deepen and challenge their artistry, broaden their musical perspective, and explore areas of musical, personal, and professional growth, free from the typical responsibilities of academic and professional life. While there is no prerequisite degree requirement for entry into the AD, most applicants have completed one or more college-level programs.

Application Process

We are delighted that you are applying to NEC! If you have any questions throughout the process, please do not hesitate to contact us. We strongly recommend that you contact the staff member who specifically handles your major or degree program.

Required Application Materials

Online Application, which will include submission of your prescreening recording, Artist Diploma Program Proposal, artistic resume (including a brief repertoire list), unofficial transcripts, English proficiency documentation (if applicable), contact information for your letters of recommendation, and the application fee of $115.

  • Unofficial transcripts: Electronic versions of academic transcripts must be submitted as part of the online application. Transcripts should show coursework completed, grades earned to date, and classes in which the student is currently enrolled. PDF files are preferred. Please do not mail hard copies of transcripts as part of the application process. Obtain an unofficial copy from your school and scan into a PDF file for upload to the online application. Please do not have electronic transcripts sent to NEC via a secure online system used by your school or university. Again, get an unofficial PDF copy of your transcript and upload it to the online application. Graduate applicants should upload transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate study, not just from the most recent program.
  • Recommendations: Three (3) letters of recommendation are required for AD applicants. Please submit one artistic recommendation from your current or most recent private studio teacher and two additional artistic recommendations from other music teachers or ensemble directors/coaches.
  • Artist Diploma Program Proposal: Applicants should submit a Program Proposal instead of the general essay in the appropriate page of the online application. The proposal should discuss how the AD program would assist you in the development of your professional career. Topics may include your reasons for choosing the AD program at NEC, repertoire to be explored as an AD candidate, and your personal plans and professional goals. The program proposal will be reviewed by the committee with the prescreening recording and is an important part of the Artist Diploma application.
  • Demonstration of English proficiency (for all applicants whose first language was not English, including U.S. citizens and permanent residents). AD applicants must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score, but are not required to meet the same minimum score requirements listed for our other programs. Instead, we use the score to get a general sense of the AD applicant's English proficiency.
  • International applicants should also be aware of student visa and other international student requirements.

The Artist Diploma Committee will not review incomplete applications.

All applications, prescreening recordings, and transcripts should be submitted as part of the online application. Recommendation letters should be submitted via the online application form whenever possible. If your recommender cannot submit online, please contact your admissions counselor for further instructions.

Standardized tests: GRE scores are not required and do not factor into our admission decision.

All materials submitted as part of the application process become the property of NEC and will not be returned.


All online materials should be submitted by December 1 with the following exceptions:

      • Recommendation letters are due December 15.
      • Final audition video recordings for students not performing a live audition are due February 1.

Admission decisions are sent by NEC in late March. Graduate students must respond to the offer by April 15.


All AD applicants must submit a video prescreening recording as outlined in the Artist Diploma audition requirements. The Artist Diploma committee will complete its review of recordings in mid-January. The Admissions Office will contact all applicants at that time with the results of the prescreening review. Generally, only a small handful of applicants are invited to the live auditions.


If invited to a live audition, AD applicants must attend the audition at NEC on the date specified. AD applicants may not audition via recording regardless of their country of residence.

Those applicants who are invited to a live audition will be asked to submit a list of proposed repertoire. The list does not need to be submitted with the online application. Live audition repertoire may be different than that contained on the prescreening video recording. The AD committee will review the proposed repertoire for approval.

NEC Alumni and Current Students

NEC alumni and current students interested in applying to the AD program must submit a full application including transcripts and supporting materials, including the submission of video prescreening recordings. Official copies of NEC transcripts must be requested from the Registrar's Office and sent to the Admissions Office. The application fee for NEC alumni and current students is $75 per program/major.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Although the AD program is tuition-free, all AD applicants must complete NEC Application for Financial Aid contained within the online application. U.S. citizens and permanent residents must also file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid, available at Please visit Tuition and Financial Aid for more information.