The two-year Graduate Diploma (GD) curriculum consists of full-time study in composition, instrumental performance, vocal performance, or conducting. Programs may include repertoire coaching, ensemble, chamber music, and course work as related to the major.

Audition standards are higher than those for the Master of Music program, though not as high as for the Artist Diploma. The minimum requirement for entry into this program is a bachelor’s degree, undergraduate diploma, or the equivalent as certified by the Dean of the College.

Students and their academic advisor design a four-semester program of study that is reviewed during registration periods. Students are encouraged to seek additional advice from their studio instructors and department chairs.

Students who have graduated from NEC’s master’s degree program may petition to apply one year’s work (12 credits maximum with grades of B or better) from the master’s to the Graduate Diploma program. Students who have graduated from NEC’s Graduate Diploma program and wish to enroll in NEC’s master’s degree program may petition to apply one year’s work (16 credits maximum) from the Graduate Diploma to the master’s program. In such cases, the second program may be completed in one year. If the petition is approved, the promotional is waived; for vocal performance majors the one-year ensemble requirement for the second program is also waived. Please note that the Financial Aid package is not guaranteed if the student chooses to complete the second degree in two years rather than one.

The Graduate Diploma is offered in the majors listed below. Please use these links to find specific information pertaining to your intended major.

Strings: Violin, Viola, Violoncello, Double Bass, Harp, Guitar

Woodwinds: Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone

Brass: Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba


Conducting: Choral Conducting, Wind Ensemble Conducting


Collaborative Piano

Jazz Studies: Jazz Performance, Jazz Composition

Contemporary Improvisation

Vocal Performance

Historical Performance