This program consists of two years of full-time study in composition, performance, or conducting. Programs may include repertoire coaching, ensemble, chamber music, and coursework 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.

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 instructor and department chair.

Students who have graduated from NEC's master's degree program may petition to apply one year's work (12 credits of studio and classes and 2 credits of ensemble maximum with grades of B or better) from the Master of Music to the Graduate Diploma program. Students who have graduated from NEC's Graduate Diploma program and wish to enroll in NEC's Master of Music degree program may petition to apply 18–20 credits, depending on major, from the Graduate Diploma to the Master of Music program. Except in the case of Collaborative Piano, 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.

Historical Performance - Graduate Diplomacredits
Electives* and Chamber Music8
Total Credits30
*Admission to Music Theory courses requires passing the Master's Music Theory Competency Examination (see Master's Examinations in History and Theory).

Additional Requirements:
1) Promotional/half-recital at the end of the first year (596)