The Artist Diploma (AD) program is NEC's highest performance program, offering a handful of especially gifted performers the opportunity to deepen and challenge their artistry, broaden their musical perspective, and explore areas of 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.
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 Admissions team member who specifically handles your major or degree program.
Required Application Materials
Online Application, which will include submission of your prescreening recording, unofficial transcripts, Artist Diploma Program Proposal, artistic resume (including a brief repertoire list), English proficiency documentation (if applicable), contact information for your letters of recommendation, and the application fee of $120. These items should all be uploaded to the online application; please do not mail any items to NEC.
- Prescreening: 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.
- Unofficial transcripts: Electronic versions of unofficial 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.
- All transcripts must be in English. International students whose transcripts are not issued in English must also provide official translations.
- The Admissions Office may require that international applicants have their transcripts evaluated by an organization specializing in foreign credential evaluation, such as World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (www.ece.org). Students are welcome to contact these transcript evaluation services before applying in order to expedite the process and accurately determine what level of study they are qualified for in the United States. If a transcript evaluation service is used, the student must still upload electronic versions of transcripts in English to the online application.
- If students are accepted and choose to matriculate at NEC, we will then require official copies of all final transcripts showing graduation dates and degrees received.
- 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.
- Artistic Resume: All applicants must submit an Artistic Resume into the online application. Please note that the online application will accept only very basic text formatting. Please compose your essay in a word processing program with the intention of pasting it into the online application, but keep the formatting very simple. Do not use bold, italics, underlines, indentations, etc. (Sample Artistic Resume) This resume should provide a brief overview of your artistry and accomplishments. It should not be exhaustive; please do not submit an extensive list of everything you have ever done. The Artistic Resume should cover the following topics relating to the applicant's intended program and major
- Academic study (institutions, dates, and degrees awarded)
- Applied/private study (with whom, dates, etc.)
- Performance experience
- Awards and distinctions
- Festivals and summer programs
- A representative list of works studied and performed in the past three years. Indicate pieces performed in public recitals/concerts and those that are in-progress. For composers, list your own works and their instrumentation. For conductors, list works you have conducted and a description of the ensemble(s).
- Recommendations: Three letters of recommendation are required. 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. NEC does not use a specific recommendation form; instead, recommenders should compose an original statement on the applicant's behalf. All recommendations should be submitted via the online application system. Applicants must enter the name and contact information for each recommender into the online application. Once the application is submitted, instructions will be emailed directly to each recommender. Applicants should therefore be careful to enter their recommenders' email addresses correctly. If your recommenders are unable to upload their letters into our secure server please email the appropriate admissions counselor for further instructions. Recommendations are due December 15, giving your recommenders two weeks after the application submission deadline of December 1.
- English proficiency documentation (for all applicants whose first language was not English, including U.S. citizens and permanent residents). Most applicants prove proficiency through the TOEFL or IELTS exams. Graduate minimum scores are TOEFL 61 iBT or IELTS 6. A PDF scan of the official score report should be uploaded to the online application. Students who will have completed a full-time degree program at a school where English is the language of instruction may qualify for a waiver of the exam requirement. No offer of admission will be made until English proficiency has been demonstrated.
- International applicants should also be aware of student visa and other international student requirements.
- Application fee: A non-refundable fee of $120 is required. The fee is paid by credit card in the online application when you submit the application. If a student wishes to apply to more than one major/program, a separate application and fee for each major/program is required. NEC does not grant fee waivers. The application fee for NEC Alumni and current NEC undergraduate or graduate students is $75 per major/program.
Standardized tests: GRE scores are not required and do not factor into our admission decision.
All application information, prescreening recordings, recommendations, transcripts, and English proficiency documentation (if applicable) should be submitted as part of the online application. No offer of admission will be made until all required documents are received. All materials submitted as part of the application process become the property of NEC and will not be returned.
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 under any circumstances.
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.
Timeline for Fall admission
- December 1: Deadline for Fall (September) online applications, including upload of unofficial transcripts and prescreening recordings.
- December 15: Recommendation letters due.
- January 1: TOEFL or IELTS score reports due. Only required of applicants whose first language is not English, and who have not been approved for a waiver of the examination requirement.
- February 15: Filing deadline for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Only required for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
- Throughout February: Live auditions at NEC (see Audition Schedule)
- March 1: Final TOEFL or IELTS score reports required of applicants whose first language is not English and whose TOEFL or IELTS score submitted by January 1 did not qualify them for admission.
- End of March: Admission decision letters are sent
- April 15: Graduate student response deadline
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).
NEC Alumni and Current Students
NEC alumni must file a complete application including requested transcripts and supporting materials. Current NEC students and alumni interested in applying to begin a new degree or program must obtain unofficial copies of their NEC transcripts from the Registrar's Office and upload these to the online application (the NEC Admissions Office does not have access to your academic records otherwise). The application fee for NEC alumni and current students is $75 per program/major.
NEC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or veteran status in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, employment policies, scholarship and loan programs, or other Conservatory-sponsored activities.