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Conducting, MM

Study Conducting at Azusa Pacific University

Study near Los Angeles, one of the music capitals of the world, home to iconic music venues, renowned ensembles, plus famous film and recording studios.  Graduates have gone on to prestigious doctoral programs, become assistant and cover conductors of major orchestras, and are often hired to lead school ensembles.

Program at a Glance

The School of Music nurtures students’ faith and talents to develop and excel as world-class music professionals.

Application Deadline

  • Entering Spring
    • Priority — October 15
    • Standard Deadline — December 1
  • Entering Fall
    • Priority Deadline — March 15
    • Standard Deadline — June 1

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Program Information:

  • Program Units: 36
  • Cost per Unit: $684
  • Base Cost: $24,624*


  • Azusa (Main Campus)
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Yellow Ribbon and Military Friendly School

Conductor and her orchestra

Gain Hands-on Experience

  • Conduct seminars each semester covering topics such as rehearsal techniques, performance practice, literature, career advancement, and more.
  • Participate in varied and frequent conducting experiences from small to large ensembles.
  • Enjoy collaborations between choral and instrumental faculty.

  • As a choral conductor, regularly assist one of the APU choirs.

  • As in instrumental conductor, frequently conduct the Symphony Orchestra or Wind Ensemble, plus receive training in conducting to click track and conducting opera recitatives.

  • Integrate your faith and musicianship.

By the Numbers

Top 30 Master's in Music Programs by Best Value Schools
10 Best Music Schools in California by Music School Central
1 of 126 Best Western Colleges according to Princeton Review's 2023 Best Colleges Guide

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Program Details

The Master of Music in Conducting prepares you for professional careers in the specialized and competitive field of conducting.

Browse the tabs below—if you have questions, visit the Student Services Center page, and we’ll make sure you get the info you need.

Application Deadlines

Entering Spring

Priority Deadline – October 15
Applications are reviewed as they are received and applicants are encouraged to apply by this date for the first priority for admission and scholarship opportunities.

Standard Deadline – December 1
Applications will be reviewed and considered for remaining scholarship funds available. Applications submitted after this date are welcome and reviewed for admission and scholarships as cohort space and scholarship funds permit.

Entering Fall

Priority Deadline – March 15
Applications are reviewed as they are received and applicants are encouraged to apply by this date for the first priority for admission and scholarship opportunities.

Standard Deadline – June 1
Applications will be reviewed and considered for remaining scholarship funds available. Applications submitted after this date are welcome and reviewed for admission and scholarships as cohort space and scholarship funds permit.

Note: The standard deadline for the fall 2020 semester has been extended to July 31.

Admission Requirements—Domestic Applicants

The university graduate and program admission requirements below must be met before an application is considered complete.

Applicants must possess:

  • Bachelor’s degree in music from an NASM-accredited university or conservatory by the date of entrance
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Applicants with a GPA between 2.5–2.99 may be considered for provisional admission.

Applicants must submit:

  • Graduate application for admission
  • $45 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official transcripts from all institutions leading to and awarding the applicant’s bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and all postbaccalaureate study

    An official transcript is one that Azusa Pacific University receives unopened in an envelope sealed by the former institution and that bears the official seal of the college or university. A cumulative minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average on the posted degree is required for regular admission status. Provisional admittance may be granted to individuals with a lower GPA if competency can be shown through multiple measures.
  • Résumé or statement of experience including academic experience and employment in the music field and professional organizations. Performance majors, please include a repertory list of major performance areas.
  • Letter of intent (500-1,000 words) addressed to the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies that answers the following questions:
  • Please share your interest in studying music as it relates to your emphasis (conducting, performance, composition, music education) at APU.
  • What are your career goals, and how would this degree assist you?
  • Share a significant experience with a work of music.
  • What is your understanding on the relationship between music and religion?
  • Two letters of recommendation: one from an academic and/or professional source, and one from a personal source (no family members).

Application is not complete without:

  • Complete an entrance exam to qualify for admission. Contact Alisa Barsegyan at [email protected] for requirements.
  • Submit video of conducting performances via YouTube. A live audition or Skype interview may also be required. View the specific submission requirements below for the Choral, Instrumental: Wind, and Instrumental: Orchestral emphases.

Admission Requirements—International Applicants

Azusa Pacific University is authorized under federal law by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State to enroll nonimmigrant, alien undergraduate and graduate students. APU issues and administers both the I-20 and DS 2019 (F-1 and J-1 status documents respectively).

To apply for a graduate program at APU, the following requirements must be fulfilled in addition to meeting the domestic applicant and program-specific admission requirements specified above.

International applicants must also:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in English through a placement test with the Academic Success Center, or through a TOEFL/IELTS score that meets program-specific requirements. Refer to APU’s English proficiency requirements to learn more. Request that official test scores be sent to APU. All other forms of proof indicated in the English proficiency requirements must be submitted directly to International Services.
  • Provide a Graduate Affidavit of Financial Support (PDF) and a bank statement from within the last six months proving financial ability to pay for education costs through personal, family, or sponsor resources.
  • Submit a copy of a valid passport showing biographical data, including your name, country of citizenship, date of birth, and other legal information.
  • Get foreign transcripts evaluated. International credentials (transcripts, certificates, diplomas, and degrees) must be evaluated by a foreign transcript evaluation agency. View our policy and a list of approved Foreign Transcript Evaluation Agencies.

Send official transcripts to:

Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
[email protected]

What to Expect

After all admission materials have been received by the Student Services Center, the faculty or department chair reviews the applicant’s file. The applicant is notified in writing of the admission decision.

Many financial aid options are available to make your master's in conducting affordable.

Tuition (per unit) $684
Units 36
Base Program Cost $24,624

Estimated Cost Breakdown

See the tables below for the tuition charges and fees that comprise your estimated total program cost.

Tuition and Fees
Graduate Application Fee for U.S. Students $45
Graduate Application Fee for International Students $45
Tuition ($684/unit) $24,624
Audit (per unit) half-price tuition
Music: Private Applied Voice, Instrument, Conducting, or Composition $350
Intent to Commence and/or Graduate Fee $100

View a complete list of university fees.

All stated financial information is subject to change. Contact the Student Services Center at (626) 815-2020 for more information.

Paying for Your Program

APU offers a variety of ways to help you pay for your graduate program. From scholarships and grants, to loans and company reimbursement, we're committed to being sure that cost doesn't keep you from reaching your educational goals.

Learn more about the financial aid opportunities available to you.

Scholarships are available in all disciplines.

To view specific requirements and coursework information, visit the current academic catalog:


Please submit the following pre-screening materials with your application:

  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  • List of Works Conducted and Works Performed
  • No less than fifteen minutes of unedited video rehearsal footage.
  • Video of a recent performance, including at least two pieces:
  • One piece written before 1900
  • One piece written after 1900

Videos may be submitted as an attachment or via Youtube link. 

For more information about pre-screening materials, live auditions or the Master of Music in Choral Conducting degree; please contact Michelle Jensen, D.M.A., Director of Choral Activities & Graduate Choral Studies at [email protected] and APU Choral Activities at [email protected].

Instrumental: Wind Emphasis

The MM in Conducting: Wind Emphasis degree program prides itself on producing conductors who achieve success in conducting positions within high schools, colleges, universities, and continued education in DMA programs. It is an intense period of study with significant one-on-one instruction, concert and rehearsal podium time, and teaching/research assistantship opportunities.

To apply for the program, submit:

  • A YouTube link to a video (10 minutes in duration) featuring rehearsal episodes and performance footage
  • A works list of pieces studied and performed

Upon passing that screening, you will be contacted for an interview with program director John Burdett, PhD ([email protected]). Contact him directly with any questions regarding the application or audition process.

Instrumental: Orchestral Emphasis

The MM in Conducting: Orchestral Emphasis degree program gives students comprehensive training through private lessons and specialized seminar courses, in addition to multiple rehearsal and performance opportunities. Typical areas of study include the standard orchestral canon, contemporary works, opera, concerti, performance practice, choral/orchestral works, and working with a click track. Graduates of this program have gone on to doctoral programs, participate in international competitions and workshops, work with school and youth orchestras, lead collegiate orchestral programs, and more.

To apply for the program, submit:

  • A YouTube link to a video featuring rehearsal episodes and performance footage
  • A works list of pieces studied and performed

A live audition and/or Zoom interview may also be requested.

Interested students are encouraged to reach out to the program’s director, Christopher Russell, MM, chair of music performance and APU Symphony conductor, at [email protected], and Alisa Barsegyan ([email protected]) in the Graduate Studies office of the College of the Arts.

If you have questions, we’re here to help! Connect with a representative who can walk you through the program details and application process.

Contact Your Admissions Representative

Additional Program Contact

Alisa Barsegyan, [email protected], (626) 387-5725

School of Music


(626) 815-3848


(626) 969-7419


School of Music
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000


Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Student Services Center

Contact (626) 812-3016 or [email protected], and visit for details on the admissions process, financial aid, and class registration.

International Services

International students should contact +1-626-812-3055 or [email protected], and visit

  • Azusa Pacific University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).  
  • A degree from Azusa Pacific University is respected and recognized internationally, and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

Featured Faculty

Christopher Russell

Christopher Russell

Chair and Associate Professor School of Music; Conductor, Symphony Orchestra; Instrumental Conducting

Michelle Jensen

Michelle Jensen

Assistant Professor; Conductor of Chamber Singers; Music Education

John Burdett

John Burdett

Assistant Professor; Director of Instrumental Studies; Director of Bands

Career Outlooks and Outcomes

Movie Theater Sign

College of the Arts Hosts Industry Spotlight at Warner Bros. Studios

APU’s College of the Arts (COTA) hosted the 2023 Industry Spotlight on May 4 at the legendary Warner Bros. Studios, giving students a chance to showcase their work in front of industry talent representatives and casting directors.

Note: This information is current for the 2023-24 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.
*Base Cost (cost per unit x program units) is provided to aid in program comparison only.
All stated financial information is subject to change. View Tuition tab above.

Related Programs

Music Education (Pre-Teacher Certification) Major

  • Azusa

Available Concentrations:

Choral, Instrumental