Funding Information

Application Fee Waivers

Information about application fee waivers is available on the Graduate Admissions Application Fee website. The Department of Music does not provide departmental fee waivers.

Master's Support

The Department and Center do not typically provide funding to students in the Master's in Music, Science, and Technology (MAMST) program. Fellowship and teaching assistantship funding may occasionally be available to eligible students. 

Doctoral Financial Support

Doctoral students in the Department of Music receive 5 years of 12-month funding to support their academic progress. 

Individual Cardinal Care Health Insurance Premiums will be covered during 3 academic quarters of all 5 years.

Important Funding Considerations

In addition to Stanford support, students usually need to have additional funding from outside grants/fellowships, long-term loans, savings, liquid assets, a spouse’s earnings, or parental support. For additional information and resources see Stanford University Financial Aid, Graduate Basics.

In the Department of Music, students entering with a Master’s degree officially receive four years of aid; those entering directly from a Bachelor’s receive five years of aid. At the discretion of the faculty (through the Graduate Studies Committee), students entering with a Master’s with academic need may be given a full five years of support


Assistantships in years II–V may be either Teaching or Research, determined according to departmental need. Students are expected to arrive at Stanford with the ability to serve as Teaching Assistants (TAs) in any of the Department’s undergraduate core music theory and analysis classes.

To assess theoretical, aural, and keyboard core competencies, admitted doctoral students are given a diagnostic exam of musical skills necessary for fluent engagement with the graduate and undergraduate curricula in the week prior to the start of classes in the first year. Successful completion of this exam is a mark of 80% or better (equivalent to a “B” and equal to the level of competency required for counting coursework toward the degree).

Time to Degree and Additional Funding Sources

The average time to complete a doctoral degree is 5 years for the DMA and the PhD in Computer-Based Theory and Acoustics and 6-7 years for the PhD in Musicology. Graduate students are expected to enroll in 15–18 units per quarter during the first year, and for 10 units each quarter in subsequent years, in order to achieve Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status by the end of their spring quarter of the fourth year and to attain their degree as soon as possible.

After the aid detailed above is completed, and once students are on a reduced-registration status, tuition is assessed at the TGR rate per quarter. Students entering with a Master’s degree are expected to enter TGR status [by transferring residency credits from their Master’s] as soon as possible, even if that occurs before the third year of aid is completed. At the end of the five-year-financial-aid period, students are self-supporting: many apply for fellowships from interior [Stanford] or exterior sources, or work part-time, while writing their dissertations.