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Application & Admissions

How do I apply?

         Submit a complete application package on or before the published deadlines.  The application components are listed here.  It is acceptable to submit your application in pieces, as long as all materials are received by the deadline.  To be fair to all applicants, we will not evaluate incomplete applications.

What are the application deadlines?

         We accept applications for Fall semester only.  All applicants (domestic and international) must submit a complete application by April 1st.  Students who have been advised to take preparatory courses at the undergraduate level may apply for any semester (Fall, Spring or Summer).  These deadlines are listed on the Admissions webpage.        

What should I include in my application?

         Use the Application Checklist to be sure that you have submitted all components of the application package.  Feel free to contact us to see which of your materials have been received.

What constitutes a good application?

         First, applications must be complete.  To be fair to all applicants, we will not evaluate incomplete applications. 
         Second, as there are many components to the application, the better each component, the better the overall package.  This includes clear and complete application forms, high GPA and test scores, quality of letters of recommendation, and a well-written and thoughtful essay. 
         The component that carries the most weight (but is not the single determining factor) is the portfolio. Please include clean, clear labeling on the disc, jewel case and discography.

What should I include in my essay?

         The essay should be a personal statement that illustrates why you have a desire to study Recording Arts, how your previous experience or scholastic work addresses the field, why you have chosen to study at CU-Denver, and how you feel you would be an asset to the industry.  Insights as to the type of employment you are considering upon graduation is also helpful.

What should be included in my portfolio?

Portfolios should show evidence of several attributes that indicate professional production values in audio recording, including:

  • Technical command of the selected recording system – microphone choice and placement; balance and blend of the ensemble represented in the mix; appropriate imaging if the ensemble is in mono, stereo or surround; appropriate use of signal processing
  • Music values of intonation, execution, artistic expression.  (Don’t record bad ensembles!)
  • Your musical talent as a composer, arranger, performer – if it is represented on the recordings.  Present musical scores where appropriate.
  • Documentation: provide any and all technical data related to the recording situations – live or studio, multi-track or direct-to-stereo, acoustic or MIDI (electronic).  Give a clear index to the contents of the recordings you submit. 
  • Portfolios must be submitted online through
  • Discographies must be complete.
    • Example:
      • Disc 1 (Audio)
      • MSRA Application Portfolio – “Title”
        • Track 1     
          • Title:
          • Artist(s):
          • Location/facility:
          • Function:
          • Recording format:
          • Specific outboard equipment:
          • Software:
          • Specifics of set-up, equipment, etc.:
          • Other notes:
  • We make no judgments about musical style.  Show us who you are, not who you aren’t.  It is always good to show a variety of styles, ensembles and technical situations.

Why do I need to submit an essay and a resume?

         An essay is your chance to share a personal statement with us, to give us an idea of your character, and drive for the industry.  It is a way for us to judge your potential in the field.  It also allows us to see your writing style, and determine whether you can present an articulate statement.

         The resume gives us an objective picture of your education and employment.  Sometimes, there are things that are included on a resume that are not appropriate for the essay.  It is also a good exercise for any professional to have a clean, concise and up-to-date resume.

How will I know if my application has been received?

         Once we receive a complete application package, we will email you.  You are welcome to contact us to see which of your materials have been received to date.  If you have not heard from us, it means we have not yet received all of your materials.

How will I know if all the parts of my application are received?

         We only contact students (via email) once we receive a complete application package.  If you have not heard from us, it means we have not yet received all of your materials.  You are welcome to contact us to see which of your materials have been received to date.

How will I know if I’ve been admitted to the program?

         You will receive an official letter of admittance, via email.  The Office of Admissions will then send you a separate package about 1-2 weeks after that.

What if my previous degree isn’t in Recording Arts?


    • Takes a minimum of two years (approx 4-6 semesters) to complete.
    • Fall start only.  We do not accept Spring or Summer applications.
    • Consists of approximately 21-25 credits of undergraduate-level coursework in the field of recording arts
    • Students apply for admission to the MSRA degree during the Spring semester of 2nd year (for 2-year Prep Program).
  • For information on whether preparatory coursework would be required for you, see “Preparatory Program” page.

Is there provisional acceptance?

  • Students who do not demonstrate the necessary experience in Recording Arts & Music are advised to take preparatory courses at the undergraduate level (see What if my previous degree isn’t in Recording Arts?)
  • Students who demonstrate knowledge of Recording Arts, but who submit a poor application, can either take preparatory courses in Recording Arts or an allied discipline, or re-apply at a later date. 
  • Students who are denied admission are advised to contact us directly for options.

If I get denied admission, can I re-apply?

         Yes.  However, students must demonstrate improvement in some documented fashion – by taking coursework in Recording Arts or an allied discipline, improving scores on the GRE, re-writing the essay and/or submitting an improved portfolio.  Students who are denied will be advised as to which components of their application could be improved.  We are more than happy to help you enhance your application package to get you admitted upon re-application.

How come you don’t accept Spring or Summer applications?

         The courses that are required in the first semester are only offered during the Fall semester. The sequencing of the degree courses, which coincide with our undergraduate courses, are structured for a fall start. A fall start allows us to monitor other issues such as faculty loads, facility management and budgetary distribution.

Is there financial support?

         Students are welcome to apply for Financial Aid and to consult with the Scholarship Resource Office.  Unfortunately, the College of Arts & Media does not currently offer specific financial support for MSRA students, such as TA positions, stipends or scholarships/grants.

Are there TA positions?

         No.  Some of our graduates from this program are currently teaching for us, but there is no specific allowance for TAs.