Artist Diploma

csuf students perform

The Artist Diploma is a two-year certificate program offering the exceptionally talented, emerging professional musician practical instruction and experience in music performance at the post- baccalaureate level. Coursework emphasizes private study, recital performance, and ensemble performance, while allowing students to tailor their remaining elective coursework as best supports their personal background and goals. Admission is based largely on performance ability, as assessed through rigorous live auditions. The Artist Diploma is offered for the following areas of study: brass, woodwinds, strings, percussion, guitar, voice, jazz, piano, and instrumental conducting.


Auditions normally occur each spring at the same time as School of Music auditionsOpens in new window for all programs. 

Artist Diploma Advisor Dr. Ernest Salem (657) 278- 3552

Criteria for Admission

  1. A baccalaureate music degree from a domestic accredited college, university, or conservatory, or equivalent if foreign student (equivalency to be determined by Admissions and Records).
  2. A minimum 2.5 G.P.A. in the last 60 units attempted.
  3. For those applicants who hold no degrees from an English-language based institution, a minimum score of 500 on the paper-based TOEFL exam or 61 on the Internet TOEFL (NOTE: 550 paper / 80 Internet TOEFL is required for students choosing to enroll in 500-level graduate seminars for elective units).
  4. A high level of musical performance ability as assessed through a live audition (please see audition requirements listed under areas of concentration) held before the Artist Diploma Auditioning Committee which would be comprised of area coordinators and other appropriate music faculty (Students living at least 500 miles away for whom travel to CSUF would be costly, may submit a DVD or an online link to YouTube, Dropbox, personal website, etc., as a preliminary assessment of their performance; students successfully passing this preliminary assessment of their performance must still perform a live audition after they arrive). It is expected that an Artist Diploma candidate would pass a higher standard of performance in their audition than that of an incoming master’s student applying to the Master of Music Program.

Audition Dates

Submission of Supporting Materials

Strings Audition Information

Violin, viola:

Three contrasting selections from the following possibilities: a standard concerto, an unaccompanied work such as a Bach Sonata, Suite or Partita, a virtuoso short piece, a major sonata. One of the works must be complete (all movements prepared). Memorization is required. In addition, one standard etude, scales and arpeggios.


Three contrasting selections from the following possibilities: a standard concerto, an unaccompanied work such as a Bach Sonata or Suite, a virtuoso short piece, a major sonata. One of the works must be complete (all movements prepared) and from the Classical era. Memorization is required. In addition, one caprice by Piatti.


Two contrasting movements of solo Bach (from any of the solo suites for cello), two movements of a major concerto and representative excerpts from: A Mozart Symphony (Nos. 39, 35, 40, 41); Brahms Symphony No. 1 or 2; Beethoven Symphony No. 5, 3rd movement; Either Don Juan or Ein Heldenleben of Strauss. In addition, major and minor scales and arpeggios in three octaves.

Voice Audition Information

Applicants must prepare all MM requirements in addition to two opera arias and one oratorio aria.

Piano Audition Information

Solo pianists auditioning for this program should prepare:

  1. A substantial contrapuntal work from any stylistic era
  2. A complete classic era piano sonata or independent set of variations
  3. A large romantic era work (examples, Liszt Dante Sonata, Brahms Handel Variations, Schumann Kreisleriana, Moussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition) or a collection of works by a single composer (examples, a complete Opus of Brahms, or a Polonaise, Nocturne, Maurka, and a Ballade by Chopin, or a Hungarian Rhapsody, a Transcendental Etude, and a Petrarch Sonetto by Liszt)
  4. A work from the 20th or 21st centuries
    (NOTE: if the contrapuntal work offered in no. 1 above would otherwise fit into this category, then a Baroque work should be presented)
  • At least one work should demonstrate a level of high virtuosity.
  • All works are to be performed from memory.
  • A “Repertoire List” of all works that the candidate has studied or performed, including concerti, should be submitted prior to the audition.

Woodwind and Brass Audition Information

Three works of contrasting style

Jazz Audition Information

Audition requirements are the same as the MM.

Orchestral Conducting Audition Information

Mozart: Magic Flute Overture
Beethoven: Symphony No. 1