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Jazz Studies


Programs in jazz studies prepare people to perform and compose jazz music.

Jazz studies programs include topics such as:

Students usually study performance as well. This includes:


A few schools offer associate degrees in jazz studies. An associate degree program at a community college usually takes two years to complete.

Many schools offer bachelor's and graduate degrees in jazz studies. They are usually part of a music or ethnomusicology department. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Nearly all schools require you to audition before you can enter their music programs. Audition requirements vary. Some schools ask you to send in a tape of your performance (be it vocal or instrumental). Several schools do not allow you to declare the jazz studies major until your sophomore year, and ask you to perform live before a jury. In this case, you may also perform with a group.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree in music, good grades, good test scores, and strong performance skills.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

In addition, you receive instruction in your particular interest area. You may focus on vocal performance or a particular instrument.

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate course work tends to vary from program to program. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

Things to Know

Most jazz studies programs require students to give performances. Many schools host jazz festivals.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Walla Walla University

Washington State University - Pullman

Whitman College

King-Snohomish Area

Cornish College of the Arts

Seattle Pacific University

University of Washington - Seattle

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Gonzaga University

Whitworth University

Tacoma Area

Pacific Lutheran University