The Catholic University of America

Financial Aid for CUA Composers

NOTE: All applicants at any level who desire to apply for federal financial aid of any kind must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on time. The FAFSA is also used in some cases to evaluate internal (CUA) need-based aid. Follow the link for more details.

Scholarships for undergraduate study

All undergraduate applicants in Composition are required to audition in a principal performance area (instrument or voice). These auditions will be used to evaluate admission to the School of Music and considered in determining potential scholarship eligibility. In addition to successfully completing an audition and interview, undergraduate applicants in Composition must submit a portfolio of representative compositions for review by the Composition faculty entrance committee.

Awards based on musical ability, academic record, and financial need are available each year to students in the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music. Among these awards are:

The John Paul Music Scholarship

The David Burchuk Memorial Scholarship

The Clifford E. Brown Scholarship

The William Masselos Scholarship

The Benjamin T. Rome Endowment Scholarship

Applicants for these scholarships should contact the Assistant Dean of the School of Music, Dr. Andrew Weaver.

Need-based aid for undergraduate study

The need-based aid process for entering undergraduate students can be somewhat involved, but CUA has an office and a detailed website ready to assist you. 

A limited amount of consideration for financial need is also made when determining the recipients of some School of Music scholarships (cf. above). Be certain to file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on time: contact the CUA Office of Financial Aid for more details.


Scholarships and fellowships for graduate study

University Fellowships

A limited number of fellowships have, in the past, been available to qualified graduate applicants on a highly competitive basis through the university, based solely on GRE scores.

More information about university-wide graduate fellowships is available from the CUA Financial Aid office. Please note that applicants must be nominated by their schools, and the fellowships are very competitive. At present, the fellowships listed under A, B, and C under section VI on the linked page, "University Programs," are open to composition graduate students. Please note that the St. Vincent Pallotti Fellowships (letter C) require a two-year commitment of service to the Roman Catholic church following graduation. 

Applicants to the Institute of Sacred Music may also be eligible for Magi Scholarships. Students should contact the Director of the Institute with inquiries.

School of Music

A small number of Research Assistant positions may be available to incoming composition students in the school of music. These positions typically include an offer of some amount of tuition waiver, and a small stipend. These assistantships involve responsibilities assigned by the Division Head as needed, and are arranged in advance for a set number of hours per week. When a Research Assistantship becomes available, applicants are considered based on the strength of their portfolio of compositions, and any relevent experience in their background.

Graduate applicants in Composition are not required to audition on an instrument (or voice). That said, any graduate music applicant is eligible for a music scholarship, should they have a proficiency on said instrument that is comparable to other applicants in performance. The composition faculty therefore encourages all composition applicants with performing experience to schedule an audition. Decisions about performance-based scholarships are not made by the composition faculty.

Need-based aid for graduate study

Graduate students are eligible for certain CUA research assistantships and federal loan programs.

Teaching opportunities during graduate study

Theory teaching positions are available typically to continuing (i.e., non-entering) Music graduate students on a competitive basis, pending need and available budget. TA's are given a varying level of tuition waiver, and are also paid a small stipend in return for teaching duties. These TA-ships can be awarded to any qualified student from the school of music.

All TA-ships are awarded by the Head of the Division of Composition and Theory. Depending on availability, auditions may be scheduled during which all Music graduate students may audition for consideration as a Theory TA. The audition, in two parts, tests the student's skills in ear training (dictation and performance skills) and written theory and analysis. Students who successfully pass part I are invited to teach a 15-minute lesson during an undergraduate class and take a short interview with the Music Theory faculty.

Courses typically taught by Theory TA's may include 1-4 sections of Ear Training and Sight-Singing I, II, II, and IV, Harmony I, II, III, and IV, or Fundamentals of Music. Students who teach in the School of Music are regularly mentored by an assigned senior faculty member, who meets with the student instructors to discuss pedagogical strategies and procedures. Students who wish to further develop their pedagogical skills are strongly encouraged to take MUS 713, Pedagogy of Theory, as part of their curricula.