Certificate of Advanced Performance Studies

Educational Objectives

The Certificate of Advanced Performance Studies (CAPS) is a highly focused one-year program that provides concentrated training and performance experiences for post-baccalaureate students who demonstrate superior performance ability. It may serve as a preparatory program in performance for graduate study, a performing career, or as a concentrated post-graduate program for those not desiring an additional degree. It may be obtained in the following areas of emphasis: cello, clarinet, double bass, flute, guitar, horn, jazz studies, oboe, organ, percussion, piano, saxophone, trombone, trumpet, tuba, viola, violin, voice.

Admission standards, entrance requirements and retention standards

  • Applicants to the Certificate in Advanced Performance Studies must have earned a baccalaureate degree or higher from an ECU approved institutionally accredited college or university or an international university deemed to have equivalent credentials as determined by one of our pre-approved foreign institution evaluation services, and a minimum average grade of 3.0 in all previous course work.
  • To apply, complete the ECU Graduate School application and within the application select an audition date. A live audition is recommended but recorded auditions are accepted. Send recorded audition YouTube links to MUSICADMISSIONS@ECU.EDU. Recorded audition guidelines here.
  • In addition to the audition, International Applicants with ESL (English as a second language) have the following admission requirements:
      1. English writing sample (essay or other substantial paper)
      2. Music theory/history diagnostic exam (mailed or faxed)
      3. Recommendations
      4. Concert programs demonstrating a record of successful public performance in the principal applied medium
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 must be earned for all courses required in the CAPS program. Those earning grades lower than a “B” for any required course must repeat the course; two grades of a “C” or lower will terminate the student’s program.
  • Students may enroll as either full or part-time.
  • Those pursuing non-degree work such as the CAPS program do not qualify for graduate assistantships, though any graduate student is encouraged to apply for federal work study opportunities at ECU and/or financial aid.
  • Students must complete all CAPS requirements within two calendar years of beginning the program. College, school and department petitions for time extensions for completion of the program will be reviewed and acted upon by the Administrative Board of the Graduate School.

Course sequence required for completion of certificate

The certificate requires sixteen s.h.; 1 recital s.h., 6 s.h. of applied music in principal area, 2 s.h. of graduate ensembles (may be replaced with a second recital), 6 s.h. of advanced coursework in music history, music theory, pedagogy, and/or music technology (must include courses from two of the four areas). All courses must be approved by the program advisor.


See the graduate catalog.


Organ majors must successfully present two public recitals, one demonstrating a thorough understanding of performance practice concepts relating to pre-Classical repertoire, the other an understanding of Romantic and Contemporary repertoire and techniques. Each recital must be performed on period-specific instruments.


Please contact Dr. Jay Juchniewicz, Coordinator of Graduate Studies, ECU School of Music.