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About The Program

UNC Jazz Studies is a supportive community of faculty and students that embraces musical creativity and the art of collaboration. With over 160 DownBeat Student Music Awards and a Grammy nomination, UNC Jazz has a long tradition of excellence. The exceptional faculty are active in their fields and are leaders in the areas of performance, composition, and research. In addition to studio faculty on each instrument and voice, there are dedicated professors in jazz composing/arranging and jazz history. With a low student-to-faculty ratio, the teachers serve as mentors, collaborators, and role models.

Our award-winning jazz writing program is central to giving students the opportunity to be a part the process of creating new music, whether as a performer or writer. With three big bands, a studio orchestra, vocal jazz groups, combos, a funk/soul band, and Latin American ensembles, you will have a wide range of experiences to choose from. UNC Jazz Press, which has a large catalog of instrumental and vocal pieces, enhances the student experience by making new and classic music available to our ensembles.

  • Degree Overview

    Undergraduate Studies

    As an undergraduate jazz studies major, you will gain proficiency on your instrument, learn the skills needed to be a composer and arranger, and develop the ensemble performance expertise required for a successful professional career in music. You can also choose other degree programs, including Music Education, Music Business and a Bachelor of Arts in Culture and Expression while emphasizing jazz in lessons and ensembles.

    Graduate Studies

    The master’s degree gives students the opportunity to focus on performance and/or composition. The Doctorate of Arts in Jazz is a flexible degree designed to prepare students for college teaching positions and professional careers while enhancing their skills as performers, composers, and researchers. The D.A. is comprised of primary and secondary areas that give students the opportunity to customize a program that is suited to their interests.

    Meet the Faculty

  • Beyond the Classroom

    UNC•Greeley Jazz Festival

    The largest event of its kind in the nation, the UNC•Greeley Jazz Festival brings together internationally recognized artists, jazz lovers, award-winning clinicians, and over 250 college, high school, and middle school big bands, combos, and jazz vocal groups from across the country. Each year, over 7,500 participants enjoy main stage concerts, after-hours sessions, non-competitive daytime performances, and educational workshops.

    Student life on campus is greatly enriched by a robust visiting artist and clinician series, which culminates with the UNC/Greeley Jazz Festival, held each April. The headlining artists for the event join us for this three-day celebration, which attracts students from across the country and the globe.

    Learn More about the UNC•Greeley Jazz Festival

    Santo Domingo Trip

    UNC's Compass Jazz Orchestra recently performed at the National Theatre in Santo Domingo for the theatre's 50th anniversary in addition to teaching master classes, participating in workshops and more. 

    UNC Jazz | Santo Domingo


    Music Technology Center

    Our state-of-the-art recording and mixing studios are a great resource for creating and producing music. An undergraduate Certificate in Music Technology is available to those who wish to explore the recording arts as a complement to their degree of choice.


  • What Our Students Think


  • Curriculum

    Bachelor of Music in Instrumental/Vocal Jazz Emphasis

    The Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies requires 120 credit hours. In addition to completing the Liberal Arts Curriculum requirements, students will engage in individual applied music lessons, music theory, jazz music theory, aural skills, class piano, jazz improvisation, arranging, and topics in jazz history.

    Learn more about the Bachelor of Music in instrumental/vocal jazz Emphasis

    Master of Music in Jazz Performance

    The Maser of Music in Jazz Studies requires 32 credit hours of coursework. It includes an introduction to music scholarship and research, individualized applied lessons, advanced jazz arranging and composition, individual instruction in jazz composition, and a jazz history seminar.

    Learn more About the Master of Music in Jazz Performance & Jazz Composition


    Doctor of Arts in Jazz Studies

    The Doctor of Arts in Jazz Studies requires 67-71 credit hours. Through creating a plan of study, students will be able to pursue academic interests in preparation for comprehensive exams, continue individualized applied lessons, participate in a supervised practicum in college teaching, and give recitals and complete dissertation research credits. Doctoral students will also choose a secondary concentration and complete appropriate graduate-level coursework.

    Learn more about the Doctor of Arts in Jazz Studies

    Performance Opportunities

    You will have the opportunity to perform with UNC’s jazz ensembles which are diverse, dynamic, and renowned. You’ll perform alongside more than 75 extremely talented young jazz artists and have opportunities to connect with top bandleaders, agents and record producers. With five big bands, vocal ensembles, small combos and a jazz guitar ensemble, we showcase a wide range of talents and styles. Our students have performed throughout the United States and overseas.

  • Auditions and Scholarships


    In addition to completing the UNC Undergraduate  or Graduate Application, students will be asked to submit more information and audition on a primary instrument in the complete application process. To learn more about the audition process visit the jazz studies auditions page to find audition requirements for each instrument.

    JAZZ Audition Requirements


    The College of Performing and Visual Arts awards over $1.8 million in scholarships annually to undergraduate and graduate students in the arts. There are multiple scholarship types offered to students, including talent scholarships and foundation scholarships. To learn more, visit the PVA Scholarship page.

    PVA Scholarships

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Application Dates
  • Fall semesterAugust 1*
  • Spring semesterJanuary 1*
  • Summer semesterMay 1*
*Note: Application dates may vary depending on student status. Learn more.