Sep 30, 2020  
2013-2014 CU Denver Catalog 
2013-2014 CU Denver Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Recording Arts, Master of Science (MSRA)

►  Graduate School Rules  apply to this program

Required Courses


Program Overview

Recording arts is a field that deals with all aspects of recorded music and sound, including mixing, mastering, production, sequencing, calibration, live sound reinforcement, and post-production. The program refines student skills in sound recording, aesthetics, multi-track recording, digital signal processing, automated mixing, synchronization, stereo imaging and monitoring, mastering and post-production.

In addition, the program recognizes the need for pedagogy degrees. Pedagogy is synonymous with teaching, and this program includes a survey of available resources for audio education. The curriculum offers an interdisciplinary approach, including physics, acoustics, engineering, music, broadcast, medicine, psychology, multimedia, theatre and film/video. The program emphasizes design and development of new methods and materials.

CU Denver’s master of science in recording arts (MSRA) has the only pedagogy track in the nation. This graduate degree is designed to:

  • prepare students for careers in audio application for the fields of mass communications, education, arts and the entertainment industries
  • help professionals advance their careers
  • help prepare the music educators of the future

Students may choose between a thesis (research) or non-thesis (portfolio/project) option.

Graduate courses constituting the core of the MSRA advance the artistic, pedagogical, technical and problem-solving abilities of the enrolled students. Elective courses allow each student to develop additional skills and knowledge in related areas, including film, broadcasting, education, music business and the performing arts.

CAM encourages students from allied disciplines (music, physics, engineering, etc.) to apply. Students are not required to have their bachelor’s in recording arts—the student’s bachelor’s degree can be from any discipline. Applicants can qualify for the MSRA by having equivalent level preparation (e.g., work experience). Candidates without sufficient experience/training in recording arts may be required to take preparatory courses at the undergraduate level.

Note: The application process and requirements for the master of science in recording arts (MSRA) differ from those listed for the MSRA media forensics emphasis .

MSRA Application Components

The following is required of all students applying to the MSRA program, with the exception of international students.  International students should consult the Office of International Affairs for specific information on application and admission requirements.  Contact the Office of International Affairs for specific application forms:

  1. Graduate Admissions Application

Students should plan to apply online: > Admissions > Master’s.  
Alternatively, students may request an application packet by calling 303-556-3480. Please be sure to provide a mailing address.

Students are required to complete the application for graduate admissions form.

Program of study—on the online application, the plan of study for all master of science in recording arts candidates is Recording Arts (RCDA-MS).

International students must complete additional paperwork in addition to the components below. International student applications must be received six months prior to the term for which the student is applying. Contact the Office of International Affairs for specific application forms.

  1. In-State Tuition Classification Application

Students who may qualify for Colorado in-state tuition (i.e., residency) should fill out the in-state tuition form. The Office of Admissions will make the determination of residency. For information on residency criteria contact the Office of Admissions at 303-556-2704 or

  1. Entrance Examinations(s)

Official GRE scores (—All applicants to the MSRA degree program must submit scores from the GRE. The General Test offered by Educational Testing Service will assist the department in evaluating applicants to the degree program. The test evaluates verbal, quantitative and analytical writing skills for the candidates. This examination is offered internationally by Educational Testing Service on a continuous schedule. The minimum required score for entrance in the program is the 50th percentile, although each student’s score will be evaluated as part of complete application process. This examination is not intended to exclude any applicant from the degree program, but rather to assist in academic advising.

Scores must be received by the application deadline; therefore, students should plan accordingly when scheduling their testing dates. Late GRE scores are not accepted; these applications will not be reviewed.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (—This examination is required for international students for whom English is not their primary language. These students are required to have a minimum TOEFL score of 500 (173 electronic).  As this is a highly technical degree program, which will require a specialized vocabulary and strong written skills, higher TOEFL scores are encouraged.

  1. Transcripts

The most recent official academic transcripts must be sent from the registrar of all previous higher education institutions. Official transcripts should be mailed to:

MSRA Graduate Admissions Committee
Campus Box 162, P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364

  1. Letters of Recommendation

Three (3) letters of recommendation are required from responsible persons who can attest to the academic and professional accomplishments of applicants. The names of those who are providing letters of recommendation should be included in Part II of the application.

Letters of recommendation must be accompanied by the letter of recommendation form, available on the MSRA website.

Incomplete letters of recommendation will not be considered, and the application will not be reviewed.

  1. Application Essay

This essay should summarize the educational and professional history of the applicant relative to a career in the audio/music industry, and should include:

  • complete name and contact information
  • educational background
  • career objective
  • anticipated dates of attendance

The essay must be typed, double-spaced and in English; the preferred length is three to five pages.

  1. Resume

Students are required to submit a 1-2 page typed resume, including educational background, work experience and relevant skills. Students are welcome to include any published works, exhibitions, performances, awards or other relevant achievements. The resume should be chronological, beginning with educational background and progressing to employment history. Please refrain from functional resumes or those that simply summarize qualities or competencies. This professional vita complements the essay by providing a chronology of all educational and work experiences and of scholarly/creative work.

  1. Portfolio

All applicants will submit a portfolio of recordings that represent their best accomplishments in audio production. Presentation, breadth of experience, technical and artistic quality will be evaluated.

The required submission format is an audio Compact Disc (CD) or Video DVD, with an annotated discography (index) to the portfolio material and a clear and accurate labeling of all material. Discography must include the applicant’s function on each track (e.g. artist/performer, engineer, producer, arranger, etc.). Compressed audio recordings (MP3, AAC, etc.) will not be accepted.
A DVD portfolio may be submitted if the student’s primary experience is in visual media (film, TV, etc.). DVD portfolios must also contain an annotated discography.
Helpful tips for a good portfolio are available on the MSRA website. Portfolio submissions that do not follow these guidelines will not be evaluated, and the application will not be processed.

  1. Application Fee

$50 nonrefundable for domestic (within the USA) applicants
$75 nonrefundable for international applicants

The application fee must be paid with a check, money order or by credit card. Cash will not be accepted. The fee must be paid in U.S. dollars.

Applications that do not include all of the requirements listed above, or that include partial components, are considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.


Total: 16 Hours

Total: 18 Hours

Program Total: 34 Hours

Students should plan to graduate in a minimum of 4 semesters.  Students can apply for graduation in any semester (fall, spring or summer), provided they have completed the required course work. All course work must be completed with a satisfactory grade of “B” (3.0) or higher. Students should not register for thesis/portfolio, unless approved by the faculty advisor.

Please refer to the master of science in recording arts website for additional information: