Feb 19, 2020  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Recording Arts, Master of Science (MSRA)

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►  Graduate School Rules apply to this program.  Visit http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/Graduate-School/Pages/default.aspx and click on the link to access these rules.

Program Overview
Application Components
Required Courses

Program Overview

Recording arts is a field that deals with all aspects of recorded music and sound, including mixing, mastering, production, MIDI sequencing, live sound reinforcement, and post-production for film and video. The program refines students’ skills in sound recording, aesthetics, multi-track recording, analog and digital signal processing, automated mixing, synchronization, stereo and surround imaging, 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, psychoacoustics, multimedia, theatre, film and 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, music, multimedia and the entertainment industries.
  • enhance advancement of professionals in their careers.
  • help prepare the music educators of the future.

In their final semester, students will create and defend a thesis or a portfolio.

  • Thesis - Written research
  • Portfolio - Research in conjunction with a recorded work.This could be a music recording, audio for video, or other media.

Graduate courses comprising the core of the MSRA program advance students’ artistic, pedagogical, technical and problem-solving abilities. Elective courses allow each student to develop additional skills and knowledge in related areas, including surround sound, acoustics, studio design, DSP and others.

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 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 are 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 the application procedure, admission requirements and application forms:  http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/InternationalPrograms/OIA/admissions/Pages/default.aspx.

  1. Graduate Admissions Application

Students should plan to apply online at: https://soa.prod.cu.edu/degreeprog/applyDEGREEPROG_CUDEN/login.action

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 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 303-315-2601 or admissions@ucdenver.edu.

  1. Entrance Examinations(s)

Official GRE scores (www.ets.org/gre) - All applicants to the MSRA degree program must submit scores from the GRE. The General Test offered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) will assist the department in evaluating applicants in the areas of verbal, quantitative and analytical writing skills. This examination is offered internationally by the Educational Testing Service on a continuous schedule. The minimum required score for entrance to the program is the 50th percentile, though each student’s score will be evaluated as a portion of the complete application. This examination is not intended to exclude any applicant from the degree program, but rather to assist in academic advising. To submit their GRE scores, applicants should use the ETS code for the University of Colorado Denver (4875). There is no department code for the program.

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

TOEFL or IELTS - one of these examinations is required for international students for whom English is not the primary language. These students are required to have either:

  • Minimum TOEFL score of 75 IBT or 537 PBT, with minimum subscores of 15 Reading, 15 Listening, 18 Speaking and 17 Writing; or
  • Minimum IELTS score of 6.5, with minimum subscores of 5.5 Reading, 5.5 Listening, 5.5 Speaking and 5.5 Writing

As this is a highly technical degree program, which will require a specialized vocabulary and strong written skills, higher TOEFL/IELTS scores are preferred. Alternatively, students may also demonstrate English language proficiency by completing a bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited institution in the United States, or by completing at least one year of study in a master’s program at an accredited institution in the United States, or by graduating from a CU Denver-approved English language program with a recommendation letter from the program’s director. Please contact the Office of International Admissions for more information.

  1. Transcripts

The most recent official academic transcripts must be sent from the registrars of all higher education institutions previously attended. 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 the applicant. 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 at http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/CAM/programs/meis/masterdegree/Pages/ApplicationComponents.aspx.

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 3-5 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 with three (3) examples of recordings that represent their best accomplishments in production. Presentation, breadth of experience, and technical and artistic quality will be evaluated.

The required submission format is an audio Compact Disc (CD) or DVD-V, 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 at: http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/CAM/programs/meis/masterdegree/Pages/ApplicationComponents.aspx. 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 as listed above are considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.

Total: 19 Hours


Choose 15 semester hours from the list below.  Students may take courses not listed here upon approval of the faculty or academic advisor.

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:  http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/CAM/programs/meis/masterdegree/Pages/index.aspx.


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