Scholarships & Financial Aid

Music scholarships are awarded to both incoming freshmen with outstanding musical ability and to upperclassmen who, in their study at UK, have demonstrated outstanding progress in musical and/or personal achievement. Graduate students also have a number of funding opportunities, which can be found below.


Numerous scholarships are available for incoming students based on admission auditions that determine their potential for music study and performance. Potential music majors are automatically considered for scholarships and grants at the time of their audition for acceptance into the School of Music. Others can arrange an audition for scholarship consideration as a nonmusic major.


A number of special scholarships for outstanding achievement by upperclassmen music majors (and others) are awarded each year in the spring. These honor scholarships are based on faculty recommendations and each are determined by the appropriate Faculty Selection Committee. The Honor Scholarships are announced and awarded at the annual McCracken Honor Scholarship Awards Ceremony held in April.


  • Undergraduates: Cumulative GPA 2.75* / Minimum of 24 credit hours between fall and spring semesters (e.g. 12 and 12 or 9 and 15 credits annually). Awards are limited to 8 semesters for all undergraduate degree programs except Music Education, which is limited to 10 semesters.
  • Graduates: Cumulative GPA 3.0 / Minimum of 18 credit hours between fall and spring semesters (e.g. 9 and 9 or 6 and 12 credits annually). Awards are limited to 6 semesters for all DMA and Ph.D. degree programs. Awards are limited to 4 semesters for all Master’s level degree program. [REVISION 7/17/14: Doctoral students who have completed all required coursework and passed qualifying exams (i.e., ABD status) are exempt from this minimum enrollment requirement if enrolled in the customary 2 credits of MUS 767 (Dissertation Residency Credit)].
  • Summer term awards for majors and/or minors participating in on-campus College-related activities (e.g. Grand Night) will be capped at the cost of one 4-credit course based on residency status; coursework must support the requirements for the degree.
  • Scholarship awards will not exceed the cost of attendance.

*Students receiving School of Music Scholarships are granted one semester of scholarship probation. Scholarship funds will not be provided during the probationary semester. A scholarship recipient whose cumulative grade point average falls below the threshold (but not lower than 2.5 for undergrads at the May review), will be placed on scholarship probation for the following term. A scholarship will be reinstated for a student on probation only if the student completes the minimum required semester hours (12 for ugrads / 9 for grads) and earns a cumulative grade point average of threshold (2.75 ugrads / 3.0 grads) or higher by the end of the probationary semester. There is no probationary semester for students who drop below full-time status.

Also check the university financial aid pages for information on need-based aid, undergraduate merit scholarships, and graduate fellowships.

Governor's School for the Arts Alumni Scholarships can pay for much or all of your tuition.

The McCracken Scholarships

Because of her great love of music, her concern for the success of young musicians, and her involvement with the music department at UK, Emily Scott McCracken established the first music endowment fund at the University in 1954, with an initial amount of $10,000. Five McCracken Scholarships are presented each year to current music students at the annual McCracken Scholarship Reception, a tradition established by her son, Ralph McCracken, Jr. The McCracken Scholarship Reception continues today with her granddaughters, Frances McCracken Remmele and Margaret McCracken Haynes.  Every spring one of our most joyful tasks is to present School of Music scholarship awards to some of our best and brightest students, while honoring the donors and faculty who make these awards possible.

See 2019 Recipients

Recipients shall be undergraduate music majors who demonstrate potential in a specific music area listed below. Recipient must be a Kentucky resident and Pulaski, Whitley, Bell, Knox, Fayette, Boyle, and Campbell counties are preferred. Applications for these scholarships are due the Friday prior to spring break. Students may self-nominate or be nominated by a selection committee.  For more information on applying for these scholarships please call 859-257-4900 or email.

  • McCracken Scholarship in Music Education
  • McCracken Scholarship in Musicology - The recipient must be either currently enrolled in MUS 302 or 303 or have successfully completed one of these courses.
  • McCracken Scholarship in Performance Voice, Keyboard, and Strings
  • McCracken Scholarship in Performance Winds, Percussion, and Jazz
  • McCracken Scholarship in Music Theory - The recipient must be either currently enrolled in MUS 272/273 or have successfully completed MUS 272/273.
Other Scholarships Awarded At the McCracken Reception

The UK School of Music also takes the opportunity to award several other prestigious scholarships during the McCracken Reception each spring. For more information on how to apply for these and other School of Music scholarships, call 859-257-4900 or email

  • ADELE HEADLEY MEMORIAL - Adele Headley Dailey was music librarian for the University of Kentucky for many years. This memorial scholarship in her name is given by a number of private donors. Recipients shall be undergraduate music majors who demonstrate potential in academic musicological research.
  • FLOSSIE MINTER GREENE MEMORIAL - Recipients shall be current sophomores or juniors who demonstrate potential for academic excellence and has financial need.
  • FORD M. MONTGOMERY MEMORIAL PIANO SCHOLARSHIP - Ford McRee Montgomery (1910-1995) graduated with honors from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he was a member of Pi Kappa Lamda honor society. He also studied at the Mozarteum Academy of Music in Salzburg, Austria. He served on the faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music, before joining the faculty at the University of Kentucky in 1941, where he served until his retirement in 1976.  Recipients shall be full-time graduate or undergraduate piano majors who exhibit high degrees of talent and potential as music performers or teachers. Recipients must maintain satisfactory academic record, show financial need, and be worthy in character. The award is renewable only in exceptional cases. Established in 1996.
  • FRIENDS OF MUSIC SCHOLARSHIP - Recipients shall be undergraduate or graduate music majors who demonstrate outstanding musicianship and dedication to the ideals of music and scholarship, consistent service to the UK School of Music, and the promise of high personal and professional achievement.
  • GEORGE HURST MEMORIAL MUSIC EDUCATION - George Hurst was a musician and music businessman in Lexington for a number of years until his death in 1985. His friends and colleagues donated to a memorial fund in his name.  Recipients shall be juniors or seniors in instrumental music education major who demonstrate considerable potential as teachers and have financial need.
  • JEAN MARIE MCCONNELL CHRISMAN MEMORIAL PIANO SCHOLARSHIP - Mrs. Chrisman was not only a fine musician and teacher but also an individual of the highest character and warmest personality. As a serious yet popular college student and music major at UK, Jean Marie won the prestigious Sullivan Medallion in 1941 as the outstanding woman graduate, clearly a precursor of her life of service ahead. As a protege of UK's Mildred Lewis, she became an outstanding music teacher in the public schools, which led to her appointment as head of the music programs of UK Extension. Recipients shall be music majors in piano who demonstrate exceptional talent and have satisfactory academic records. Established in 1999.
  • JOHN BARNES CHANCE COMPOSITION AWARD - John Barnes Chance (1932-1972) was a distinguished composer who served on the UK School of Music faculty at the time of his accidental death in 1972. Throughout his short career, Chance composed for band, orchestra, chorus, chamber groups and solo instruments. Recipients shall be music majors who demonstrate talent and potential as composers. The award is based on a student composition competition. Established in 1972.
  • LUCILLE COUCH VOCAL MUSIC EDUCATION - Lucille E. Couch was born in Central City, Kentucky, on August 26, 1909. She received her B. S. degree from the University of Kentucky in 1932 and her M. A. in 1953. She was a distinguished music teacher and supervisor very active in the Kentucky Music Educators Association. She died in September 1988. The Lucille Couch Vocal Music Education Award is given to an incoming freshman selected in the previous spring auditions. The recipient shall be an undergraduate vocal music education major who has potential in vocal music education.
  • LYNN MARKOWITZ STRUTTMAN OBOE SCHOLARSHIP - Applicants submit biographical essays (maximum of 500 words) on how music has impacted their lives. Recipients shall be music majors in oboe who exhibit exceptional performance proficiency. The award can be repeated for a total of four years.
  • MILDRED LEWIS MUSIC EDUCATION - Mildred Lewis (1890-1981) joined the UK music faculty in 1931 where she taught sight-singing, dictation, directed the Women's Glee Club, and was the first instructor of the in-service class for training Kentucky music teachers. In 1933, Miss Lewis organized the University Choristers and served as its director until her retirement in the early '60s, an accomplishment for which she is most often remembered. Mildred Lewis built a solid choral music and music education program at UK and was one of the founders and most influential members of the Kentucky Music Education Association.  Recipients shall be undergraduate majors in music education. Open to all Kentucky residents, the award is based on promise as a teacher, scholarship, musical talent, character, and financial need. Established in 1960.
  • NATHANIEL PATCH PIANO SCHOLARSHIP - Professor Emeritus Nathaniel Patch taught piano at the University of Kentucky from 1949 until his retirement in 1982. He held degrees from the Eastman School of Music and was familiar to generations of Kentuckians as an active concert pianist and teacher. He performed throughout the United States as a pianist and chamber musician and appeared as piano soloist with, among others, the Lexington Philharmonic, the Louisville Orchestra and the Nashville Symphony. Among his many awards were the UK Great Teacher Award and the Kentucky Music Teachers' Teacher of the Year Award.  Recipients shall be outstanding undergraduate or graduate pianists, music majors, excellent students academically, and who can demonstrate financial need. Established in 1999.
  • O. HELTON MEMORIAL ACRES - Anne Mae Helton established the O. Helton Memorial Acres endowed scholarship in memory of her parents, Ora and Oscar Helton in 1982.  Recipients shall be undergraduate or graduate music majors selected by the Dean of the College of Fine Arts for their outstanding musical abilities.
  • PHYLLIS JENNESS VOCAL SCHOLARSHIP - Professor Phyllis Jenness came to the University of Kentucky in 1954 after singing professionally for six years in New York. At UK she primarily taught voice, but also ventured into teaching vocal literature and choral conducting, as well as even directing the Women's Glee Club.  She performed regularly throughout her tenure at UK, singing at least one recital per year, plus concert and oratorio appearances throughout Kentucky and surrounding states. Around 1955 she initiated opera as part of the curriculum at UK, organizing performances of short scenes and one-act operas until the first full-scale production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in 1976.  From then on she directed yearly opera productions until 1989, shortly before retiring in 1993. Recipients shall be outstanding undergraduate or graduate voice majors with exceptional talent, dedicated to music and singing as demonstrated by audition. Renewable with a 3.00 GPA. Established in 1993.
  • THELMA GREENE SCHOLARSHIP - Recipients shall be sophomores or juniors who demonstrate potential for academic excellence and financial need.
  • TOMMY SANDUSKY MEMORIAL ENDOWED BAND SCHOLARSHIP - This award is given in memory of Tommy Sandusky to students who have completed at least two years in the Wildcat Marching Band and who best “exemplify the spirit of commitment and dedication to and the joy of participation in the UK Wildcat Marching Band as manifest by Tommy Sandusky during the years of his participation and contribution.” The non-renewable award is given to non-music majors for one year only.
  • CHARLES MARVIN CROWE MUSIC SCHOLARSHIPS - The Charles Marvin Crowe Music Scholarships are awarded to two freshman music majors to be applied during the Spring semester. Students are selected by the applied music faculty during Fall Juries. One recipient is selected by the Faculty of the Division of Keyboard, Voice, and Strings. One recipient is selected by the Faculty of the Division of Winds, Percussion, and Jazz. 
Alltech Opera Scholarships
  • THE KENTUCKY OPERA PRIZE - A promise of a future Main Stage role with Kentucky Opera

Graduate Scholarships & Financial Assistance

Both university-wide and School of Music financial assistance may be available to support your studies at UK.

Graduate Scholarship, Fellowship, and Assistantship Opportunities
  • A limited number of small scholarships are available to help defray the out-of-state portion of tuition for out-of-state students who do not have fellowships or assistantships. These are called Gillis awards. Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies for further information if you think that you might be eligible.
  • Graduate Fellowships
  • Graduate Assistantships in Music
  • General University Financial Aid Information
Graduate Fellowships

University-Wide Non-Service Fellowships are available to qualified graduate students in music. The applicant must have a record of superior academic achievement to be considered for these awards. To be eligible, the student needs a score of at least the 71st percentile on both the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Examination or a score of at least the 81st percentile on one of the sections.

Application procedures for fellowships may be found from the Graduate School. The student must complete the process of applying for admission to both the Graduate School and the School of Music on or before that date, must have taken the music examinations and for performance degrees, must pass an audition. Application for Graduate School Fellowships are effective for one year only. Students must reapply for renewal before March 1 each year.

Graduate Assistantships in the School of Music

These include teaching assistantships in musicology, theory, music education, instrumental and vocal conducting, and applied music. The candidate should have an excellent academic background and superior qualifications in the area of specialization, and must pass the entrance examinations described above. A personal interview is necessary before an assistantship can be awarded.

A Full Graduate Assistantship provides an annual stipend of approximately $10,000 (Master’s) to $11,000 (Doctoral) plus full in-state or out-of- state tuition and health insurance. A half assistantship provides a stipend of approximately $5100 (Masters) to $5400 (Doctoral) for entering students, to which are added tuition scholarships covering one half of in-state or out-of- state tuition. Assistantships are usually renewable for one additional year for master’s students and two additional years for doctoral students. Students receiving a full graduate assistantship work for a maximum of 20 hours per week in their assigned areas (those with a half assistantship work for a maximum of 10 hours per week), and may involve teaching applied lessons, methods courses, conducting duties with ensembles, or classroom instruction.

To be considered for an assistantship, contact the faculty in charge of your area of interest. For full consideration, please apply by January 15, though applications will be received until graduate assistantship positions are filled. All the procedures for fall semester admission to the Graduate School and the School of Music, including completion of entrance examinations auditions for performance degrees, and any special admissions requirements for individual degree programs, must be completed no later than March 15.


Created 08/04/2021
Last Updated 07/15/2024