1. Admissions

How to Apply

Let's get you here.

Application Timeline

  1. Spring applications and recordings due November 1 (October 15 for pre-screened instruments and disciplines) Only select areas have openings for spring semester (Contact apply@sfcm.edu before applying)
  2. Fall applications including an uploaded transcript, pre-screening recordings, and final audition recordings due December 1
  3. Two letters of recommendation due January 1
  4. Live auditions: January and February. Please see below for audition dates for your instrument.​
  5. Graduate students notified of admission by March 15
  6. Undergraduate students notified of admission by April 1
  7. Enrollment deposit for incoming graduate students due April 15
  8. Enrollment deposit for incoming undergraduate students due May 1

Required Materials for Admission

Application Fee Letters of Recommendation Transcripts ACT/SAT Scores

Fill out your application

Fall enrollment deadline: December 1

Spring enrollment deadline: November 1 (October 15th for prescreened instruments)

Application Fee

  • Non-refundable $110 application fee must be paid by credit card to submit application.
  • Late applications are charged an additional $50.
  • Current students and alumni of any SFCM program have a reduced application fee of $50.

Letters of Recommendation

  • All applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation from music instructors, preferably including the applicant's current private music teacher. Recommendations will be submitted electronically.
  • The applicant will provide the names and email addresses of two music teachers when completing the application. An email with detailed instructions for completing the recommendation will be sent to each music teacher as soon as the applicant enters this contact information in the application. 

Recommendations should be received no later than January 1.


  • Undergraduate applicants: Please submit transcripts from all high schools attended.
  • Undergraduate transfer applicants: Please submit all high school and college transcripts.
  • Home-schooled applicants: Please submit either an official transcript issued by an accredited institution, or the diploma from the GED or CHSPE. In addition, home-schooled applicants should submit the SAT or ACT.
  • Graduate and postgraduate applicants: Please submit all college transcripts.
  • International students, see here.

Please upload copies of your unofficial transcripts to your online application before December 1. These should be uploaded in the "Academic History" section of the application. If you are admitted and decide to attend, you will be responsible for submitting an original copy of your final transcripts to the SFCM Office of Admission. Complete, official transcripts are due no later than July 1. Students completing their degrees after July 1, but prior to enrollment at the Conservatory, must contact the Registrar prior to the deadline.

ACT/SAT Scores

Home-schooled applicants are required to submit official SAT or ACT scores to support their transcripts. The Conservatory's school code for the ACT is 0403; the code for the SAT is 4744. We will accept scores as official if they are listed on the student's official school transcript. All other applicants are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores.


Auditions are held both in San Francisco and regionally. While we encourage students to audition in San Francisco so that they may experience our vibrant campus firsthand, we understand that geographical logistics may present an obstacle. Local and regional auditions, along with final audition recordings, are not judged preferentially; students will receive equal consideration.

Academic Requirements for Admission

First-Year Students

  • Diploma from accredited high school, GED, CHSPE, or transcript (if home-schooled)
  • 3 years of English
  • 3 years of foreign language preferred

Home-Schooled Applicants

  • Official transcript issued by an accredited institution, or diploma from the GED or CHSPE
  • Submit SAT or ACT with transcripts.

Transfer Students

Students wishing to transfer to the Conservatory must show evidence of a satisfactory academic record at all institutions of higher education and secondary schools attended, and are required to submit official transcripts from all of them.

Transfer applicants who wish to enter at a level corresponding to their previous experience should perform repertoire during their audition that mirrors the Conservatory's jury requirements per level. For example, a transfer applicant hoping to enter as a sophomore (2nd year) flute major should perform audition pieces that mirror the Conservatory's freshman (1st year) jury requirements for flute.

Graduate Students

Applicants for the Master of Music degree and Artist Certificate programs are expected to hold a bachelor's degree in music from an accredited college, university, or conservatory. In exceptional cases, a student who has a degree in an area other than music and who has had excellent audition results and experience in music theory and history may be considered. Others may be recommended for admission as transfers into the undergraduate program. Graduate students may be able to transfer graduate credits to the Conservatory’s undergraduate program. The Conservatory will not accept any transfer credit at the graduate level.

International Students

Drawn from around the globe, our students contribute to a rich mixture of ideas, talents, customs, and backgrounds in a collaborative environment. Within a total collegiate student body numbering around 400, students hail from 35 countries and 35 states, and speak more than 20 languages. Over 30 percent of our students are international.

English Language Proficiency

Students whose first language is not English must submit either a TOEFL, IELTS score, or a certificate from ELS Language Centers in order to meet the minimum English proficiency requirement for admission to the Conservatory. Scores received from tests taken more than one year prior to the application deadline are not valid. Photocopied score reports will not be accepted. International students who have completed at least two years of full-time academic study at an English-speaking college or university at the time of application may request to be exempted from this requirement by submitting a formal request to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs by the application submission deadline for their chosen program. Exceptions to the minimum requirements will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact apply@sfcm.edu.

SFCM must receive an official TOEFL or IELTS score by February 15. Note that this score need not be a passing score. Students will have until June 1 to submit a passing score in order to be admitted.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): school code of 4744

  • Master of Music: 80 ibt
  • Artist Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma: 80 ibt
  • Bachelor of Music: 71 ibt
  • Professional Studies Diploma: 61 ibt preferred
  • Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) programs (all degrees): 80 ibt

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

  • Master of Music, Artist Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma: 6.5 IELTS
  • Bachelor of Music: 6.0 IELTS
  • Professional Studies Diploma: 5.5 IELTS
  • Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) programs (all degrees): 6.5 IELTS

English Language Services (ELS)

  • Master of Music, Artist Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma: level 110
  • Bachelor of Music: level 109
  • Professional Studies Diploma: level 107
  • Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) programs (all degrees): level 110

Conditional Admission
Non-native English speakers who do not meet the English language proficiency requirement at the time admissions decisions are made, but who have submitted a TOEFL or IELTS score or are enrolled in ELS Language Centers, may be offered conditional acceptance to their desired program. Those students accepted with this status are eligible for Conservatory scholarships and have until June 1 to fulfill the English proficiency requirements. Those who do not fulfill the requirement by June 1 will not be allowed to enroll at the Conservatory.

Intensive Summer English Program

If your TOEFL score is below our requirements but is over 65 (BM) or 71 (MM), the Conservatory offers an Intensive Summer English Program at the University of San Francisco in order to help non-native English speakers achieve the admissions requirement for matriculation. More information can be found here.

Professional Studies Diploma

International applicants to the Professional Studies Diploma in Instrumental Performance degree program who are non-native English speakers must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score at the time of application.

In order to take academic classes while at the Conservatory, non-native English speakers must meet the English language proficiency requirements outlined above for courses that correspond with a given degree level. Professional Studies Diploma candidates who do not wish to register for academic coursework will be limited to taking the following courses: ENS 200-513, HMS 210/211, HMS 212/213, IND 500, IND 600, IND 650, PRF 202-342, PRF 352-362, PVL 600, and PVL 620. Students wishing to take any other courses must receive special permission from the course instructor.


International students must also provide notarized course-by-course translations of their transcripts if the originals are not issued in English. The Office of Admission may require that international transcripts be evaluated by an organization specializing in foreign credential evaluation, such as World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (www.ece.org). Transcripts are due no later than July 1. Students completing their degrees after July 1, but prior to enrollment at the Conservatory, must contact the Registrar prior to the deadline.

Required Materials for International Students Applying for Scholarship

International applicants are eligible to receive scholarships, but may be considered for Conservatory scholarships only and are not eligible for any U.S. federal or state grants or loans. All materials are due by June 1.

Scholarships for International Students


All applicants to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music must complete an audition. See your specific area of study for more information about audition requirements.