1. Admissions

How to Apply

Let's get you here.

Spring 2020 Application Timeline

  1. October 15 - Application, including an uploaded unofficial transcript, and recordings are due for pre-screened areas.
  2. November 1 - Application, including an uploaded unofficial transcript, and Final Audition recordings are due for non pre-screened areas.
  3. November 10 - Two letters of recommendation are due through application form.
  4. November 15-29 - Live auditions are held at SFCM by appointment.
  5. December 6 - Undergraduate and Graduate spring decisions are released.

Fall 2020 Application Timeline

  1. December 1 - Application, including an uploaded unofficial transcript, pre-screening recording (if applicable), and Final Audition recordings (if applicable) are due.
  2. December 20 - All pre-screen decisions will be released by this date.
  3. January 1 - Two letters of recommendation are due through application form.
  4. January through March - Please see below for audition dates for your area of interest.
  5. March 15 - Graduate admission decisions are released.
  6. April 1 - Undergraduate admission decisions are released.
  7. April 15 - Enrollment deposit for incoming graduate students is due.
  8. May 1 - Enrollment deposit for incoming undergraduate students is due.

Materials and Requirements


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 the SFCM collegiate, continuing education, and pre-college divisions have a reduced application fee of $50.
  • We accept the NACAC Request for Admission Application Fee Waiver form for current high school students demonstrating economic need. Note that this completed form must come directly from the high school counselor to SFCM via email or mail.
  • Applicants who demonstrate high need and do not qualify for the NACAC fee waiver or are applying for a graduate or postgraduate program must email apply@sfcm.edu to recieve instructions on submitting an appeal form.


Letters of Recommendation

  • All applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation. One must be from the applicant's current private music teacher or ensemble director. Recommendations will be submitted electronically through the application form.
  • The applicant will provide the names and email addresses of two recommenders when completing the application. An email with detailed instructions for completing the recommendation will be sent to each individual 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 need to submit the SAT or ACT.
  • Graduate and postgraduate applicants: Please submit all college transcripts. We do not require your high school transcripts.
  • 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 (wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ece.org).

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, and may be a screenshot of an online portal or a PDF of a paper copy. If you are admitted and decide to attend, you will be responsible for submitting an original copy of your final official transcripts to the SFCM Office of Admission no later than July 1. Final official transcripts indicate a degree has been completed, contain an official seal or signature, have a cumulative GPA on the USA scale, and come directly from the institution via an online system or snail mail. Students completing their degrees after July 1 must contact the Office of Admission prior to the deadline via apply@sfcm.edu.

Admitted undergraduate applicants with a GPA less than 2.5 (4.0 scale) and graduate and post-graduate applicants with a GPA less than 3.0 (4.0 scale) at their previous institution are offered admission to the Conservatory with Academic Probation status. In order to have the probation status removed, these students will need to maintain the minimum GPA requirements during their first year.


Short Essays and Writing Samples

Applicants must submit responses to the following writing prompts:

  • Please describe the factors that will guide your collegiate admission decision and briefly discuss why, specifically, you have applied to SFCM. (300-500 words)
  • Please include a brief essay discussing your career goals as a professional musician. (300-500 words)

Applicants must submit a video responding to the following prompt:

  • Who is an artist you admire and how have they influenced your art? (60 seconds or less)

Note that this video submission does not have an affect on admission.

Applicants for the Master of Music degree program must upload a writing sample, such as an academic paper, from their undergraduate studies.



All applicants must complete an audition. Auditions are held live at SFCM, at a regional location, or via a final audition recording submitted with the application. We encourage students to audition in San Francisco so that they may experience our vibrant campus firsthand and get to know the faculty in person. Students will receive equal consideration regardless of which audition type they select. Residents of California are required to attend a live audition. See your specific area of study for more information about audition requirements.


Academic Requirements for Admission


Freshman Applicants

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


Home-Schooled Applicants

  • Official transcript issued by an accredited institution, or diploma from the GED or CHSPE
  • Official SAT or ACT scores to support transcripts. The Conservatory's school code for SAT is 4744; the code for the ACT is 0403. We will accept scores as official if they are listed on the student's official school transcript.


Transfer Applicants

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 the institutions attended.

Admitted transfer students will receive a transfer year assessment from the Office of Academic Affairs immediately following the release of their admission decision.


Master of Music and Artist Certificate Applicants

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. 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.

Three SFCM students out in San Francisco