1. Admissions

International Students - How to Apply

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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 460, students hail from 34 countries and 35 states, and speak more than 20 languages. Over 40 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.

The timeline below indicates the deadlines for fall semester admission. Spring semester applicants will be guided on deadlines individually.

December 1

Applicants must submit a score report or ELS certificate in English from within the past 24 months with the application. This does not need to be a passing score, but know that a score of less than 60 may not be competitive. For this deadline, photocopies or screenshots are acceptable.

March 1

An official score report or ELS certificate from within the past 12 months in English must be received by the Office of Admission. This cannot be a photocopy or screenshot. If this is not a passing score, admitted students will receive conditional admission until the May 1 deadline below is met.

May 1

A conditionally admitted student intending to enroll in the fall semester needs to have a passing score report in English submitted to the Office of Admission. If the conditionally admitted student does not have a passing score submitted by this deadline, they may petition for an extension that involves matriculation in an appropriate summer ELS Class, or equivalent collegiate level course as approved by the Office of Admission. If the petition is not approved, the conditionally admitted student may defer admission until their score is passing for up to one academic year.

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 an exemption from this requirement by submitting a formal request through their application. Please contact apply@sfcm.edu with any questions.

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

  • Technology and Applied Composition programs (all degrees and diplomas): 80 iBT
  • Bachelor of Music: 71 iBT
  • Certificate: 61 iBT, preferred
  • Master of Music: 80 iBT
  • Advanced Certificate: 71 iBT, preferred
  • Professional Studies Diploma in Instrumental Performance: 61 iBT, preferred
  • Professional Studies Diploma in Historical Performance: 61 iBT, preferred
  • Professional Studies Diploma in RJAM Performance: 80 iBT
  • Artist Certificate in Chamber Music: 80 iBT
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Vocal Performance: 80 iBT

*SFCM will consider accepting the MyBest scores. We must have all score reports the MyBest scores are from submitted with the application, and the scores must be from within the past two years.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

  • Technology and Applied Composition programs (all degrees and diplomas): 6.5 IELTS
  • Bachelor of Music: 6.0 IELTS
  • Certificate: 5.5 IELTS, preferred
  • Master of Music: 6.5 IELTS
  • Advanced Certificate: 6.0 IELTS, preferred
  • Professional Studies Diploma in Instrumental Performance: 5.5 IELTS, preferred
  • Professional Studies Diploma in Historical Performance: 5.5 IELTS, preferred
  • Professional Studies Diploma in RJAM Performance: 6.5 IELTS
  • Artist Certificate in Chamber Music: 6.5 IELTS
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Vocal Performance: 6.5 IELTS

ELS (English Language Services)

  • Technology and Applied Composition programs (all degrees and diplomas): Level 110
  • Bachelor of Music: Level 109
  • Certificate: Level 107, preferred
  • Master of Music: Level 110
  • Advanced Certificate: Level 109, preferred
  • Professional Studies Diploma in Instrumental Performance: Level 107, preferred
  • Professional Studies Diploma in Historical Performance: Level 107, preferred
  • Professional Studies Diploma in RJAM Performance: Level 110
  • Artist Certificate in Chamber Music: Level 110
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Vocal Performance: Level 110

DuoLingo English Test

SFCM accepts the DuoLingo English Test as a supplement only. If an applicant submits a DuoLingo score, the TOEFL, IELTS, or ELS Class certificate is still required.

Professional Studies Diplomas in Instrumental Performance and Historical Performance

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. 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.

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

Equal Educational Opportunity

SFCM is an equal opportunity institution of higher education and employer and is firmly committed to nondiscrimination in its delivery of educational services and employment practices. In compliance with all applicable federal and state laws, Conservatory policy prohibits unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, gender, religion, marital status, registered domestic partner status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition (including cancer and genetic characteristics), sexual orientation, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws. It also prohibits unlawful discrimination based on the perception that anyone has any of those characteristics, or is associated with a person who has or is perceived as having any of those characteristics. When necessary, SFCM will reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities if the individual is otherwise qualified to meet the fundamental requirements and aspects of the educational program and/or safely perform all essential functions, without undue hardship to SFCM and/or without altering fundamental aspects of SFCM’s educational program.

Three SFCM students out in San Francisco