Admissions International Students
  1. Admissions

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 speak more than 20 languages. Approximately 40 percent of our students are international.

English Language Proficiency Summary

Students whose first language is not English must submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or DuoLingo in order to meet the minimum English proficiency requirement for admission to the Conservatory. International students who have completed at least two years of full-time academic study at an English-speaking high school, college, or university at the time of applying may request an exemption from this requirement by submitting the formal request within the application.

English Language Proficiency Timeline

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

December 1, 2022

Applicants must submit a score report 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 iBT may not be competitive. For this deadline, photocopies or screenshots are acceptable.

March 1, 2023

An official score report from within the past 12 months in English must be received by the Office of Admissions. 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, 2023

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 Admissions. 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 Admissions. If the petition is not approved, the conditionally admitted student may defer admission until their score is passing for up to one academic year.

English Proficiency Test Score Requirements

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

Our school code is 4744. We accept the at-home or in-person TOEFL test. We do not accept MyBest scores as a final official score.

  • Technology and Applied Composition programs (all degrees and certificates): 80 iBT
  • Bachelor of Music: 71 iBT
  • Certificate: 61 iBT, preferred
  • Master of Music: 80 iBT
  • Advanced Certificate: 71 iBT, preferred
  • Professional Studies Certificate in Instrumental Performance: 61 iBT, preferred
  • Professional Studies Certificate in Historical Performance: 61 iBT, preferred
  • Professional Studies Certificate in RJAM Performance: 80 iBT
  • Artist Diploma: 80 iBT
IELTS (International English Language Testing System)

We accept the IELTS Indicator exam or the in-person test as a final official score.

  • Technology and Applied Composition programs (all degrees and certificates): 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 Certificate in Instrumental Performance: 5.5 IELTS, preferred
  • Professional Studies Certificate in Historical Performance: 5.5 IELTS, preferred
  • Professional Studies Certificate in RJAM Performance: 6.5 IELTS
  • Artist Diploma: 6.5 IELTS
DuoLingo English Test

If submitting a DuoLingo score for the December 1, 2022 deadline, the applicant must take the test by November 25. The score must be received by SFCM before the applicant may submit the application. DuoLingo scores are marked as passing pending Office of Admissions review. If an applicant submits a score meeting the overall minimum requirement listed below, but SFCM does not find that the applicant meets the minimum level of English proficiency required after reviewing the test results, we will not accept the test score as passing.

  • Technology and Applied Composition programs (all degrees and diplomas): 135
  • Bachelor of Music: 125
  • Certificate: 115, preferred
  • Master of Music: 135
  • Advanced Certificate: 125, preferred
  • Professional Studies Certificate in Instrumental Performance: 115, preferred
  • Professional Studies Certificate in Historical Performance: 115, preferred
  • Professional Studies Certificate in RJAM Performance: 135
  • Artist Diploma: 135

3+2 Collegiate Program

SFCM has a 3+2 program with the Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou, China. Students at the Xinghai Conservatory must apply for the 3+2 program in the first semester of their third year. Those approved for the program must still complete the full application and audition process for the two-year Master of Music program at SFCM. Acceptance into the Master of Music program is not guaranteed. Program acceptance, studio assignment, English proficiency, and scholarship granting will all be determined using the same deadlines and requirements as detailed on our How to Apply page and listed above. Applicants with questions regarding their 3+2 program should reach out to

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.

Financial Aid for International Students

International applicants are eligible to receive scholarships from the Conservatory as long as they submit the CSS Profile. International applicants are not eligible for any U.S. federal or state grants or loans.

Applying for Financial Aid

Three SFCM students out in San Francisco