International Students

Drawn from around the globe, our students share 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, 35 states and speak more than 20 languages.  Over 30% of our students are international.

Countries Represented by Current Conservatory Students

Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, Macau, Mexico, New Zealand, People's Republic of China (PRC), Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan (ROC), Thailand, United Kingdom and Venezuela

English Language Proficiency:  Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and English Language Services (ELS)

Students whose first language is not English must either submit a TOEFL score of 71 ibt or a certificate from ELS Language Centers verifying completion of level 109 in order to meet the English proficiency requirement for admission to the Conservatory.  

IMPORTANT NOTICE:  If proof of English proficiency will be demonstrated by a TOEFL score, we require applicants to submit their most recent TOEFL test score (even if it is not passing) or proof of registration to take the TOEFL exam by the December 1 deadline. This requirement may be waived if applicants choose to demonstrate proficiency through ELS Language Centers. 

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) :  We require a minimum score of 71 on the interactive-based test (ibt) or 500 on the paper-based test. The Conservatory's school code is 4744. TOEFL scores received from tests taken more than two years 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.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS): We require a minimum score of 6.5.  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.

English Language Services (ELS):  The Conservatory has an agreement with ELS Language Centers, an English school with campuses located throughout the United States (including San Francisco) and abroad:  A student of English enrolled at any of ELS's campuses who passes ELS Level 109 will meet the English language proficiency for admission to the Conservatory.

Conditional Admission:  Non-native English speakers who do not have a passing TOEFL score at the time admissions decisions are made, but who have submitted a TOEFL 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 July 1 to fulfill the English proficiency requirements. Those who do not fulfill the requirement will not be allowed to enroll at the Conservatory.

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 score at the time of application.  This does not need to be a passing TOEFL score, but will be used as an indicator of English language abilities.  Students may choose to demonstrate this by completing ELS Language Center coursework.  

In order to take academic classes while at the Conservatory, non-native English speakers must meet the English language proficiency requirements outlined above (71 ibt or ELS Language Centers level 109). Those Professional Studies Diploma candidates who do not wish to register for academic coursework  will be limited to taking the following courses: ENS 200–513, GED 210/211, GED 212/213, IND 500, IND 600, IND 650, PRF 202–342, PRF 352–362, PVL 600 or PVL 620. Students wishing to take any courses outside of those listed must receive special permission from the course instructor. International students are not required to submit scores from the SAT or ACT.


ESL Summer Program

August 4 to August 15, 2014

The English-as-a-Second-Language Summer Program is a two-week residential program required of new international students with TOEFL scores below 80ibt.  The cost of the program is $1,200 and includes housing, most meals, excursions in the Bay Area, and instructional costs and books.  The charge for the program will be placed on the student's fall semester term bill.

Information about the the requirement to participate is communicated to students by the Office of Admission during the pre-enrollment process.  Once the list of participants is set, the Office of Student Life will communicate information about housing and class/event schedule. Students will also have the option to complete an approved, non-Conservatory English language course.  


International students must also provide notarized 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 or Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.

Required materials for international applicants applying for scholarship

International applicants applying for scholarship must submit ALL forms as described here in order to be eligible for merit-based and/or need-based scholarship. International students cannot be considered for any U.S. federal or state grants or loans, but can only be considered for Conservatory scholarships.