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Admissions FAQ

We have noticed that applicants tend to ask a given group of questions according to how far along they are in the application process. To make things easy to find, we have divided this FAQ along those lines. Besides, if you read each section, you will run across some important information you may not have thought to ask about.

Getting to know us

About your application

Requesting a Teacher

Preparing for your audition

How we decide

Now that you have been accepted

General Questions

For International Students

Getting to know us

How do I apply?

You apply to Peabody through an electronic application which is part of this web site. We revise the application each year during the summer, and open for business sometime around mid-September. If you want an introduction to the school, and a stroll through the programs we offer before applying, you can start at the Path to Peabody menu item on the left. If you prefer to begin the application process at this time click on Apply to Peabody.

Do I have to apply and/or be accepted to JHU before I can come to Peabody?

Peabody is a division of The Johns Hopkins University. The University is "decentralized" in structure, meaning that each division has its own entrance and graduation standards. This is a good thing, because the School of Arts and Sciences would only have a passing interest in your ability to sing. And, frankly, we only have a passing interest in your ability to do nuclear physics. So, with one exception, you do not have to apply anywhere but Peabody to be accepted to Peabody. That exception is those who wish to pursue two parallel degrees at the same time. This subject is covered in detail on another page of this web site called "The Double Degree Dilemma."

Those applying for our Recording Arts and Sciences program only need to apply to Peabody. There is no need to apply to any other division of the University.

How do I get financial aid information?

The financial aid office maintains a website with everything necessary to apply for all forms of Peabody-funded financial assistance, including scholarships and assistantships. United States citizens and Green Card holders may also be considered for government funded (or subsidized) forms of financial assistance. The basic document common to all federal student aid is called the FAFSA, and is available from your high school guidance counselor, or on the web at If you want to get a head start on it, you will need to know that Peabody's school code is E00233. Detailed instructions for going through the process are included in the application package.

When do I need to submit my application?

December 1 if you want to audition at Peabody in February.
December 1 if you want to audition at a regional location (undergraduates only) for locations within the U.S..
April 15 if you want to audition at Peabody in May. Note that there are no auditions or interviews in May for several majors, and for any DMA programs. The Auditions tab will tell you which majors are excluded.

Can I start school in January?

Not in a degree program. To begin with, we have no auditions to support January entrance. Also, most of our courses are based on a Fall/Spring sequence. The only exception would be a Graduate Performance Diploma applicant who auditioned and was accepted during the regular times in February or May, but delayed entrance into the second semester.

Do you offer early admission?

I need to define some terms before answering—just to be sure we are talking about the same thing. A typical "early admission" situation is when a high school student only needs one course (usually senior English) to get a high school degree. The student goes to college instead of to his or her last year of high school, and the high school agrees to accept completion of the first year of college English as meeting the remaining high school requirement. The college transcript is sent to the high school, which awards the diploma.

Peabody does not offer early admission, and we urge caution before starting the process at another school. Remember, musical skills mature quickly among students of high school age. Thus, if you audition at the end of your junior year, you will be at a disadvantage for acceptance compared with students who have been studying a year longer. Also, you are likely to be a year younger than other freshmen, and there are social ramifications to that. Finally, schools make merit award decisions based on faculty input about your level of musical development, so what you gain in your last year of study before coming to a conservatory could be worth thousands of dollars over the time of your program.

Do you offer early decision? What about early acceptance?

Some schools will process your application early if you promise to go there if accepted. We cannot do that at Peabody since we do not hold auditions on campus until February.

A quick note for those thinking about applying "early decision" to one of the JHU Homewood schools, and hoping to be accepted to the double degree program with Peabody: You will have to commit to the Homewood school without knowing the results of your Peabody audition. Thus, if you are okay being involved with Peabody on a casual basis as part of your degree program, early decision can work for you. On the other hand, if your college decision hinges on being able to pursue a double degree, early decision is not worth the gamble. Admission to the Peabody/JHU double degree program is too limited to make early decision at Homewood a wise move.

When can I visit the school?

Here is a link to our campus visit page.

About your application

What are the deadlines?

If you want your audition heard during our February audition period, the application deadline is December 1. If you intend to take part in regional auditions (undergrads only) the deadline is also December 1. If you want your audition heard during our May audition period, the application deadline is April 15.

For those applying in majors or programs that involve pre-screening, it is important to upload your pre-screening video to DecisionDesk by the application deadlines. We want to have them reviewed by the faculty as early as possible, so that (in turn) we can have results to you soon enough for you to make any travel plans associated with your audition.

The December 1st general application deadline is the day on which we want your application in our system. We don't get too upset if the application gets to us a day late. However, each year we encounter problems if we run out of audition slots and have to establish a wait list. In those cases, we schedule auditions in the order the applications arrive.

How will I know when you have my recommendations on hand?

Once your have submitted your recommenders emails on the application, they will recieve an email asking them to upload a letter at their earliest convenience.  You can return to your DecisionDesk account at any time to see if they have submitted the recommendation.  If it has been a while and you are worried that they still haven't submitted their letter, we would suggest giving them a friendly reminder.  DecisionDesk also offers the option to re-send the initial email if they lost it or have simply forgotten.  The folks at DecisionDesk are more than happy to assist you if, heaven forbid, you or your recommender have any technical difficulties. Just sign in to your account and click the help button.  

Do I need to have three recommendations?

This is a second little secret. One of the reasons we ask for three recommendations is that we know sometimes one won't arrive on time (or at all). No one is going to throw a fit if we don't have three recommendation forms in an application (unless you are applying for Artist Diploma—a program for which professional credentials are critical). The truth about recommendation forms is that we use them for supplemental data in conjunction with our own impressions. A missing recommendation form will not prevent the application from being processed. However, two missing recommendation forms may cause raised eyebrows among the faculty.

Requesting a Teacher

How do I go about requesting a specific teacher? And what happens if I change my mind later in the process?

Matching you with a private teacher is an important part of the admissions process. To be effective we need input from both you and the faculty. We would like to be able to match every student with his or her teacher of choice. At the same time, studio openings for a given year vary, so considerable deliberation goes into the process.

The first step is to gather information from you, and from the faculty. The application has a place for you to give us a first and a second choice of teacher. You also have a "no preference" option. Selecting "no preference" is wise if you are not familiar with our faculty, or if you just can't cope with making a teacher selection that early in the process. You can revise or add a selection before your audition. Just let us know in writing. For the record, the teachers won't learn of your preference until after auditions have ended, so as long as you revise your choice(s) by a week before that time, the faculty will only see the most recent information.

After auditions, teachers have two weeks to come up with list of acceptable applicants for their studios. The lists go to the enrollment management committee, which spends the next six days trying to make sense of it all. If the teacher you requested as first choice wants to teach you, the committee will make that match. Otherwise the committee will go to the second choice. If neither choice is available, or if "no preference" is still shown, the committee looks for a teacher who was especially enthusiastic about your audition.

You can change your teacher preference information between the day of your audition and the beginning of the committee meetings. The committee will operate with the new information. The difference is that your change of request must be visible in our records, in case (for instance) your original first-choice teacher wonders how you came to be assigned to another faculty member. Typically there is no problem, though, so we encourage you to update your request if you have a change of heart.

It would be great if the teacher selection saga ended there, but for a few applicants there is another chapter. We are aware that applicants tend to shift in their feelings toward specific schools during the application and audition process. So, let's suppose it is mid-April, all the responses from all the colleges have arrived, and you find yourself thinking more and more about attending Peabody. You go to your private teacher, who agrees that Peabody would be a good school for you, except s/he thinks you should study with a different teacher than the one to whom you have been assigned.

Now what?

Even after all is said and done, we will do our best to assign you to the teacher of your choice. We will check to see if that teacher responded well to your audition, and still has an available opening. We will also need to notify the teacher to whom you were originally assigned. In truth, even after you start school at Peabody you can change teachers. It only happens with maybe five students each year, and these are situations where (after a reasonable getting acquainted period) teacher and student agree that things are not working out. Everyone wins when a student and teacher are enthusiastic about the progress being made, so we do everything possible to ensure that outcome.

Preparing for your audition

How do I schedule an audition?

Simply complete and submit your application, and any required pre-screening materials by the stated deadlines. You will be sent a response to the pre-screening process, and an "invitation to audition" at the appropriate time. We like to get the invitations out by mid-January for the February auditions, and by late-April for the May auditions—hopefully enough time to deal with transportation issues for those traveling to Baltimore.

How long will my audition be?

Most undergraduate auditions are scheduled at ten or fifteen--minute intervals. However, some are done a little differently. For instance, in certain majors, we schedule four people at the beginning of each hour, and they audition in the order they arrive on site. When time permits (usually depends on major) MM auditions can be as long as twenty minutes. DMA auditions are typically twenty minutes.

That having been said, we try to support our faculty's wishes. Violin auditions, for instance, tend to be very short. Piano auditions vary in length. The important thing to remember is that an audition is a diagnostic event. If it runs short, it probably means that the faculty has been able to get a clear picture of your level of development in a relatively short time. You should not assume anything (positive or negative) by the length of time involved.

Do I need to pre-screen?

Pre-screening is becoming more of a fact of life around Peabody. There are two benefits: It helps keep the on-campus audition schedule from getting overloaded, and it saves time, dollars, and stress for applicants who would otherwise travel to Peabody, only to discover that they misjudged the high level of musical development necessary for entrance.

Information about pre-screening has been built into the instructions checklists.

Pre-screening materials must be submitted by the application deadlines. The deadlines are enforced by the faculties involved. Materials arriving after those dates may not be reviewed.

Questions about audition repertoire

The Admissions Office gets a lot of calls about audition repertoire. Some applicants want to know if we can make exceptions so they can use the same repertoire at several schools. Others happen to be working on a given piece which is similar to the one we require. Our repertoire requirements are determined by the faculty in each major, so there are many interpretations of how much latitude you have in preparing your audition. Let me start with a general explanation, and then we will go on to specific majors.

Why have repertoire requirements?

We list audition requirements as a means to communicate the general level of musical development typical of those entering the school. In many cases, the faculty is not really concerned that you perform the exact pieces listed. Some specifically state that the listed repertoire should be considered as a guideline. However, it is important that whatever you perform, it is at least at the same level of difficulty as the recommended pieces. So, when we get a phone call from someone who wants to know if a given piece meets the requirements, we most often ask them to consult with their private teacher to see if the difficulty is equivalent. I must admit that no one in the admissions office is expert enough to be able to judge equivalency of every bit of repertoire in every major, so this gets us off the hook, and it gets you better quality information.

How many movements?

Another question we often hear goes something like, "Do I have to prepare all the movements of the concerto (or sonata)?" The audition instructions for your major instrument will tell you what the faculty is looking for. It should be obvious with the time constraints of most auditions that it is not likely you will be asked to perform part of every movement from every piece you have prepared, so I suppose you can gamble that they won't ask for a particular movement. However, remember what I said earlier. Audition repertoire is designed as a guide to the level of development typical of those accepted to the school. As we might say around the office water cooler (if we actually had one), "Anyone acceptable to Peabody in (say) piano, should have an entire Beethoven Sonata in their repertoire, ready to go, with just a little touching up." So, if you find yourself struggling to perform something either specifically required, or something of equivalent difficulty, it may be a clue that you should be exploring other schools. On the other hand, if you are feeling nervous because you have not had a chance to tidy up the third movement of something, you can always state that fact to the faculty if they ask you to play it.

Why do undergraduates have a specific list of selections or guidelines, while graduate requirements are so generic?

Undergraduate applicants come from a wide range of backgrounds. As an extreme example, I remember a visitor to the admissions office asking us if she had to play piano with both hands in order to be accepted. To help guide those with such diverse experience, we tend to be specific with audition guidelines. Undergraduate audition guidelines should be taken seriously to the point that if you are not familiar with the pieces, and if your teacher says you are not already performing works of similar difficulty, it is best that you focus your college choices toward schools where the entrance levels are a bit more reflective of your experience.

For graduate applicants, the audition requirements in most majors are not specifically listed. There is a reason. Entrance level for, say, a masters program must be within reach of the better students currently completing undergraduate degrees. As it happens, the culminating activity of an undergraduate degree program is the performance of a senior recital. It logically follows that since our auditions are held in February and May, senior recital material would represent both the most advanced and the best rehearsed repertoire for a graduating college senior. Thus, most of our graduate auditions require "sufficient material to perform a full solo recital containing works which show a diversity of periods and styles." In other words, a typical college senior recital program is likely to be just fine.

Over the past few years, faculties in a few majors have become more specific in their audition repertoire requirements, so be sure to check your instrument's web page for details.

How can you listen to all my audition selections in such a short time?

We can't. Expect the faculty to start and stop you in the middle of things. Remember, an audition is a diagnostic activity; not a performance. You might imagine, for instance, what might happen if the piano faculty had to listen to 30 complete renditions of a Beethoven Sonata before hearing your audition. I suspect their brains would be mush by then. As a diagnostic activity, the faculty will hear only what they have to hear to have a clear understanding of your level of development.

Should I come for a live audition?

Recorded auditions are not acceptable for the following types of applicants:

  • All piano, composition, and percussion applicants who pass pre-screening must audition on campus.
  • DMA applicants must audition on campus because of the required interview with the graduate committee.
  • Graduate applicants who live in the continental United States must audition on campus.
  • Artist Diploma applicants must audition on campus.

With the exception of piano, composition, and percussion majors, recorded auditions are permitted for the following types of applicants:

  • Undergraduates who take part in regional auditions (where we make the recording)
  • Undergraduates who live more than 300 miles west of Baltimore, or 150 miles to the north or south
  • International students living outside of the continental United States

And, there's always one exception to everything:

  • Jazz applicants can make their own audition tapes, but the set-up time and complexity make jazz auditions impractical to hear during our regional travels. In other words, if you want to audition by recording, you can make the recording at your leisure and upload it to your application.

So, should you come for a live audition? If you are a piano, composition, or percussion major, the answer is a simple "yes." There is no other choice. For others it is a tricky question. In the largest sense, Peabody routinely accepts students by recorded audition—either recordings provided by the applicant, or recordings made during regional auditions. Thus, it is clearly possible to be accepted that way. Statistically, recorded auditions are somewhat less likely to be accepted than live auditions, but I can't say for sure if the recording itself has anything to do with it. For instance, it is logical to suppose that if someone has doubts about their qualifications for entrance, they might send a recording just to see what happens. This would tend to put some of the recorded auditions at a lower performance level than the live auditions we hear on campus, and would effect the statistics. Also, we do get the occasional recording that is of such poor quality it is hard to hear the performance. And there was that one tape we received which started with a nice enough rendition of audition material, but was suddenly interrupted with what sounded like demented rantings. A quick call to the applicant revealed the culprit to be the applicant's ninth grade brother, who had seen the as-yet-unlabeled cassette and used it to record his "garage band." If you don't know what an audio cassette is......

Let's look at it from a more general perspective. You should audition in person at the schools nearest the top of your "wish list." Not only will the faculty have the most secure impression of your performance, but you will come away with a feeling about the school that will make your choice easier when it comes time to decide where to attend. After all, you are selecting a place to live as well as to study. If time, distance, and funds conspire to make a visit to the campus impossible, don't hesitate to send a recording. As long as the recording is of decent quality, it will only effect the outcome if your audition is right on the border between acceptable and unacceptable.

What about regional auditions? These are available to undergraduate applicants in a few parts of the country. Frankly, it is you, me, and my recording stuff in a room. Like videos you upload, regional audition recordings are played for the faculty during our regular audition periods. There are two advantages and one disadvantage to attending regional auditions as opposed to making your own recording. Advantage #1 is that we are usually able to schedule half-hour auditions. You play for fifteen minutes. The rest of the time is dedicated to answering questions and letting you know what to expect from us—items usually discussed at the parents meetings on campus. Advantage #2 is that we use good microphones, and I write comments. This makes for a better than average recorded sound, and the faculty has some faith in the way the audition is conducted. The disadvantage of attending a regional audition is that you do not have the option of starting over if you mess up. Well, sometimes we start over, but I have to make a note of it.

Where can I find sample placement exams?

You can find sample theory placement exams here

You can find information about ear-training placement exams here

You can find sample Music History exam for DMA and MM Musicology here.

When will I get the results of my audition?

If your audition is heard in February, initial results will come to you by email on April 1 (unless a weekend gets in the way). Those who audition in May will have their results sent near the end of the first week in June. The email will contain as much information as we can coax from the school's computer—maybe even teacher assignments—plus (we hope) a link so you can see your financial aid results and download other forms.

How we decide

Do I have to read music to come to Peabody?

We're kidding, of course (although we did get that question once). I think you are on the wrong part of the Peabody web site. The Peabody Institute includes two music schools: The Conservatory, and the Preparatory. The Conservatory is a degree granting college, so it is not a place for those just beginning their studies. The Preparatory is best described as a community music school. It does not grant college credit for classes, ensembles, or lessons. However, it does deal with all age groups and all levels of development. Click here to jump to the Preparatory's section of this web site.

How many people do you accept each year?

If I said 564 it probably would not tell you what you want to know. Mostly we get asked this question when someone wants to know their likelihood of being accepted, and that is covered elsewhere on our web site. Before giving you a link to it, it might help for you to know that Peabody does not use quotas in the admission process. One excellent school we know admits exactly one wind section each year—offering admission to exactly four French horns, and putting the others on a waiting list. We don't like wait lists when we can avoid it, so we do things differently. Our statistics tell us that about one of every two French horns we accept will come to our school, so we feel quite okay about accepting eight (assuming, of course that they are highly qualified), if we need to enroll four. The four who elect to come will be the ones who want to be at Peabody, and that is good for the community here.

In the larger view, Peabody needs to be a certain size to function properly. It must also be balanced in light of our ensembles and facilities. If the number of students in one major gets too large, the faculty schedules tend to overflow, and the faculty will "raise the bar" for entrance the following year. We are fortunate that in most majors, the school is nicely balanced, and we are able to accept every acceptable candidate.

What GPA do you require for acceptance?

We don't exactly have a yes/no standard for grades or SAT scores. There are too many variables, like finding a low Verbal SAT from an international student who has only been in the U.S. for a year, and for whom English is a new language. In the admissions office, we don't make judgments about academics. Instead, we route the application folders to appropriate administrators, depending on what we see. Here is how it works:

For undergraduates we look for a 3.0 GPA, and for SAT scores of 530 verbal, 480 math. Anything below that goes to the Dean of Academic Affairs for evaluation. In practice, we rarely reject anyone for purely academic reasons. However, we need to take care to reject students unlikely to do well in the academic side of their programs. Problems with math and/or science are not much of an issue for Peabody since it is not necessary to take those kinds of subjects to get a performance degree here. On the other hand, those who have had really bad problems with humanities courses (English, History, etc.) will likely be rejected since courses needing similar study skills are part of the curriculum. Attendance is considered part of the picture, as is the faculty assessment of your performance level. If the Dean of Academic Affairs feels the applicant should be rejected, the application is brought before the Admissions Committee for discussion before a final decision is made. This is a very serious business. Fortunately, we reject fewer than a dozen applicants a year for strictly academic reasons.

Admission to a Master of Music program requires an undergrad GPA of 3.0 exclusive of performance credits. Sometimes we let things slide a tenth of a point or two if we have an otherwise strong student and performer. If we hear a strong performer with a dismal undergraduate record, we might suggest the Graduate Performance Diploma program as an alternative.

Music Theory: How much do I have to know?

Peabody has an extensive music theory program, so undergraduates can enter the school with little or no formal training in that subject. Still, it is in the applicant's best interest to enter the Conservatory with a working knowledge of music fundamentals, including scales, intervals, and the notation of rhythm. For this reason, we give a music theory fundamentals test to those who audition on campus. There is a second test available as an option for those who are looking for advanced placement once you are enrolled in the Conservatory. A weak background in music theory does not necessarily preclude admission to the Conservatory; however, the music theory fundamentals test in conjunction with the eartraining test gives us a better picture of your overall musicianship skills and informs our admissions decisions. All undergraduate applicants are required to take both the music theory fundamentals test and the eartraining test while they are on campus for their audition.

Life is easier in the first year of Peabody if students know music theory fundamentals. Students who do not show mastery of fundamentals will be required to take a special lab along with Theory I. Detailed information, along with sample tests, are available on the Music Theory Page of this web site.

Note for those who have taken the AP Theory Test: We accept AP credits in most academic subjects if you earned a four or five on the test. However, we do not accept AP credits in music theory. Peabody offers courses on several levels for first-year study, so we need to get a more finely tuned "reading" on your level of development in order to arrive at an accurate placement.

Graduate students are assumed to have a theory background, so the graduate level placement tests are diagnostic—meaning that the results help us place (or exempt) you from review classes that will meet your needs. Occasionally test results come into play in making accept/reject decisions. If an applicant needs more theory study than can be accomplished during the normal (usually two year) curriculum, we cannot in good conscience accept him or her. The good news is that the vast majority of our graduate applicants (even those who have been out of school for a while) test within range of our review courses.

Is it an advantage to contact a teacher before coming to audition?

Students sometimes decide to apply to Peabody as a result of meeting one of our faculty members at a master class, or at a convention. On the other hand, our admissions process is not dependent on such things, so your chances of acceptance are the same either way.

Now that you have been accepted

How are scholarships determined?

Before discussing scholarships, we need to define three terms. Financial Assistance is a general term for financial help that goes to the student. Scholarship refers to merit (performance) based awards that come from Peabody's scholarship fund. Financial Aid is based on the "need" of the applicant and can come from a variety of sources, including grants, work study and loans.

Peabody financial "assistance" is based on four factors (in no particular order).

  • The needs of the school for ensemble balance as determined by the Dean and the Ensemble Office.
  • The performance level of the applicant as determined by averaging the audition ratings given by the faculty.
  • Other factors that may present themselves as the application folder is evaluated.
  • Available funds.

After auditions, a ranking sheet for each major is created—separate lists for undergraduates and graduates. All who auditioned are listed, starting with the highest rated player and concluding with the lowest. The Enrollment Management Committee reviews each acceptable applicant, and considers the top tier of applicants for performance scholarships. The number of scholarships awarded is determined by Peabody's need for the particular talent category. Amounts of scholarships generally reflect the relative rankings of applicants, as well as their "need." As a general philosophy, Peabody funds are used where needed to make it possible for the most talented students to attend.

If I come from a family with no financial problems, do I have to submit financial aid documents?

You do not. However, this puts the Enrollment Management Committee in a bit of a bind. Many families do not qualify for federal assistance, but fall into an "in between" category where Peabody would not hesitate to offer a significant Peabody Scholarship. Thus, my best advice to any applicant is to provide us with the FAFSA or the international form on the financial aid website. It will not cause you to get any less money but it can certainly open the door to a higher award.

Will I know who my teacher will be before sending in a tuition deposit?

The application allows you to make two teacher preference selections. Based on your request (or lack of same) your acceptance letter will generally contain a specific teacher assignment. In just a few cases each year you may be offered a choice, or find yourself on a waitlist for your preferred teacher's studio. If you wish to change your teacher preference you may do so by contacting the admissions office in writing (snail mail or e-mail). A complete discussion about teacher preferences is included in this FAQ (see above).

Does Peabody accept Advance P lacement credits?

Peabody accepts AP credits with grades of four or five. We can accept these credits for any course which will substitute for something in the Peabody curriculum—requirement or elective. Note that Music Theory is a special case. See below.

How do I transfer credits to Peabody?

In most years, roughly a third of our entering undergraduate students are transferring from other schools. Transfer credits are accepted in liberal arts subjects. We do not accept transfer credits in Music Theory. Music Theory placement is done by testing at Peabody—held during Audition Week, and again during orientation. Sample tests are available from the Admissions Office. A student's level of musical development in his or her major (for class standing purposes) is estimated by the faculty at the audition, but is not considered official until the end of the first year when the student completes a jury.

What if I can't come this year. Will you hold my acceptance so I can come next year instead?

Peabody admissions policy relies on the audition ratings applicants earn in a given year. Increases in the number of applicants have raised the level of development necessary for entrance from year to year. For that reason, there is no provision for an applicant "deferring" acceptance from one year to the next. Of course, you are welcome to reapply next year, but we will have to start from the beginning.

General Questions

What is the relationship between Peabody Conservatory and the Johns Hopkins University?

Peabody is a school of The Johns Hopkins University.

The Johns Hopkins University is often termed "decentralized." There are advantages and disadvantages to being in a decentralized system. The major advantages are that each school of the University is free to behave much like an independent institution—developing itself to meet the needs of its students, and not having to compete for resources with other schools. Business matters are taken care of centrally, so there is minimum duplication of effort for such things as billing, health insurance, etc.. As a result, schools with radically different missions (such as medicine, international studies, public health, and music) and research facilities like the Applied Physics Lab can all coexist under one central administrative umbrella.

As a school of The Johns Hopkins University, Peabody students are JHU students, and have access to most of the opportunities and activities available to students at the School of Arts and Sciences. A Peabody degree is simultaneously a Johns Hopkins University degree, and carries with it the same assumption of excellence as any other JHU degree—plus the musical credentials of a Peabody Conservatory degree.

What's the difference between a degree program and a diploma program?

Degree programs have an academic component to them. Diploma courses are focused almost entirely on performance. Here is how they relate on each level of study:

On the undergraduate level, the vast majority of Peabody students enroll in the Bachelor of Music (BM) degree program. The BM course of study is made up of approximately 75% music courses (performance and musical academics like eartraining, theory, history, etc.). The remaining 25% of the program is made up of liberal arts (general studies) courses. We also offer a Performers Certificate Program (PC) which eliminates the liberal arts. Since the course load for the Performers Certificate Program is 25% smaller, this program is usually completed in three years. The performance level necessary for entrance is similar to that of the Bachelor of Music program. However, students who earn a Performers Certificate do not qualify for jobs of any sort requiring a Bachelors Degree, nor do they have the qualifications to subsequently apply for a Masters program. For these reasons the PC program is best reserved for a few students of relatively high performance level who, for one reason or another, are uncomfortable with liberal arts study.

Graduate study in music (Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts) is already focused exclusively on music performance and musical academic study. The graduate level diploma programs offered are even more focused—limited to private study, recitals, and (for the GPD program) ensembles. The GPD program is open to any student with the equivalent of a Performers Certificate or a Bachelors degree. It qualifies as a full time program for international students. Tuition is a bit less than for a degree program due to the reduced course load.

Is there enough space in the dormitories?

Undergraduate students are required to live in the dorms for their first two years at Peabody. Many elect to continue in the dorms for their convenience, and because dorm life can ideally remove some of the stresses of living on your own. The Peabody Residence Halls are on campus, and we have always been able to accommodate any student who wishes to live there. As an alternative, Peabody is located in an urban residential neighborhood. Off campus housing is readily available.

Is Peabody a safe place?

Peabody is located within a single city block in a residential section of Baltimore. Thus, while statistically we are not in a high crime area, it makes sense to take security issues seriously. We have our own Campus Police, who keep the community informed of any crime-related occurrences in the neighborhood. We also offer a van service to transport students to and from their local destinations after dark. Transportation to and from the Homewood campus is by a shuttle bus.

In the larger sense, Peabody, as part of The Johns Hopkins University, is constantly evaluating emergency preparedness issues stemming from the terrorist activities of September 11, 2001, and subsequent threats to other major infrastructure systems.

For International Students

What is Peabody's Policy about the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?

International applicants with a non-English speaking background who do not submit an IELTS score must take the TOEFL and have the results forwarded to us. Our code number is 5532.  If your TOEFL score is less than 79-Internet (or 213-C) it will result in a review of your application. You may be required to successfully complete ESL classes as part of your program. In that case, your ESL study may extend the time it takes to complete a degree. Those international students who are required to submit a TOEFL or an IELTS score will be tested for ESL placement (or exemption) during orientation, so intensive ESL study before arriving at school can shorten both the length and the cost of your degree.  A decision about your application cannot be made without an official TOEFL or IELTS score.

What is Peabody's policy about the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)?

International applicants with a non-English speaking background who do not submit a TOEFL score must take the IELTS and have the results forwarded to us.  An institutional code is not required.  Please contact the test center where you took the IELTS test directly and request that your test scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system.  All IELTS test centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically. If your IELTS score is less than 6.5 (overall band score) it will result in a review of your application. You may be required to successfully complete ESL classes as part of your program. In that case, your ESL study may extend the time it takes to complete a degree. Those international students who are required to submit a TOEFL or an IELTS score will be tested for ESL placement (or exemption) during orientation, so intensive ESL study before arriving at school can shorten both the length and the cost of your degree. A decision about your application cannot be made without an official TOEFL or IELTS score.

Am I required to take the one of these English tests?

If you are from a school or country where English is not the language of instruction, we require an official TOEFL or IELTS score. If you have graduated with at least two years at a school where all classes are taught in English, transcripts from the school, SAT scores or ACT scores can substitute for a TOEFL/IELTS score. It is your responsibility to alert us to your special situation.  Along with your application, please upload a document with the name "TOEFL" or "IELTS", and a brief explanation of your background.
Current Peabody Students completing a BM or MM degree and applying for a new program are not required to submit a TOEFL/IELTS score. International students with a non-English speaking background who are completing a Performer's Certificate or a Graduate Performance Diploma at Peabody, and who are applying for a degree program, must meet the stated TOEFL/IELTS requirements.

What happens if my TOEFL or IELTS score is low?

If your TOEFL or IELTS score is below our published standard, your application will be carefully reviewed. If accepted to the school, you may be required to take ESL classes as a part of your program.  Having to take ESL classes may prolong your course of study, so if you are accepted, we urge you to begin English study in your home country or in the United States as soon as possible.

What about English Language requirements for DMA applicants?

The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) program has a strong academic component, and requires the ability to compose scholarly papers in English. The number of DMA openings is limited, so acceptance to the program requires English writing skills typical of applicants raised in an English-speaking environment. In addition to the required TOEFL or IELTS score, your ability to thrive in an English-speaking academic environment will be part of the on-campus evaluation.

How do I get a student visa?

Dealing with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can seem complex, but as with most governmental functions, it really helps to get the paperwork right. Here is how it works:

Along with your acceptance letter to Peabody, you will be sent two copies of an Affidavit of Support. This document is the one you use to verify that you have the financial means to attend Peabody. We have our own version of the document to make it as easy as possible to understand.

Return the Affidavits to us as instructed, along with your tuition deposit. We will then send you an immigration form called an "I-20." Take the I-20 to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your area in order to apply for an F-1 Student Visa. This is the Visa you will need in order to enter the United States. Further details are beyond the scope of this FAQ, but you can find out more at the International Student Affairs web site.

If you have more immigration-related questions specific to Peabody, you can contact Peabody's International Student Advisor, Ms. Danielle Tillilie, via email at


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