International Applicants

International students comprise approximately 25% of Eastman’s student body, and come from all over the world, including South Korea, China, Southeast Asia, Europe, Canada, and South America.  International applicants must meet the same requirements and deadlines as all other applicants, and are considered for admission and merit scholarship on the same basis as US citizens.


Pursuing a professional music degree in the United States involves not only performance study, but completion of academic requirements, including classes in music history, theory, and in non-music subjects.  Therefore, all international applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit the following, in addition to all other general requirements, by the application deadline:

    • An official TOEFL score, not more than two years old, must be sent directly to Eastman by the testing agency (Eastman’s school code is 2224). The minimum TOEFL score requirements by degree are as follows:

      • Bachelor of Music (BM):
        a minimum score of 83iBT, with no sub-score below 18
      • Master’s degree (MA or MM):
        a minimum score 88iBT, with no sub-score below 18
      • Doctoral degree (DMA or PhD):
        a minimum score 100iBT, with no sub-score below 22, and a minimum writing score of 28

      Remember, the TOEFL score is only one of the factors used to determine your eligibility for degree study at Eastman Your complete application file, including the InitialView interview, will help us put your score in context.  A musically qualified applicant who meets the TOEFL minimum may not be admitted if other components, such as the interviews and writing samples, demonstrate that the TOEFL score does not accurately reflect the actual level of English proficiency.  The Eastman School of Music reserves the right to rescind an admissions offer if a TOEFL score is found to be invalid.

    • An InitialView interview & writing sample may be required for some applicants as part of their Eastman application.  Applicants must check their application status page to determine if an InitialView interview and writing sample has been required for their application.  If required, you can reserve an InitialView interview here:  Please note: Eastman Admissions will be conducting English Language interviews in Shanghai during the week of October 3-7, 2016.  These interviews will meet the InitialView interview requirement and are free-of-charge.  All applicants interested in scheduling an English Language interview in Shanghai should contact Eastman Admissions Counselor, Christine Burritt at:
    • A Non-native English Essay must be submitted within the Eastman application by all applicants whose native language is not English.  Do not use a translation from your native language or the services of a translator.  This one page essay should tell us about your experience with the English language, including any formal study in English, any time spent in an English-speaking environment, and your comfort level speaking and writing English.
    • Official transcripts from all schools attended must be submitted.  Transcripts not in English must be sent with certified translations.  You may either upload a scanned copy of your official transcripts within the online application, or send your transcript in an envelope sealed and signed by your school.

Are there any exceptions?

Non-native speakers of English who can demonstrate that they moved permanently to a country where the primary language is English before their 14th birthday may be exempted from the InitialView and TOEFL exam requirement. Undergraduate applicants in the situation are required to submit the corresponding transcripts and SAT scores instead of the TOEFL.  Graduate applicants in this situation must submit high school transcripts.

What if I am not able to meet the English requirements for degree study?

Applicants who have not demonstrated an acceptable level of academic English proficiency by January 1st may not be scheduled for an audition.  Similarly, applicants auditioning by self-prepared recording will not be considered if they do not demonstrate English proficiency by February 15th.  We may use our best judgment to admit an applicant who doesn’t meet the minimum TOEFL requirement but who otherwise demonstrates sufficient proficiency with English.  In some cases, applicants may be required to complete ESL (English as a Second Language) coursework before enrolling at Eastman.

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For full consideration of Eastman funds, international students must complete the CSS PROFILE for International students.  Eastman’s CSS Code is 2224.

International students are considered for merit-based financial aid using the same criteria for all undergraduate applicants or graduate applicants.  International applicants who have a U.S. citizen or eligible permanent resident as a co-applicant may apply for a private loan to help bridge the gap between the students’ cost of attendance and their families resources and financial aid package. Applicants who are neither U.S. citizens nor permanent residents are not eligible for federal financial aid.

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As part of their preparation to study at Eastman, international students who are not permanent residents of the United States must obtain a student visa. Those students admitted to the U.S. on student visas must enroll as full-time students and register for a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester (or nine credit hours if the student has an assistantship). Special Students (non-matriculated students) also must be full-time in order to qualify for a student visa. Advisement regarding course load is provided by the Office of Academic Affairs. The paperwork necessary to obtain an I-20 (certificate of eligibility for a student visa) from the University of Rochester is coordinated by the Eastman Admissions Office.

Visas may not be requested or obtained until the student has been accepted to the School, has paid the enrollment deposit, and has provided requested documentation required to process visa paperwork.

Getting a visa takes time—in some countries as much as several months. It is the student’s responsibility to follow up with all paperwork, and to obtain the visa in enough time to arrive in Rochester for orientation. Incomplete or incorrect submission of forms to Eastman may jeopardize the applicant’s study in the U.S.

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International students are required to attend Eastman Orientation before beginning their degree studies at Eastman. Specific sessions are provided for international students to aid in their adjustment to study in the United States.  Orientation typically begins in August, two weeks before the first Monday in September.

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