Find answers to frequently asked questions about the Peabody Institute admissions process.

Application Basics

On The Application

Starting Early

Preparing for Your Audition

At Your Audition

How We Decide

Once You’re Accepted

Beyond The Classroom

International Students

Low-Residency Masters

Application Basics

How do I apply?

Applying to Peabody is easy! Our electronic application becomes available in August. Find application instructions here.

When do I need to submit my application?

  • Early Decision (Undergraduates only): November 1st
  • Spring Admission (BFA and MM/GPD Performance areas ONLY): Rolling until November 1st
  • Low-Residency MM in Composition: December 1st
  • Regular Decision: December 1st
  • Assistantships (Regular Decision): December 1st
  • Late Admission: May 1st

Note: that there are no auditions or interviews in May for several majors, any DMA programs, and Graduate Assistantships. Those applying to majors involving pre-screening should upload their pre-screening video with their application by the posted deadlines.

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

No. Peabody is a division of The Johns Hopkins University, but you only have to apply to Peabody to be accepted here. The only exception is for students planning to pursue a double degree.

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

Degree programs have an academic component to them. Diploma programs are focused almost entirely on performance.
For undergraduate students earning a Bachelor of Music (BM) degree, 75 percent of courses are performance and musical academics, while 25 percent of courses are liberal arts (general studies) courses.
Undergraduate students in the Performers Certificate Program (PC) do not take liberal arts courses and typically complete the program in three years.
Graduate students earning a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts focus exclusively on music performance and musical academic study. These programs are limited to private study, recitals, and ensembles where appropriate.

May I pursue a double major at Peabody?

Students may only pursue multiple majors or multiple degree programs if they are admitted to both programs through the regular admissions process and the majors/degrees in question can be pursued simultaneously per our Office of Academic Affairs. Students enrolled in multiple programs must complete all requirements specific to both majors and may only overlap credits for supportive courses in music, general studies, and electives. 

Undergraduate 

Students admitted to the Music Education and Recording Arts Bachelor of Music programs are considered students with multiple majors: a performance (or composition or computer music) major plus Music Education or Recording Arts.  No other major may be added to these programs.  Similarly, students in the Double Degree program with the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences or the Whiting School of Engineering may pursue only one Peabody major. 

Bachelor of Music Students majoring in Performance, Composition, Computer Music, and Music for New Media may add a second major, subject to the following conditions: 

  1. Students must pay for the second major lesson at the rate specially designated in the tuition schedule. 
  2. Performance majors may not add a second major on the same instrument with a different repertoire or style.  Examples include Voice and Historical Performance Voice and Double Bass and Jazz Bass.   
  3. Students may not combine majors in the same department, such as Violin and Viola or Piano and Organ.   
  4. Finally, the majors Composition, Computer Music, and Music for New Media are mutually exclusive: no two may be combined.  While Composition or Computer Music may be combined with Recording Arts, the Music for New Media may not be combined with Recording Arts.  
    • Music for New Media students may apply in their third year to complete the MA in Recording Arts and Sciences during a single, fifth year of study; thus, graduating with a BM in the fourth year and the MA in the fifth year. Details on the requirements can be found here.

Undergraduate students may add only one minor.  The Performer Certificate may not be combined with any other program. Special instructions for students in the five-year BM/MM or BMRA/MA program are noted in Section 2-1.05, with more information at this link.

Graduate Students 

Graduate students may not pursue two majors that result in two degree recitals in a two-year degree timeframe. 

Students in the Master of Music degree may be admitted into Performance Pedagogy, which for the purposes of these rules counts as a second area of focus.  Students in the Master of Music degree or the Doctor of Musical Arts degree may be admitted into the Master of Music in Music Theory Pedagogy or the Master of Music in Musicology.   

The Graduate Performance DiplomaMaster of Arts Degree, and the Artist Diploma programs may not be combined with any other program. 

I was home schooled. Can I still apply to Peabody?

Absolutely! Applicants to Peabody must either have graduated from an accredited high school or have a high school equivalency certificate or diploma (GED). Without a high school degree or GED, Peabody will consider musically acceptable applicants for admission on a case by case basis. To determine whether an applicant is able to complete college-level academic work, Peabody will consider a transcript from an accredited home schooling agency, standardized test scores (such as SAT or ACT), results from Peabody placement tests, and/or transcripts from a college or university showing completion of credit-level courses. More info

How do I get financial aid information?

Our financial aid office has all the information for applying for financial assistance, including scholarships and assistantships. If you plan to apply for federal student aid, you will need to fill out a FAFSA, found at studentaid.gov, and a CSS profile (undergraduate students only), found at https://cssprofile.collegeboard.org/. For the FAFSA form, Peabody’s school code is E00233. Our CSS Profile code is 5532.

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On The Application

Do I need to have three recommendations?

Yes. We ask for three recommendations as supplemental data to your application. However, one missing letter of recommendation will not prevent your application from being processed.

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

Once you have submitted your recommenders’ e-mail addresses on the application, they will get an e-mail asking them to upload a letter of recommendation. You can log in to your application at any time to see if they have submitted their letter yet and/or send them a reminder.

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

Step 1: Enter your first, second, and third (if applicable) teacher of choice on your application. You can also leave it blank if you’re not familiar with our faculty. You can add or revise this section later by submitting a request to the admissions office via email.
Step 2: After auditions, our faculty will compile a list of acceptable applicants for their studios. Our staff will then look at your preferences and the faculty’s preferences and make a match.
Step 3: If your faculty preference changes after you have been matched, we will make every effort to find a more agreeable private teacher match.

Should I submit ACT or SAT scores if it is not a requirement for my undergraduate program?

Peabody is test-optional for the ACT and SAT. We understand that standardized testing does not tell the full story of a student’s potential for success in an undergraduate program. If you believe that your standardized test scores do not reflect your potential as a student, please do not feel obligated to submit them. If, on the other hand, you believe that your scores might enhance your application, we encourage you to self-report them (you will be asked to send verified scores after enrolling, if you self-reported as a part of the admissions process). For an idea of benchmark scores Peabody has used in the past, we identified the following as an indicator of potential success: SAT 530 verbal, 480 math, ACT composite score of 21.

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Starting Early

Can I start school in January?

Spring Admission is available to BFA Dance and MM/GPD Instrumental applicants only. Applications are accepted and evaluated on a rolling deadline until November 1st.

Do you offer early admission?

No. Early admission of high school students into the Peabody Institute is not offered. We recommend music students spend their final year of high school developing their musical skills before auditioning to come to Peabody.

Do you offer early decision?

Yes. Applications for Early Decision are due by November 1stand decisions are released by December 15th. Graduate applicants are not eligible for early decision.

What is early decision?

Early Decision is an option that allows students who feel sure that Peabody (and Johns Hopkins, for Double Degree applicants) is their first-choice to apply before the Regular Decision deadline and to receive their admission decision early. If admitted, it’s also a contract to enroll. If you choose to apply Early Decision, your application and supporting materials must be submitted by November 1st. The Early Decision agreement is binding, so you may not apply to any other school under an early decision plan. (You may still apply to other schools under a non-binding early action plan.) You, your parents, and your secondary school counselor will be required to sign an agreement stating that you will enroll at Peabody if admitted and withdraw any regular decision or early action applications to other schools. You will receive your decision by December 15th, in time for you to make regular decision application deadlines for other schools.

Note: The Early Decision agreement for Double Degree applicants is binding ONLY if you are accepted to the main Johns Hopkins campus (Homewood) and are offered sufficient financial aid.

If I don’t get in during one application round, can I reapply in the same year?

Let’s say you apply for Early Decision and are unfortunately not admitted. In this situation, you cannot submit an application for another application round, as you’ve already gone through the admissions process. You may re-apply for admission the next year. If you have any questions about eligibility for other programs within the same admissions cycle, please contact us at [email protected].

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Preparing for Your Audition

How do I schedule an audition?

After submitting your application and any required pre-screening materials have been evaluated, the admissions office will schedule your auditions and/or interviews. You will be notified of your personal audition/interview schedule via email and on your application status portal.

Do I need to pre-screen?

Find out if your program requires pre-screening here.

Pre-screening materials must be submitted by the application deadlines. Pre-screening helps save time, money, and stress for applicants and helps keep the on campus audition schedule from getting overloaded.

Why have repertoire requirements?

Audition requirements help to identify the general level of musical development for those entering Peabody. For some majors, the listed repertoire is considered a guideline. For others, it is a requirement. Whatever you perform, it is important that the music is at least the same level of difficulty as the recommended pieces.

How many movements should I prepare?

The audition instructions for each major will specify how many movements you should prepare. Given our audition time constraints, it is likely you will not be asked to perform part of every movement you have prepared. Audition repertoire is designed as a guide to the level of development typical of those accepted to Peabody.

Where can I find sample placement exams?

We do not require exams during auditions for most applicants. There are a few notable exceptions: DMA applicants must take theory, history, and ear training exams during their audition process, and the scores are used to decide eligibility for the program. Any graduate students who are interested in assistantships in the areas of Theory, Ear Training and Piano/Keyboard studies also must take the exams, and Orchestral and Choral Conducting applicants must take the Ear Training exam. For all other students, exams will be taken in the summer and during orientation. In order to help you with preparation for these exams, we have linked the samples below.

You can find sample music theory placement exams here.

You can find information about ear-training placement exams here.

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

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At Your Audition

Should I come for a live audition?

Yes (with exceptions). Eligibility for Recorded Auditions/Remote Interviews can be found here.

For any other applicants, a live audition is recommended, but a recorded audition may be accepted. Regional auditions are recorded and played for faculty during our regular audition times.

How long will my audition be?

Typically, undergraduate auditions/interviews last 10-15 minutes. However, certain majors schedule multiple applicants within an hour time frame to audition in the order they arrive. Audition length is not indicative of any positive or negative faculty impressions.

  • MM auditions/interviews could last up to 20 minutes.
  • DMA auditions/interviews last 20 minutes. A separate DMA interview with a committee of faculty and staff is also required and lasts about 10 minutes.
  • Dance auditions are schedule in two parts: a group audition (about 1 hour and 45 minutes) and solo (about 5 minutes).

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

We can’t. Auditions are not a performance. Faculty may start and stop you throughout your audition in order to gain a clear understanding of your level of development.

When will I get the results of my audition?

  • Early Decision: by December 15th
  • Spring Admission: Rolling
  • Low-Residency MM in Composition: by December 15th
  • Regular Decision: April 1st (no joke!)
  • Late Admission: June 1st

You will receive an email directing you to view your admission decision letter through your application status portal. Please monitor your email regularly so you ensure receipt of this notification! Your decision letter may include teacher assignments and a separate financial aid award notice.

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How We Decide

How many people do you accept each year?

Peabody does not use quotas in the admission process. We work to balance accepted students in light of our ensembles and facilities. If the number of students in one major is too large, the faculty will raise their standards for entrance the following year.

What GPA do you require for acceptance?

For undergraduate applicants, we look for a 3.0 GPA and required test scores appropriate for success at a music conservatory.  These are not the same as those used for entrance to other schools of the Johns Hopkins University.  If there is a question about an applicant’s academic record, it is sent to the Dean for Academic Affairs for evaluation. In practice, we rarely reject anyone for purely academic reasons. However, it would not be ethical for us to accept a student who is unlikely to do well in the academic side of their programs.
Master of Music applicants require an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 exclusive of performance credits.

Music Theory: How much do I have to know?

Little to none! Peabody’s extensive music theory program offers formal training on the subject, but we would encourage applicants 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 and ear-training test to those who decide to enroll. A second test is available for those hoping for advanced placement once enrolled in the Conservatory. Students who have not mastered the fundamentals of music theory will be required to take a special lab along with Theory I.
Graduate students are assumed to have a theory background, and students will take placement tests during orientation to help us place or exempt you from music theory review classes.

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

Not necessarily. Our admissions process is independent of whether you have met or contacted one of our faculty members before your audition. If you would like to meet with a faculty member, pending their availability, please email our office.

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Once You’re Accepted

How are scholarships determined?

Peabody is committed to providing an exceptional scholarship and financial aid program so that we may attract the best students while helping to ensure an education that is as affordable as possible. Peabody Scholarships are awarded using a merit-driven, need-informed evaluation process with consideration given to the strength of the applicant’s audition balanced against the enrollment needs of the school. All students are encourage to submit a FAFSA/CSS Profile.

If my family does not have financial need, do I have to submit financial aid documents?

No, but we recommend all applicants submit both a Free Application for Federal Student Aid and CSS Profile (undergraduate students only) by the deadlines indicated on our financial aid website so that they may be considered fully for all aid for which they may be eligible, including federal and state aid.

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

Yes. Based on your private teacher request on your application and the faculty’s response to your audition, your acceptance email will generally contain your teacher assignment.
However, in a few cases each year, applicants are offered their choice of teacher or might be waitlisted for their preferred teacher’s studio. If you decide to change your teacher preference, you can contact the admissions office in writing.

Does Peabody accept Advance Placement (AP) credits?

Yes! We accept AP credits in most academic subjects, requirement or elective, if you earned a four or five on the test. However, we do not accept AP Music Theory credits. Our own music theory course offerings will help us determine your level of development to accurately place you in future courses.

Can I transfer credits to Peabody?

Transfer credits are accepted in liberal arts subjects and evaluated by our Office of Academic Affairs if you choose to enroll. We cannot guarantee that we will accept transfer credits. We do not accept transfer credits for Music Theory. Placement for Music Theory classes is held during audition week and orientation through the admissions office.

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Beyond The Classroom

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

The Peabody Institute is a school of The Johns Hopkins University. 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.

Is there enough space in the dormitories?

Yes. Undergraduate students are required to live in the dorms for their first two years at Peabody, and many elect to continue living in the dorms. The Peabody Residence Halls are on campus, and we have always been able to accommodate any student who wishes to live here. As an alternative, Peabody is located in an urban residential neighborhood with readily available off campus housing.

Is Peabody a safe place?

Yes. We have our own Campus Police, a van service to transport students to and from their local destinations after dark, and transportation to and from the Homewood campus by a shuttle bus.
That being said, Peabody is located within a single city block in a residential section of Baltimore City. While Mount Vernon is not a high crime area, we do encourage Peabody students to take security seriously.

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International Students

Am I required to take an English as a Second Language Test?

Yes; if you are from a school or country where English is not the language of instruction, we require an official score from International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). We are no longer able accept the Duolingo English Test and we do NOT accept the TOEFL “My Best Scores”. We are now accepting the TOEFL iBT Home Edition (policy update as of 10/4/2022) if Covid-19 policies in your home country have prevented you from taking the TOEFL at a test center. We look for the following scores for Admission:

TOEFL: 79 or higher 
IELTS: 6.5 band or higher

However, if you have graduated or will be graduating prior to enrolling at Peabody with at least two years at a school where all classes are taught in English, then transcripts from the school, SAT scores or ACT scores can substitute for a IELTS/TOEFL score. It is your responsibility to alert us to your special situation.

Current Peabody Students completing a BM or MM degree and applying for a new program are not required to submit a IELTS/TOEFL 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 IELTS/TOEFL requirements.

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. In addition to the required IELTS or TOEFL 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?

Information about student visas can be found through JHU’s Office of International Services. More information can be found here. Please direct any questions about visas directly to OIS:

  • E-mail: [email protected]
  • General hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm.

Is my European Bachelor’s degree equivalent to an American degree for purposes of admission to the MM or MA?

A qualifying undergraduate degree should include 3 years of study following completion of secondary school (or high school) and 25 post-secondary credit hours of non-musical study, the equivalent of 50 European transfer credits (ETCS).

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Low-Residency Masters

May I switch between low-residency and traditional/in-person MM degree programs?

Given the different timelines, course structures, and financial aid ramifications of the low-residency program and the in-person degree, it is not possible for enrolled students to switch between the programs.

Can I enroll in the low residency programs as a part-time student?

Master’s-level study at Peabody is not offered on a part-time basis. Students in both the traditional program and the low-residency programs will be required to maintain full-time enrollment in each semester of study

What financial aid is available for the low-residency MM degrees?

Given the 13-month format of the Low-Res MM program, Peabody will not offer institutional aid for students seeking financial assistance. For Low Res students – Scholarships, Graduate Assistantships, and Institutional Grants will not be applied to financial aid packages. However, federal loans, work-study, institutional loans and private loan options are available to students who qualify.

What is the cost breakdown for the Low Res MM program?

Please visit our Tuition and Fees page for the full breakdown.

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