International Applicants

Manhattan School of Music (MSM) welcomes students from over 50 countries around the globe, making the school a diverse and dynamic learning community. We’re sure you’ll feel right at home! Below are some topics on how to apply as an international student.

  •          TOEFL
  •          o   Minimum Score
  •          o   Exemptions
  •          Transcripts, Translations, & Evaluations
  •          o   Information for Applicants from China (Effective Fall 2016)
  •          Audition Information
  •          Financial Aid for International Students
  •          Student Visas
  •          Exchange Program


All applicants whose first language is not English must submit an internet-based (iBT) TOEFL score. Tests more than 2 years old will not be accepted. TOEFL scores for May applicants must be received by January 15th. Our TOEFL ETS code is 2396.

Non-doctoral applicants who are invited to audition must also take an MSM English Assessment given by our ESL Director. We use the TOEFL score and English Assessment scores together to determine each applicant's English level. Note: the English Assessment does not replace the required TOEFL score.

Minimum Score

We require a minimum score of 79 or higher for all non-doctoral applicants. Doctoral applicants are required to have a minimum score of 100. If you are a doctoral applicant with a TOEFL score below 100, you will not be considered for admission.

We also accept the IELTS. We require a minimum score of 6.5 for all non-doctoral applicants. Doctoral applicants are required to have a minimum score of 7.5. If you are a doctoral applicant with an IELTS score below a 7.5, you will not be considered for admission.


If you have studied full-time at an academic institution where the language of instruction is English, you may apply for a TOEFL exemption. The application for a TOEFL exemption is available within the online application. MSM’s Admission Committee does not automatically grant exemption from the TOEFL requirement for any applicant.  If the TOEFL exemption is not granted, applicants must register immediately for the next available iBT TOEFL test.

To apply for a TOEFL Exemption you must prepare the following documents and provide them within your Decision Desk application:

    • 1. Transcripts that prove you are enrolled full-time at an academic institution where the language of instruction is English
    • 2. An essay explaining why you think you qualify for an exemption

    • 3. Optional (but recommended): A copy of your most recent TOEFL or IELTS score

If you are a current MSM student and you are directly applying to another MSM degree, you are exempt from the TOEFL requirement unless you are applying for a doctoral program.

Transcripts, Translations, & Evaluations

We recommend that you upload unofficial transcripts and proof of degree(s) to the online application for the initial phase of the admission process. You must submit your transcripts in the original language and in English. English translations must be approved and stamped by the school(s), or be provided by a professional translation service. You may also mail a copy of your transcripts to our office by January 15th. Official transcripts (showing proof of equivalency to the U.S. educational system) are only required after admission decisions are issued. If you are offered admission, you will be required to provide sealed official and final transcripts with proof of degree or diploma that lists your degree and date of graduation. International students and students who have studied abroad must provide an official translation of all non-English documents. Your documents must be sent directly from your previous school(s) to MSM by August 1st.

All academic documents are evaluated by the MSM Office of Admissions. Completion of a degree in an international program of study does not guarantee equivalency to a degree in the United States. A professional evaluation is sometimes necessary to help MSM determine your eligibility for your desired program of study. If you are asked to complete a professional evaluation, please be aware the evaluation is due by June 1st. It is very important that we receive your professional evaluation as soon as possible and no later than June 1st. If we receive your evaluation late, you may not have the ability to complete your SEVIS I-20 and Visa process on time. If you do not complete the process, you will not be able to attend MSM.  

Please note: You should not request a professional evaluation (e.g. WES Evaluation) unless you are specifically asked to do so by an Admissions counselor.

Information for Applicants from China (Effective Fall 2016)

All Incoming Admitted Undergraduates

For General Academic High School Students

For Professional and Vocational High School Students

All Incoming Admitted Graduates

For Degree Program or a Non-Degree Program Students

Audition Information

All applicants who have completed their online application and passed prescreening (if applicable) must audition in order to be admitted to MSM.

IMPORTANT: You should not purchase travel tickets until MSM has notified you that your individual audition has been scheduled.

For more information regarding the USA Schools of Music Asia Audition Tour, please visit the website here. Please note: if your instrument is a prescreened instrument, your Asia Audition will only count as your preliminary prescreening materials. It will not qualify as your final audition; you will still need to audition at MSM or submit a recorded audition. If your instrument is not a prescreened instrument, your Asia Audition will count as your final audition. Please click here to find out if your instrument is prescreened.

To learn more about MSM’s audition process, please click here.

To find out if you are eligible for a recorded audition, please click here.

Financial Aid for International Students

If you have completed the financial aid section in your application and your Financial Aid application, you will be considered for scholarship at your audition. Scholarships are offered to a select group of highly qualified applicants based on the results of their audition and financial need. The Financial Aid application should be submitted as soon as possible.

Student Visas

If you are offered admission to MSM, you will receive details on how to apply for a student visa with your acceptance. You will be required to apply for the SEVIS Form I-20. Upon approval, you will be eligible to apply for the F-1 Student Visa. The application process for the Form I-20 and F-1 Student Visa can take several weeks, so it is extremely important for you to be prepared and plan ahead.

If you are an international student who is required to attend the Summer English Study, your application deadline for the SEVIS Form I-20 is in early May.

If you are an international student who is not required to not attend the Summer English Study, your application deadline for the SEVIS Form I-20 is June 1st.

Only original financial documents with official English translations will be accepted when applying for the Form I-20. No emails or faxes will be accepted. The original documents will be returned to you for use at your U.S. Embassy visa appointment after your SEVIS I-20 application has been approved. Please email Michael Lockhart, the Director of International Student Services, for more information.

Exchange Program

MSM accepts applications from exchange students who are enrolled with one of our partner institutions or who have secured government funding that enables them to study in the US for a semester or two. For more information about our Exchange Program, please click here.

Dates and Deadlines

December 1

Deadline for Application
Deadline for Prescreening Videos (if applicable)

January 15

Deadline for Recommendation Letters
Deadline for TOEFL 

February 1

Individual invitations to an audition in NYC will be emailed

February 15

Deadline to submit recorded auditions
Find out about eligibility

March 1

Deadline for Financial Aid documents 

April 1

Admissions decisions will be available 

April 15

Deadline for accepted graduate students to respond to admissions offer

May 1

Deadline for accepted undergraduate students to respond to admissions offer
Deadline for SEVIS I-20 application for Summer English Studies     

June 1

Deadline for SEVIS I-20 application  

August 1

Deadline for all final admissions documents