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Prospective Students FAQ


Auditions & Interviews

Uploading Media


International Students

Transfer Students

Scholarships and Financial Aid



Auditions & Interviews

Uploading Media




International Students


Transfer Students

Arcs in Time-Dance


Scholarships and Financial Aid




female opera singer

How does the undergraduate application process at the University of Michigan differ from others?

As a University program, academics play an important role in the evaluation of applicants. Every applicant must meet minimum academic criteria in order to be considered for an audition/interview and admission. The evaluation of academic criteria for undergraduate students is a cooperative process. Admission counselors in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions conduct a preliminary review of a student's high school curriculum and grade point average, their scores on the SAT or ACT, and all other information provided in the application. Concurrently, the admissions staff at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance review both the academic and the performing arts background of each applicant. If all of these reviews are positive, then the student is invited to audition or interview. It is this final component—audition/portfolio review/interview—that will largely influence the admissions decision.

Which application do I fill out?

All School of Music, Theatre & Dance applicants must create a DecisionDesk profile to demonstrate their artistic preparation in addition to applying online to the University of Michigan:

  • Undergraduate applicants must complete the Common Application and the U-M Member Questions. There is only one application to the University of Michigan, regardless of the specific School or College you wish to apply to. Be sure to check out our Undergraduate Application Tips & Tricks!
  • All graduate level students applying for a Master of Music (MM) or Specialist (SM) degree program must fill out the Graduate Application.
  • A student applying for a DMA, PhD, MFA or MA degree program must fill out the Rackham Graduate Application.

Do you accept paper applications?

No, sorry. Both undergraduate and graduate students must apply online.

Do you accept the Common Application?

Yes. U-M is an exclusive user of the Common Application for all undergraduate programs. View our Undergraduate Application Procedure for details about how and when to apply.

I would like to receive a brochure. How can I be placed on your mailing list?

We no longer send out brochures in the mail. However, you can register as a prospective student to receive information about our programs electronically. It will take about 90 seconds to submit your request, so we recommend that you "go for it!"

What is Rackham?

The Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies encompasses many U-M departments, from Archaeology to Biostatistics to Music. At the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, the DMA, PhD, MFA and MA degree programs are Rackham Graduate Studies Programs. Students applying for these degrees should visit Rackham Graduate Admissions.


What is the UMID? How do I get one?

A University of Michigan ID number is assigned to you when you register as a prospective student or when you apply to the University. You don’t need a UMID to complete the application, but if you already have one, by all means use it!

How do I sign up for an audition or interview?

All SMTD applicants must create a DecisionDesk Profile to demonstrate their artistic preparation. You'll choose your audition/interview date preferences here. You also need to complete your online application before we can schedule an audition/interview. We will respond via email with news about whether an audition/interview has been granted, along with the date to which you've been assigned.

May I apply to more than one program?

If you would like to consider more than one discipline within the School of Music (Double Major), Theatre & Dance we suggest that you contact our office directly to discuss with an Admissions Counselor the details of your plans and the extent of your background. Because our programs are very competitive and each degree program has intensive, professional curricula, only those students who can demonstrate the highest level of achievement in both programs of interest will be eligible for two auditions or interviews. We do not encourage students to apply to multiple programs with the purpose of increasing their chances of admission. Applicants to multiple programs will need to submit a separate profile for each program to which they are applying.

Note that application for a Double Major is different than application to a Dual Degree program.

I’m applying for graduate studies. Do I need to take the GRE?

The GRE is only required for the following Rackham programs: MAs or PhDs in Media Arts, Musicology/Ethnomusicology, Music Theory or Theatre Studies.

Boys from Syracuse

How many letters of recommendation do I need?

  • Undergraduate applicants must submit three letters: one from a counselor, one from an academic teacher, and one from a music/arts-related teacher. Invite your counselor and academic teacher via the Common Application and your music or arts related recommender via DecisionDesk .
  • Graduate applicants must submit three letters of recommendation (either performing arts related or academic) from recommenders of their choice. MM and Specialist applicants invite their recommenders via DecisionDesk. MA, MFA, DMA, and PhD applicants invite their recommenders via the Rackham application.

Can I submit additional letters of recommendation?

It is not necessary to submit more letters than are required. However, if you feel that an additional letter would add important information about you that is not already evident elsewhere in your application, please feel free to send it directly to our office at

I need an additional copy of the recommendation form. Where can I find it?

Undergraduate applicants may print the PDF version of the Undergraduate Arts-Related Recommendation Form and Graduate applicants may print the PDF version of the Graduate Recommendation Form.

My recommender prefers not to use the online recommendation system. Can they send the letter by mail instead?

Although we prefer letters to be submitted online, we are happy to receive letters by other means. Send the arts-related recommendation(s) directly to our office at or to the mailing address below. Be sure your recommender includes your full name, birthdate or UMID, and program to which you're applying. And remember, counselor and academic teacher recommendations for undergraduate applicants should be sent via the Common Application or directly to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

What is your address?

Office of Admissions and Student Services

School of Music, Theatre & Dance

1100 Baits Drive

Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2085


Do I need to send a resume and repertoire list? How do I submit them?

Yes, we need a resume (and for performance programs, a repertoire list) in order for your application to be complete. We've offered some suggestions and information on how to complete a good educational resume and repertoire list. You should upload these documents when you create your DecisionDesk Profile.

What is a repertoire list, and what is it used for?

A repertoire list is a complete list of the musical works you have studied and/or performed on your principal instrument. We require all applicants to performance programs to submit a repertoire list. Your repertoire list, along with your resume, will serve to give the faculty a comprehensive look at your background and training to date. The repertoire list, especially, allows us to see the array of music you've studied so far, from which you've chosen a few select works to bring to the audition. (Don't worry—faculty will never pick music at random from your repertoire list and ask you to perform it at the audition!)

I can't upload my resume, repertoire list, or essays to the online application or DecisionDesk Profile using Pages (part of the Apple iWork suite). What do I do?

Our online systems do not support Pages file types. Just convert it to a PDF, which is the best option for your upload.

jazz drummer

Do you accept rush score reports for the SAT or ACT?

No. Please plan ahead and take care that your score report arrives by the application deadline.

Am I required to take the Writing portion of the SAT or ACT?

Yes, you are required to complete the writing portion of either the SAT or ACT.

What is the minimum SAT or ACT test score required to apply?

We have suggested minimums, but no absolute minimum. Academic prerequisites for undergraduate applicants provide details, including suggested test score results.

I’ve already submitted my application. How can I change what I’ve submitted?

You cannot change your application after it has been submitted. However, by creating a Friend Account in Wolverine Access, you can track the status of your application and update your contact information. If you need to make changes to your DecisionDesk Profile, email

The application deadline is here. May I still apply? What if a document arrives late?

December 1 is the application deadline for admission and merit-based award consideration. For some programs there may be a short "grace period" to accept late documents.

Complete applications consist of the online application, all transcripts, any required test scores, essays or personal statement, three recommendations, and a DecisionDesk profile.

After December 1, we may accept late applications at our discretion, if space remains.

What is a Friend Account? How do I get one?

A Friend Account is an online account that allows you to access the U-M computing environment for the purpose of tracking your application status, your financial aid information if applicable, and updating your contact information. One to two days after you have submitted your online application, you will receive an email message with instructions on how to create a Friend Account.

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Auditions & Interviews

Do Is there a fee to audition or interview?
Yes. All students invited to audition or interview will be assessed a $35 fee to reserve their audition appointment. The fee is payable online by credit card, and payment instructions will be included in your audition confirmation email message. The audition fee is non-refundable. If you change your audition appointment you will not be assessed an additional fee. Failure to pay the audition fee may result in your appointment being given away to another applicant. Students who audition for multiple programs will be assessed an audition fee for each program.

I am uploading a recording instead of performing an in-person audition. Do I still need to pay the audition/interview fee?

Yes. There is a $35 audition fee assessed whether you audition or interview in person or submit a recorded audition. This is in addition to the $15 fee paid to DecisionDesk.

When are auditions? Are in-person auditions and interviews better? How do I schedule a date & time?

Audition & Interview season is mid-November through mid-March. To be invited to an audition or interview, you must apply for admission. A preliminary academic review is completed to be sure you meet the minimum guidelines, and then we extend invitations, including date and time information.

Always try to do an in-person audition or interview at your top choice schools. If that's impossible, upload a recording. But remember, your audition/interview is your chance to make not only a good artistic impression, but a personal impression as well. Visit the school whenever possible and meet the faculty in your potential department. Let them see what a great student you’d be!

My first choice audition or interview date is approaching and I haven’t yet received a confirmation. What should I do?

Check the status of your application online. Feel free to contact our office with additional questions.

How will you notify me if I have been confirmed for an audition or interview date?

You will receive email confirmation of your assigned audition or interview date. The first message will notify you of the date, allowing you to proceed with travel plans. Two weeks before your date you will receive another email message confirming your specific audition or interview time(s).

How can I change my audition repertoire?

Send changes via email to our Auditions Coordinator ( before the week of your audition date, these changes will be reflected in the materials that the faculty review at your audition. Otherwise you may simply announce your repertoire changes at your audition.


May I upload a recorded audition?

Applicants who live more than 300 miles from Ann Arbor may upload a recorded audition in lieu of a live audition. Exceptions are Musical Theatre, Theatre, and Dance candidates, for whom in-person auditions are required. Guidelines regarding audition repertoire are the same as for live auditions.

Do I need to upload a pre-screening audition recording?

Most graduate applicants as well as undergraduate applicants to Dance, Clarinet, Flute, Musical Theatre, Piano, Percussion, and Trumpet are required to upload pre-screening audition recordings when they create a DecisionDesk Profile. We will let you know as soon as possible whether or not you have passed the pre-screening and are invited to audition.

Will I be required to take music theory tests on the audition day?

No. Graduates and undergraduate music transfer students take placement exams during Fall Orientation; new freshmen take diagnostic theory exams during the first week of classes.

What should I do if I can’t attend my audition/interview appointment?

Whenever possible, please let us know at least 24 hours in advance. We understand that sometimes things happen, but audition days at Michigan are busy and you surely don't want a faculty committee expecting to meet you when you're not coming.

If you ask to reschedule, we'll do our best, but it may not always be possible. We begin booking audition and interview appointments in October and some dates will fill quickly. Please make every effort to make your original appointment.

I would like to audition for the Michigan Marching Band.  How do I schedule an audition?

The Michigan Marching Band is an ensemble open by audition to any student at the U-M. Please contact the Michigan Marching Band directly to schedule an audition.


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Uploading Media

Where do I upload my media?

Any blue "Upload Now" button on our website links to detailed instructions for creating your Profile. You'll find these on the "auditions & interviews" page for each specific Department.

Which file formats are accepted?

Audio: mp3, ogg, m4a, aiff, wma, wav, aac
Video: mpeg, mpg, mp4, ogg, mov, avi, wmv, m4v, vob
Document: txt, rtf, doc, docx, pdf, xls, xlsx, sib, mus
Image: jpeg, png, gif, jpg

Is there a file size limit?

Individual files can be as large as 5GB, but keep in mind that larger files may take some time to upload. Upload speed is dependent upon both file size and speed of the internet connection. 

Should I submit separate tracks?

Yes! Although we will accept single file uploads, separate tracks are preferred by the faculty and will upload more quickly.

What does "unedited" mean?

Unedited means that the recordings have not received any sort of 'enhancement'. This would include reverb, chorus, auto-tune, rhythm correction, or any other effects, as well as any sort of splicing. Items allowable include the global adjustment of balance or levels (to ensure that the volume is acceptable and that the stereo is balanced). Trimming the start or end of a recording is also acceptable. For example, removing an awkward, long silence at the beginning of a recording is permissible. For videos, adjustment to the image quality is fine–color correction, white balance correction, and image stabilization are all acceptable.

I'm having trouble uploading, what do I do?

For technical support with your DecisionDesk Profile, please visit DecisionDesk Help Desk or contact via email at



Jazz guitarist

When is my application due?

The application deadline for all programs in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance is December 1. However, there are some earlier application deadlines for certain programs and audition dates. Please view the audition information linked from each department on this website for more specific details.  

When are recorded auditions due?

To receive equal consideration, recorded audition materials must be uploaded by January 15th. Any pre-screening recording must be submitted by December 1.


When is my portfolio due?

Composition portfolios and Performing Arts Technology portfolios must be uploaded by December 1st.

When is the School of Music, Theatre & Dance merit-based scholarship deadline?

The merit-based scholarship application deadline for all applicants is December 1 and any auditions or interviews must be completed by the end of February. Those who apply late or do not complete an audition or interview within the timeline may not receive consideration.

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International Students


What are the suggested minimum TOEFL or MELAB scores needed to determine my eligibility?


We suggest that applicants to the School of Music, Theatre & Dance demonstrate the following TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB test results in order to be eligible for admission:

Grads (MM and Specialist)
Grads (Rackham)


What is MELAB?

The  MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery) is a standardized test of the English language.  We accept either a MELAB or a TOEFL score from non-native English speakers. Either exam is sufficient.


I can’t take the TOEFL before the application deadline. Should I still send in my application?

Yes, be sure that your application is submitted by the deadline. However, we will not be able to invite you to an interview/audition until we have received an official TOEFL, iELTS, or MELAB score report. Please be sure to tell us the date you plan to take the exam on your application. Plan your test date so that you are sure the score report will be delivered to us on time.

Do I need to submit a Financial Resources Statement (FRS)?

The Financial Resources Statement is only required of international students who are accepted to the School of Music, Theatre & Dance and plan to enroll. Our office will contact you approximately three months prior to your planned arrival date to request the FRS and will provide you with any assistance necessary. International Students who are currently attending another institution in the United States must also complete a Transfer-In Form if they plan to enroll at the University of Michigan.

How do I get a travel VISA in order to audition live in the US?

We are happy that you would like to audition live in Ann Arbor or at a regional audition site. Once we have received your application, we will send you an email message letting you know whether you have been approved to audition. Please take this to the American consulate or embassy in your home country to request a travel visa. Unfortunately, we cannot provide financial assistance to cover the expense of obtaining a travel visa. Please note that it is important to submit your application early to allow plenty of time to obtain the visa.

Do you offer financial assistance to international students?

All students, including international students, are eligible for merit-based School of Music, Theatre & Dance scholarships as long as they have applied and completed an audition by the appropriate deadlines.

Please note that if you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you are also eligible for need-based federal financial aid. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.


Where can I find more resources and support for international students at the University of Michigan?

The International Center is an important resource for any international student, faculty or staff person at the University of Michigan. Please contact them directly for more information.

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Transfer Students


Do you accept transfer students?

We welcome applications from students who wish to transfer from an accredited four year college or two year junior college. We accept transfer students who have achieved junior standing or below. If you wish to apply, please review the Undergraduate Application Materials Checklist.


I am a transfer applicant. Do I need to take the SATs or ACTs?

Transfer applicants do not need to submit SAT or ACT test scores to the University. International transfer students must submit valid TOEFL or MELAB test scores.


How many credits can I transfer?

Students from four year colleges can transfer a maximum of 75 credits; students from junior colleges can transfer up to 62.

How can I transfer my credits?

All credit transfer requests are evaluated after we have received your final, official transcript from your College or University. Evaluations are made on a case-by-case basis.

What is a Cross-Campus Transfer?

Cross-campus transfer applicants are students already enrolled in another School or College at the University of Michigan who want to add a second degree within the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, or switch degree programs entirely. Cross-campus transfer applicants should submit the online cross-campus transfer application available at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website. 


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Scholarships and Financial Aid

Scholarship Showcase 08 -MT performance

How much is tuition?

The Office of Financial Aid provides a useful Cost of Attendance calculation that is updated every year in June. This calculation includes an estimate of a typical student's living and miscellaneous expenses for one year in addition to tuition and fees.

Do I qualify for Michigan Residency?

Requirements for Michigan Residency are very specific. Please review the Residency Guidelines on the Registrar's website to evaluate your specific situation.


Which scholarships are available?

The SMTD commits more than $3 million annually in scholarships for undergraduates. These scholarships are merit-based and need-informed, which means that while we encourage and reward artistic and academic excellence, we also consider a student's complete financial resources, as indicated by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and College Scholarship Service (CSS) Financial Aid Profile. Although we are not able to offer scholarships to all who apply, we assist as many students as possible each year.


How do I apply for scholarships?

All admitted applicants are automatically eligible to be considered for a merit-based scholarship from the SMTD. The application deadline for all applicants is December 1 and any auditions or interviews must be completed by the end of February.

Are merit-based scholarships renewable?

Merit-based scholarships are renewable, contingent upon a student’s continued academic excellence (3.2 GPA) and participation in ensembles as noted in the scholarship offer.

How do I apply for need-based financial aid?

Students interested in applying for need-based financial aid must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it between January 1 and March 15 to be considered for all need-based federal and state aid programs. Be sure to use U-M’s Federal School Code 002325.

Entering freshmen should also complete the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Financial Aid Profile to be considered for all need-based University grants and scholarships. Be sure to list U-M’s CSS Code 1839.

Finally, students and parents must submit copies of their current tax returns to the Office of Financial Aid after the student has been admitted.

What is a GSI? Who is eligible to be a GSI?

A GSI (Graduate Student Instructor) is a graduate student employed in a teaching position at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. GSIs coordinate and teach some courses while assisting a faculty member. A GSI appointment provides students with a full or partial tuition waiver. Any graduate student in good academic standing is eligible for consideration.

How do I apply to be a GSI?

All Rackham graduate students must submit an Application for Financial Award form, which they will receive with their admission letter from the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Incoming MM and Specialist students are considered but preference is given to Doctoral-level students.


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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower