Information for Prospective Undergraduates

Information for Prospective Undergraduate Students
(Applicants to Columbia College, Columbia School of General Studies, Barnard College, SEAS with Music Minor, CU/Juilliard Joint Programs).

If you are (or your child is) considering applying to Columbia College, Barnard College, the Columbia School of General Studies, or the Fu School of Engineering as an undergraduate, and you have questions about opportunities for undergraduate musicians at Columbia, this page is intended to help you find the answers you need. There are few subjects about which the Department gets more inquiries.

Here are some of the most common questions and their answers:

I want to find out more about opportunities for undergraduate musicians at Columbia. Where do I start?

Here are some key links to explore:

A broad description of all undergraduate music programs at Columbia:

The online bulletin of Columbia College for Music majors/minors/concentrators:

A description of our performance program offering:

Information for Undergraduate Applicants About Music Performance at Columbia

Barnard College Resources for Prospective Students:

Can I do an undergraduate degree in performance?

No. We are a liberal arts department, not a school of music or a conservatory. We offer a robust performance program with many options, and lessons and ensembles can be taken for (a small amount) of academic credit. Up to 4 credits of performance can be counted toward a music major. But it is not possible to major in an instrument or voice.

Can I audition for a member of the Department? Is an audition required?

An audition is not required for admission to Columbia's undergraduate programs. It is not possible to audition in person, nor do we offer sample lessons. Students applying to one of Columbia's undergraduate programs MAY submit an audition recording (on CD). In general, such submissions will be referred to a member of the Music Department's faculty for evaluation by the admissions office. However, we do not recommend students for admission on this basis. We simply provide an evaluation. The Music Department has no direct influence on admissions decisions.

How should I prepare myself to be a competitive applicant to Columbia as a prospective music student?

It is advisable to take as much music theory as possible in High School. But it is more important to take a well rounded program of courses in the humanities, social and natural sciences, languages, and mathematics.

Are the specific scholarships available for musicians?

Not through Columbia (other than scholarships for summer music study offered to students already enrolled). All Columbia financial aid is need based; Columbia admissions are need blind.

Does Columbia charge for music lessons?

Yes.  There is a fee of $300 for all students, regardless of major, as of Fall 2018. Fees for Barnard voice lessons are handled separately; for more information, contact garcher [at] (Gail Archer).

Can I visit the Department?

You are welcome to visit the Department during business hours on days Columbia is in session (see the academic calendar link on the left sidebar). It is unlikely that you will be able to meet with a faculty member, but you may drop by the office (621 Dodge) with questions or to pick up brochures, or visit the Music Performance Program office (618 Dodge, 12-4 weekdays) with specific questions about our performance offerings.

Admissions Office Representative for Applicants to Columbia College Interested in Music

Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Email: ugrad-ask [at]

Phone: 212-854-2522
Office Address: 212 Hamilton Hall

If you are considering applying to Columbia College and have a specific interest in music (whether as a potential major or not), please contact the College Admissions Office with all initial inquiries. The Music Department's office staff and faculty members cannot advise or answer questions on the specifics of the admissions process, and we do not interview or audition College applicants in person. We are happy to answer questions about our curriculum and the performance opportunities we provide.