Frequently Asked Questions

If you (or your child) are 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, please read through our Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective Undergraduate Students below.

For further information about applying to Columbia please contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Email: ugrad-ask [at]

Phone: 212-854-2522

Columbia University offers a wide variety of music theory, ear training, history, and music humanities classes. Please visit the directory of classes to find a class you might be interested in. 

If you play an instrument and are interested in performance, you can participate in lessons and various ensembles through the Music Performance Program.  Please also take a look at other opportunities to see if there is something that interests you.  We have various scholarship, performance, and recording opportunities.  

No. Ensembles and lessons are open to any Columbia or Barnard undergraduate or graduate student. Entrance to both ensembles and lessons are by audition. Please click for more information.





The Office of Undergraduate Admissions uses a holistic review process when evaluating applicants for admission. That means admission to Columbia is not based on a simple formula of grades and test scores. Instead, admissions officers consider a variety of factors: the student’s academic record, extracurricular interests, intellectual achievements and personal background. All components of the application, including a music supplement if one is submitted, are considered in the review process.

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.

All ensembles require some past experience. The level of playing in the ensembles ranges from intermediate to professional. We do not offer beginner lessons in any instrument except piano. 


No, there are no music specific scholarships through Columbia. Financial aid forColumbia College undergraduates is need-based; admission to Columbia college is need-blind for domestic students. You can read more about Columbia's financial aid policy here.

There are, however, two scholarship opportunities to continue your musical studies once you are an undergraduate student at Columbia University and a participant of the Music Performance Program.  These are open to all MPP students in good standing by audition.  

Yes.  There is a fee of $500 per semester; $1000 per semester for Barnard (vocal) lessons.  Lessons are fully subsidized for declared music majors, concentrators, and special jazz concentrators and students who are on the track to becoming a music major or concentrator as defined by the music department.

More info about Lessons

You are welcome to visit the Department during business hours on days Columbia is in session (see the academic calendar). 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 Hall) with specific questions about our performance offerings.

Columbia-Juilliard Programs

The EXCHANGE program gives Columbia College students the opportunity to cross-register for weekly instrumental, jazz, composition or voice instruction with the Juilliard faculty after successfully applying to the Exchange via Juilliard. The program is designed for up to three years of study with the option for students in their junior year to apply for the joint program or petition for a fourth year of study in the Exchange.

The JOINT program gives Columbia College students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College and Masters of Music from Juilliard in five years. After successfully applying to Juilliard, students admitted to the Joint Program enter Juilliard for their fourth and fifth years of study.

Unfortunately no. Participation in the Music Performance Program is limited to current Columbia University students.  If you need a private teacher recommendation, we are happy to send you in the right direction.