Undergraduate Admissions

Are you considering applying to the UW-Madison School of Music? Why Wisconsin?

Before you apply, review the application steps below. Auditions will be scheduled and admissions decisions will be made only when your application file is complete. For information regarding student financial support, click here.

We encourage you to visit our campus before applying. Click here for more information.

If you have questions about the application and audition process, please contact undergraduate admissions coordinator Jared Jellison. See contact info below.

Would you like a tour of the School of Music? Click here for more information.

The application for 2020 admission is now open.
Please read all instructions carefully before applying.

Auditions for entry in Fall 2020

Application deadline: 10/31/19

NOTE: Applicants who are applying for Spring 2020 entry to the School of Music must audition on this date. 
Horn: Professor Dan Grabois will not be available on 11/23

Application deadline: 12/31/19
Trumpet: Professor Jean Laurenz will not be available on 1/25

Application deadline: 1/31/20

NOTE: You are applying to both UW-Madison and the School of Music. Admission to the School of Music is contingent upon admission to the University, so make sure you apply to general admissions before submitting your School of Music application. Also, keep in mind that the general admissions procedure and the School of Music application/audition process are separate but concurrent processes. The School of Music evaluates prospective music majors on the basis of their application and audition, but University of Wisconsin Admissions has its own requirements and deadlines. Admission to the School of Music is contingent on admission to the university.

  • 1. Apply online to UW-Madison

    The UW-Madison application is available starting in September (you can also apply to the university via the Common App, if you would prefer). Apply early and make sure all requested materials are received by their deadline. The School of Music is accepting applications from September 2 until January 31. Please note that you do not have to wait until you have been formally admitted to UW-Madison to apply to the School of Music. A campus ID number will be sent to you via email 1-2 days after submitting the online UW-Madison application. Once you have received this number, you can move on to step 2.

  • 2. Apply to the School of Music

    You will submit the following materials, explained in detail in the Undergraduate Application Instructions, which you should read carefully before applying.

    1. School of Music application

    Download application Send to Jared Jellison after completion.

    2. Two recommendation letters

    Download form This form must accompany each letter of recommendation

    3. A music resume in .pdf or .doc format (email to admissions@music.wisc.edu)

    4. Copies of your audition repertoire (for Voice applicants only, see area page)

    5. Supplementary materials (for Composition applicants only, see area page)

    Once your application is received, you will receive an email confirmation within 1-2 weeks. Status updates to your file are sent as we receive new materials, generally on a monthly basis. When all required materials are received, you will receive another email to verify completion. Once your audition has been scheduled, you will receive another email with audition day details.

  • 3. Complete an Audition

    You will indicate your desired audition date in your School of Music application (see above).

    The School of Music will notify you of your specific audition time at least one week preceding the date you have chosen on your application. Until that time, please plan to be available all day. Auditions vary in duration from 10 to 30 minutes, performed for the faculty in your chosen area of study.

    Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Coordinator if you would like to submit a recorded audition, since not all areas permit them. If you audition by submitting a recording, be aware that the audition process is only final upon an audition in person for the faculty of the relevant area.

    Students who submit a recorded audition are not eligible for music scholarship consideration.

  • 4. Take a Music Theory Exam

    On your selected audition day, the Music Theory Area will give a diagnostic theory exam to determine your preparedness for first-year theory course work. Click here for more information and a sample test.

    • Please note that your performance on the music theory exam has no bearing on whether or not you are admitted to the School of Music. This test is used for placement purposes upon enrollment.
  • 5. Audition for Piano Proficiency

    Note: Not applicable to piano majors.

    Some level of piano proficiency is expected in every music degree program. Students who did not take a piano placement exam on one of our scheduled audition days should sign up for a placement exam. Students who can may play a piece of their choice. Music does not need to be memorized. We recommend that students practice piano over the summer in preparation for piano placement in the fall. Students who have never taken piano lessons are encouraged to begin lessons over the summer if at all possible.

    Piano Proficiency Placement Information

    Piano Proficiency Placement Criteria

    • Please note that your performance on the piano proficiency exam has no bearing on whether or not you are admitted to the School of Music. This test is used for placement purposes upon enrollment.

Frequently Asked Questions
Click below to open the Undergraduate Admissions F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a music resume?
A music resume is a document created in the format of your choosing that lists all of your pertinent musical accomplishments.  You can arrange this information however you like; it can be as simple as a list.

Do I have to submit a letter along with the recommendation form, or will just the recommendation form suffice?
We will take whatever you give us.  Simply submitting the recommendation form will suffice for the recommendation letter requirement.  Ideally all recommendation forms are accompanied by a separate letter of recommendation, but simply submitting the recommendation form will be sufficient.

How do I qualify for music scholarships?
All applicants who have auditioned in-person on a regular audition date, who have been admitted to the university by general admissions, and for whom we have a complete School of Music application file will be considered for a scholarship. No additional application is needed.  Most scholarships are offered for a full four-year period and may range on a yearly basis from $500-$10,000.  Music scholarships are only offered to prospective music majors.  Students completing music alongside an additional major still qualify for music scholarships.  For more information on music scholarships, please click here.

Does UW-Madison offer academic scholarships?  What about financial aid?
All academic scholarships are handled outside the School of Music.  To view all the academic scholarships, please click here. For information on financial aid, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at finaid@finaid.wisc.edu / 608-262-3060.  Please note that since academic scholarships and financial aid are handled outside the School of Music, the School of Music will not be able to assist you when applying for those programs.

Can I submit a recorded audition?
Not all instrument areas accept recorded auditions.  Please contact the music Undergraduate Admissions Coordinator at admissions@music.wisc.edu to inquire about recorded auditions.  Please note that students who are admitted to the School of Music via a recorded audition are not eligible for music scholarship consideration.

Can I study more than one instrument at UW-Madison?
You are free to audition on multiple instruments however admission to more than one instrument studio is not common.  Music students are encouraged to focus on one instrument in their college studies.  (An exception to this is made for Music Education students whose primary instrument is piano and guitar.)  Students can continue their studies on a secondary instrument via the Community Music Lessons program.  Please click here to learn more about this program.

The Music Education Area website states, ‘Prospective music education students whose main instrument is piano or guitar must audition on a second instrument (voice or a band/orchestral instrument).’  What does this mean?
Piano and guitar are not currently considered primary teaching instruments in the State of Wisconsin.  Thus Music Education students who want to study piano or guitar as their primary instrument need to audition on a second instrument.  These students will be subject to the same audition standards as all other students and they will need to pass their audition on the secondary instrument.  These students will need to complete a certain numbers of semesters of study on the second instrument in addition to their piano/guitar studies.  Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Coordinator at admissions@music.wisc.edu for more information.

Can I request an application fee waiver for the UW-Madison general application?
According to the Office of Admission’s freshman application page:
Application fee waivers are available for applicants with financial hardship. Students who apply using the UW System Application can print this form and submit it to their school official for verification of hardship and signature. Send the completed form to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment. Students who apply using the Common Application may request a fee waiver while filling out their application. Your counselor must validate and approve your request for a fee waiver, and then our office will review it and a decision will be made regarding waiver of the fee. If the College Board or the ACT grant you a fee waiver, we will accept it.
For assistance in requesting an application fee waiver, please contact the Office of Admissions and Recruitment at onwisconsin@admissions.wisc.edu / (608) 262-3961.


Undergraduate Admissions Coordinator:   Jared Jellison



3561 Humanities Building / 455 N. Park St. / Madison, WI 53706