At the Cleveland Institute of Music, we welcome students from many countries. Today, nearly 30 percent of our enrolled students come from outside the United States. Admission requirements are the same for all applicants, regardless of citizenship. Additional procedures, however, result from immigration regulations, different educational backgrounds and financial considerations. CIM's International Student Advisor, Kristen Zalar, offers many resources to support international students and enrich their educational experience. Please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Zalar with your questions or concerns.

Required documents

All students are required to submit original transcripts that must include degree earned (if graduated), GPA, dates of attendance/graduation and grading scale. If your school does not provide a notarized English translation with the preceding information, an official credential evaluation must be prepared by a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) member organization. Please note: all international students who enroll in CIM will be required to have their final transcript submitted through an NACES member organization for evaluation prior to registration for the semester of enrollment. For a complete list of required supporting documents, please see the page that corresponds with your situation:

English as a Foreign Language: TOEFL / IELTS

If English is not an official language in your home country, you must complete the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The CIM school code for TOEFL is 1124. When registering for the test or when ordering a score report, no departmental code is necessary. Log into your TOEFL iBT or IELTS account to order a score report. The official report must not be older than two years. Any scores taken more than two years before the application period will not be accepted. You must upload your TOEFL or IELTS score report at the time of application. No audition will be scheduled without the required TOEFL or IELTS score (see below).

Minimum scores required to schedule an audition:

  • Bachelor of Music: 61 (iBT) or 6 IELTS
  • Master of Music: 61 (iBT) or 6 IELTS
  • Doctor of Musical Arts: 100-102 (iBT) or 7.5 IELTS
  • Artist Certificate, Artist Diploma and Professional Studies Diploma: 61 (iBT) or 6 IELTS

Minimum scores required to be considered for acceptance:

  • Bachelor of Music: 79 (iBT) or 6.5 IELTS
  • Master of Music: 79 (iBT) or 6.5 IELTS
  • Doctor of Musical Arts: 100-102 (iBT) or 7.5 IELTS
  • Artist Certificate, Artist Diploma and Professional Studies Diploma: 61 (iBT) or 6 IELTS

English Language Training Program

If you're accepted as a bachelor's or master's applicant, and if you have a TOEFL score between 61 and 78 or IELTS score of 6, you will be automatically enrolled in CIM's English Language Training Program. This program is held during the summer prior to orientation. Then you'll continue with English as a Second Language classes in the fall.

Although the program is required for certain students, it is open to any international student if you want to improve your English skills prior to the start of classes.

The program consists of two classroom-based courses and one computer-based lab. If you require TOEFL preparation, you will attend a classroom-based course three days per week, and you will take a two-day instructor-led online preparation course. You will also learn about American (and Cleveland) culture while honing your English skills both within the classroom and during daily outside excursions. There will be plenty of time for music practice in CIM's practice rooms.


  • Speaking and Structure: This intensive class gives you ample practice in listening, speaking, vocabulary and grammar skills in meaningful situations. Activities will sharpen your listening skills, expand your spoken language abilities in both formal and informal situations, stimulate thought-provoking discussion and critical thinking, and build vocabulary and academic writing skills.
  • American Culture: This course will cover American customs, holidays, a brief overview of American history, Cleveland history, diversity and traditions. As part of this course, you will visit Yoder's Amish Home to experience Amish culture firsthand. You will also learn the practicalities of living and studying in Cleveland.
  • ESL Lab: You also have access to the online interactive language courseware to work on enhancement practices at your own time and pace. If you're preparing for the TOEFL, you will engage in an instructor-led online program of study.
  • Optional TOEFL Preparation: This course will teach you tips and strategies for maximizing TOEFL scores. The course includes in-class writing and speaking workshops, as well as ample online practice with the integrated course and practice test component.

After-Class Activities and Friday/Weekend Excursions

During the week, join us for after-class activities in our neighborhood (University Circle) or a short RTA (Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority) ride away. Examples include a coffee shop crawl, Severance Hall (home of The Cleveland Orchestra) tour, tours of University Circle museums and geocaching.

On Fridays and weekends, our excursions will include Yoder's Amish Home, Blossom Music Center (summer home of The Cleveland Orchestra), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and more.

Summer 2018 Information

Dates and costs to be announced.

All students will live in Cutter House, CIM's residence hall. Cutter House has a full kitchen for your use, and there is a grocery store within walking distance. Graduate students will need to find off-campus housing by the end of the program. Undergraduates will remain in the residence hall.

Passport and visa requirements

Before leaving your home country, you must obtain a passport from your country of citizenship. The passport expiration date must be at least six months later than your intended date of entry into the United States. International applicants who are already in the United States must also be prepared to provide authoritative documentation concerning entry into the United States (passport, visa, etc.).

During the application process, we will email audition date confirmations to everyone planning live auditions in Cleveland. Once your audition date is confirmed, you may use a copy of this email to obtain a B-2 visa for entry into the United States. A US Consular Post may, in some cases, additionally require a "letter of invitation" from CIM for the visa interview. You may request an invitation letter from the CIM Admission Office at

Financial aid for international students

Prior to confirming your student status, the US Department of Homeland Security requires you to document the ability to pay for the first year at CIM. You must obtain the I-20 needed to get the F-1 visa. Although this requirement pertains to your ability to pay for only the first year, please plan ahead and consider your ability to fund your remaining time at CIM.

If you have a sponsor or other aid to help pay the first year, and that aid is not available in subsequent years, CIM shall not be expected to make up the difference. Remember, the CIM Scholarship is renewable at the same dollar amount each year for the normal duration of the program (assuming you continue to meet our GPA, academic and artistic progress requirements). Newly admitted international applicants must show documentation of ability to pay prior to being confirmed as a new student, and you should complete this process by the April 15 (graduate) or May 1 (undergraduate) Intent to Enroll deadlines.

Further resources

For more information, we encourage you to visit these sites: