Curtis Institute of Music

Admissions Rates, Costs, Financial Aid, Graduation Rates & More

The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia
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As a specialized music school, and because of its caliber of education, Curtis is a very selective school, with an acceptance rate of just 4%, a number even lower than any of the Ivy League schools. Interested students will first need to submit an application, with SAT or ACT scores, and a high school transcript. After the application is accepted, students will need to schedule an audition with the school—live auditions are required, and students cannot send in an audio or video audition instead. Dabblers need not apply—the performance standards for Curtis are extremely high, and successful applicants are all highly accomplished musicians. Please be sure to check out the school's website for detailed information and to contact the admissions office with any questions.

2016 Acceptance Rate: 4%

Curtis Institute of Music Description

The Curtis Institute of Music, established in 1924, is one of the most selective and renowned music colleges in the country. It easily made our list of the 10 top music schools in the U.S. Located in the heart of Philadelphia's art district, the Institute is surrounded by theaters, concert halls, museums, and arts academies. The state-of-the-art facilities provide a professional yet comfortable environment for students to learn, rehearse, and reside. The University of Pennsylvania is within walking distance. 

With a student-faculty ratio of 2 to 1, students are guaranteed a personalized, custom education at Curtis. Degrees offered include Bachelor of Arts, Masters, and Professional Studies Certificates in Music and Opera. While symphonic training continues to be the Institute's focus, students are also trained as conductors, organists, and vocal artists. In addition to music classes and lessons, Curtis offers a range of liberal arts courses, cultivating a broad education for its students.

Enrollment (2016)

  • Total Enrollment: 173 (131 undergraduates)
  • Gender Breakdown: 53% Male / 47% Female
  • 100% Full-time

Costs (2016–17)

  • Tuition and Fees: $2,525
  • Books: $1,707 
  • Room and Board: $13,234
  • Other Expenses: $2,772
  • Total Cost: $20,238

Curtis Institute of Music Financial Aid (2015–16)

  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Aid: 90%
  • Percentage of New Students Receiving Types of Aid
    • Grants: 90%
    • Loans: 33%
  • Average Amount of Aid
    • Grants: $9,131
    • Loans: $3,786

Academic Programs

The most popular majors at Curtis Institute of Music are:

  • Music Performance
  • Voice and Opera
  • Woodwind Instruments
  • Stringed Instruments
  • Brass Instruments
  • Keyboard Instruments

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • First Year Student Retention (full-time students): 95%
  • Transfer-out Rate: 16%
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 23%
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 77%

Related Schools

Applicants to Curtis are likely to apply to other prestigious music schools such as The Julliard School, the Boston Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, and the Manhattan School of Music.

If you're not 100% sure that your future career path will be centered on music, or if you'd like to be at a less specialized institution, then be sure to check out larger comprehensive universities with strong music programs such as The Ohio State University, Boston University, New York University, and Northwestern University.

All of these schools are selective, but among all of the options, Julliard is the only one that has a single-digit acceptance rate like Curtis. 


  • National Center for Educational Statistics
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Grove, Allen. "Curtis Institute of Music." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Grove, Allen. (2020, August 27). Curtis Institute of Music. Retrieved from Grove, Allen. "Curtis Institute of Music." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 5, 2023).