International Programs

International Exchanges – Visiting Students

The USC Thornton School of Music welcomes students from several institutional partners abroad to study in Los Angeles for one semester (Fall or Spring).

Currently, these institutions include the Conservatoire national supérieur musique et danse (CNSMD) in Lyon, France, the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, the Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts in Helsinki, Finland, the Amsterdam Conservatory, the Paris Conservatory, and the Norwegian Academy of Music.



Undergraduate students currently enrolled at one of our partner institutions may apply, according to the policies of their home institution, if they will be in their junior or senior year of study during the year of exchange.




Students register and pay the standard tuition at their home institution during the semester of exchange. Students visiting the United States will be responsible for paying the mandatory fees (approximately $1800) that are charged in excess of tuition at USC Thornton.

Students visiting the United States will also be responsible for making all necessary arrangements and paying all necessary costs associated with:

  • Room & Board (assistance will be provided by USC Thornton in securing student housing at USC, if this is desired by the visiting student)
  • Transportation (including travel to and from the United States, as well as ground transportation for the duration of stay)
  • Medical Expenses & Medical Insurance (Visiting students are required to carry the prescribed USC student health insurance, regardless of whether they already carry student insurance in their home country.)
  • Books & Supplies
  • Personal & Miscellaneous Expenses
  • Passport & Visa Costs


Language Requirements

Demonstration of English proficiency is required in order to obtain the necessary visa. Proficiency will generally be determined through a video interview between the visiting student and the sponsoring faculty member at USC Thornton.


Selection Process

Students will be selected to participate in the exchange program according to the following process.

1. Apply at Home Institution: Students apply for consideration by their home institution according to guidelines set by their home institution. Specific guidelines will be provided by the home institution to eligible students.

2. Pre-Selection by Home Institution: The faculty of the home institution screens applicants and selects a small pool of students to be considered for final selection by USC Thornton.

3. Apply to USC Thornton: The students pre-selected by their home institution submit a new application to USC Thornton according to guidelines set by USC Thornton. An application fee may be required. Specific guidelines will be provided to the pre-selected students through the international exchange coordinator at the home institution. This application is generally submitted online and will require materials that could take time to prepare, including:

  • Media uploads of the applicant’s artistic work.
  • Letter of motivation, describing the reasons why the student is interested in participating in the exchange program.
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae, which should list the student’s musical, professional, and academic experience.
  • Learning agreement, including the courses at USC Thornton that the visiting student would propose to take during their time of study if selected for the exchange program.
  • Transcript of academic work completed to date at the home institution.
  • Copy of a valid passport.

4. Final Selection by USC Thornton: USC Thornton makes the final selection based on the materials submitted by students who were pre-selected by the home institution. Video or phone interviews for assessment of language proficiency will be arranged during this stage of the process if needed.

5. Notification: Students are notified of the final selection and are advised by USC Thornton regarding how to obtain the necessary visa and make other important preparations.



All dates below are projections and are subject to change.

  • February & March – Pre-Selection Process at Home Institution
  • April 1 – DEADLINE: Application for Final Selection (submit to USC Thornton per instructions distributed on behalf of USC Thornton by the pre-selected student’s home institution)
  • May 1 – Notification of Final Selection
  • Classes begin in August for the Fall semester and in January for the Spring semester



Questions regarding Thornton International Exchange Programs can be directed to