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This section addresses many common questions asked by undergraduate prospective students.

If you cannot find the information you are looking for, please contact the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Office of Recruitment and Admissions at or call 315.443.2769.

For general Syracuse University admissions questions, please Ask Admissions.

General FAQs

What is the city of Syracuse like? Where exactly is it?

Syracuse is a medium-sized city situated in the center of New York State. It is approximately 250 miles northwest of New York City. More than half a million people live in the metro area. Syracuse offers many recreational and cultural options, including parks, museums, art galleries, the Equity theater group Syracuse Stage, Syracuse Opera, and numerous shopping malls and movie theaters. Syracuse also has a Third Thursday every month that includes local art receptions and music events. Syracuse is served by Hancock International Airport; Amtrak and Greyhound stations are minutes from campus.

What is the weather like?

Syracuse has four distinct seasons. The autumns are beautiful, with golden leaves and brisk sunny days. Snow covers the ground all winter; Syracuse averages 100 inches of snow each year. Students often take advantage of the winter climate to ski, sled, and ice skate. The campus comes alive in spring with blooming flowers and students playing Frisbee on the Quad. The summers are warm and sunny, perfect for outdoor activities.

What are the application deadlines?

Early Decision

Fall 2015 application deadline: November 15, 2014

Spring 2015 application deadline: December 1, 2014

Regular Decision

January 1: application and portfolio/audition submitted by mail or online

February 1: portfolio/audition completed in-person

Is early decision binding?

If Syracuse University is your first choice, you should seriously consider applying through the early decision option. As an early decision candidate, if admitted to your first-choice college, you agree to enroll at SU. The admission criteria are the same at Syracuse for early and regular decision candidates.

Learn More

SU Admissions Early Decision

Do I have to submit my application before I schedule or complete my audition/portfolio review?

No. You may complete the requirements in any order as long as you meet the individual deadlines.

Am I required to have an interview?

No, interviews are not required of applicants. However, this face-to-face meeting with an admissions representative is an ideal way to further personalize your application. Interested students may request a personal interview on campus during the summer or fall or in selected cities across the country in the fall.

However, a portfolio or audition is required for students applying to the School of Art, School of Design, Department of Transmedia, Department of Drama, or Setnor School of Music. This is separate from the admissions interview.

Is it better to have an in-person audition/portfolio review than to submit online or by mail?

Applicants to the School of Art, School of Design, and Department of Transmedia: we love to see your work up close, but if you are unable to meet with us in person, it does not hurt your application. In this case, we prefer online submissions through Slideroom.

Submit Online


Applicants to the Department of Drama and the Setnor School of Music: it is preferable for you to audition in person.

Are there any talent-based scholarships?

The College of Visual and Performing Arts offers talent-based scholarships. All applicants are also eligible for academic merit scholarships.

School of Art, School of Design, Department of Transmedia

Visual and Performing Arts Art Scholarship: Art Merit Scholarships will be awarded to first-year students based on the portfolio review and academic achievement of students admitted to the School of Art, School of Design, and Department of Transmedia. The scholarships are valued at $4,000 per year and will be renewable for four years (five years for students in industrial and interaction design). There is no separate application for this scholarship; every student submitting a portfolio is considered.

Scholastic Art Award: SU:VPA awards a scholarship to a gold medal recipient in art or photography from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in the amount of $2,000. Visit Scholastic for details on how to enter its competition.

Department of Drama

Baker Merit Scholarships in Drama: Established by the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation, these scholarships provide annual awards of $3,000 (renewable for four years) to first-year students who demonstrate outstanding talent. One scholarship will be awarded to a first-year student in the Department of Drama. Recipients must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average in their major to retain the award for four years. Selection is based on the audition required for admission.

Setnor School of Music

A variety of scholarships are available to incoming undergraduate music majors. The scholarships range from the Dorothy Hess Baker Award ($3,000/year) to the Setnor Award (full tuition). There is no separate application; every student completing an in-person audition is considered. Both on-campus auditions and auditions at our regional audition days are considered "in-person."

Can I apply to more than one program?

You may list up to three choices of programs on your SU application. You will only be admitted to one program.

Can I have a minor?

Although students will be enrolled in one of the nine colleges as their home college, they will often pursue a minor in another college. SU offers more than 100 minors in which SU:VPA students may participate.

SU:VPA offers 16 minors. Both SU:VPA and non-SU:VPA students may enroll in these offerings.

I don't plan to major in SU:VPA. Can I still participate in ensembles, plays, and classes?

While many of the classes in SU:VPA are offered for majors only, there are many opportunities to get involved. SU: VPA offers select courses for non-majors. In addition, many non-majors participate in music ensembles and arts-related extracurricular activities.

Will I be able to visit the facilities if I come to campus?

When you call to make your appointment, we will explain the options that are available on the day of your visit.

Can I visit a class when I come to campus?

The SU:VPA Office of Recruitment and Admissions does not schedule classroom visits on a daily basis. During Fall and Spring Reception days, classes are open for visitation.

What are the residence halls like?

There are 21 residence halls on either North (Main) or South campuses. All buildings are coeducational by wing, floor, or alternating room. Most incoming first-year students reside in a split- or open-double room. Upper-class students may choose from suites, singles, or townhouses on campus or off-campus apartments. Transfer student housing assignments are made on a first-come, first-served basis.

Learn More

North and South campus residences

Will I be in a dorm with other SU:VPA students?

The Housing Office randomly assigns a residence hall and roommate for new first-year and transfer students, taking into consideration any special living opportunities and mutual roommate requests indicated on the Housing and Meal Plan application. The random housing assignment system is designed to promote a fair and equitable system for all new students that is inclusive and encourages students from different backgrounds to live together.

Is there housing specifically for SU:VPA students?

No, there is no SU:VPA-specific housing, but there are Learning Communities to which you can apply.

What type of degrees does SU:VPA award?

School of Art

Bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.)

School of Design

Bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.) and bachelor of industrial design (B.I.D.)

Department of Transmedia

Bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.)

Department of Drama

Bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.) and bachelor of science (B.S.)

Setnor School of Music

Bachelor of music (B.M.), bachelor of arts (B.A.), and bachelor of science (B.S.)

Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies

Bachelor of science (B.S.)

Can I take classes outside of my major?

Yes! Academic electives are built into all SU:VPA majors to give you the opportunity to take advantage of the full University experience.

Can I study abroad?

Yes! Most SU:VPA students have the opportunity to study abroad while staying on track with the curriculum of their program. SU:VPA-specific programs are offered in Madrid, London, Barcelona, Florence, Prague, Santiago, Beijing, and Strasbourg.

For more information visit:

SU:VPA Office of Global Studies

SU Abroad

Are there SU:VPA internships?

Most SU:VPA students complete an internship of some kind during their time at SU. The experience of an internship is highly encouraged, but not required of any SU:VPA students with the exception of students enrolled in the Setnor School of Music's Department of Music and Entertainment Industries. SU's Center for Career Services houses University-wide internship services that offers support and guidance for student seeking internships.

Do I have to have a Mac to attend SU:VPA?

Each school and department in SU:VPA has computing recommendations for students.You can view these on the Resources page for new first-year students.

Additional FAQs for Music Applicants

I'm interested in the Bandier Program, but I can't find it on the SU application as a major.

The official name of the degree that students in the Bandier Program are working toward is the B.S. in recording and allied entertainment industries.

I'm interested in the music education degree, but I can't find it on the SU application.

Music education is a "dual enrollment" program because students are dually enrolled in the Setnor School of Music and the School of Education. Instead of looking under the College of Visual and Performing Arts/Setnor School of Music, you will find the B.M. in music education under "dual enrollment" majors.

Can I audition on multiple instruments?

We do allow students to audition on up to two instruments, but we encourage anyone thinking about it to be sure that they can prepare a college-level audition on both instruments. For some students it is better to focus on preparing one excellent audition rather than splitting their time trying to prepare two.

I listed music as my second or third choice major on the application. Will I still be considered for Setnor Music Talent Scholarship (SMTS)?

It is extremely rare for students who have an audition-based major listed as a second or third choice major to be considered for SMTS, though those students would still be considered for academic merit scholarships.

Can Academic Merit and Setnor Music Talent Scholarships be combined?

Up to $18,000 of a Setnor Music Talent Scholarship can be combined with any amount of academic merit scholarship.

What if I get to Setnor and decide I want a different music major?

Not to worry. If you come in as a B.M. or B.A. in music major, and decide after a semester or two that you'd really like to switch to a different one, you are not alone! We have a handful of students who do just that each year and still graduate within four years.

Can I minor in music if I’m already a music major?

Two of our minors are also open to music majors: the music industry minor and the jazz studies minor.  Additionally, students enrolled in the B.A. in music or any of our B.M. degrees (except for performance) have the option of auditioning for Performance Honors at the end of their sophomore year. If accepted into Performance Honors, students will be able to prepare and perform a junior and a senior recital, just like a performance major would.

When will I audition for ensembles?

You will not audition for ensembles until you arrive on campus in the fall.

I play multiple instruments/sing and play an instrument. Can I be in multiple ensembles at Setnor?

Yes you can! We have a handful of students every year who come in and perhaps play one instrument in the Symphony Orchestra and one in the Morton Schiff Jazz Ensemble or maybe sing in University Singers and play an instrument in the Wind Ensemble. We do our best to accommodate those individuals.