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Scholarships & Financial Aid

Merit-Based Awards

Awards available through the School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) are made primarily on the basis of merit and are jointly administered through the Offices of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Equity, and Inclusion and the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs. They consist of graduate student assistantships and fellowships that are only offered to full-time students.  There are no fellowships available for summer study.

To be considered for a merit-based award, all application materials must be submitted by the deadline; in most cases this deadline is December 1. The audition/interview must be completed no later than the end of February.  Students who meet all application and audition deadlines, and subsequently are offered admission, will automatically be considered for School of Music, Theatre & Dance merit-based awards.

Official offers of assistantships and/or fellowships are made in writing by the Associate Deans; other discussions of possible assistance are not considered binding on the University.  Prospective students may not be required to respond to an offer for the upcoming fall term prior to April 15.


Graduate Student Fellowships/ Assistantships

Nearly all PhD, DMA, and Rackham master's students receive full-tuition fellowships. Most also receive health benefits and a stipend attached to a Graduate Student Assistantship, which can vary considerably in regard to the appointment fraction and the duties associated with it. In addition to the funding packages offered by the SMTD, Rackham students are also eligible to apply for a wide range of fellowships to fund research, travel, and performance.

Notification of financial awards made through the School will be sent electronically beginning in March through early April.


Special Notes

  • Each student in a master’s or specialist program in music who receives a fellowship through the School and elects performance lessons is required to perform in a major ensemble of the School unless waived (through petition) by the Associate Dean.
  • Financial awards are made for one year and are typically renewed annually, through the second year of master’s study or the third year of doctoral study subject to the conditions stated at the time of the award.
  • Although financial awards made by the School are based primarily on merit, other considerations may include the need for balanced instrumentation, the competition in the student’s field from other institutions, and the availability of graduate student assistantships in the student’s department. When a student does not receive an award it is normally because insufficient funds are available and the students offered awards were judged to have greater merit. Graduate students who wish to appeal a decision concerning SMTD awards should do so to the Associate Dean.

Questions concerning graduate merit-based awards should be directed to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies: 734-764-0590 or

Need-Based Awards

The SMTD strongly encourages all applicants to apply for need-based financial aid.

Awards made on the basis of financial need are available through the Office of Financial Aid.  U.S. citizens and holders of permanent resident and immigrant visas enrolled full-time in graduate degree programs are eligible for the Federal College Work-Study (CWS) program, the Federal Perkins Loan program, and the Federal Direct Loan (both subsidized and unsubsidized) programs.

To apply, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1 but no later than March 1 to be considered for all eligible aid programs. Be sure to use U-M's Federal School Code 002325.   There is no cost to submit the FAFSA.  The FAFSA is available on-line at


Questions concerning need-based awards should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid at 734-763-6600 or by email:

University of Michigan Office of Financial Aid
2011 Student Activities Building
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1316
Phone: 734-763-6600


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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower