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Apply to the master’s programme in Church Music

Admissions guide to the 2.5-year Church Music programme.

Church music degrees involve a wide range of musical competence, including the possible qualification for church musician positions in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland. 

You can apply to study either in Helsinki or in Kuopio (please note that in Kuopio, studies are offered only in Finnish). On the application form, you can also indicate you are willing to accept a study place in either of the cities. This means that the university will place you in Helsinki or in Kuopio (to ensure an equal number of students in the two cities). Successful applicants will be located for study based on their final scores in the entrance examination. You may be denied admission if you have not applied for the programme for which your entrance examination score qualifies you.

Admissions schedule 2024

  • Application period: Send your application in Studyinfo portal between 3 January 2024 8 am EET and 17 January 2024 3 pm EET
  • Submit required attachments and possible advance assignments at latest 24 January 2024 3 pm EET
  • Sibelius Academy confirms your eligibility to apply at latest 1 March 2024
  • First stage submission deadline 15 March 2024, 3 pm EET
  • Second stage on 29 April 2024 (writing skills) 6–8 May 2023
  • Applicants demonstrating their language skills with a language skills certificate: Submit your test result certificate at latest 17 May 2024 3 pm EEST
  • Sibelius Academy publishes admissions results 2 June 2024
  • Confirm your study place at latest 11 July 2024 3 pm EEST:
    • Officially accept your study place
    • Register for the academic year
    • Conditionally admitted applicants: Submit the required degree certificate
    • Students who are required to pay tuition fees: Pay your tuition fee
  • Waiting list procedure ends 30 July 2024 3 pm EEST
  • New students’ studies begin in August 2024

Who can apply?

A person with the background education required for the degree programme in question and sufficient language skills may apply for studies.

In addition, a person who completes the required background education after the end of the application period, but no later than 11 July 2024 at 3 pm EEST is eligible to apply. In that case, the admission decision is conditional until the applicant submits a certificate of the completed degree or other studies required for eligibility. If the applicant fails to submit the certificate by said deadline, the study place will be cancelled.

The Sibelius Academy may, at its discretion, also accept a temporary certificate issued by the educational institution if it indicates that the applicant has completed all studies required for the degree and will receive the degree certificate later.

Sibelius Academy will check every applicant’s eligibility before the entrance examination.

Students are admitted to the Sibelius Academy based on their performance in the entrance examination. Certificate-based admissions or quotas for first-time applicants are not in place.

Master’s degree (2.5 years)

A person who has completed at least one of the following is eligible to apply:

  • A lower university degree in music (Bachelor)
  • A university of applied sciences degree in music
  • A foreign degree or qualification in music that provides eligibility for corresponding higher education studies in the awarding country
  • A lower university degree in another field and, additionally, higher education studies in music.

The Sibelius Academy may require that a person admitted to study towards a master’s degree complete complementary studies of a scope equivalent to a maximum of one year of studies in addition to the minimum number of ECTS credits required by the degree programme in order for them to attain the skills required in the training. In principle, complementary studies must be completed in the first year of study, and they must be included in the student’s personal study plan. The applicant is informed of the complementary studies required of them in connection with the admission decision. Such complementary studies must be mentioned in the programme’s admissions proposal.

Exceptions to eligibility

The applicant cannot apply for both 5.5-year and 2.5-year programmes of a single major subject or main instrument in the same year. However, if the applicant submits an application to both programmes, the Sibelius Academy will

  • take account of the application for the 2.5-year programme if the applicant is eligible for it, or
  • take account of the application for the 5.5-year programme if the applicant is not eligible for the 2.5-year programme.

If the applicant has completed a higher education degree at the Sibelius Academy, they cannot apply for the same degree programme, major subject or main instrument again.

The student admission for bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes applies to applicants who do not have a valid right to study at Uniarts Helsinki at the beginning of the applied right to study, with the exception of persons who have the vice rector’s permission to complete two degrees simultaneously. A degree student registered at Uniarts Helsinki may apply for a change of right to study within the Sibelius Academy or between academies. There are separate instructions for applying for a change of the right to study and for applying for a permission to complete two degrees simultaneously. More information on the rule of one study right can be found here.

Language requirements

The languages of tuition in the Church Music programme are Finnish, Swedish, and English. You must demonstrate your language proficiency in one of the above-mentioned languages by the given deadline. All new students will be selected in one admission group.

The eligibility studies qualifying students for church musician positions in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland can only be completed in Finnish or Swedish. All new students will be selected in one admission group.

How to apply

Submit your application in the spring’s first joint application period from 3 to 17 January 2024 by 3pm EET in the Studyinfo portal.

Click here to read instruction on how to fill the application form. Please note that you do not need to register in Studyinfo portal before completing the application form.

Submit the supporting documents and any advance assignments in accordance with the instructions provided.

Supporting documents

Submit the supporting documents via the Studyinfo portal as PDF files by 3pm EET on 24 January 2024. If the documents are not in Finnish, Swedish, or English, append a translation by an authorised translator into one of these languages.

Documents required from all applicants:

  • Degree certificate of the background education and a transcript of study records
    If you complete your degree after the end of the application period, it is adequate to submit the degree certificate by 3pm EEST on 11 July 2024. However, all applicants must submit a transcript of records during the application period.

    In case of a foreign degree, the Sibelius Academy may request clarification on the degree’s status within the awarding country’s education system.
  • Certificate demonstrating language proficiency
    If you demonstrate your language proficiency based on your previous studies, the degree certificate or its appendix must clearly indicate the language in which the degree was completed. The degree demonstrating language proficiency must be completed by 3pm EEST on 11 July 2024.

You will NOT need to submit a certificate of your prior education (degree certificate, transcript of records) or language proficiency if they are based on one of the following:

  • You have completed the Finnish matriculation examination in 1990 or later.
  • You have completed a Finnish vocational upper secondary qualification in 2017 or later.
  • You have completed a Finnish further vocational qualification or specialist vocational qualification in 2018 or later.

In the above cases, we will receive your information from the electronic qualification register. If necessary, the Sibelius Academy will ask you for further information by e-mail.

Applicants applying for an entrance examination which includes sections that are organized remotely or by video recording shall also be required to:

  • Official proof of identity
    Append a copy of your passport, EU identity card or Finnish driving licence to your application.

Applicants to programmes organised in English are also required to submit:

  • A document exempting from tuition fees
    If you apply to study in English, you will be liable to pay tuition fees unless you submit a document indicating that you are exempt. For more information on tuition fees, see Tuition fees and scholarships.

Refugees, persons in a refugee-like situation and asylum seekers:

If you are unable to submit documentary evidence of your degree, you may still be deemed eligible to apply. Submit a reliable report on the completed degree that grants you eligibility to apply and an additional report explaining why the documents are not available. In addition, submit an official decision on your refugee status (asylum decision or residence permit based on protection, or a proof that such an application is pending). Submit the required documents by email to the Admissions Office by 24 January 2024 3pm EET. The Sibelius Academy will make a decision on your eligibility based on the submitted report. Applicants with refugee status must provide proof of their language skills required for the studies in one of the ways specified in the selection criteria (in Language requirements).

Advance assignments

Any advance assignments are mentioned in the target programme’s admissions criteria. The advance assignments must be submitted as attachments to the application.

The advance assignments must clearly state the applicant’s name and the programme to which they relate. Do not submit any other advance assignments than the ones requested. Upload the materials to the Studyinfo portal as early as possible. Large files may take several hours to upload.

Entrance examinations

You can be invited to the entrance examinations if:

  1. you have submitted an electronic application form and the required attachments at Studyinfo portal, and
  2. Sibelius Academy deems you eligible based on the submitted documents.

The implementation of the entrance examinations for each programme is described in the programme’s admission criteria. The entrance examination schedules of separate programmes may overlap. If the applicant has applied for multiple programmes, they must choose which examinations they attend in case of overlaps.

A programme’s entrance examination may consist of several phases and contain multiple sub-tests. If the applicant fails to pass all the compulsory sub-tests for the entrance examination or the applicant’s entrance examinations do not meet the requirements set for them, they cannot be admitted as a student.  

The Sibelius Academy will send applicants instructions for participation in entrance examinations in the entrance examination invitation. The exact times for individual entrance examinations are confirmed at the latest in the morning of the entrance examination day. Individual examination times cannot be changed except for compelling reasons not attributable to the applicant. Such reasons include the matriculation examination (or a corresponding event) and an accident or sudden illness (a medical certificate is required). In such cases, the examination time can only be rescheduled within the limits of the Entrance Examination Board’s working timetables.

The entrance examination is a closed event attended by the applicant, the Entrance Examination Board and the agreed assistants (for example, an accompanist, a training choir, a board assistant or the applicant’s assistant). Entrance examinations may not be recorded.

If you wish to cancel your participation in the entrance examination, notify the Sibelius Academy Admissions Office by email as soon as possible.

Individual arrangements in the entrance examination

If you require individual arrangements in the entrance examination because of a sensory or physical disability or other corresponding reason, more information on individual arrangements can be found here.

Entrance examination (church music)

Applicants for this programme are not required to complete advance assignments. All applicants who have submitted their applications by the deadline and who have been found to be eligible will be invited to the entrance examination. 

The entrance examination consists of two stages. The first stage will be carried out remotely and the second on site at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. 

On the Studyinfo application, you must select an area of specialisation for your master’s programme. 

First stage

Submit the following entrance examination assignments for assessment via the Studyinfo portal by 15 March 2024, 3pm EET (Finnish time):

  • Sub-test 1: piano or organ audition and a short introduction of the compositions
  • Sub-test 2: voice audition and a short introduction of the compositions 

The sub-tests are completed as video recordings. You are responsible for producing the video recordings yourself.

The instructions for completing and submitting electronic entrance examinations assignments are published at latest 8 December 2023.

Make a separate video recording of each sub-test. One video recording must last no longer than 10 minutes. Individual compositions must be filmed in one continuous and unedited take. However, different compositions do not have to be filmed in the same session. If you film the compositions of a single sub-test separately, combine them into a single video recording.

Film the instrumental performance video from the side, so that you are fully visible while playing. Film the vocal performance video facing towards the camera, so that your face is visible the whole time. The videos must not be shot from too far away. You must be fully visible in the frame. Video recordings may be filmed no earlier than 1 July 2023.

Organ audition and introduction of the compositions 

Record a video of yourself performing two freely selected compositions with a pedal part that illustrate your instrument skills. Give a brief talk to introduce the compositions at the beginning of the video.  If you do not aspire for a church musician’s eligibility in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland, you can demonstrate your skills on the piano. If you have selected the organ as the area of specialisation for your master’s programme on the application form, the repertoire to be performed must be at least at level C in organ performance. If necessary, contact to confirm the suitability of the repertoire.

Voice audition and introduction of the compositions 

Record a video of yourself singing without accompaniment. Give a brief talk to introduce the compositions at the beginning of the video. Begin with a hymn of your choice (1 or 2 stanzas). Additionally, perform at least one solo song written between 1500 and 1850 and, if you wish, another song that illustrates your vocal skills. If you have selected voice as the area of specialisation for your master’s studies on the application form, the repertoire to be performed must be at least at level C in voice performance. If necessary, contact to confirm the suitability of the repertoire.

Based on the scores given for the first stage, the Board will invite some of the applicants to the second stage of the entrance examination. Information on the results of the first stage will be sent by email.

Second stage

The second stage will be held on site at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki between 6 and 8 May 2024, excluding the sub-examination in writing skills. It includes the following sub-tests:

  • Liturgical music 
  • Interview and aural skills 
  • Choral conducting 
  • Writing skills 

The aim is to organize all sub-tests during the entrance examination so that each applicant is able to complete all sub-tests in a single day. The final schedule is determined by the number of applicants. 

Liturgical music 

In the liturgical music sub-test, the applicant must demonstrate that they have the skills corresponding to a bachelor’s degree in church music in playing the organ, improvisation on the organ and liturgical singing. The sub-test includes assignments for which the applicant is given time to prepare, as well as prima vista assignments given during the test. 

If the applicant does not intend to seek eligibility as a cantor for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, they must indicate this in the application.  In this case, the applicant can take the liturgical music sub-test according to the practices of another denomination and play piano instead. In these cases, the applicant will be notified separately of the content of the sub-test for liturgical music. 

Assignments with a 30-minute preparation time: 

  • Chorale playing, prelude included, from a four- and one-voice notation, singing, in a trio and transposed. The basslines for the chorales will be played on the pedal. One prelude must be a fugato, and at least one accompaniment from a four- or one-voice notation. 
  • Psalm singing of a given text from a given psalm pattern. 

Sight-reading tasks which you will receive in the audition: 

  • Sight-playing of preludes and chorale scores from a four- and a one-voice notation. The basslines for the chorales will be played on the pedal.  
  • Sight-singing of psalms from a one-voice notation, unaccompanied. 
  • Liturgical singing from the hymn book supplement, unaccompanied 

Interview and aural skills

The Board will interview the applicants. In connection with the interview, the applicant may give a demonstration on a secondary instrument for a maximum of 5 minutes or otherwise describe their musical skills that are not demonstrated in the other parts of the entrance examination. A piano is available in the interview room. 

The aural skills test includes sight-singing and repeating intervals, harmonies, and short melodic items, for example. 

Choral conducting

In the choral conducting sub-test the applicant will give a 10-minute rehearsing and conducting demonstration with a choir. You must select one of the songs enclosed in the invitation to the entrance examination (link to the sheet music will be provided in the invitation). 

If you have selected choral conducting as the area of specialisation for your master’s programme on the application form, your choral conducting demonstration will last a total of 15 minutes and include conducting the song mentioned above as well as a specialisation area song, which will be provided separately in the entrance examination invitation. The assignment requires Level C skills.

Writing skills

In the test, the applicant will write a short essay on a given topic in Finnish, Swedish or English. The test will be conducted by e-mail, in an online environment and/or via a remote connection. The test will be held on 29 April 2024.

If you have indicated in your application form that you are planning a project or a thesis as the specialisation area of your master’s programme, submit an essay you have written in advance in accordance with the instructions provided. The essay must meet the length (approximately 15,000–25,000 characters) and standard of a pro-seminar paper, and the topic must be related to church music. The essay can be, for example, a final project written at a polytechnic or a university of applied sciences. The essay must be consistent and carefully edited. The topic must be clearly defined, the sources must be documented properly, and the references must be properly formatted.

Entrance examination assessment

Applicants’ performance in the entrance examinations is assessed by programme-specifically appointed Entrance Examination Boards. The boards assess the knowledge, skills and capabilities of each applicant and their capacity to complete the degree studies within the normative duration for the completion of a degree. The assessment takes account of how the applicant’s previous education and experience reflects in their competence and assesses their competence in relation to the objectives set in the curriculum.

In addition, during the entrance examinations for church music, the Boards will assess the applicants’ musical knowledge and skills as well as their capability for studies in church music and versatile musicianship. 

In the instrument and voice audition the Board will also assess the applicant’s ability to read music and their musical comprehension. 

In the aural skills test, the Board will assess tonal perception of music, the ability to distinguish pitch and timbre, and tonal memory. 

In the choral conducting test, the Board will assess the applicant’s rehearsing and conducting skills. 

In the writing skills test, the Board will assess the applicant’s command of language and their ability to think logically. 

Scoring of the entrance examination

The Board will score each of the applicant’s sub-test on a scale of 0 to 25. The applicant must score at least six (6) points in each sub-test in order to pass them. An applicant who does not pass all of the sub-tests cannot be admitted as a student.

Sub-tests will be weighted in the final score as follows: 

First stage:  

  • Organ audition 15 %  
  • Voice audition 15 %  

Second stage:  

  • Liturgical music 40 %  
  • Interview 10 %  
  • Aural skills 5 %  
  • Choral conducting 15 %  
  • Writing skills: approved or not approved 

Admissions results

The Entrance Examination boards rank the applicants of each programme based on their entrance examination score. The final decision on students admitted to the programmes and those placed on the waiting list is made by the dean of the Sibelius Academy.

A study place is offered to highest scoring applicants who meet the selection criteria. Applicants ranked behind the admitted students may be placed on a waiting list in the order of their score. The waiting lists are either programme-specific or group-specific if there are several groups in a single programme. A study place will become vacant and can be offered to an applicant on a waiting list only if one of the applicants admitted to the same degree programme (or group) chooses not to accept the study place, or if someone who has been conditionally admitted fails to submit the necessary documents by the end of the deadline.

If there are no applicants who meet the admissions criteria, some programmes may choose not to admit new students. If a specific degree programme does not admit any new students, applicants to that programme cannot be placed on a waiting list.

Announcement of results

Admission results, including the names of the applicants who have given the permission to have their names published online, will be published on the Uniarts Helsinki website. In addition, each applicant can view their situation in the Studyinfo portal. Admitted applicants and those placed on the waiting list are informed of the results by email.


Applicants may request feedback on their entrance examination performance. The feedback provides the applicant with information on how the evaluation criteria stated in the admission criteria were applied in the assessment of their entrance examination. Instructions for requesting feedback will be published on the Uniarts Helsinki website in connection with the publication of the admission decision.

Rectification procedure

If you believe that the Sibelius Academy has acted contrary to its admission criteria, you can request for rectification to the student admission decision from the Sibelius Academy in writing within 14 days of the publication of the admission results.

The rectification procedure is not intended as a means for receiving feedback, asking for further information about the admission or requesting unjustified re-evaluation.

More information about the rectification process can be found here.

Accepting the offered study place and starting your studies

An offer of admission can be accepted either via the Studyinfo system or by filling in the confirmation form attached to the letter of acceptance and by delivering it to the admissions office. You must accept your study place by the given deadline. If the confirmation arrives late, it will not be considered.

Accepting an offer of admission is a binding choice, which cannot be changed or cancelled later on.

You must also register as attending at the Sibelius Academy before the academic year begins – more information will be sent to you along with your acceptance letter.

First-year studies begin in mid-August with an orientation period that is compulsory for all new students.

More information on accepting the offered study place and starting our studies at the Sibelius Academy can be found here

Questions or comments?

You can contact us via e-mail at

If you have any questions, please check first if your question has been already answered on our frequently asked questions page. This page will be updated constantly. Please check it regularly to see if new questions have been answered. Please note that in principle we do not explain the entrance examination assignments. The instructions are in the admissions guide.

If you have any questions regarding student life at the Sibelius Academy or in Helsinki, you can contact our Student Ambassadors at

The Sibelius Acad­emy Ad­mis­sions Chat

What is it like to study at the Sibelius Academy and live in Helsinki? How do you apply to the Sibelius Academy? To find out answers to these questions by watching our Admissions chat event live on Sibelius Academy’s Instagram account on 21 November 2023. Welcome!

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