Program Methodology

Forum Music Academy (FMA) provides a comprehensive undergraduate and graduate level education for the rising music and entertainment professional. Courses are made up of a combination of traditional, classroom-oriented academic instruction with practical, experiential learning.

With the student body limited in size to around 36 per term, classes are uncommonly small, ranging between 4 to 8 students. This intimate environment allows faculty to optimize and tailor course syllabi to the individual needs of each student, while also providing for a considerable amount of one-on-one student interaction. All resident faculty are actively working, in-demand professionals within the music and entertainment industry, with graduate (or higher) degrees in their respective disciplines. Students learn the appropriate academic theory and skills necessary to advance their degrees, while experiencing first-hand the creative and working methods of industry leaders. The academic facility – Forum Music Village – is a world-renowned, active commercial recording studio, frequented by some of the world’s top recording artists. While other programs isolate their students from any nearby commercial facilities and/or activities, FMA weaves this rare asset deeply into its educational framework. Artists recording material at the studio - ranging from Academy Award-winning composers, to platinum-selling pop musicians - participate in FMA’s Guest Lecture Program as well as other activities offered to FMA students. Students have the unparalleled opportunity to interact and learn directly from the world’s top talent.

Successful learning outcomes from subjects of a creative/artistic nature, such as those offered by FMA, are dependent on both the level of the student and the topics themselves. By occupying the unique space between experiential learning, lab time, and purely academic class-oriented work (as well as having the flexibility to tailor instruction on an individual student level) FMA’s educational philosophy is well suited to maximize the learning outcomes of its students and interface with US-based academic institutions.

Academic Credit

FMA awards academic credit for the successful completion of each course. The amount of credit attributed to a course is based on the traditional Carnegie Unit system, in alignment with the standard measures implemented by the majority of US-based academic institutions. Following this system, a 1-credit course demands a minimum of 48 hours of total student-work per term, inclusive of classroom lecture, laboratory work, and homework.

The majority of coursework involves the development of materials toward project-based deliverables, completed during scheduled lab time in FMA’s studios. Assignments outside of the classroom may be given throughout the term depending on the course. Distribution of student-work hours is provided in each course’s respective syllabus.

Transferring Credit

Prospective students should visit their study abroad office to determine how to apply and transfer credits back to their home institution. Students must discuss their study abroad plan and provide official approval from their academic advisor to FMA in order to ensure transfer credit will be awarded. Upon request, course syllabi can be provided to prospective students and academic advisors in order to assist in the course planning and approval process. Course requirements, topics, distribution of student-work hours, assessment methodology, learning outcomes, and further details are provided in the course syllabi. At the end of each term, we work with students to provide their home institution with requested documentation, materials, and assessments in order to properly demonstrate the acquisition of learning, knowledge, promotion and development in his/her academic concentration. However, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to ensure that credits will transfer back to their home institution.

Students requiring a U.S. university transcript must request our School of Record (SoR) transcript during the application process (see School of Record section below). SoR transcripts incur a processing fee of $375 due by the end of the term.

Questions regarding courses and/or the credit-transfer process can be directed to

School of Record

While several universities accept credits issued directly by FMA, some students may be required to provide a U.S. university transcript in order to receive credit for coursework completed abroad. As of Spring 2017, Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) now serves as FMA’s School of Record, providing an official PLU transcript to exiting students that requested the SoR transcript during the FMA application process. Pacific Lutheran University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities with highly respected academic programs in many of the fastest-growing academic areas of interest for international study, including music, engineering, technology, public health, business, liberal arts, and world languages. The university is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), as well as by leading academic organizations in the areas of engineering, business, public health, and more. As the first American university to have study away classes on all seven continents simultaneously, PLU is a leader in international education and thoroughly experienced in providing School of Record services.


FMA currently provides exiting students with an official FMA transcript, which documents the course codes and titles, the number of credits awarded per course, and the grades earned by the student in the term. Students may also opt-in to receive an official U.S. university transcript from our School of Record partner, Pacific Lutheran University (PLU; please see above). FMA transcripts are released within one month of the culmination of each academic term and issued to the student’s designated recipient, affiliate institution, or program provider. School of Record transcripts from PLU are released between 8 to 12 weeks from the culmination of each academic term, and issued directly from PLU to the student’s nominated recipient. FMA reserves the right to withhold the transcript and/or housing deposit of students who violate contract agreements related to housing and/or academic issues (i.e., any balance or debt incurred) and/or whose behavior is considered detrimental towards the FMA and/or towards other students.

Sample transcripts can be provided upon request to prospective students and/or home institution administrators. For graduating students, additional copies of transcripts can be issued for a nominal fee. Please contact for all related inquiries.

Academic Standards

As an incoming member of The Forum on Education Abroad, Forum Music Academy is committed to upholding the highest standards of quality in our study abroad program. In preparation for the yearlong review process toward Forum EA’s Quality Improvement Process (QUIP) designation, we have implemented many of the principles detailed in Forum EA’s Standards of Good Practice, which are considered the highest standards in the education abroad field.

We also work with students’ home institutions to adopt policies, develop assessment methodologies, and provide supplemental materials necessary to ensure learning outcomes are captured and satisfy the specific home institution’s academic requirements.

In addition, our program has been accepted and is currently listed with the following study-abroad organizations: