Music Department

Degree Requirements

The music department offers a wide range of courses and performance opportunities for majors and nonmajors, as well as private instrumental and vocal lessons. Many courses have no prerequisites.

Pursuit of the music major prepares students for a senior thesis in music history or analysis, ethnomusicological research, or composition. Majors should complete two units of music theory (Music 211 and Music 312), Music History I and II (Music 221 and Music 222), and one unit of ethnomusicology (Music 150) before beginning the second semester of their junior year, and take the junior seminar.

Majors are expected to participate in performance activities; therefore, fees for private instruction in one instrument or voice are waived for junior and senior music majors.

For the junior qualifying examination in music, students will write analytic essays on selections of notated and recorded examples of music and a critical essay on selected music literature.

Independent study courses (Music 481) in subjects not offered in the regular curriculum are available for junior and senior music majors.

Requirements for the Major

  1. Music theory—Music 211 and 312;
  2. Music history—Music 221 and 222;
  3. Ethnomusicology—Music 150;
  4. One unit of ensemble from among 104 (orchestra), 105 (chorus), 106 (contemporary ensemble), 107 (Collegium), 108 (jazz ensemble), 109 (chamber music); 
  5. One unit of private instruction (vocal or instrumental);
  6. Junior seminar;
  7. Three additional one-unit courses in the department at the 200 level or above, one of which must include either Music 343 or an additional ethnomusicology course;
  8. Thesis (470).

In addition to the requirements for all music majors, the following courses of study are recommended for students writing a senior thesis in ethnomusicology or composition:

  • Students planning a thesis in ethnomusicology should take two units of anthropology for either Group B or Group X and three additional units in ethnomusicology.
  • Students planning a thesis in composition should take Music 343 and Music 481 (independent study in advanced composition).

Senior Thesis

Before beginning their senior year, students planning to do a thesis in music must demonstrate their competence in the particular area in which they wish to work. That is, they may not use the thesis as an occasion to explore an entirely new area. The thesis may be an extended historical, ethnomusicological, or analytical project, which may include a performance; or a composition thesis, which must include a printed score, a recording of a performance, and an analytical essay. At the beginning of the senior year, students prepare short written proposals describing the nature of their theses for discussion with the entire music department prior to submitting proposals to the Division of the Arts for approval.