Department of Music

Major Requirements

Global Soundscapes (MUS 3b) 4cr

This course introduces music as a social and cultural practice around the globe. Deep dives into a number of music cultures. Requires no previous knowledge of western music notation from the common practice period. Taught by musicology faculty in the Spring.

Critical Listening (MUS 136a) 4cr

This course introduces a critical approach to listening to music, and how the experience of music is communicated to others. In this topics-based course, we survey how we listen to music through a broad range of repertoire and music writings about it, including academic analyses of music, concert and recording reviews, and theories of music from a broad range of cultures. Fulfills the OC core requirement. Taught by musicology faculty in the Spring.

Two consecutive semesters of the music theory sequence MUS 101a, 101b, 103a, 103b and the co-requisite labs each semester (102a, 102b, 104a, 104b) 12cr

A student may start the two-semester sequence at 101b or 103a, but must take a placement test to do so. The content of the music theory sequence will be expanded to include concepts and examples from across a broad range of musics. MUS 101a Fulfills the DL requirement. Taught by composition faculty in the Fall and Spring.

Advanced Seminar (MUS 161a) 4cr

Upper-level academic seminar taken by all Juniors that focuses on a single topic of the instructor’s choice (such as notation, musical form, aesthetics, improvisation, etc.). Ideally students will take this in their Junior year, although if students are away on Study Abroad, they may take this course at another point in their degree program. Fulfills the WI core requirement. Offered by musicology faculty every Fall. 

Electives 16cr

Four elective courses that are eligible for major credit, at least two of which are MUS courses. No elective course may be taken twice for major credit.

See the list of approved track-specific electives in the University Bulletin

Private lessons (a full year of MUS 111/112) may be applied once only for major credit. MUS 1a, 2a, 5a,b, and 80-89 may not be counted as electives.

Ensemble Courses

Four semesters (taken in four different semesters):

  • Department ensembles MUS 80-89 or 116 (with or without credit)

For students in the Composition and History and Culture tracks, ensemble courses taken prior to declaring the major count towards this requirement; for students in the Performance track, three of the four required semesters of ensemble should take place in the last two years of study. 

All major complete a capstone (equivalent to one four-credit course) in one of the three areas: Composition and Theory, History and Culture, or Performance. The following are examples of capstone projects: a 100-level or above composition course that involves writing an original composition; a graduate musicology proseminar or seminar course (MUS courses at the 180-level or above) that produces a 25-page paper involving independent research; Senior Project (MUS 99d); or Senior Performance (MUS 118a,b). If a student’s capstone project originates in a 100-level or above composition class or a 180-level or above musicology class, that class may be taken for elective credit but the project must be polished and submitted to the track adviser separately as well as for the elective course credit. Students must obtain approval from their track advisor on their specific capstone project plan.

Learn more about our three tracks:

  1. Composition & Theory
  2. History & Culture
  3. Performance