Music Major and Minor

The Department of Music offers an innovative undergraduate program that confers a bachelor’s degree and a minor in music. The Department’s dynamic faculty offer strong support for undergraduate research and creative expression. Undergraduates also engage with the Department’s renowned graduate programs and are encouraged to actively participate in all aspects of the Department’s research and performance culture.

Undergraduates choose a course of study from among 5 MAJOR TRACKS, which offer students a broad foundation in music scholarship while tailoring specific elements of music study to the student’s individual talents and interests.

An audition is not required in order to declare a major or minor in music, but interested students should schedule an appointment to meet with Prof. Roger Zahab, Director of Undergraduate Studies or Dr. Susan Rice, Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies prior to completing declaration paperwork at Thackeray Hall.

Major Tracks

COMPOSITION – intended for those interested primarily in creating music of any genre, acoustic or electroacoustic

GLOBAL & POPULAR MUSIC – offers an interdisciplinary grounding in the study of diverse musical expressions in contemporary and historical perspective

JAZZ – provides opportunities for each student to develop their individual interests and strengths in jazz performance, composition, and scholarship

MUSIC & CULTURAL HISTORY – provides a background in the history, culture, and practice of music in the Western imagination

PERFORMANCE – intended for those who want to explore and improve their skills as performers in a wide rage of genres

Students are taught by a well-respected faculty of internationally recognized scholars, performers and composers. Students receive individualized attention and are mentored in ways that maximize student potential and growth. 

Students contemplating a music major or minor should meet with Roger Zahab, Director of Undergraduate Studies, or Susan Rice, Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies, to discuss a course of study that best suits the student’s level of preparedness and career goals.

Prerequisite course for the Music Major and Music Minor

MUSIC 0100: Fundamentals of Western Music – 3 credits

  • Students must earn a letter grade of B- or better in this course in order to declare a Music Major or Minor
  • Students may elect to take the Fundamentals Exemption Exam in lieu of enrolling in MUSIC 0100. A passing grade of 85% is required in order for the exemption exam to meet this requirement. Students may only take the Fundamentals Exemption Test one (1) time in a single sitting. The test must be completed within 60 minutes after clicking the test link.
  • Placement Exam Study Topics - notes in treble and bass clefs, major and minor key signatures, intervals, triads and their inversions, seventh chords and their inversions, major and minor scales, time signatures and rhythm, Roman numerals

Curricular requirements

  • Credits: each track in the Music Major requires the completion of 42 credits; the Music Minor requires the completion of 20 credits (see the detailed list of courses required for each Track)
  • Grades: a minimum GPA of 2.0 in Music Department courses is required for graduation
  • S/NC: no course that counts toward the Major can be taken using the Satisfactory/No Credit grade option
  • Writing (W): at least one W-course must be completed in the Major
  • Related area: an official Dietrich School minor, a Dietrich School or UCIS certificate, or a minimum of 12 credits must be taken in any one Dietrich School department, chosen in consultation with the Music Major Track Advisor
  • Performance courses: each track in the Major and the Minor require performance courses, which may include ensemble participation or private lessons. All students interested in taking private lessons should contact the desired private teacher directly via email in order to request lessons. Please include your PeopleSoft number in the email request.

Departmental Honors

All of the following must be earned in order to graduate with Departmental Honors as a Music Major:

  • minimum 3.25 cumulative QPA
  • minimum 3.50 QPA in music courses
  • no grade lower than B+ in music courses


Prof. Roger Zahab
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Music

Dr. Susan Rice
Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Music