BA in Music

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music

The Bachelor of Arts major in Music is an academically oriented program for students planning graduate study and careers in a wide range of musical fields and other areas; many students complete the BA in Music as part of a double major. It requires 48 credits in music, including an academic core of music theory, musicology, and ethnomusicology, as well as studio lessons and ensemble performance. No audition is required for the BA in Music, but students entering the program should normally be able to read music and have at least a few years of performing experience.


  • Music Theory & Musicianship (8 courses/20 credits)

    Courses must be taken in sequence. Students with previous training in Music Theory who wish to place out of any theory courses may request a placement exam, to be given during the first week of each semester.

    MUS 215 Theory I (Fall, 4 credits)
    MUS 216 Musicianship I (Fall, 1 credit)
    (must be taken concurrently with Theory I)

    MUS 217 Theory II (Spring, 4 credits)
    MUS 218 Musicianship II (Spring, 1 credit)
    (must be taken concurrently with Theory II)

    MUS 315 Theory III (Fall, 4 credits)
    MUS 316 Musicianship III (Fall, 1 credit)
    (must be taken concurrently with Theory III)

    MUS 317 Theory IV (Spring, 4 credits)
    MUS 318 Musicianship IV (Spring, 1 credit)
    (must be taken concurrently with Theory IV)

  • Music History (3 courses/12 credits)

    MUS 301 History of Western Music I: Origins to 1750 (Spring, 4 credits)
    (Theory I is a prerequisite)

    MUS 302 History of Western Music II: 1750 to 1900 (Fall, 4 credits)
    (Theory II is a prerequisite)

    MUS 303 History of Western Music III: 1900 to Today (Spring, 4 credits)

    Music History courses must be taken in sequence.

  • Ethnomusicology (1 course/4 credits)
    MUS 304 Introduction to Ethnomusicology (Fall, 4 credits)
    (Theory II is a prerequisite)
  • Electives (2 courses/8 credits)
    Two academic (MUS) courses at the 300 or 400 level in music theory, music history, ethnomusicology, composition, or conducting. Composition may only fulfill one of the elective requirements. Students pursuing a double major are only required to take one elective course, not two.
  • Studio Lessons (4 semesters/minimum 4 credits)
    Students are required to take at least four semesters of instruction in vocal or instrumental performance.
  • Major Ensembles (4 semesters/variable credit)

    Students are required to participate in one of the department's major ensembles in each semester they are taking studio lessons. The major ensembles are University Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Harpur Chorale, Women's Chorus, University Chorus, and Jazz Ensemble. Suitably advanced pianists may fulfill the ensemble requirement by accompanying ensembles or studio lessons.

    Auditions are held during the first week of each semester for placement with studio teachers and in major ensembles. Registration for lessons and ensembles only takes place after these auditions. Click here for more information.

    For more information about independent study, honors recitals, and honors projects, please contact the Undergraduate Director.

  • Declaring a Music Major
    Students generally do not officially declare a BA Music Major until they have completed Music Theory I (MUS 215) and Musicianship 1 (MUS 216), and at least one semester of studio lessons.

    When you are ready to declare the major, see the Undergraduate Director.

    Admission to the Bachelor of Music degree program will be open to students already enrolled in Harpur College who show potential in performance; applications to the BMus program will be subject to approval on the basis of an audition during the second semester of the Freshman year or, at the latest, the beginning of the Sophomore year.