Bachelor of Arts in Music

The Bachelor of Arts in Music is for students to who desire a liberal arts education in music without a strict focus in performance. Students in the BA can pursue a general route as well as pivot toward two concentrations, as follows:

  • BA in Music (General): Offers breadth and depth in a liberal arts music degree and provides students with a large selection of courses within the major and the most flexibility of all the routes in choosing music electives. The General BA route contains sufficient elective credits to be used for those students seeking Music Education licensure.
  • BA in Music with concentration in Musicology and Ethnomusicology: Provides students the opportunity to explore the large-scale relationships between culture, politics, and musical repertories of the Western and non-Western world, from the past to the present. Faculty expertise runs the gamut from the Middle Ages to popular music, from Indonesia to Japan, Africa, and the Americas, and from manuscript studies to oral traditions and technology.
  • BA in Music with concentration in Music Theory: Provides students the opportunity to explore the inner workings of music from all styles and periods in depth, utilizing theoretical, analytical, historical, and cultural perspectives.

Since all three routes have a common first year, BA Music students will normally choose a concentration, if they wish, by the sophomore or junior year.

The BA prepares students for graduate work and academic careers in musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, and composition, and through a choice of electives provides a base to pursue professional careers in music journalism, music librarianship, music publishing, arts management/leadership, and other wide-ranging areas of the music and arts industry.

Unique Opportunities

  • Students may take up to 6 credits of private instrumental or vocal instruction and/or participate in music ensembles toward the degree. Eligibility is determined by audition and faculty availability.
  • Cross-curricular experiences in the College of Fine Arts, including the popular Art Leadership Minor.
  • Flexibility through electives to customize the degree toward making interdisciplinary connections between music and related fields, and toward academic or professional outcomes.

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a BA in Music are expected to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of music history, theory, and analysis, including formal and compositional idioms from the Middle Ages to the present.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with world music and culture and systems of non-western music making, including popular music.
  • Understand the relationship between music and social justice, race and politics, gender, cultural contexts, and analogous artistic movements.
  • Be able to connect music in a relevant, disciplinary, and interdisciplinary fashion to the effects of shifting practices of listening (societal, personal, digital) and the new modes of transmission.

All students entering as freshmen in Fall 2018 and after will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through co-curricular activities. Students pursuing the BA in Music will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation; Quantitative Reasoning; and some requirements in the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, co-curricular experiences.

Major Requirements

Students in the major take a combination of core courses in music history, music theory, and musicianship—the amount depending on the concentrationas well as a choice of required electives within the major, and a choice of non-music electives, as outlined below:

Required courses for the major (54 credits). Courses in bold count for Hub requirements.

Music History (16)
  • MH 211/212
  • plus two MH electives (one must be in Ethnomusicology) from MH 40308, MH 42128, MH 431, MH 43334, MH 563
Music Theory (6)
  • MT 101/102
Music Electives (28)
  • 28 cr from MH 403–08, MH 42128, MH 431, MH 43334, MH 563, MT 301/302, ME 203, ME 261, ME 445, ME 460, ME 499, ME 545
Aural Skills (4)
  • MT 111/112 & MP 111/112

BU Hub requirement or electives (36 cr)                   

  • Up to 9 courses to satisfy BU Hub requirements outside the major

Applied/Ensemble (6 cr)         

  • 6 cr applied or ensemble; can petition for up to 4 cr more; credits to come out of music or non-music electives). Audition required for lessons and some ensembles. In case of failed audition, credits can be used for music or non-music electives.

Foreign Language (8 cr)

Non-music electives (24 cr)

  • From subjects including, but not limited to, the following areas: History; History of Art & Architecture; Anthropology; Philosophy; Language; Communications; Computer Science; Management (QST SM 101)

BA General suggested curriculum by semester

First Year 1st 2nd
MT 101, 102 Music Theory 1, 2 3 3
MT 111, 112 Aural Skills 1, 2 1 1
MP 111, 112 Group Piano 1, 2 1 1
First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 120) 4
Writing, Research, and Inquiry (e.g., WR 150/151/152) 4
Foreign Language 4 4
BU Hub requirement(s) 4
Lesson/Ensemble 1 1
Total credits 14 18
Second Year
MH 211, 212 History and Literature of Music 1, 2 4 4
BU Hub requirement(s)  4 4
Lesson/Ensemble 2 2
Music Electives 6 6
Total credits 16 16
Third Year
MH XXX Music History Electives 4 4
BU Hub requirement(s)  4 4
Music Electives  4 4
Non-Music Electives 4 4
Total credits 16 16
Fourth Year
BU Hub requirement(s)  4 4
Music Electives  4 4
Non-Music Electives 8 8
Total credits 16 16

Total: 128 cr


Required courses for the major (46 credits). Courses in bold count for Hub requirements.

Music History (36)
  • MH 211/212
  • Plus 7 electives (one must be in Ethnomusicology) from MH 40308, MH 42128, MH 431, MH 433–434, MH 563, MT 201–202, MT 301302
Music Theory (6)
  • MT 101/102
Aural Skills (4)
  • MT 111/112 & MP 111/112

BU Hub requirements or electives (36 cr)           

  • Up to 9 courses to satisfy BU Hub requirements outside the major                                                    

Applied/Ensemble (6 cr)         

  • Can petition for up to 4 cr more; credits to come out of music or non-music electives. Audition required for lessons and some ensembles. In case of failed audition, credits can be used for music or non-music electives.

Foreign Language (8 cr)

Non-music electives (32 cr)

  • From subjects including, but not limited to, the following areas: History; History of Art & Architecture; Anthropology; Philosophy; Language; Communications; Computer Science; Management (QST SM 101)

Concentration in Musicology & Ethnomusicology suggested curriculum by semester

First Year 1st 2nd
MT 101, 102 Music Theory 1, 2 3 3
MT 111, 112 Aural Skills 1, 2 1 1
MP 111, 112 Group Piano 1, 2 1 1
First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 120) 4
Writing, Research, and Inquiry (e.g., WR 150/151/152) 4
Foreign Language 4 4
BU Hub requirement(s) 4
Lesson/Ensemble 1 1
Total credits 14 18
Second Year
MH 211, 212 History and Literature of Music 1, 2 4 4
BU Hub requirement(s)  4 4
Lesson/Ensemble 2 2
MH XXX Music History Electives or Non-Music Electives 6
Non-Music Electives 6
Total credits 16 16
Third Year
MH XXX Music History Electives 8 4
BU Hub requirement(s)  4 4
Non-Music Electives 4 8
Total credits 16 16
Fourth Year
MH XXX Music History Electives 8 8
BU Hub requirement(s)  4 4
Non-Music Electives 4 4
Total credits 16 16

Total: 128 cr

Required courses for the major (56 credits). Courses in bold count for Hub requirements.

Music History (16)

  • MH 211–212
  • Plus 2 MH electives (one must be in Ethnomusicology) from MH 403–08, MH 42128, MH 431, MH 433434, MH 563
Music Theory (35)
  • MT 101102/201–202/301302/341342; MT 499
  • plus 12 cr from the following MT electives: MT 472, MT 665, MT 668, MT 761, MT 762, MT 771
Aural Skills (7)
  • MT 111/112, MT 211/212 & MP 111/112/113

BU Hub requirements (36 cr)                  

  • Up to 9 courses to satisfy BU Hub requirements outside the major                                                                     

Applied/Ensemble (6 cr)         

  • Can petition for up to 4 cr more; credits to come out of music or non-music electives. Audition required for lessons and some ensembles. In case of failed audition, credits can be used for music or non-music electives.

Foreign Language (8 cr)

Non-music electives (20 cr)   

  • From subjects including, but not limited to, the following areas: History; History of Art & Architecture; Anthropology; Philosophy; Language; Communications; Computer Science; Management (QST SM 101)

Concentration in Music Theory suggested curriculum by semester

First Year 1st 2nd
MT 101, 102 Music Theory 1, 2 3 3
MT 111, 112 Aural Skills 1, 2 1 1
MP 111, 112 Group Piano 1, 2 1 1
First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 120) 4
Writing, Research, and Inquiry (e.g., WR 150/151/152) 4
Foreign Language 4 4
BU Hub requirement(s) 4
Lesson/Ensemble 1 1
Total credits 14 18
Second Year
MT 201, 202 Music Theory 3, 4 3 3
MP 113 Group Piano 3 1
MT 211, 212 Aural Skills 3, 4 1 1
MH 211, 212 History and Literature of Music 1, 2 4 4
BU Hub requirement(s)  4 4
Lesson/Ensemble 2 2
Non-Music Electives 4
Total credits 15 18
Third Year
MT 301, 302 Music Theory 5, 6 2 2
MH XXX Music History Electives 4
MH XXX Ethnomusicology Elective  4
BU Hub requirement(s)  4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
MT 341, 342 Modal Counterpoint 1, 2 2 2
Non-Music Electives 4
MT XXX Music Theory Elective 3
Total credits 16 15
Fourth Year
MT XXX Music Theory Elective 6 3
BU Hub requirement(s)  4 4
MT 499 Independent Study: Undergraduates 3
Non-Music Electives 8 4
Total credits 18 14

Total: 128 cr