Bachelor of Music

General Degree Requirements

To attain the Bachelor of Music, each student must meet the following requirements:

  • Satisfactory completion of all courses in the chosen program of study, as prescribed by the School of Music
  • Completion of a minimum of 132 credits (please refer to the Boston University Residency Requirement policy)
  • Demonstration of proficiency in all technical and professional courses, including satisfactory recitals at the junior and senior levels (for performance majors) and a recital of original compositions (for composition majors)

The curriculum falls into four main categories: Musicianship, Applied Studies and Ensembles, Major Requirements, and BU Hub Requirements.


Music Theory Sequence and Aural Skills

All undergraduate music majors must satisfy both the written music theory and aural skills requirement. Music theory consists of a six-semester sequence, while the aural skills sequence lasts four semesters. Entering undergraduate music majors may take placement examinations in both music theory and aural skills. Exams are given during the Summer Orientation and at the start of each semester. Based on the results of these placement exams, students may test out of some, but not all, of these courses. Music theory must be completed through Level 6 (MT 302) and aural skills for four semesters or through Level 5 (MT 311). Any external transfer courses in aural skills and/or music theory will be reviewed for elective credit only, and the placement exam results will supersede any transfer course equivalents. School of Music students will not earn credit for MT 105. Students may substitute other upper-level music theory courses for MT 302 by petition, including MT 411 or MT 472.

Group Piano

All undergraduate music majors, with the exception of piano performance majors, have a two-semester Group Piano requirement. A non-mandatory Keyboard Proficiency Exam is offered for students wishing to test out of this requirement.


All undergraduate music majors have a two-semester conducting requirement, with the exception of voice performance majors, whose requirement is one semester. An introductory course is required of all students, covering basic techniques, terminology, and transpositions. The second semester specializes in either instrumental or choral techniques. Students may petition to count ME 330–1, 430–1, or 530–1 toward conducting requirements.

Music History

All undergraduate music majors are required to take four semesters of music history, consisting of MH 211–212, plus two Music History electives from MH 403–480. At least one of these courses must be in ethnomusicology: MH 404, MH 409–411, MH 415, MH 420, MH 429, MH 431, MH 435–436, MH 480, MH 563.

Applied Studies and Ensembles

Applied Lessons

All undergraduate music majors must study a major instrument for credit every semester in residence, up to a maximum of eight semesters. Instruction is offered in the following areas: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, percussion, piano, organ, harp, voice, violin, viola, cello, and bass. Prescribed levels of proficiency are adjudicated through juries and recital permission hearings.

Music Organization

All undergraduate music majors are required to perform in a music organization for credit every semester in residence, up to a maximum of eight semesters. Initial assignments to large ensembles and seating within them will be made on the basis of auditions held during the first week of the fall semester. Music education students are exempt from the music organization requirement during their semester of full-time practicum (student teaching).

Major Requirements

Each major has a number of courses tailored specifically to that major. These courses are a combination of professional development courses, literature and pedagogy courses, and electives. They enhance the general Musicianship components of the curriculum.

BU Hub Requirements

All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities.

In addition to BU Hub requirements and specific major requirements, CFA School of Music students must also meet all requirements for obtaining a Bachelor of Music.