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Undergraduate Admissions

Music, ICAM and Music Humanities Majors

Why study Music at UC San Diego?

  • World-class facilities in the Conrad Prebys Music Center with wonderful performance, rehearsal and production spaces, including one of the best chamber concert halls in the world.
  • State of the art music technology facilities including a fully equipped recording studio, 9 control and editing rooms dedicated to student use with a full complement of updated music software, and studios open 24/7 every day of the school year.
  • A stimulating and comprehensive curriculum designed to encourage creative and critical thinking in a world where music is increasingly influenced by the impact of technology. Students can choose between training in traditional music foundations, and cutting edge experimental techniques.
  • World class faculty with expertise in the most significant areas of composition, performance, literature, jazz, and world music. ICAM faculty have specific expertise in computer music, music technology, computer science, electronics, mathematics, acoustics, software development and recording and encourage collaboration.
  • UC San Diego Music is a comprehensive music department with performers, composers, scholars and music technologists coming together in an exciting environment that is welcoming to our students, from freshmen to doctoral candidates.
  • 200 concerts a year representing many styles of music from the world over, and with an emphasis on contemporary music.
  • UC San Diego Music is part of a lively division of Arts and Humanities where Theatre, Visual Arts, and the Humanities provide a counterpoint to a top-tier science and technology research university.
  • Sponsored research and internships at UC San Diego, as well as many conferences and festivals, put students in touch with the world of media production, communications, the film industry, and great companies like Google, Qualcomm, and Apple.

The Department of Music is part of the Division of Arts and Humanities.

View video interviews with Tom Erbe, ICAM Faculty and Benjamin Breidenthal, ICAM Alumnus.

Application Information

UC San Diego admissions is based on a holistic review of your application.   Your UC San Diego application has a November 20, 2020 due date.  Make sure to select a Music, ICAM Music, or Music Humanities major.

Portfolio/Audition Submission

Freshman and Transfer applicants, can submit an optional supplementary portfolio/audition  as part of the admissions process for Arts and Humanities applicants. Refer to the UC San Diego application regarding supplementary material. You will be directed to a site on SlideRoom to upload your material to one program. Only ONE program submission will be evaluated in your preferred area. This portfolio is optional, and students can still be admitted to our majors without submitting the material. Slideroom will be open for portfolio submissions starting November 1, 2020, and will close for submissions on December 9, 2020. Be sure to submit the general application by the November 30, 2020 deadline.

Music Portfolio and Audition Information HEREPortfolio and Audition Important Information

Those interested in applying to UC San Diego should contact the UC San Diego Admissions Office, or call (858) 534-4831 to speak with an Admissions Counselor about the application process and, for transfer students, preliminary evaluation of your transfer credits. The Department of Music Undergraduate Advisor would also be glad to meet with you to discuss the music major programs. Students can call 858-534-8226 to make an appointment or email

Admitted Student Information

Freshmen and Transfer Student FAQ's

Where do I start?
Please familiarize yourself with the department website. Major course curriculum, the annual schedule of classes, course descriptions, minor information, as well as faculty biographies, concert and facilities information are readily available here.

Can I make an appointment to speak with an advisor?
Appointments can be made, and are recommended.  We strongly encourage students to make an appointment with the Undergraduate Music Advisor ( prior to their enrollment time to discuss course planning. New majors will receive an email message, during the summer before Fall registration begins, that will help you determine which courses to register in for Fall.

Does my community college course count as a UC San Diego course toward my major?
Visit the ASSIST website at: If the course listed on ASSIST at your community college directly articulates (approximates) with a major course at UC San Diego, you will NOT need to take this class at UC San Diego.

Please be sure to check your transferred course list on TritonLink Academic History after your transcripts are sent to UC San Diego.

  • Are ALL of your transferred courses listed?
  • Are any of the courses approximated with a UC San Diego course? If so, the UC San Diego course will be listed under UC San Diego Approx.
  • If none of your courses are approximated you may want to check against what is listed on the ASSIST website; occasionally, a course is articulated on ASSIST, but is NOT listed as approximated on your transferred course list on TritonLink Academic History.

It is your responsibility to be sure that you are receiving credit for the courses you took at the community college. Please contact your college or Office of Admissions if you find any courses that you are not receiving the proper credit for.

Can I petition courses that do not articulate?
Community college courses may be petitioned to count as equivalent to LOWER DIVISION (1-99) courses at UC San Diego. Community college courses MAY NOT count as upper division courses at UC San Diego. You should attach a syllabus of the class as supporting documentation.

We encourage all students to petition all courses during their first quarter at UC San Diego to know what courses remain to complete for major and GE requirements during their time at UC San Diego.  Petitions submitted after the first quarter will not be processed.

The Music department will only accept UC TRANSFERABLE COURSES to be petitioned for UC San Diego courses. Non-transferable courses may not count toward courses at UC San Diego.

Can I test out of any courses?
The Music Department allows students to test out of the Music 1, Music 2 and Music 2K series courses. Please review this information on the department's Undergraduate Program website.

Many colleges offer an equivalent course to our Music 1 sequence courses. Transfers should check Assist to see if their college has a course which articulates to UC San Diego. If not, transfer students may either petition a course they believe is equivalent or take the Music 1 proficiency exam to test out of the sequence.

The UC San Diego Music Department accepts transfer courses for the Music 2 or 2K series on a limited basis, though many students have taken similar courses at their college that may prepare them to test out of our sequences courses. We require that transfer students enroll in MUS 101A, and also take the test for MUS 2A and 2AK when they transfer to UC San Diego in the Fall, to determine if they need tutoring. You will have the opportunity to test out of each sequence during Welcome Week or during the first 2 weeks of the quarter.

What courses should I be taking during Fall quarter?
Review your major requirements as listed on the Music Website.
Review the Music Annual Course Schedule. Review the Schedule of Classes to see days and times of course lectures and sections.

New Freshmen and new Transfer students will receive a Welcome Letter message in July, prior to Fall registration, that will state which courses they should register in.

Seats have been saved for Transfer students, therefore some courses may appear to be FULL on the Campus Schedule of Classes until Transfer student enrollment begins. If a course is FULL the student has the option to add to the waitlist. The automated waitlist operates on a one-out, one-in basis. To be a full-time student you must be ENROLLED in 12 units.

What courses should I take for the rest of the school year?
For a comprehensive quarter by quarter plan, please make an appointment to meet with the Undergraduate Advisor in the Music Department, Conrad Prebys Music Center 195 during advising hours M-F 1:30-3:30pm. We highly encourage all transfer students to come into the department office for advising during their first quarter at UC San Diego.  Please familiarize yourself with your major course curriculum, course descriptions, and the annual schedule of classes PRIOR to your advising session.

Also, there are general quarter by quarter plans that can be found at

ICAM Transfer Students

Transfers entering with 36 or more quarter units should complete their lower division courses for the major by their third quarter of study at UC San Diego. If a student has a question regarding the transferability of courses completed elsewhere, they may petition them to be used as the equivalent of required lower division courses during their first quarter. Students should be prepared to provide course descriptions, syllabi, and other materials that may help to determine the content of the courses taken at other institutions.  

Take a look at the ICAM major webpage for more recommendations for transfers.


Transferring from a public California College or University?
Check out ASSIST.

ASSIST is an online student-transfer information system that shows how course credits earned at one public California college or university can be applied when transferred to another. You can use ASSIST in planning which courses to take at your current public California college/university. 

Contacting an Advisor

Applicants - Non-UC San Diego students - Email or call (858) 534-8226
Advising Hours M-F, 1:30-3:30 pm, CPMC 195

Transfer and Incoming Freshmen students- Email, VAC or call (858) 534-8226   Advising Hours M-F 1:30-3:30 pm, CPMC 195