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Opportunities in Music


Although careers in music have generally been associated with performance in large ensembles or with teaching in music education programs, there are a growing number of opportunities which relate to more individualized combinations of practical and technical skills. These might include, for example, arts management, recording and computer-related business, and music publishing. One cannot prepare adequately for most professional roles in music with a Bachelor's Degree, but a strong practical, flexible, and broadly conceived training at the undergraduate level is the ideal route to the widest range of future possibilities. Consult with faculty members, graduate students, and your teaching assistants in your area of expertise.

Career Center Advising

Students at all grade levels, but especially seniors, should frequently visit the UCSD Career Services Center for further information on internships and careers in Music, and meet with the Arts and Humanities Career Advisor, Nichola Retziak. Students can make individual appointments at this link Career Advising and Walk in Advising is also available. Be sure to participate in Arts and Humanities Career Fairs sponsored by the Career Center held on campus.

What Can You Do with a Music Degree?

The link below lists many options in the music field.

Related Major Skills

Attention to Detail, Self discipline, Interpretive Skills, Appreciation of Aesthetics, Patience, Organization Skills, Interpersonal Skills, Intense Research Skills, Creativity, Time-Management, Critical Analysis, Open minded, Adaptability, Communication Skills, Presentation/Public Speaking, Teamwork, Confidence, Problem solving, Perseverance, Focus, Non-Verbal Communication, Receiving Constructive Feedback, Collaboration, Dedication, Accountability.

Student testimonials 

"Without the time and passion of the music faculty, this department and the music world as a whole wouldn't be the same. I am privileged to have been a part of this department."  Cole Pendergrass, Alumnus, BA, Music Composition

"The UCSD program is very forward thinking and has been very motivating for me, and a big inspiration for how I think now, and how I want to pursue working in the future." Chad Goss, Alumnus, BA, ICAM Music


Music majors often seek out internships, and the department forwards opportunities as they are received. Students interested in an internship, should look into opportunities through campus resources REAL and AIP.

REAL is The Research Experience and Applied Learning portal that helps students discover internships and other hands-on experiential learning opportunities.

AIP- Academic Intership Program connects students with opportunities to explore careers, engage in the community and enrich their education through experiential learning.

Study Abroad

Students are often able to participate in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) and UCSD’s Opportunties Abroad Programs (OAP) or a Global Seminar while still making progress toward their major requirements. Interested students should contact the music study abroad advisor, Sabrina Kaiser, via email at or during walk-in advising hours on Tuesdays from 1:30-3:30 in the Study Abroad Office or by appointment. Further information can be found at UC San Diego Study Abroad.


More alumni info coming soon!

Eric Ulman, BA '92, MA '94, PhD '00, Composition, Lecturer, Stanford U.

Jonathan and Jared Mattson, BA '11, Music, Jazz Emphasis, The Mattson 2 Jazz Duo performing in So. California

Emily Jankowski, BA '09, ICAM, Technical Director, KPBS

Trevor Muzzy, BA '07, ICAM, Recording Engineer/Mixer/Producer, RedOne Productions, Los Angeles, CA


The Cheatham Prize

In honor of the late James Cheatham for his many dedicated years directing the jazz program and jazz ensemble at UCSD, the faculty established the Cheatham Prize in 2004. Each year, the music faculty and the undergraduate committee will select the most outstanding undergraduate music major pursuing the jazz concentration. Criteria for the award will include excellence in musicianship (may include performance, theory, or composition), success in academic studies, and department service. Students who wish to be considered should submit an example of their work (may include a recorded performance, composition, or scholarly research paper) to the undergraduate office by the announced date each year in May. The award is accompanied by a cash prize and is presented at the final department seminar of the year.

The Erickson Prize

The late Professor Robert Erickson was fascinated by musical timbre. His research led him to travels in Bali and a career of experimentation and composition with new sound sources. We honor his vision with The Erickson Prize for excellence in research. Students should submit publishable quality research papers to the undergraduate office by May 1st each year. Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for the prize. The award is accompanied by a cash award, and is presented at the final department seminar of the June quarter.

The Farrell Prize

The faculty established the Farrell Prize in honor of cellist Peter Farrell who retired in June 1991 after many years of dedicated teaching undergraduate music theory. The music faculty and undergraduate committee will select the most outstanding undergraduate Music Major to graduate each year. Although awarded at the end of spring quarter, students graduating at the end of fall and winter quarters will also be candidates. Excellence in musicianship, scholarship and department service will be the criteria for the award. The award is accompanied by a cash prize, and is presented at the final department seminar in June of each year.

The Nee Prize

The late conductor Thomas Nee, who officially retired in June 1991 from full-time teaching responsibilities, continued to conduct a number of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus concerts. This orchestra is comprised of campus and community musicians, and under Professor Nee's past leadership it has consistently programmed new works along with traditional repertoire. In honor of Professor Nee, the Nee Prize is awarded each year in the spring quarter to the student, graduate or undergraduate, who makes the most outstanding contribution to the orchestra's season. The recipient is chosen by Professor Steven Schick, conductor of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus. The award, which is accompanied by a cash prize, is presented at the final department seminar of the year.

The Jazz Award

The Jazz Society of Lower Southern California, with the assistance of Provost Emeritus John Stewart, established an endowment which provides two prizes each spring quarter to the graduate student and the undergraduate student who have made the most outstanding contributions to the UCSD Jazz Ensemble in the past year. The winner is chosen by Professor Mark Dresser, in consultation with the Jazz Society Board. The awards, usually accompanied by a cash prize, are presented at the final department seminar of the year.

The Dr. Milton H. Saier, Sr. Memorial Award

This award was established in 1998 to each year recognize an outstanding classical music performance by an undergraduate student. Non-majors are also eligible for this award. The award is accompanied by a cash prize and is presented at the final department seminar of the spring quarter.

The Stewart Prize

Muir College Provost Emeritus John Stewart created this award to recognize creative works by undergraduate students in Fine Arts departments. Music majors may submit scores, give performances, deliver papers, or choose other projects for participation in the Spring Celebration of the Arts each Spring quarter. The prize is accompanied by a cash award and is presented at the final department seminar of the year.

The Bertram Turetzky Award

Established in 2004 in honor of Professor Emeritus and bassist Bert Turetzky, the Turetzky Award recognizes the exceptional departmental, campus-wide, and community musical participation and outreach by an outstanding undergraduate performer. This award is accompanied by a cash prize and is presented at the final departmental seminar each spring.

Carillon Commissions

Undergraduate and graduate student compositions (maximum 7 minutes in length) will be accepted by the campus Carillon Committee through April 30 of each year. Works may also be directly commissioned by the campus Carillonneur, Scott Paulson. The winning pieces will be performed during the Spring Celebration of the Arts Festival and may also be performed on a continuing basis as part of the carillon repertoire.  The award is presented at the final department seminar in June.

ICAM-Music Award

This award is given to a graduating senior in recognition of achievement in both technical and artistic mastery of the foundations of music and digital media. It is emblematic of accomplishment during a distinguished undergraduate career and, more importantly, the promise of high achievement yet to come. ICAM award winners look beyond the surfaces and learn the underlying aesthetic and scientific principles that will allow them the reinvention of themselves as their careers blossom in a field of endeavor which itself is constantly evolving. ICAM award winners are those who realize that ideas drive technology and the arts, and not the other way around. This award is given with best wishes for a career of meaning and fulfillment in all professional and personal endeavors. The award is presented at the final department seminar of the year.