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Music Major

The curriculum emphasizes the development of musical listening and performance skills as applied to both contemporary and traditional music. Students can concentrate in the areas of Composition, Performance, Literature, Technology or Jazz & the Music of the African Diaspora.


Important Notes Regarding UCSD's Music Major:

The Music major requires extensive development of musical skills. A student without the appropriate level of those skills upon entrance to UC San Diego must devote considerable time to attaining them, either in lower-division courses or tutoring.

The major consists of nine lower-division and twelve upper-division courses, plus the Department Seminar (Music 43/143), which must be taken each quarter that a student is a declared music major.

All courses except 43/143 and 95G must be taken for a letter grade. All courses used for satisfying major requirements in music must be passed with a grade of C- or better.

Before declaring a Music major, students should speak with the undergraduate advisor in the Music department to ensure they can finish the major within their time at UC San Diego. Students can declare a Music major or minor online by clicking the "Major" and "Minor" links under "Tools" on My TritonLink.


MUS 32/32v/32vm/132/132v Auditions:

Important Note: Mus 32/32v/32vm/132/132v private instruction courses are ONLY offered to declared Music Majors with a Performance Emphasis and Music Minors (extreme case by case basis). Additionally, these courses are audition based. Students who are approved to take these courses are required to commit to 3 consective quarters (1 full academic year). Please see Lessons for audition information. 

 **All audition information will be updated in September 2023.** 

Music Major Curriculum

Lower Division Requirements:

  • Music 2A-B-C Basic Musicianship 
  • Music 2AK-BK-CK (or JK for Jazz Emphasis) (Basic Keyboard)

Performance Ensemble Requirement Choose any THREE:

  • Music 95B-W, 130, 131, 133, or 134 

Department Seminar- required every quarter student is declared music major 

  • Music 43/143

Upper Division Requirements:

Music Theory Requirement 

  • Music 101A-B-C Music Theory and Practice
Music History and Literature 
  • Music 120A-B-C History of Western Culture I, II, III

Music Theory/History/Literature Electives (chooses any three courses):

  • Music 102 Topics in Music Theory (Prereq 101B)
  • Music 106 Topics in Music Analysis (Prereq MUS 2C)
  • Music 107 Critical Studies Seminar 
  • Music 110 Introduction to Ethnomusicology Seminar 
  • Music 111 World Music Traditions 
  • Music 112 Topics in European Music Before 1750
  • Music 113 Topics in Classic, Romantic, and Modern Music 
  • Music 114 Music of the 20th Century 
  • Music 115 Women in Music 
  • Music 116 Popular Music Studies Seminar
  • Music 126 Blues: An Oral Tradition 
  • Music 127 Discover Jazz 
  • Music 137A, 137B, 137C Jazz Theory and Improvisation 
  • Music 150 Jazz and the Diaspora- Special Topics Seminar 
  • Music 151 Race, Culture , and Social Change 
  • Music 152 Hip Hop: The Politics of Culture 
  • Music 153 African Americans and the Mass Media

Music Emphasis (choose THREE courses from any of the areas below):


  • Music 103A-B-C Composition Seminar (Prereq Music 33ABC)

Literature: THREE courses from: 

  • ​​​​​​​Music 107-116, 126, 127, 150

Performance: three quarters (Fall, Winter, Spring) from:

  • Music 132 Proseminar in Instrumental Instruction (Requires 3 Quarter of Mus 32) or
  • Music 132V Proseminar in Vocal Instruction (Requires 3 Quarters of MUS 32V)

Technology: THREE courses from: 

  • Music 170 Musical Acoustics 
  • Music 171 Computer Music I 
  • Music 172 Computer Music II 
  • Music 173 Electronic Music Production and Composition 
  • Music 174A-B-C Audio/MIDI Studio Techniques I, II, III
  • Music 175 Music Psychoacoustics
  • Music 176 Music Technology Seminar
  • Music 177 Music Programming 
  • Psych 138 Sound and Music Perception 

Jazz: THREE courses from: 

  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Music 105 Jazz Composition and Analysis 
  • Music 126 Blues: An Oral Tradition 
  • Music 127 Discover Jazz
  • Music 150 Jazz and the Diaspora -Special Topics Seminar 
  • Music 151 Race, Culture, and Social Change 
  • Music 152 Hip Hop: The Politics of Culture 
  • Music 153 African Americans and the Mass Media ​​​​​​​

Honors in Music

Students wishing to pursue Honors in Music must obtain a faculty sponsor and complete an application for department honors in the spring quarter of their junior year. In addition to the application, Composition, Literature, and Technology emphasis students must submit a portfolio of works, and Performance emphasis students must audition. A GPA of 3.6 in the major and an overall GPA of 3.0 is required to apply for honors. Students may choose one of the following areas of emphasis:

Composition Music 103D-E-F, Seminar in Composition (three quarters)
Literature Music 199, Independent Study (three quarters)
Performance Music 132R, Recital Preparation (three quarters)
Technology Music 176, Music Technology Seminar (three quarters) or
Music 199, Independent Study (three quarters)
Jazz Music 137 D-E-F, Honors Seminar in Jazz Studies I, II, III

Admittance into the honors curriculum does not guarantee that a student will receive honors. Honors will be determined in the spring quarter of the senior year by a Faculty Honors Committee reviewing the student's overall academic achievement and recital or project.

If you intend to apply for honors, please refer to the UC San Diego General Catalog for more specific information.