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Undergraduate Admissions

The undergraduate program at UC San Diego offers a Bachelor of Arts in Music, Music Humanities, and ICAM (Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts Computer Music and Music Technology). The curriculum emphasizes the development of musical listening and performance skills as applied to both contemporary and traditional music.

Application Information

UC San Diego admissions is based on a holistic review of your application.   Your UC San Diego application must be submitted by November 30th, 2023.  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, 2023, and will close for submissions on December 8th, 2023. Be sure to submit the general application by the November 30, 2023 deadline.

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. 

 

Why study Music at UC San Diego?

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.

What Can You Do with a Music Degree?

The link below lists many options in the music field.     

http://majoringinmusic.com/what-can-you-do-with-a-music-degree/

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.

 

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.


Undergraduate Admissions Music Portfolio FAQs

Is a portfolio/audition required?

Auditions: No, live auditions are not part of the admissions process. 

Music portfolio: Submissions are optional and highly recommended for applicants for the following majors: Music (MU25) and Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts-Music (MU27).

Music Humanities (MU26) applicants, we do not have a portolio program for portfolio submissions.

 

What materials do I need to submit for the portfolio?

Materials for submission for Music Major by Emphasis (MU25): 

Music Composition Emphasis: 

Score(s) If you have scores you wish to submit, please upload them in PDF format.
Media

Provide 2 items.
Allowed Media Types:

Video (up to 250MB each)
Audio (up to 30MB each)
External media from YouTube, Vimeo and SoundCloud

Applicant instructions:
You should submit Video or Audio recordings of 2 of your original musical compositions. Please note: professional quality recordings are not required, but submissions should be in focus, with clear sound quality. Please list the title and instrumentation of each work, and list the performers (if applicable.) You may also include a brief description of the work if you wish.

Music Jazz Emphasis:

Media

Provide 2 items.
Allowed Media Types:

Video (up to 250MB each)
External media from YouTube and Vimeo

Applicant instructions:
You should submit two video excerpts of yourself in a featured performance situation involving improvising. If possible, one of the performances should be of your original composition. Each video should be of no more than five minutes in length. Please note: professional quality recordings are not required, but submissions should be in focus, with clear sound quality. Please list the title, instrumentation, and composer of each item, and if you are playing with others, provide information to clearly identify yourself.

Music Performance Emphasis:

Media

Provide 3 items.
Allowed Media Types:
Video (up to 250MB each)
External media from YouTube and Vimeo

Applicant instructions:
You should submit three separate video recordings, no more than 5 minutes each, of solo repertoire for your instrument. You may include an accompanist, but ensemble performances should not be included. Please note: professional quality recordings are not required, but submissions should be in focus, with clear sound quality. Please list the title and composer of each work.

Music Technology Emphasis:
Media

Provide 2-3 items.
Allowed Media Types:
Images (up to 5MB each)
Video (up to 250MB each)
Audio (up to 30MB each)
PDFs (up to 10MB each)
Other Types (.txt each) (up to 10MB each)
External media from YouTube, Vimeo and SoundCloud

Applicant instructions:
You should submit examples of your work that best demonstrate your experience and interests. This may include written text, media, or music programming examples. Please note: professional quality recordings are not required, but submissions should be in focus, with clear sound quality.
Please list and describe each item you upload. If you have collaborated with others, please clearly explain exactly what your role was, and who else participated.

 

Materials for submission for ICAM-Music Major (MU27): 


ICAM (Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts Major) in Music:

Media

Provide 2-3 items.
Allowed Media Types:
Images (up to 5MB each)
Video (up to 250MB each)
Audio (up to 30MB each)
PDFs (up to 10MB each)
Other Types (.doc, .docx and .txt each) (up to 10MB each)

Applicant instructions:

You should submit examples of your work that best demonstrate your experience and interests. This may include written text, media, or music programming examples. Please note: professional quality recordings are not required, but submissions should be in focus, with clear sound quality.
Please list and describe each item you upload. If you have collaborated with others, please clearly explain exactly what your role was, and who else participated.

Is a statement of interest required?

All applicants must submit a statement of interest of no more than 500 words in which you describe your musical experience, and your musical, educational, and career goals.

Who can I talk to for technical support?

For technical support (e.g. login or file upload issues), go to the SlideRoom Applicant Help Center 

How will my portfolio submission be reviewed and scored, and can I see my score?

The music portfolio submission should reflect each individual's unique art background and experiences. Submissions will be reviewed by department faculty with the goal of identifying the creative and technical skills, abilities and potential of each applicant. No individual score or assessment can be provided due to the volume of submissions received and the confidential nature of the admissions process.

 


Admitted Student Information

Freshmen and Transfer Student FAQ's

Where do I start?

Familiarizing yourself with this website is a great start! 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. 

All newly admitted undergraduate students will be receiving a virtual Welcome Letter in July from the Student Services team. The letter will include important information such as the Enrollment Seminars and Orientation. The Enrollment Seminars will be held virtually and be dedicated to preparing students for course planning and registration, whereas Orientation will be held in-person and dedicated to meeting each other and introduce the Music facililities. It is our goal to welcome and prepare each and every one of you for a successful transition to your first quarter at UC San Diego! Please be advised, all information will be directed to your UCSD email so be sure to check it regularly. 

Can I meet with an advisor?

Due to the high volume of student admits, the department will not be offering one-on-one appointments prior to the starts of Fall Quarter. However, the department will be hosting virtual Enrollment Seminars and an in-person Orientation. More information will be provided in July via your UCSD email. 

For incoming freshmen (first-years), all correspondence can be sent to mus-ug@cloud.ucsd.edu, until the quarter begins, and then online advising will be available in the Virtual Advising Center (VAC). Please note: Once available, please direct all advising and other questions to the department via the VAC.

For incoming transfer students (third-years), E-Advising will become available starting mid June. Your college will assist you in finding the E-Advising portal. Correspondonences may also be sent to mus-ug@cloud.ucsd.edu until the quarter begins, and then online advising will be available in the Virtual Advising Center (VAC). Please note: Once available, please direct all advising and other questions to the department via the VAC.

For general department and campus messages, make it a habit to check your UCSD email account so you don't miss any important information!

Does my community college course count as a UC San Diego course toward my major?

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. 

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 Department of Music does not allow students to petition Music DEI courses or Ensemble courses. Music majors who are required to fulfill the 3 quarter ensemble requirement will be required to do so by participating in UC San Diego ensembles. 

The Department of Music 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 Department of Music allows students to test out of the MUS 1 (Fundamentals of Music), MUS 2 (Basic Musicianship), and MUS 2K (Basic Keyboarding) Series courses. Please review this information on the department's Proficiency Exams webpage.

Many colleges offer an equivalent course to our MUS 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.

What courses should I be taking during my first Fall Quarter?

All newly admitted students will be invited to participate in virtual Enrollment Seminars during the summer where the Student Services Team will be breaking down each major's requirements and and assist in course planning and registration options. An invitation to these seminars will be included in the Welcome Letter that will be sent out around July to your student UCSD email address so please be sure to check it regularly for updates from your Music team! Additionally, all major requirements and course information is readily available on our website as well. 

What courses should I take for the rest of the school year?

Students can access two year and four year plans for your major through plans.ucsd.edu. We also recommend students to plan out a Quarter by Quarter plan for long term planning. 

We also suggest you familiarize yourself with the Enrollment and Registration Calendar. It is the student's responsibility to follow all procedures and adhere to University deadlines. This information and more can be found on the Registrar's website.

The Registrar's Office has also created the following user guide, How to Enroll in Classes. This tutorial shows students how to plan their classes with the Schedule of Classes and Class Planner, and how to use WebReg.

 

Any advice for 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.