FAQ Undergraduate Degrees

How do I become a music major?
Majors are declared in consultation with the student’s College advisor and with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Music Department. Note that the decision must be formalized with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in order for the student to be officially be considered a music major. Completing a music major requires eleven course credits and participation in a performance organization approved by the Department of Music for at least three quarters. For a full description of the requirements to attain the Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, please refer to Music Major Program Requirements.

When should I declare a music major?
Students usually declare a major at the end of their second year or the beginning of their third year of study; the deadline for declaring a major is spring quarter of a student’s third year. However, in the case of music, the required sequences of introductory and advanced courses typically take three years to complete. Therefore, it is highly advisable for a student to declare a music major at the end of the first or beginning of the second year.

Can I double-major in music?
Yes, although there is no official “double major” designation at UChicago. No matter how many majors one has, the University will grant only one bachelor’s degree per student. In addition, most or all free electives are then used to pursue the second major, and many programs of study do not allow students to use one BA thesis for two majors. One way to take advantage of interdisciplinary study at the University is to pursue a minor.

Can I minor in music?
Yes. Minors permit students to use free electives with intellectual effectiveness; that is, to take a cohesive set of courses in a single subject area. The deadline to declare a minor is the end of spring quarter of a student’s third year. Declaring a minor is also done in consultation with the student’s College advisor and with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Music Department. Completing a music minor requires seven course credits and participation for at least three quarters in a performance organization approved by the Department of Music. For a full description of the requirements for a minor in music, please refer to Music Minor Requirements.

Can I get a music degree with honors?
Yes. Many students choose to attain departmental honors status by writing a large-scale BA paper or composition; such projects are developed through close relationships with one or more faculty members.

Can I earn a degree in performance?
No. The Department of Music only confers a Bachelor of Arts in Music through the College, and does not offer a Bachelor of Music in performance. Thus students are not able, for example, to earn a degree in clarinet performance—but it is possible to receive high-level training and experience on any instrument or as a singer. Learn more about the Department of Music’s performance opportunities.