Major & Minor

The Department of Music aims to broaden the exposure to and enrich the understanding of the various musical traditions of the world. Courses in the department address the materials of tonal music in the Western tradition, the analysis of individual works, the study of composers and genres, non-Western and vernacular repertories, musical composition, critical approaches to music, and the role of music in society.

Music Major

The BA program in music provides a background both for graduate work in music and for study in other fields. Students have opportunities to study music theory and analysis, music history, ethnomusicology, and composition. Music majors from Chicago have been accepted to the finest graduate music programs, including Harvard, Berkeley, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, and Indiana. Many have later secured faculty positions at leading colleges and universities or embarked upon careers as singers, instrumentalists, and conductors.

Major Requirements

Students majoring in music take 6 courses in the Foundations of music, including Analysis & Techniques, Histories & Cultures, and Creative Practices. Then, according to the individual’s unique goals and in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, students choose electives ranging from analysis, history, and ethnomusicology to topics courses such as electronic music, movie music, and the Eurovision song contest as well as performance ensembles, allowing students to specialize their studies or to continue to develop a broad foundation in the study of music.

To declare a music major, a student must consult with his/her College advisor and with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Music.

How to declare

While the deadline for declaring a major at UChicago is spring quarter of a student’s third year, it is recommended that a student declare a music major at the end of the first or beginning of the second year. Additionally, many students submit compositions or scholarly papers in support of departmental honors. Large-scale projects like this are developed through the BA honors seminar and through close relationships with one or more faculty members.

Detailed information on the course of study for the music major can be found in the College course catalog.

**Please note that UChicago does not offer a BA in Music Performance: its extensive Performance Program is a part of co-curricular life.

Music Minor

The minor program in music provides students with the opportunity to develop their interest in music through the completion of seven courses including four courses in Foundations of music (courses in Analysis & Techniques, Histories Cultures, and Creative Practices) and three Elective courses. Students who elect the minor program in music must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies before the end of spring quarter of their third year to declare their intention to complete the minor. The director’s approval for the minor program should be submitted to a student’s College advisor by this deadline on a form obtained from the adviser.

Detailed information on the course of study for the music minor can be found in the College course catalog.


For questions about the music major and minor programs, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Travis Jackson.