B.A. in Music


The University of Virginia Department of Music offers a wide variety of opportunities to all university students interested in studying music and sound. Students can explore jazz, African genres, European art musics, computer music, hip-hop or other popular musics, and a range of other world and folk musics. As the diversity of our courses and performance groups continues to grow, the Department of Music remains one of the leading music departments in the nation. Whether by becoming a part of a performance group, learning about music in an academic setting, or combining these, students can immerse themselves in musical life. Classes are available for students with all levels of experience, so everyone from beginners to skilled professionals has a chance to broaden their knowledge and understanding of music.

This program approaches the study of music as one of the liberal arts. This means that students develop their understanding of music through critical and comparative studies (which includes cultural studies, aesthetics, musicology, and ethnomusicology), theory and analysis, composition, and development of skills in musicianship and performance in a range of possible genres and styles.

In order to fulfill the requirements for a major in music, a student must complete at least 31 credits of course work. No course receiving a grade lower than C- will count toward major requirements. Note that a student may not use the same course to satisfy more than one requirement. For example, a student may use MUSI 4710 Instrumental Conducting to satisfy either an elective requirement or the performance requirement, but not both.

Students may pursue a Performance Concentration as well as a Distinguished Major. Please visit those pages for more information on the requirements and application process. 

It is possible to complete the music major in two years. However, we recommend that students interested in music study begin taking major-level courses during their first two years. MUSI 3050 and MUSI 3310 are appropriate first choices because they introduce concepts and skills that are helpful in other major-level courses. Other 3000-level MUSI courses are also good choices for first- and second-year students who have musical experience.

Students planning careers in music should try to complete at least 12 credits of advanced departmental course work beyond the minimum major requirements, choosing these courses in careful consultation with the major advisor. In addition, advanced performing students should perform a full recital or comparable performance in their genre in their fourth year.

We strongly encourage students who may major in music and who have had instrumental or vocal training to continue their performance studies through MUPF offerings and to participate in curricular performing groups, MUEN and MUBD. However, no more than sixteen credits of performance may be counted toward the 120 credits required for graduation from the College.

Music Major Checklist

Declaring a Major

Students must meet with the Director of Undergraduate Programs (DUP) to discuss declaring a major. The DUP for Music is Prof. Fred Maus (musicdup@virginia.edu). The DUP will assign a faculty advisor, although you may request a specific faculty member if you have talked to them in advance. Prospective majors will need to contact the advisor and fill out a Declaration of Major Form, which you can pick up in 101 Monroe Hall. The student will give the signed form to the Academic Program Coordinator, Tina Knight.


Course Requirements - 31 credits

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.

I. Introductory Course - 3 credits

MUSI 3050 Music and Discourse Since 1900 - (3 cr)

II. Four Core Courses - 12 credits

Critical & Comparative Studies in Music - 6 credits

Choose one course from the following:

  • MUSI 3000 Studies in Pre-Modern (to 1500) - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3010 Studies in Early Modern Music (1500-1700) - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3020 Studies in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Music - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3030 Studies in Nineteenth-Century Music - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3040 Studies in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Music - (3 cr)


Choose one course from the following:

  • MUSI 3070 Introduction to Musical Ethnography - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3080 American Music - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3090 Performance in Africa - (4 cr)
  • MUSI 3120 Jazz Studies - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3570 Music Cultures (3 cr)

Basic Theory - 3 credits

  • MUSI 3310 Theory I - (3 cr)

This course requires fluency in music notation.
Students not meeting this prerequisite may improve their skills by taking MUSI 1310 Basic Musical Skills; However, MUSI 1310 does not count towards the requirements of the Major.


  • MUSI 3320 Theory II - (3 cr)

Students with advanced knowledge of music theory may test up into MUSI 3320 to meet this requirement.

Composition - 3 credits

Choose one course from the following:

  • MUSI 3360 Tonal Composition - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3370 Songwriting - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3372 Writing Rap (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3374 Composing Mixtapes (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3380 Introduction to Composition - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3390 Introduction to Music and Computers - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3395 Sonic Arts and Crafts (3 cr)
  • MUSI 3400 Ecoacoustics - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 4534 Tonal Counterpoint - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 4535 Interactive Media - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 4540 Computer Sound Generation and Spatial Processing - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 4543 Sound Studio - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 4545 Computer Applications in Music - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 4547 Materials of Contemporary Music - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 4581 Composition I - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 4582 Composition II - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 4600 Performance with Computers - (4 cr)

III. Performance - 4 credits

Performance - 2 credits

Any course under the MUBD (band), MUEN (ensemble), or MUPF (private lesson) mnemonics may count towards this requirement. Just note that many ensembles and lessons are worth 1 credit, and must be taken for two semesters to fulfill the 2 credits required. 

Other courses satisfying this requirement include:

  • MUSI 2302 Keyboard Skills (Beginning) - (2 cr)
  • MUSI 2304 Keyboard Skills (Intermediate) - (2 cr)
  • MUSI 2306 Fretboard Harmony - (2 cr)
  • MUSI 2308 Voice Class - (2 cr)
  • MUSI 2340 Learn to Groove - (2 cr)
  • MUSI 2342 Learn to Groove - (2 cr)
  • MUSI 3090 Performance in Africa - (2 of the 4 cr may count for this requirement)
  • MUSI 4506 Instrumental Music - (3 cr)
  • MUSI 4574 Music in Performance - (3 cr)

Musicianship - 2 credits

  • MUSI 3332 Musicianship I, or
  • MUSI 3334 Musicianship II, or
  • MUSI 3336 Musicianship III, or
  • MUSI 4533 Advanced Musicianship

Further credits of musicianship taken at this level do not count toward the requirements for the Major.

IV. Four Electives - 12 credits

At least 12 credits

Four additional MUSI courses (at least 3 credits each) of 3000-level or above.

Of these, one must be a seminar. These are 4000-level special-topics course, taught with an emphasis on reading and discussion, and in which each student accomplishes substantial original work, either in several projects through the semester or a single large-scale project.

The selection of electives must have the approval of the major advisor.



UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176

Email: music@virginia.edu