Music, B.A.


Entrance Requirements

All applicants to the School of Music must audition on their principal instrument or voice. Admission to any specific degree is dependent on the qualifying audition. A student who wishes to enter the School of Music from another college on the Columbia campus must be in good standing and have a cumulative GPA of 2.25 or higher. A student who wishes to enter the School of Music from another USC campus must fulfill one of the following:

  1. Be in good standing, meet the admission requirements for a baccalaureate degree on the Columbia campus, and have a cumulative GPA of 2.25 or higher.
  2. Be in good standing and have completed 30 semester hours with a GPA of 2.25 or higher on a USC campus. Transfer applicants from regionally accredited colleges and universities are required to have a minimum GPA of 2.25 (on a 4.00 scale) on all college-level courses attempted. If fewer than 30 semester hours of college-level work have been attempted, the applicant must meet both transfer and freshman entrance requirements.

Degree Requirements (121 hours)

See School of Music for information about progression requirements, and special academic opportunities.

Additional information is available in the “Undergraduate Academic Regulations” chapter of this bulletin, the School of Music’s Handbook for Undergraduate Students, or from the Office of Music Studies.

Program of Study

Requirements Credit Hours
1. Carolina Core 32-44
2. College Requirements 0
3. Program Requirements 15-40
4. Major Requirements 49-67

Founding Documents Requirement

All undergraduate students must take a 3-credit course or its equivalent with a passing grade in the subject areas of History, Political Science, or African American Studies that covers the founding documents including the United State Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation and one or more documents that are foundational to the African American Freedom struggle, and a minimum of five essays from the Federalist papers.  This course may count as a requirement in any part of the program of study including the Carolina Core, the major, minor or cognate, or as a general elective.  Courses that meet this requirement are listed here.

1. Carolina Core Requirements (32-44 hours)

CMW – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Written (6 hours)

must be passed with a grade of C or higher​

ARP – Analytical Reasoning and Problem Solving (6-8 hours) 

SCI – Scientific Literacy (8 hours)

GFL – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Foreign Language  (0-6 hours)

Demonstration of proficiency in one foreign language equivalent to the minimum passing grade on the exit examination in the 122 course is required, if not already met through Carolina Core or the foreign language placement exam.

GHS – ​Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Historical Thinking (3 hours) 

GSS – Global Citizenship and Multicultural Understanding: Social Sciences (3 hours) 

AIU – Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding (3 hours)

must be passed with a grade of C or higher​

CMS – Effective, Engaged, and Persuasive Communication: Spoken Component1 (0-3 hours)

INF – Information Literacy1 (0-3 hours)

VSR – Values, Ethics, and Social Responsibility1 (0-3 hours)


Carolina Core Stand Alone or Overlay Eligible Requirements — Overlay-approved courses offer students the option of meeting two Carolina Core components in a single course. A maximum of two overlays is allowed. The total Carolina Core credit hours must add up to a minimum of 31 hours. Some programs may have a higher number of minimum Carolina Core hours due to specified requirements.

2. College Requirements (0 hours)

No college-required courses for this program.

3. Program Requirements (15-40 hours)

Supporting Courses (15-18 hours)

Foreign Language (0-3 hours)

  • only if needed to meet 122-level proficiency

History (3 hours)

  • The School of Music requires one U.S. History and one non-U.S. History course, both of which must be chosen from the approved Carolina Core GHS courses. Whichever is not fulfilled through the Carolina Core GHS requirement must be fulfilled through this Program Requirement.

Social Science (3 hours)

  • Choose any from the list of CC-GSS approved courses.

Humanities (9 hours)

  • Students who choose to complete the Musical Theatre Concentration must select THEA 170 as one of their Humanities courses.

Cognate or Minor (0-18 hours)

must be passed with a grade of C or higher​

  • Students must choose to complete a cognate (12 hours) or a minor (18 hours).  The Cognate or Minor requirement is optional for students who choose to complete the Musical Theatre Concentration.

Electives (0-13 hours)

No courses of a remedial, developmental, skill-acquiring, or vocational nature may apply as credit toward degrees in the School of Music. The School of Music allows the use of the Pass-Fail option on elective courses. Further clarification on inapplicable courses can be obtained from the School of Music.

4. Major Requirements (49-67 hours)

a minimum grade of C is required in all major courses

Major Courses (43 hours)

Course Title Credits
MUSC 100Music Convocation (2 semesters are required)0
MUSC 100AMusic Advocacy I: Understanding the Power of Your Music0
MUSC 100LRecital Class Laboratory1
MUSC 117Aural Skills I1
MUSC 118Aural Skills II1
MUSC 215Music Theory II3
MUSC 217Aural Skills III1
MUSC 218Aural Skills IV1
MUSC 353History of Western Music I3
MUSC 354History of Western Music II3
Select one Music History course from the following:3
Special Topics in Musicology and Ethnomusicology
Topics in Music History
Select two Theory Electives from the following courses:6
Twentieth-Century Techniques and Materials
Topics in Music Theory
Jazz Theory I
Jazz Theory II
Form and Analysis
Post-Tonal Music Theory
Analytical Studies
Seminar in Music Theory
Applied Music Courses 1
MUSC 111A-MUSC 111Z12
Select 8 semesters 28
Total Credit Hours43

Must be completed satisfactorily for a minimum of six semesters & 12 hours of credit.


Students must complete 8 semesters of ensembles, with a minimum of 4 semesters in a major ensemble most closely related to their primary instrument. Students must declare a primary instrument upon acceptance into the program. The major ensembles are: Marching Band, Symphonic Winds, Wind Ensemble, University Orchestra, Concert Choir, & University Chorus. Ensembles require an audition for membership. Regulations for attendance at ensemble rehearsals & performances are different from regulations for class attendance. Members of ensembles are expected to be present at every rehearsal & performance, unless excused by the conductor. Courses which qualify for the Chamber Music requirement (minimum 1 semester) include all MUSC 130 courses with a suffix of A-Z and topics in: Voice, String, Percussion, Wind, Guitar, and Keyboard. Students who choose to complete the Musical Theatre concentration must complete 4 semesters/hours of musical theatre ensemble, selected from MUSC 130M and MUSC 450.  Students whose applied focus is jazz may satisfy the major ensemble requirement by enrolling in MUSC 131. Students enrolling in an ensemble to fulfill a  degree requirement must register for at least 1 credit hour each semester.

Major Electives (6 hours)

Students must complete a minimum of 6 hours of music major electives, including MUED 155 & MUED 156 (or demonstration of piano proficiency is required), if needed, or MUSC 278 for those whose primary medium is voice. Students who choose to complete the Music Theatre Concentration must choose MUSC 278 or MUSC 500 as two hours of their Major Electives.

Concentration in Musical Theatre (18 hours) optional

Students who choose to complete a concentration in Musical Theatre may not also choose to complete a Theatre Minor.

Course Title Credits
DANC 102BBallet Technique I2
DANC 112BContemporary Dance Technique I2
DANC 178Jazz Dance Technique I2
THEA 240Beginning Voice and Speech3
THEA 270Beginning Acting3
THEA 280Elements of Design for Theatre Production3
THEA 370Intermediate Acting3
Total Credit Hours18

Major Map

A major map is a layout of required courses in a given program of study, including critical courses and suggested course sequences to ensure a clear path to graduation.

Major maps are only a suggested or recommended sequence of courses required in a program of study. Please contact your academic advisor for assistance in the application of specific coursework to a program of study and course selection and planning for upcoming semesters.

Music, B.A.

Music, B.A. Musical Theatre