Music, B.A.

Program Code: MUSBA_BA

Program Description

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Music combines a broad liberal education with a selection of courses in Music. The degree is designed to develop basic musicianship, the ability to perform, and a set of principles that leads to a fuller intellectual grasp of the art.

The B.A. in Music degree program includes a General Music Studies Option and an additional option in Music Technology.

Students are required to pass a piano proficiency examination, enroll in a core ensemble for two semesters, and satisfactorily complete a senior project.

What is Music?

Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni said “music is sonorous air.” A more scientific definition might be “sounds organized in time.” With a history that likely pre-dates language, music is an in integral part of all societies for expression, communication and the fostering of community. In the words of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, “without music, life would be a mistake.”

You Might Like This Program If...

You’re looking for an educational experience that develops your musicianship, scholarship, and performance skills through broad-based study in all areas of music. For those students interested in music technology, an option in the B.A. provides a focus in this area. If you are looking to earn two degrees, the B.A. combines well with a degree outside of music.

Entrance to Major

Application for admittance into the program requires completion of a two-year core of music and General Education courses.

Entrance Procedures

Incoming First Year Students

Incoming first year students must apply to Penn State. Decision is based on both an academic review and successful audition. Detailed information on audition requirements and scheduling can be found at: https://music.psu.edu/audition-req/ugrad. Students will enter the AAMUS pre-major upon successful application for admission and audition.

Change of Major/Change of Campus Students

Change of Major/Change of Campus students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above and successful audition. Detailed information on audition requirements and scheduling can be found at: https://music.psu.edu/audition-req/ugrad. Auditions to enter AAMUS pre-major can be scheduled through the online scheduling form beginning October 1st – February 1st.

Transfer Students

Transfer students must apply to Penn State. Decision is based on both an academic review and successful audition. Detailed information on audition requirements and scheduling can be found at: https://music.psu.edu/audition-req/ugrad. Auditions to enter AAMUS pre-major can be scheduled through the online scheduling form beginning October 1st – February 1st.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, a minimum of 120 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 0-1
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 51-74

1-21 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes: General Music Studies Option: 1-3 credits of GA courses; Music Technology Option: 6 credits of GA courses, 6 credits of GQ courses, 9 credits of GN courses.

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Common Requirements for the Major (All Options)

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
MUSIC 101Music Common Hour1
MUSIC 119First-Year Music Seminar2
MUSIC 121Basic Musicianship I1
MUSIC 122Basic Musicianship II1
MUSIC 131Music Theory I2
MUSIC 132Music Theory II2
MUSIC 162Introduction to Music History2
MUSIC 221Basic Musicianship III1
MUSIC 222Basic Musicianship IV1
MUSIC 231Music Theory III2
MUSIC 261Survey of Music History I Keystone/General Education Course3
MUSIC 262Survey of Music History II Keystone/General Education Course3
MUSIC 331Tonal Analysis2
MUSIC 332Analysis of Twentieth Century Music2
MUSIC 476WB.A. Senior Project3
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits in applied music through Level IV of Primary6
Select 4 credits of ensembles (see School of Music Handbook for list of ensembles)4
Requirements for the Option
Requirements for the Option: Require a grade of C or better
Select an option13-36

Requirements for the Option

General Music Studies Option (13-15 credits)
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
INART 258AFundamentals of Digital Audio Keystone/General Education Course1-3
or INART 258B Fundamentals of Digital Audio Keystone/General Education Course
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 12 credits of 400-level music courses (see School of Music Handbook for specific requirements)12
Music Technology Option (36 credits)
Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
INART 50The Science of Music Keystone/General Education Course3
INART 55History of Electroacoustic Music Keystone/General Education Course3
INART 258AFundamentals of Digital Audio Keystone/General Education Course3
MATH 140Calculus With Analytic Geometry I Keystone/General Education Course4
MATH 220Matrices Keystone/General Education Course2
MUSIC 451Computer Programming for Musicians3
MUSIC 452Computer Music Synthesis3
MUSIC 453Recording Studio Training1
MUSIC 458Electronic Music Composition3
THEA 484Sound Recording Techniques3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
PHYS 250Introductory Physics I Keystone/General Education Course4
or PHYS 211 General Physics: Mechanics Keystone/General Education Course
PHYS 251Introductory Physics II Keystone/General Education Course4
or PHYS 212 General Physics: Electricity and Magnetism Keystone/General Education Course

Integrated B.A. in Music and M.A. in Music

Requirements for the Integrated B.A. in Music and M.A. in Music can be found in the Graduate Bulletin.

Learning Outcomes

General Studies

  • To hear, identify, and work conceptually with the elements of music such as rhythm, melody, harmony, structure, timbre, texture.
  • Have an understanding of and the ability to read and realize musical notation.
  • Have an understanding of compositional processes, aesthetic properties of style, and the ways these shape and are shaped by artistic and cultural forces.
  • Have an acquaintance with a wide selection of musical literature, the principal eras, genres, and cultural sources.
  • Performing skills on chosen instrument/voice to present accurate and artistic performances.

Music Technology

The above learning outcomes plus:

  • Understanding of music technology as an integrated field.
  • Understanding of fundamental science, engineering, and math content underlying acoustics and electronic technologies employed in music technology.
  • Ability to integrate and synthesize basic musical and technological knowledge and skills in the conceptualization of music technology projects.
  • Ability to produce work in at least one area of integrative music technology, or to produce undergraduate-level research or scholarly work in integrative music technology.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

University Park

Margaret Higgins
Academic Adviser
104 Borland Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-9523
mah68@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2021-22 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

General Music Option: Music, B.A. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MUSIC 119*2ENGL 15, 15A, or 30H3
MUSIC 121*1MUSIC 122*1
MUSIC 131*2MUSIC 132*2
Foreign Language4MUSIC 162*2
General Education Course3Foreign Language4
General Education Course3Supporting Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*12
 15 14
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MUSIC 221*1ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3
MUSIC 231*2MUSIC 222*1
MUSIC 262*3MUSIC 261*3
Additional Course for Option*21-3MUSIC 331*2
Foreign Language4General Education Course3
General Education Course3Supporting Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*12
Supporting Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*12Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11
Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11 
 17-19 15
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MUSIC 3322CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C3
General Education Course (US)3BA Knowledge Domain Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11
Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11Supporting Course for Option, 400-level (see note)*33
Supporting Course for Option, 400-level (see note)*33 
 15 13
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
BA Knowledge Domain Course3MUSIC 1011
BA Knowledge Domain Course3MUSIC 476W*3
General Education Course3Elective6
General Education Course (GHW)1.5General Education Course (GHW)1.5
Other Cultures Course3Supporting Course for Option, 400-level (see note)*33
Supporting Course for Option, 400-level (see note)*33 
 16.5 14.5
Total Credits 120-122

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Music Technology Option: Music, B.A. at University Park Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MATH 140 (GQ)*‡†4ENGL 15, 15A, or 30H3
MUSIC 119*2MUSIC 122*1
MUSIC 121*1MUSIC 132*2
MUSIC 131*2MUSIC 162*†2
PHYS 211 or 250 (GN)*†24PHYS 212 or 251 (GN)*†24
Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11Supporting Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*12
 Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11
 14 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
INART 50 (GN)*†3INART 258A (GA)*†3
MUSIC 2211MUSIC 222*1
MUSIC 231*2MUSIC 261 (IL)*†3
MUSIC 262 (GA; IL)*†3MUSIC 331*2
Foreign Language4Foreign Language4
Supporting Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*12Supporting Course for Major, Applied Music (see note)*12
Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11Supporting Course for Major, Ensemble (see note)*11
 16 16
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3CAS 100A, 100B, or 100C3
MATH 220*†2INART 55*3
MUSIC 332*2MUSIC 452*3
THEA 484*3MUSIC 458*3
BA Knowledge Domain Course3BA Knowledge Domain Course3
Foreign Language4 
 17 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
MUSIC 453*1MUSIC 101*1
BA Knowledge Domain Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course3
General Education Course3General Education Course (GHW)1.5
General Education Course (GHW)1.5MUSIC 451*3
Other Cultures Course3MUSIC 476W*3
 14.5 14.5
Total Credits 122

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

All incoming Schreyer Honors College first-year students at University Park will take ENGL 137H/CAS 137H in the fall semester and ENGL 138T/CAS 138T in the spring semester. These courses carry the GWS designation and replace both ENGL 30H and CAS 100. Each course is 3 credits.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Career Paths

The Bachelor of Arts in Music program provides students with a strong foundation in all areas of music. Students on the general music studies track may pursue a wide range of potential careers, as well as graduate study in more specialized areas of music. Students on the music technology track develop a range of knowledge and skills that prepare graduates for numerous career options and graduate study opportunities.

Careers

A wide range of careers is possible for graduates of the B.A. in music program’s general studies option. From performance to arts management to entrepreneurial pursuits, the possibilities are extensive. Graduates of the music technology option have the skills and knowledge to pursue careers in many areas of the field. Producers, acoustic consultants, sound technicians, audio and sound engineers, recording engineers and mixers, music editors, sound designers, and audio developers are just some of the careers that use music technology.

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Graduates of the B.A. in music program are prepared to pursue graduate study in a more specialized area of music, including performance, theory and composition, conducting, technology, musicology, and more!

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDIES

Accreditation

The Penn State School of Music is accredited through the National Association of Schools of Music. NASM is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges, and universities with approximately 650 accredited institutional members. It establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials for music and music-related disciplines, and provides assistance to institutions and individuals engaged in artistic, scholarly, educational, and other music-related endeavors.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS OF MUSIC

Contact

University Park

SCHOOL OF MUSIC
233 Music Building I
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-0431
music-ug-adm@psu.edu

http://music.psu.edu