Music Studies, Minor

Program Code: MUSST_UMNR

Program Description

The minor in music studies provides students the opportunity to conduct a focused study on music theory, history, and literature. The minor may also serve as an important adjunct to other studies such as speech pathology and audiology, speech communication, or broadcasting. Some students choose to add the music studies minor as a balancing influence to coursework in their majors; others relate music studies directly to their major.

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 have skills and an interest in music theory and music history and would like to continue playing or singing in ensembles while pursuing a degree outside music.

Entrance to Minor

Admission to the minor depends upon the ability to read musical notation, which is assessed by a music theory assessment test offered during the annual audition days for students at University Park or by contacting the music program director at the various commonwealth campuses to schedule an assessment.

Additional Information

For more specific information on entrance procedures, please visit the website for the College of Arts and Architecture.

Program Requirements

Requirement Credits
Requirements for the Minor 21

Requirements for the Minor

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor, as specified by Senate Policy 59-10. In addition, at least six credits of the minor must be unique from the prescribed courses required by a student's major(s).

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
MUSIC 131Music Theory I2
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 9 credits from one of the following sequences:9
Sequence 1
Music Theory II
Music Theory III
Analysis of Twentieth Century Music
Survey of Music History I Keystone/General Education Course
Survey of Music History II Keystone/General Education Course
Sequence 2
Film Music Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Music History
Critical Approaches to Hip-Hop Keystone/General Education Course
Jazz and the African American Experience Keystone/General Education Course
The Music of the Beatles and American Popular Culture Keystone/General Education Course
Survey of Music History I Keystone/General Education Course
Survey of Music History II Keystone/General Education Course
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits at the 400-level in MUSIC6
Select 4 credits in ensembles4

Learning Outcomes

  • 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.

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.


University Park

Margaret Higgins
Academic Adviser
104 Borland Building
University Park, PA 16802


Adam Gustafson
Assistant Teaching Professor of Music
W355 Olmsted Building
Middletown, PA 17057

Career Paths

A minor in music studies lays the foundation for graduates to integrate their love and knowledge of music into any career path.


When paired with the student’s primary area of study, this minor develops a skill set that can be applied in almost any career field. 



University Park

233 Music Building I
University Park, PA 16802


W355 Olmsted Building
Middletown, PA 17057