Program of Study (CAS Bulletin)
Major and Minor in MusicThe breadth and depth of knowledge offered by the major provides an excellent foundation for academic, creative, and performance work, offering a solid set of applied critical and listening abilities demanded of musicians and listeners today. The major is equally ideal for students seeking careers requiring a solid liberal arts background and strong analytical and critical skills, and for students interested in the humanities but for whom sonic culture is a central element. The music major cultivates the ability to interpret and analyze music as both text and performance. As such, the major program of studies and our faculty's specializations offer superb foundations for further advanced studies in music and disciplines such as American studies, anthropology, comparative literature, linguistic and cultural anthropology, Native American studies, popular culture, gender studies, Western and Central European culture and history, Slavic studies, Latin American and Latino studies, media studies, performance studies, and theatre.
A total of ten courses (40 points) is required for the music major:
- Harmony and Counterpoint I-IV (MUSIC-UA 201-204)
- Two courses on the history of European music (MUSIC-UA 101-104)
- Four additional courses numbered above MUSIC-UA 100 (except MUSIC-UA 505-508), one of which must be in the area of ethnomusicology
Note that courses in the Harmony and Counterpoint sequence must be taken serially. A diagnostic exam to determine placement in Harmony and Counterpoint is administered each semester.
All departmental courses must be passed with a grade of C or better to count toward the major.
Only 4 points of performance course work (ensembles and/or lessons) can count toward the major.
A total of four courses (16 points) is required for the music minor:
- One course chosen from The Elements of Music (MUSIC-UA 20) or Harmony and Counterpoint I-IV (MUSIC-UA 201-204)
- One course on the history of European music (MUSIC-UA 101-104)
- One course in ethnomusicology or anthropology of music (MUSIC-UA 151, MUSIC-UA 153, MUSIC-UA 155, MUSIC-UA 182)
- One additional course numbered above MUSIC-UA 100
All departmental courses must be passed with a grade of C or better to count toward the minor.
Only 4 points of performance course work (ensembles and/or lessons) can count toward the minor.
Double majors are available through the Department of Music. Please see the department's website for details on declaring the double major.
For instructions on how to declare a major or minor, please visit the department's website.
Declaring a Music Major or Minor
Highly motivated students may take part in the department's honors program, which culminates during the senior year with an independent study supervised by a faculty member. Students wishing to graduate with honors must take the department's Proseminar in Music (MUSIC-UA 200); they then register for a semester or more of Independent Study (MUSIC-UA 997 or 998) in which they complete a capstone project in musicology or music history, ethnomusicology, analysis, or composition. This might take the form of an analytical or historiographic study of a major work or group of works, the writing of a musical composition of substantial dimensions, or a biographical study of a composer, all under the guidance of a faculty member. Finally, students must maintain a GPA of 3.65 both in the major and overall.
Honors, Scholarships, and Prizes
For general requirements, see the Honors and Awards section of this bulletin. A student wishing to pursue departmental honors should apply to the director of undergraduate studies.
There are also three departmental prizes that the department awards to exceptional students. These are listed in the Awards and Prizes section of this Bulletin.
Students pursuing a major or minor in music, and indeed all students in the College of Arts and Science, are encouraged to participate in musical performance, lessons, and ensembles. We believe that the joys of making music, the dedication and study necessary to perform music, and the collective effort required of ensemble participants constitute an inimitable experience that should have a central place in a liberal arts education. Students can participate in the Collegium Musicum early music ensemble, the NYU Orchestra, and many of the lesson programs and ensembles associated with the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development's Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions. Students are also urged to attend concerts of the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society.
In addition to participation in the various performance ensembles, the department encourages students to partake vigorously of the cultural life of New York City. Our students are entitled to discounted tickets to the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, concerts of the World Music Institute, concerts of the Kalavant Center for Indian Music and Dance, and many other music-presenting organizations. We work closely with and support the activities of cultural organizations such as the Center for Traditional Music and Dance, Music Before 1800, the Archives of Contemporary Music, and AfroPop Worldwide, among many others. A listing and description of music organizations at New York University is available from the department or the Center for Music Performance.