Major Requirements (Sp’16 & Prior)

Requirements for the Music Major

Applicable students admitted to UC Berkeley in Spring 2016 or prior

Lower Division

  • Musicianship series (49B, 50, 51)
  • Harmony series (49C, 60, 61)
  • History and Culture series: 4 courses from 73-77 as follows:
    • 76 (18th and 19th Centuries)
    • One section of 73-74 (topics in the musics of the world)
      • Note: Junior Transfers must take upper division equivalent (Music 130-139).
    • 75 (music to 1700) or 77 (20th Century)
    • Another section of 73-74 or the remaining course in Western history

All courses counting towards Music Major lower and upper division requirements must be taken for a letter grade. A letter grade of C- or higher must be received in all of your lower and upper division Music Major courses. Additionally, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in the major to be in good standing.

The first semester of the major is an integrated introductory course that combines musicianship (49B) and harmony (49C). It is recommended that students with limited keyboard skills take Music 405 as well. Students are required to make an appointment with a Music Department Advisior at the beginning of their first semester to plan their program for future semesters. Students will go on to develop their basic skills with two additional semesters of both musicianship (50, 51) and harmony (60, 61). At the same time, they will broaden their knowledge of past and present musical cultures with four courses from the 73-77 series. All majors must take Music 76 (Western music history 1700-1900). In addition they must choose one or two courses from the Music 73-74 series (Music of Africa, Caribbean, Japan, Middle East, etc), and one or two from Music 75 (Western music history 900-1700) and 77 (Western music history 1900 to the present).

Students without keyboard proficiency are strongly urged to enroll in two semesters of basic piano (Music 405) in their first semesters in the major program.

Upper Division (24 units)

  • One seminar from the 170-189 series
  • 21 additional units of music major courses from 130-189 and upper division music courses from 100-129 with an M suffix. Students must include at least three performance classes in the 140 series or in conjunction with the 150 series.

All students must complete one course from the 170-180 series (seminars in analysis and performance), which offer more focused study of a composer or musical genre of Western or non-Western music, taught from a variety of perspectives.

In addition students are required to take three semesters of performance from the 140 (2 units) or 150 (2-3 units) series, provided that they are in an ensemble in conjunction with their 150 lessons. Although these courses are upper division, they may be taken at any point in the student’s career. The 140 series consists of the department’s large performance ensembles and is open both to majors and non-majors. The 150 series is for music majors (by audition) who would like to receive subsidized lessons and coaching and also participate in smaller chamber ensembles. See Performance Program for Music Majors for more information.

Most significant to the completion of the music major’s course of study are the remaining elective units necessary to reach a total of at least 24 upper division units in the major. These courses are to be chosen from those numbered 130-189 or from those courses numbered 100-129 with an “M” designation. Students are expected to shape their program according to their particular interests, using these units and, if they wish, additional courses from both within and outside the department (with departmental approval). Suggested areas of specialization include composition, musics of the world, western music history, conducting, performance , improvisation, theory and analysis, cognitive science and music technology. At least once every semester students need to meet with their advisers to discuss their program, obtain their advisor codes and have their elective courses approved.

The College of Letters and Science requires that all music majors complete 36 upper division units. In addition to the 24 units required for the music major (see above), students must complete 6 units that are outside of the major, and 6 units that are either in or out of the major.

For those thinking of graduate school or a career in music the department has outlined a number of programs of study at the careers page.