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Minor Program

Students may choose to complete a minor in Music, which consists of a total of 8 courses (3 lower-division and 5 upper-division courses).

General Program Policies:

  1. All courses applied to the Music Minor 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 minor courses. If a Music course is taken as Pass/No Pass, it cannot be accepted in satisfaction of the minor requirement and students must take an alternative course that fulfills the same requirement for a letter grade.
  2. A minimum 2.0 grade point average is required for courses included in the Music Minor.
  3. A minimum three of the five upper-division courses must be completed at Berkeley. Performance courses must be taken at Berkeley.
  4. No more than one upper-division course may be included in both your minor and major program.

Lower Division Course Requirements

The lower division courses for the music minor are:

  • Music 20A
  • Music 20B* or Music 25 (formerly Music 25A) and
  • Music 26AC, Music 27or Music 29.

Courses for the music major may be substituted for the equivalent minor course (on left) if student has placed 49B or higher on the Music Placement Procedure.

20A – Basic Musicianship 52A (49B) – Musicianship. Must be taken concurrently with 53A (49C) or 25A, or after 25A or 53A (49C) (see below).
20B – Basic Musicianship*, OR
25 (25A) – Introduction to Music Theory. (20A must be taken before 25A)
53A (49C) – Harmony. Must be taken before 52A (49B) or concurrently.
27 – Introduction to Western Music, OR
26AC – Music in American Culture, OR 29 – Music Now
70 or 80 with instructor approval.**

*Music 20B is no longer offered. Students should take Music 25 to complete this requirement. Students who completed Music 20B prior to the course’s withdrawal may still count it toward this minor requirement.

**Under rare circumstances, Music 70 and 80 may be used as substitution with instructor approval. However, both courses are requirements for the Music Major; enrollment in these two courses are highly competitive and prioritize declared/intended Music Majors. Prerequisites of Music 70: students must have taken and passed the Musicianship Placement Exam; be fluent in reading music notation; or have consent of instructor. Prerequisite of Music 80: for music majors and intended music majors only.

Exemption from lower division requirements

We do not accept course substitution by AP Music Theory or other examinations such as ABRSM or Certificate of Merit.

Music 20A waiver information:

For those with a strong background in aural training and sight singing, Music 20A may be waived by examination. This exam is given on an appointment-only basis. Intending minors who wish to take the waiver exam must attend the first meeting of a Music 20A class and take the oral diagnostic exam. Upon recommendation of the course section instructor, a waiver exam may be scheduled during the first three weeks of the semester.

Please note: If you think you may wish to enroll in Music 52A at any point during your time at Berkeley, it is recommended that you instead take the Musicianship Placement Exam.

Beginning Fall 2018, the waiver exam will only be applicable to Music 20A. Students who successfully waive Music 20A by examination are still required to take Music 25.

A passing grade on the 20A waiver exam can be earned by clearly demonstrating all of the following:

  1. Mastery of written music theory fundamentals (key signatures, major and minor scales, diatonic intervals and primary triads in context, rhythm, tempo and conducting patterns in simple and compound meters)
  2. Ability to conduct and perform at sight a rhythmic passage in simple meter, possibly including figures articulating the beat division and/or subdivision and including syncopation
  3. Ability to sing at sight (without the aid of an instrument) with correct movable-do solfege, accurate relative pitch relationships, good rhythm and steady tempo a diatonic melody in any key while conducting

In addition to students who have been referred following the Music 20 diagnostic exam at the beginning of the semester, the waiver exam may be offered again in late October (Fall) and/or mid-March (Spring). The exam is not offered during the last eight weeks of Fall/Spring semesters or during Summer Sessions.

The Music 20A/B waiver exam can be taken only once (no exceptions). If you are not confident that you can do all of the above, enroll in Music 20A. The sample syllabus for Music 20A is available at Course Information. Students with questions about their ability to obtain the waiver should review the syllabus and see if they have already mastered the content covered in the course.

For questions about Music 20A or the waiver exam, please contact Prof. Matthew Hough at

Music 25 (25A) waiver information:

Students may not waive Music 25 (25A). Those with training in four-part harmony writing who would like to place out of 25A should take the Advanced Placement Harmony Exam. If placed out of 25A or 53A, students should take the next level of harmony course.

For questions about Music 25 or the Advanced Harmony Placement Exam, please contact Prof. David Pereira at

Upper Division Course Requirements

All courses for the minor 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 minor courses.

A minimum of 5 upper division music courses (100-149).

  • At least one course must be in the 140 series.
  • At least one course must not be in the 140 series.
  • Courses that may be repeated for credit may count towards the minor a maximum of three times.
  • Three of the five upper division courses must be completed at UC Berkeley.

Upper division courses designed primarily for music majors (151-189) may be substituted if the student has met the prerequisites or has the permission of the instructor.

Procedure for Declaration and Confirmation of the Minor

Unlike a major, there is no formal “declaration” of intent to minor in Music. Students declare the Music Minor by completing a Completion of L&S Minor Form, as well as a Major/Minor Overlap Check Form. The declaration and confirmation of the minor are completed in one step. Students can, and should, start taking required Music courses prior to their declaration.

Once enrolled in the final course(s) to complete the Music Minor, students should fill out the above-mentioned Completion of L&S Minor Form and Major/Minor Overlap Check Form, obtain respective major advisor’s signature (unless waived–see below), and submit to the Department of Music main office in 104 Morrison.

Students must declare the Music Minor by the semester before they plan to graduate. If students plan to complete the final course(s) for the Music Minor in their last semester, they are required to submit the above-mentioned forms as soon as they enroll in the required Music courses, but no later than the last day of instruction in the preceding semester. For example, if you intend to graduate in Fall 2017 and need one Music elective for the minor, you must submit the Completion of L&S Minor Form and the Major/Minor Overlap Check Form, and list the said elective as “enrolled,” as soon as you are enrolled in the course in October or November 2017.

Students in the following L&S majors do not need to complete the “L&S Major” portion of the Major/Minor Overlap Check Form or obtain their major advisor’s signature:

  • Applied Math
  • Astrophysics
  • Economics
  • Integrative Biology
  • Legal Studies
  • Math
  • Molecular & Cell Biology
  • Political Science
  • Public Health
  • Social Welfare

The Completion of L&S Minor and Major/Minor Overlap Check Form will be reviewed for approval when all the listed courses receive a final grade. If the form is approved, it will be sent to the Registrar’s Office for processing, where the completion of the minor will be noted in the “memorandum” section on your transcript. It will not appear on your diploma.