Music Minor

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.


Minor requirements

Lower Division Course Requirements

The lower division courses for the music minor are:

  • Music 20A
  • Music 20B or 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
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.*

*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.

The Music Placement Exam is given in 125 Morrison at 9 am the day before instruction begins during the Fall and Spring semesters. Come prepared with a piece to play or sing, and a pencil with an eraser. For more information, see the Music Placement Procedure page.

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. Check the repeat rule of each course in the Berkeley Academic Guide.
  • 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.


Exemption from lower division requirements

We do not accept course substitution by AP Music Theory or coursework from community college. However, Music 20A and B may be waived by examination. The Music 20A/B Minor Waiver Exam is a 15-minute oral test. It is appropriate for intending minors who:

  • Have some musical accomplishment (ability to sing, play an instrument or compose music) and mastery of music theory rudiments;
  • Sing music at sight in major & minor modes, and in simple & compound meters;
  • Identify major and minor key signatures; sing and spell major and three forms of minor scales in any key; sing and identify intervals; sing and spell chord functions in various keys, e.g. “sing and spell iv and V7 in the key of F-sharp minor.”

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.

Students may not waive Music 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.

To request Music 20A/B waiver, please contact Prof. Matthew Hough at


Procedure for Declaration and Confirmation of the Minor

Unlike a major, there is no formal “declaration” of intent to minor in Music. Students can, and should, start taking required Music courses prior to declaration.

Students declare the Music Minor by completing a Completion of L&S Minor Form, as well as a Major/Minor Overlap Check Form, once they are enrolled in the final course(s) to complete the Music Minor. Be sure to obtain respective major advisor’s signature (unless waived–see below), and submit to the Department of Music main office in 104 Morrison (no appointment necessary).

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 completed and signed forms, 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
  • Social Welfare

Declaration of the minor is confirmed when “Music UG” appears under Minors on student’s CalCentral profile. Completion of the minor will be reviewed and approved when all the listed courses receive a final grade. If certified, the completion of the minor will be noted in the “memorandum” section on your transcript. It will not appear on your diploma.