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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 into 52A or higher on the Musicianship Placement Exam.

MUSIC MINOR COURSES MUSIC MAJOR COURSE EQUIVALENT
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.

About the Musicianship Minor Requirement:

For those with a strong background in music including aural training and sight singing, the Music 20A requirement toward the Music Minor may be waived by successfully completing the Musicianship Placement Exam. This exam is given at the beginning of each Fall and Spring semester.

Waiving the 20A Minor requirement can be done by clearly demonstrating all of the following on the Musicianship Placement Exam:

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).

This will be given as a very short timed exam in which questions about the previous must be answered within approximately 15-20 seconds per question.

2). 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. (Click here to view a demonstration of a successful attempt at the sight singing portion of the exam.)

3). Ability to recognize aurally the following:

  • Relative diatonic pitch intervals up to an octave;
  • Melodic contour; AND
  • Basic metric patterning

4). A reasonable level of accomplishment as a vocal and/or instrumental performer.

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 should review the syllabus and see if they have already mastered the content covered in the course.

Students who successfully waive the Music 20A Minor requirement via the Musicianship Placement Exam are still required to take Music 25.

For questions about Music 20A or the Musicianship Placement Exam, please contact Matthew Hough at hough@berkeley.edu.

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 dpereira@berkeley.edu.

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 should start taking required Music courses prior to their declaration. Once enrolled in the final course(s) to complete the Music Minor, students should complete the Completion of L&S Minor form and submit it to the Music Department main office in 104 Morrison to declare. Regardless of the student’s major and whether there is a possibility of course overlap, the major advisor must sign off in section two of the form. Once declared, the notation “Music UG” will appear under Minor on the My Academics tab in CalCentral, below the student’s photo. Minor declaration is generally processed twice in the semester: around the 8th week of instruction and at the end of the semester.

The department will verify a student’s completion of minor requirements at the end of their Expected Graduation Term (EGT) using their unofficial transcript online, when all the listed courses receive a final grade. No further action by the student is needed unless otherwise notified. If a student does not successfully complete all minor requirements by the end of their last term, the department will not certify the completion of minor, and the student should seek advising from their college advisor.

If approved, the completion of the Music Minor will be noted in the “memorandum” section on the transcript. It will not appear on the diploma.