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.
  • 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. Intending minors who have:

  • Some musical accomplishment (ability to sing, play an instrument or compose music) and mastery of music theory rudiments and would like to place out of the requirement should speak to a student affairs officer about taking a 15-minute oral waiver test. The waiver test will include sight singing in major and minor modes, in simple and compound meters; identification of major and minor key signatures; singing and spelling of major and three forms of minor scales; singing and identification of intervals; and singing and spelling of chord functions in various keys, i.e. “sing and spell iv and V7 in the key of F-sharp minor.”
  • Those with training in four-part harmony writing who would like to place out of 25A or 49C should take the Advanced Placement Harmony Exam which is given at 3:00 the day before instruction begins in the Fall and Spring semesters.
  • Those who have had a survey course at another school should see one of the Student Services Advisors in the Music Department Office.

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.

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 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
  • 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.