Honors Program in Music

Qualifying for the Honors Program

Students with a 3.5 GPA in the major and 3.3 GPA overall may apply for admission to the Honors Program.

The award of departmental Honors is contingent upon submission of a thesis or project of high quality, based upon independent study with a member of the Music Department’s faculty and marked by satisfactory completion of Music H195. The faculty sponsor will evaluate whether the project is of Honors quality. Departmental Honors designations will be included in the student’s permanent UC Berkeley record. The Music Department maintains a file of select completed Honors theses, which are available for review.


Students are required to enroll in Music H195 (4 units) in the semester in which they complete the thesis. In case of a year-long project as agreed upon in the application proposal, honors candidates may repeat the course once. Music H195 may be used to count toward the 24 upper-division units required for the major once; if repeated, only one Music H195 class may count toward upper division electives.

Upon conclusion of the project, students are required to submit the work to their faculty sponsor for evaluation, and furnish a copy to the Music Department for archive. Submit the archive copy to 104 Morrison no later than 1 week after final grades are released.

Suggested Timeline

Junior Year (Spring):
Set a thesis topic; outline thesis project.
Secure a faculty sponsor

Summer between Junior and Senior Year:
Work on the design of the project

Senior Year (Fall or Spring):
Enroll in Music H195 (application due first week). For semester-long projects, students may choose to complete the thesis in Fall or Spring and enroll in Music H195 in the same semester. For year-long projects, students should start in the Fall semester.


Students must complete a signed Special Studies Application to enroll in Music H195 and attach a project proposal. Download application here or pick up a hard copy at the reception area in 104 Morrison during business hours (Monday-Friday, 9am-12pm, and 1-4pm).

Students must submit the application and an outline of the research proposal for approval to their Music faculty sponsor prior to submitting to the Undergraduate Advisor. The project proposal should outline a specific plan and include the following information:

  • Project objectives, description, and scope
  • Work procedures/methodology
  • Tentative timeline
  • Student’s responsibility
  • Faculty sponsor’s commitment
  • Additional readings/requirements (if applicable)

Sample Questions to consider in your proposal:

  • What question(s) will your thesis attempt to address?
  • Will there be collaboration with other individuals, such as fellow students or graduate students, etc.? Keep in mind that the honors thesis must be your original, independent work. You must articulate any potential collaboration.
  • What coursework, which you have completed, is relevant to your study?
  • How will the faculty sponsor be involved, support, or supervisor your endeavor?
Signed applications are due to the Music Department front office at 104 Morrison by 12pm on the Friday of the first week of instruction.

The completed application will be reviewed for approval (primarily GPA eligibility). Once approved, enrollment information will be emailed to students. It is the student’s responsibility to enroll in the course as soon as the information is received but no later than the Add/Drop Deadline.

Faculty Sponsor

Students should maintain close contact with their faculty sponsor to ensure clear communication on the direction of the thesis project and expectations of the professor. Students are encouraged to submit a draft of the honors thesis to the instructor mid-semester for comments before the final copy is produced.