Jul 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
2024-2025 Catalog

Music, B.A.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Colleges and Program Offerings

Program of Study

The Music major presents all aspects of music as integral parts of a complete music education; students in the major are expected to learn the language of music through the study of theory, history, performance, composition, and technology. While doing so, they will investigate various musical cultures, create their own original music or interpretations of others’ music, communicate with an audience to present their completed work, and archive their work. Music is placed in a societal context and students will participate in their local music community.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Music will be able to:

  1. Articulate and demonstrate proficiency in the language of music, including scales, chords, harmony, rhythm, analysis, counterpoint, form, instrumentation, reading skills, ear-training, and music technology.
  2. Apply knowledge of musical culture in a global context including Western concert music, American popular music, and music from other global traditions.
  3. Create work in performance, music technology, improvisation and/or, composition and present work in a public forum either through recitals, installations, or presentations of technology or composition work.
  4. Demonstrate proficiency with primary instrument or voice, in solo performance, and in small or large ensembles.

In addition, students will:

- Document work in the form of recordings, papers or videos.
- Provide community service through internships or concerts in the community.
- Learn skills for a career in music or admission to graduate school.

The curriculum is designed with maximum flexibility and allows the student to create his/her own course of study under advisement from one of the music faculty. Music majors might emphasize one of several areas, including performance, music technology, composition, and world music, or a combination of two or more of these areas. After completing a core of lower-division courses, the student becomes more focused in upper-division coursework. All students present a capstone project in their last semester of the senior year.

Educational and Career Opportunities

The Music major is designed so that graduates will be adequately prepared to pursue careers in music or to enter graduate school. Students graduating with a B.A. in Music have numerous employment opportunities upon graduation. These include private music teaching, sound or recording technology, performance, composition, teaching in primary and secondary school, or work in the music industry.

Admission to the Major

Entering freshman are expected to be proficient on piano, voice, or an orchestral/band instrument.  These skills can be acquired either through participation in performance ensembles in high school or through private study.  Accordingly, knowledge of music fundamentals and the ability to read standard music notation is also expected.  Students without these skills can complete coursework at either local (Palomar, MiraCosta) or regional community colleges - as their core music curriculum complements CSUSM.  

Students entering at the junior level must have completed the lower-division core coursework before pursuing upper-division coursework at CSUSM.  Contact the Department Chair for additional information regarding performance proficiencies and/or course-work at: ccheng@csusm.edu.

Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Arts in Music

All courses counted toward the major, including Preparation for the Major courses, must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better.

General Education (48 Units)

General Education Requirements  

Preparation for the Major (32 Units)


*Three (3) lower-division units in Area C1 (Arts) of General Education  are automatically satisfied by courses taken in Preparation for the Major.

Major Requirements (26 Units)


The student in the Music major works with a faculty advisor to design a plan of coursework that addresses his/her individual needs. Courses are selected from the broad categories listed below. In some cases, independent study work may be substituted for courses not offered (under advisement).

Ensemble Courses (2 Units)

Select two semesters of ensemble (1 unit each, ensembles may be repeated)

Studio Courses (6 Units)

A total of six (6) units from advanced theory, composition, technology, instrumental instruction, ensembles: MUSC 301 , MUSC 303 , MUSC 305 , MUSC 306 , MUSC 307 , MUSC 308 , MUSC 309 MUSC 310 , MUSC 311 , MUSC 312 MUSC 313 , MUSC 340 , MUSC 389 , MUSC 390 , MUSC 391 , MUSC 392 , MUSC 394 , MUSC 395 , MUSC 396 MUSC 397 , MUSC 402  

(Students emphasizing performance will need four semesters of MUSC 340 , and an additional two semesters of MUSC 389 , MUSC 390 , MUSC 391 , MUSC 392 , MUSC 394 , MUSC 395 , MUSC 396 MUSC 397 .)

Survey of World Music Course (3 Units)

Upper-Division Electives in Music (9 Units)

Nine (9) units from other upper-division MUSC courses. May not double-count courses taken as electives for another requirement.

Capstone Project (3 Units)

Minimum Total (120 Units)

Students must take a sufficient number of elective units to bring the total number of units to a minimum of 120

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Colleges and Program Offerings