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Conrad Prebys Music Center

All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice.

Undergraduate courses offered in the Department of Music satisfy a wide range of interests for non-music majors as well as for students majoring in music. Students wishing to acquire a musical background to support further study should take MUS 1A-B-C, which develops skills musicians use in the analysis and performance of music. Students interested in “music appreciation” should choose from the following courses that introduce aspects of the rich heritage of music: MUS 4–18. None of these courses has prerequisites. Students with prior musical background who wish to continue in upper-division theory courses should take MUS 2A-B-C in lieu of MUS 1A-B-C.

Music, Music Humanities, and ICAM Major Programs

The undergraduate program at UC San Diego offers a bachelor of arts in music, music humanities, and ICAM (Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts). The curriculum emphasizes the development of musical listening and performance skills as applied to both contemporary and traditional music.

The music major is intended for students who may choose to engage in music as a profession. This major thus requires extensive development of musical skills. A student without the appropriate level of those skills upon entrance to UC San Diego must devote considerable time to attaining them, either in lower-division courses or independent study.

The music/humanities major is intended for students who wish to pursue a broad liberal arts program that includes music as a central element. This program emphasizes music history and literature, and allows the individual student to select an area of interest for the major within the broad field of the humanities.

The interdisciplinary computing and the arts major is intended for students who wish to pursue the field of music specializing in the art and technology of our time. Below is a detailed description of this major.

Music Major Requirements

The lower-division prerequisites for the music major are MUS 2A-B-C, and MUS 2AK-BK-CK. Jazz emphasis students take MUS 2JK in lieu of 2CK. To continue within the major, all students must pass Music 2C or an equivalent proficiency exam. Composition emphasis students must take Music 33A-B-C, Introduction to Composition I, II, and III, or take a proficiency exam for the three-quarter sequence course. All required music major courses must be taken for a letter grade, with the exception of MUS 143, which is taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis. All courses to be counted toward satisfying the major requirements must be passed with a grade of C or better.

To complete the music major the following courses are required.

  1. Musicianship: MUS 2A-B-C, MUS 2AK-BK, and either MUS 2CK or MUS 2JK
  2. Ensemble performance: Any three of MUS 95B–W, 130, 131, 133, or 134 (One of these may be repeated for credit.)
  3. Music Theory: MUS 101A-B-C
  4. Music History: MUS 120A-B-C
  5. Theory/History/Literature electives: any three of MUS 102, 106, 107, 110–116, 126, 127, 137A-B-C, 150–153
  6. Area of Emphasis: Any three courses from the following:
    • Composition: MUS 103A-B-C (Prerequisite: MUS 33A-B-C)
    • Performance: MUS 132, 132V (May be repeated for credit)
    • Jazz and the African Diaspora: MUS 105, 126, 127, 150–153
    • Technology: MUS 170–173, 174A-B-C, 175, 176, 177, PSYCH 138
    • Literature: MUS 107–116, 126, 127, 150–153
  7. Department Seminar: MUS 43 (Every quarter registered as a music major)

Music/Humanities Major Requirements

The prerequisite for the music/humanities major is Music 1A-B-C (or 2A-B-C, if qualified). To complete the major the following courses are required:

  1. MUS 120A-B-C
  2. Three courses chosen from MUS 107-116, 126, 127, and 150, of which at least one must be 107, 110, 116, or 150
  3. A coherent set of six upper-division courses selected from the humanities or fine arts (including music) that focuses on a specific topic, chosen in consultation with the music/humanities academic adviser
  4. Any three of MUS 95B–W, 130, 131, 133, or 134 (One of these may be repeated for credit.)
  5. MUS 143 every quarter

Students interested in this major should confer with the music/humanities faculty adviser to work out a course of study, which must be submitted at the beginning of the junior year for the adviser’s written approval.

Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts (ICAM) Major Requirements

The goals of the ICAM program are to

  • prepare the next generation of artists who will be functioning in a computer-mediated culture
  • give students necessary technical, theoretical, and historical backgrounds so they can contribute to the development of new aesthetics for computer media
  • prepare students to mediate between the worlds of computer science and technology, the arts, and the culture at large by being equally proficient with computing and cultural concepts
  • give students sufficient understanding of the trajectories of development in computing so they can anticipate and work with the emerging trends, rather than being locked in particular software currently available on the market.

All courses taken to satisfy major requirements must be taken for a letter grade, and only grades of C– or better will be accepted in the major. To complete the major, the following courses are required:

  1. Theory/History: VIS 41 and one of MUS 4, 6, 7, 13, 14
  2. Beginning Practice: one of MUS 1A, 2A, 5, VIS 1, 2, 3, 60, 80
  3. Restricted electives: any two of MUS 1B, 2B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, VIS 22, 70N
  4. Mathematics: either Math 20A-B, Math 10A-B-C, Math 15A, or CSE 20
  5. Programming: either CS 11 or CS 8A-B
  6. Visitor Series: either four quarters of MUS 43 or one quarter of VIS 10
  7. Foundation: any three of MUS 170, 171, VIS 142, 145A
  8. Practice: any two of MUS 171, 172, 173, 174A-B-C, 176, 177, TDDE 141, VIS 149, 109, 131, 132, 141A-B, 145B, 147A-B, 174, 143
  9. Advanced Practice: one of MUS 172, 174B-C, VIS 141B, 145B, 147B
  10. History: one of MUS 114, VIS 159
  11. Theory/History: one of MUS 101A-B-C, 111, 114, 126, 127, 175, VIS 151, 152, 152D, 153, 154, 155, 156, 158, 159, 194S, PSYC 138
  12. Electives: any two additional courses chosen from the Practice, Advanced Practice, or Theory/History categories above, and/or MUS 198, MUS 199, VIS 198, VIS 199, AIP 197
  13. Senior Project: MUS 160A-B

Recommendations for Transfer Students

Students who plan to transfer into the music major should have strong skills in basic musicianship. For those planning to emphasize performance, solid proficiency on the instrument is required. A general course in the history of music is recommended. All transfer students must pass a proficiency examination in MUS 2C. Basic Musicianship, and MUS 2CK. Basic Keyboard, or take the two sequence courses. To verify the acceptability of transfer music courses, students must make an appointment with the undergraduate staff adviser.

To major in ICAM, transfer students should attempt to complete the following lower-division courses before transferring to UC San Diego: CSE 11 (or CSE 8A/8AL/8B), Math 20A-B (or Math 10A-B-C), MUS 4, and if available, courses equivalent to MUS 1A, 6, and/or 14.

ASSIST ( is an online student-transfer information system that shows how course credits earned at one public California college or university can be applied when transferred to another. ASSIST is the official repository of articulation for California’s public colleges and universities and provides the most accurate and up-to-date information about student transfer in California.

While some transferrable courses may be listed on ASSIST, transfers should be prepared to provide course descriptions, syllabi, and/or other materials that may be required to determine the content of the courses taken at other institutions.

Music Department Honors

Application Eligibility and Process

To qualify for Departmental Honors, a student must demonstrate excellence in an area of emphasis and be supported by a faculty member and maintain a GPA of 3.6 in the major and 3.0 overall. Students should submit an Intention to Declare Departmental Honors by week four of spring quarter of their junior year. Requirements for each specific area of emphasis are as follows:

Performance. Students must have completed at least three quarters of MUS 132. Students must audition with the performance faculty sponsor with two contrasting pieces demonstrating their technical and musical abilities. In addition, students must provide a proposed program for an honors recital.

Composition. Students are required to have a composition performed at the Composition Juries (MUS 103C) in the spring of their junior year. The student’s faculty sponsor must attend this performance or a tape must be provided for faculty review. In addition, students should provide a proposed portfolio of other compositions for an honors recital.

Literature. Emphasis and music humanities majors. Students must present a portfolio of papers that demonstrate their excellence in their focus to a faculty sponsor. In addition, they must submit a proposal for a fifty-minute lecture to be presented at the Department Seminar (MUS 43).

Technology. Students must present a portfolio of papers and/or projects to their faculty sponsor. In addition, they must submit a proposal for a fifty-minute lecture to be presented at the Department Seminar (MUS 43).

Jazz and Music of the African Diaspora. Students must audition with three pieces before the jazz faculty that demonstrate their improvisational abilities. The three pieces should be a combination of work from the jazz repertoire and the student’s original compositions. Students must also submit a composition that includes improvisational elements (e.g., introduction, development, coda, etc.). In addition, they must provide a proposed program for an honors recital.

All auditions, portfolios, or papers must be completed by the end of spring during the junior year, in order to enroll in Honors courses in the senior year.

To Receive Honors

Required courses for honors are as follows:

Performance. Recital Preparation, MUS 132R (three quarters)

Composition. Honors Seminar in Composition, MUS 103D-E-F

Literature emphasis and music humanities major. Independent Study, MUS 199, or extra 107 or 150 (four units per quarter for a total of twelve units)

Technology. Independent Study, MUS 199 or MUS 176 (four units per quarter for a total of twelve units)

Jazz and Music of the African Diaspora. Honors Seminar in Jazz Studies, MUS 137D-E-F

Composition, performance, and jazz students will perform a recital in spring quarter of their senior year. Recitals for jazz students will include a program of a minimum of 50 percent of original compositions. Technology, literature emphasis, and music humanities major students will give a presentation in spring quarter of their senior year at the Department Seminar (MUS 43). The student’s faculty sponsor will make a recommendation of whether or not Honors with Distinction, with High Distinction, or with Highest Distinction will be posted on the student’s final transcript.

Note: Being admitted to the Honors curriculum does not guarantee that a student will be recommended for an honors designation on their transcript. The faculty sponsor will make a final assessment after all performances, papers, or presentations are complete.

Minor Programs

Please refer to the Department of Music website,, for information about our minors. Students must seek advice and obtain approval from the undergraduate adviser prior to embarking upon a minor program.

The music minor consists of

  • two lower-division music courses chosen from MUS 1–20
  • five upper-division music courses

The ICAM music minor consists of seven courses, of which at least five must be upper division.

Lower Division (two required)

  • VIS 41
  • Choose one from MUS 1A, 2A, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 14

Upper Division (five required)

  • Foundation: Choose two from VIS 142, VIS 145A, MUS 170, or MUS 171
  • Advanced courses: Choose three from MUS 171, MUS 172, MUS 173, MUS 174A-B-C, MUS 176, MUS 177, VIS 132, VIS 141A, VIS 141B, VIS 143, VIS 145B, VIS 147A, VIS 147B

Advising Office

Students considering a music major or minor are urged to contact our undergraduate staff adviser:

Room 195, Conrad Prebys Music Center
(858) 534-8226