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Performing Arts

Music (BA)

Offered by the Department of Performing Arts, College of Arts and Sciences. American University is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

Admission to the Program

Formal admission to the music major requires demonstrated ability through an audition and interview arranged with the department, preferably prior to beginning university studies. However, a student may enter as an intended major and audition/interview during the first year. Students will be accepted based on programmatic approval and written declaration of major.

  • 120 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better
  • Completion of college writing requirement
  • Completion of university mathematics requirement

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science component
  • No more than two courses may be taken in the same discipline

Major Requirements

  • 53 credit hours with grades of C or better.
  • Applied Music Lesson requirement: all students must successfully complete a minimum of four semesters of MUS-122 Private Instrumental or Vocal Study on a principal instrument or voice; music majors must enroll for a one-hour lesson each week and attend the weekly music performance lab (MUS-001).
    • Jury examinations must be undertaken at the end of each semester except when the student is presenting a recital in MUS-334 or MUS-434.
  • Performance Ensemble requirements: All students must successfully complete a minimum of four semesters of approved performance ensembles. Music majors must enroll in a performance ensemble in all semesters in which they are enrolled in applied music lessons.

Music Prerequisite Courses

These courses are waived for students with equivalent music experience:

Course Requirements


A minimum of 8 credit hours in

A minimum of 4 credit hours in performance ensembles:

Area of Concentration

  • A minimum of 14 credit hours in an area of concentration. Students may select from the following or design an individual area of concentration with approval of their academic advisor and the director of music. Examples of individually designed areas include music production, international arts management, and music criticism.

Arts Management (15 credit hours)

Composition (16 credit hours)

Jazz Studies (16 credit hours)

Performance (16 credit hours)

Vocal Performance

Note: German, Italian, or French language courses are recommended.

Instrumental Performance

History and Literature or Anthropology of Music (15 credit hours)

Senior thesis written project submitted for:

Theory (15 credit hours)

Senior thesis written project submitted for:

Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degrees

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor's/master's programs. See Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degrees for more information.