Music Curriculum

View 4-Year Plan example and Degree Requirements below.

Our faculty are committed to mentoring you through the many opportunities of the program, the campus, and the city. Take advantage of all the Music Program and the University has to offer: compete for research grants, travel internationally with our ensembles, or intern with partners beyond the classroom like the Washington National Opera. We pride ourselves on giving you world-class professional opportunities and contacts while you explore the depths of studying Music in American University's liberal arts tradition. Features of our program include:

  • accreditation from the National Association of School of Music (NASM) with core courses in ear-training, theory, history, private lessons, and ensembles
  • experience in multiple genres and a community invested in your success
  • classes small enough for personal attention, big enough for the robust exchange of ideas, offering you the opportunity to develop to your highest potential
  • specialized upper-level courses chosen in consultation with your dedicated faculty mentor
  • flexible degree requirements allowing you to combine your love of music with many other degree programs across the campus

Play Out Your Degree

A Sample 4-Year Plan for the BA in Music


Semester One

Introductory Colloquium
Theory I
Musicianship I

Semester Two

Theory II
Musicianship II

Semester Three

Theory III
Music History II

Semester Four

Music History I
Pick your specialty area

Semester Five

Advanced Concentration Elective*

Semester Six

Study Abroad
Music Elective
Music Elective

Semester Seven

Senior Colloquium
Advanced Concentration Elective*

Semester Eight

Capstone project (recital, research paper, or other special project in student's specialty area)
Advanced Concentration Elective*

Determining Your
Specialty Area

By the end of sophomore year, music majors will have a clear idea of how they want to focus the balance of their undergraduate work in Music. Based on this decision, they will work with a faculty mentor from the Music Program to realize their goals. For example, students with aspirations in the performance area would develop and present their work in concerts. Students interested in the history, theory, and culture of music may choose to research, write, and present an extensive paper in their research area. Students who double major may combine their interests in a research, performance, or compositional project. In every case, students and faculty customize their work within the major to meet the artistic, academic, and professional goals of each student. Specialties include, but are not limited to: performance, composition, ethnomusicology, music history, arts management, theory, music journalism, business and entertainment and music, audio tech and music etc.

*Advanced Concentration Electives are courses that specialize in upper level music areas. They are divided into Advanced Concentration in Music Analysis and Performance and Advanced Concentration in Music History and Ethnomusicology

American University School of Education and the Department of Performing Arts Music Program in the College of Arts and Sciences are thrilled to announce a new 5-year degree in Music and Education beginning Fall 2018.

Students will graduate, in only five years, with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree that is directly linked to the undergraduate Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Music.

Undergraduate focus will be on non-traditional forms of music education oriented toward low-income, at-risk, student populations and will include internships that work directly with these students. This path will be ideal for future teachers interested in this cohort of students, policy making, and education reform.

For more information, please contact Music Program Director Ann Kang:, (202) 885-3859

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