Music, Bachelor of Arts College of Letters & Science

The Major Program

The Bachelor of Arts degree in music provides both a broad liberal arts education and the skills necessary to explore music through its history, composition, theory, and performance. Students majoring in music may choose from three tracks in the major: (1) composition, (2) music history, theory, and ethnomusicology, or (3) performance. After a common core of courses in the lower division, students pursue their chosen track with specialized  courses leading to an appropriate senior project. All majors are expected to complete a substantial project (composition, research presentation, recital) in the senior year (MUS 195).

Study Abroad & the Music Major

The department encourages students to pursue a portion of their studies abroad. In close collaboration with their undergraduate advisors, students plan a course of study abroad that complements their coursework at Davis. UC Davis Music Majors have completed upper division coursework at EAP partner institutions in Australia, England, France, Germany, and Italy; Music faculty members lead summer programs in Argentina, Austria, and France.

The Program

A fundamental grounding in music theory, music history, and performance during the first two years of study leads to more specialized study of composition, music scholarship, or performance during the last two years of undergraduate work.

Career Alternatives

Students who graduate with a B.A. in music from UC Davis have gone on to careers as composers, performers, educators, scholars, and as professionals in the concert, media, and computing industries. Others have continued in medicine, law, government, and business.

Foreign Language

Students contemplating graduate study in music are advised to consider pursuing foreign language study beyond the elementary level.

Diagnostic Exams are given before admission into MUS 006A-MUS 006B-MUS 006C. MUS 003A-MUS 003B provides an optional preparation for the required theory courses. Diagnostic exams are also given for MUS 016A-MUS 016B-MUS 016C and MUS 017A-MUS 017B-MUS 017C at the beginning of each year. Transfer students should take the Music diagnostic exam given just before the start of classes. Further testing, if necessary, will place students into the appropriate theory course. In addition, incoming students are required to take MUS 002A-MUS 002B-MUS 002C (Keyboard Competence) unless they can pass out of one or more of the classes by demonstrating proficiency through a diagnostic exam given at the beginning of each quarter. Students learn (1) four-part keyboard harmony in all major and minor keys; (2) moderate fluency with figured bass at the keyboard; (3) major and minor scales with proper fingering; (4) ability to sight read simple piano music and Bach chorales.

Student Performing Activities

The Department of Music presents more than 100 concerts each year, offering performance opportunities for both majors and non-majors in more than 15 performance ensembles including the Symphony Orchestra,  Chorus, Chamber Singers, Concert Band, Early Music Ensemble, Chamber Music Ensembles, Jazz Bands and Combos, Samba Ensembles, Indonesian Gamelan, Hindustani Vocal Ensemble, Afro-Cuban Ensemble, Capoeira, and Mariachi Ensemble. Most concerts are performed in the Pitzer Center or the Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. 

Professional chamber ensembles perform frequently in the weekly series of free Thursday Noon Concerts, named after Joy S. Shinkoskey. Performance groups have collaborated with the Department of Theatre and Dance in productions of musical theater and opera. Study of instruments and voice with professional performers and teachers is required of all majors. Similar opportunities exist for qualified non-majors.

Note: A maximum of 19 units in performance courses (MUS 131, MUS 140-MUS 155) apply toward the degree; see Unit Credit Guidelines, College of Letters & Science degree requirements section. Faculty of the College of Letters & Science bylaws makes it possible for students to take more than 19 units of performance classes without those additional units counting toward the 225-unit cap on units.

Faculty & Facilities

The faculty is noted for its achievements in a variety of areas. The music scholars are active in research, writing, and performance; the music of the composers is performed and recorded nationally and internationally. 

The regular faculty is joined throughout the year by visiting Artists-in-Residence, distinguished performers who give public concerts and lectures and who work with students informally.

The Empyrean Ensemble, a professional new music ensemble, is in residence at UC Davis, where it performs concerts of new music and annually premieres the work of student composers.

The department's facilities include a collection of Renaissance, Baroque, and modern instruments, along with non-western instruments including a Sundanese & Balinese gamelan, a Brazilian Capoeira & Samba bateria, and various other percussion instruments for our world music ensembles. The arts quadrangle houses the Sound lab, practice and rehearsal rooms, and a music library with well over 12,000 CDs, several hundred videos and a collection of music reference materials. Opened in 2016, the Ann E. Pitzer Center, next door to the Music Building, features a state-of-the-art 399-seat concert hall, six practice rooms, and five large teaching/rehearsal studios. Scores and music monographs are housed in the Peter J. Shields Library, adjacent to the Music Building. A partnership of campus libraries affords online access to more than 100,000 tracks of classical and world music by streaming audio.

Honors

A student becomes eligible for graduation with honors by meeting the minimum GPA and course requirements established by the College of Letters & Science. To qualify for high or highest honors, students must also complete the Music Department honors program with a GPA of 3.500 or above and write a thesis or submit a portfolio that meets the criteria for high honors or highest honors. Students apply to participate in the department honors program during the latter part of their junior year. Admission to the program is based on GPA, a thesis proposal, examples of previous writing, and the recommendation of a faculty member who is willing to sponsor the student's project. Students who anticipate seeking admission to the honors program are urged to complete at least one offering of MUS 121 or MUS 122 before the end of their junior year. Interested students are urged to consult with faculty in their field early in their junior year.

Major Advisors

J. Diaz, S. Nichols, I. Oseguera

Preparatory Subject Matter
Music 002 Series
MUS 002A
MUS 002B
MUS 002C
Keyboard Competence, Part 1
and Keyboard Competence, Part 2
and Keyboard Competence, Part 3
6
MUS 002 courses may be excused by diagnostic examination at the beginning of each quarter.
MUS 006 Series
MUS 006A
MUS 006B
MUS 006C
Elementary Theory, Part 1
and Elementary Theory, Part 2
and Elementary Theory, Part 3
9
MUS 007 Series
MUS 007A
MUS 007B
MUS 007C
Intermediate Theory, Part 1
and Intermediate Theory, Part 2
and Intermediate Theory, Part 3
9
Music 016 Series
MUS 016A
MUS 016B
MUS 016C
Elementary Musicianship, Part 1
and Elementary Musicianship, Part 2
and Elementary Musicianship, Part 3
6
MUS 016 courses may be excused by diagnostic examination at the beginning of each quarter.
Music 017 Series
MUS 017A
MUS 017B
MUS 017C
Intermediate Musicianship, Part 1
and Intermediate Musicianship, Part 2
and Intermediate Musicianship, Part 3
6
MUS 017 courses may be excused by diagnostic examination at the beginning of each quarter.
Music 024 Series
MUS 024A
MUS 024B
History of Western Music: Baroque & Classic Eras
and History of Western Music: Romantic Era
8
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal24-42
Depth Subject Matter
Choose one track:41-44
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal41-44
Total Units67-94

Track 1: Music Composition

MUS 101AAdvanced Theory, Part 1 4
MUS 101BAdvanced Theory, Part 24
MUS 103Workshop in Composition3
Choose a total of 4 units:4
Topics in Music Scholarship
Topics in Analysis & Theory
MUS 123Music as Culture4
MUS 124CHistory of Western Music: 20th Century to the Present4
MUS 124DHistory of Western Music: Middle Ages & Renaissance4
MUS 195Senior Project2
MUS 131 (three quarters):6
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual)
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Piano
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Harpsichord
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Organ
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Violin
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Viola
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Cello
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Double Bass
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Flute
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Oboe
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Clarinet
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Bassoon
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); French Horn
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Trumpet
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual);Trombone
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Tuba
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Percussion
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Classical Guitar
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Saxophone
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Harp
Choose at least 6 units:6
University Jazz Band
University Symphony
University Chamber Singers
University Concert Band
University Chorus
Early Music Ensemble
Chamber Music Ensemble
University Wind Ensemble
Hindustani Vocal Ensemble
Indonesian Gamelan Ensemble
Brazilian Samba School
Korean Percussion Ensemble
Afro-Cuban Ensemble
Brazilian Capoeira Ensemble
Percussion Ensemble
Choose at least 4 units:4
Tonal Counterpoint
History & Analysis of Jazz
History of Rock Music
Introduction to Electronic Music
Handmade Electronic Music
Orchestration
Orchestration
The Musical World of Beethoven
The Musical World of a 20th-Century Composer
The Musical World of J. S. Bach
The Musical World of Mozart
The Musical World of an 18th-Century Composer
The Musical World of an American Composer
Introduction to Conducting
Intermediate Conducting
History of Film Music
Introduction to the Music of The Beatles
The Broadway Musical
Topics in Music Scholarship
Topics in Analysis & Theory
American Music
Music from Latin America
Musics of the Americas
Musics of Africa, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent
Musics of East & Southeast Asia
Folk Musics of Europe
Internship in Music
Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates
Total Units45

Track 2: Music History, Theory, & Ethnomusicology

Choose a total of 4 units:4
Topics in Music Scholarship
Topics in Analysis & Theory
MUS 123Music as Culture4
MUS 124CHistory of Western Music: 20th Century to the Present4
MUS 124DHistory of Western Music: Middle Ages & Renaissance4
MUS 195Senior Project2
MUS 131 (three quarters):6
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual)
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Piano
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Harpsichord
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Organ
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Violin
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Viola
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Cello
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Double Bass
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Flute
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Oboe
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Clarinet
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Bassoon
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); French Horn
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Trumpet
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual);Trombone
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Tuba
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Percussion
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Classical Guitar
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Saxophone
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Harp
Choose at least 6 units:6
University Jazz Band
University Symphony
University Chamber Singers
University Concert Band
University Chorus
Early Music Ensemble
Chamber Music Ensemble
University Wind Ensemble
Hindustani Vocal Ensemble
Indonesian Gamelan Ensemble
Brazilian Samba School
Korean Percussion Ensemble
Afro-Cuban Ensemble
Brazilian Capoeira Ensemble
Percussion Ensemble
Choose at least 12 units:12
Advanced Theory, Part 1
Advanced Theory, Part 2
Tonal Counterpoint
Workshop in Composition
History & Analysis of Jazz
History of Rock Music
Introduction to Electronic Music
Handmade Electronic Music
Orchestration
Orchestration
The Musical World of Beethoven
The Musical World of a 20th-Century Composer
The Musical World of J. S. Bach
The Musical World of Mozart
The Musical World of an 18th-Century Composer
The Musical World of an American Composer
Introduction to Conducting
Intermediate Conducting
History of Film Music
Introduction to the Music of The Beatles
The Broadway Musical
Topics in Music Scholarship
Topics in Analysis & Theory
American Music
Music from Latin America
Musics of the Americas
Musics of Africa, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent
Musics of East & Southeast Asia
Folk Musics of Europe
Internship in Music
Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates
Total Units42

Track 3: Music Performance

Choose a total of 4 units:4
Topics in Music Scholarship
Topics in Analysis & Theory
MUS 123Music as Culture4
MUS 124CHistory of Western Music: 20th Century to the Present4
MUS 124DHistory of Western Music: Middle Ages & Renaissance4
MUS 195Senior Project2
MUS 131 (three quarters):6
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual)
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Piano
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Harpsichord
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Organ
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Violin
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Viola
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Cello
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Double Bass
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Flute
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Oboe
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Clarinet
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Bassoon
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); French Horn
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Trumpet
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual);Trombone
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Tuba
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Percussion
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Classical Guitar
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Saxophone
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Harp
Choose at least 13 units:13
University Jazz Band
University Symphony
University Chamber Singers
University Concert Band
University Chorus
Early Music Ensemble
Chamber Music Ensemble
University Wind Ensemble
Hindustani Vocal Ensemble
Indonesian Gamelan Ensemble
Brazilian Samba School
Korean Percussion Ensemble
Afro-Cuban Ensemble
Brazilian Capoeira Ensemble
Percussion Ensemble
Choose at least 6 units:6
Advanced Theory, Part 1
Advanced Theory, Part 2
Tonal Counterpoint
Workshop in Composition
History & Analysis of Jazz
History of Rock Music
Introduction to Electronic Music
Handmade Electronic Music
Orchestration
Orchestration
The Musical World of Beethoven
The Musical World of a 20th-Century Composer
The Musical World of J. S. Bach
The Musical World of Mozart
The Musical World of an 18th-Century Composer
The Musical World of an American Composer
Introduction to Conducting
Intermediate Conducting
History of Film Music
Introduction to the Music of The Beatles
The Broadway Musical
Topics in Music Scholarship
Topics in Analysis & Theory
American Music
Music from Latin America
Musics of the Americas
Musics of Africa, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent
Musics of East & Southeast Asia
Folk Musics of Europe
Internship in Music
Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates
Total Units43

Composition Honors Track

MUS 101AAdvanced Theory, Part 1 4
MUS 101BAdvanced Theory, Part 24
MUS 103Workshop in Composition3
Choose a total of 4 units:4
Topics in Music Scholarship
Topics in Analysis & Theory
MUS 123Music as Culture4
MUS 124CHistory of Western Music: 20th Century to the Present4
MUS 124DHistory of Western Music: Middle Ages & Renaissance4
MUS 131 (three quarters):6
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual)
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Piano
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Harpsichord
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Organ
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Violin
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Viola
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Cello
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Double Bass
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Flute
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Oboe
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Clarinet
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Bassoon
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); French Horn
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Trumpet
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual);Trombone
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Tuba
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Percussion
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Classical Guitar
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Saxophone
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Harp
Choose at least 6 units:6
University Jazz Band
University Symphony
University Chamber Singers
University Concert Band
University Chorus
Early Music Ensemble
Chamber Music Ensemble
University Wind Ensemble
Hindustani Vocal Ensemble
Indonesian Gamelan Ensemble
Brazilian Samba School
Korean Percussion Ensemble
Afro-Cuban Ensemble
Brazilian Capoeira Ensemble
Percussion Ensemble
Two quarters of Music 194H for a total of at least 6 units resulting in a senior thesis: 6-8
Special Study for Honors Students
Special Study for Honors Students
Choose at least 4 units:4
Tonal Counterpoint
History & Analysis of Jazz
History of Rock Music
Introduction to Electronic Music
Handmade Electronic Music
Orchestration
Orchestration
The Musical World of Beethoven
The Musical World of a 20th-Century Composer
The Musical World of J. S. Bach
The Musical World of Mozart
The Musical World of an 18th-Century Composer
The Musical World of an American Composer
Introduction to Conducting
Intermediate Conducting
History of Film Music
Introduction to the Music of The Beatles
The Broadway Musical
Topics in Music Scholarship
Topics in Analysis & Theory
American Music
Music from Latin America
Musics of the Americas
Musics of Africa, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent
Musics of East & Southeast Asia
Folk Musics of Europe
Internship in Music
Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates
Total Units49-51

Music History, Theory & Ethnomusicology Honors Track

Choose a total of 4 units:4
Topics in Music Scholarship
Topics in Analysis & Theory
MUS 123Music as Culture4
MUS 124CHistory of Western Music: 20th Century to the Present4
MUS 124DHistory of Western Music: Middle Ages & Renaissance4
MUS 131 (three quarters):6
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Piano
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Harpsichord
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Organ
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Violin
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Viola
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Cello
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Double Bass
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Flute
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Oboe
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Clarinet
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Bassoon
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); French Horn
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Trumpet
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual);Trombone
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Tuba
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Percussion
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Classical Guitar
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Saxophone
Applied Study of Music: Advanced (Individual); Harp
Choose at least 6 units:6
University Jazz Band
University Symphony
University Chamber Singers
University Concert Band
University Chorus
Early Music Ensemble
Chamber Music Ensemble
University Wind Ensemble
Hindustani Vocal Ensemble
Indonesian Gamelan Ensemble
Brazilian Samba School
Korean Percussion Ensemble
Afro-Cuban Ensemble
Brazilian Capoeira Ensemble
Percussion Ensemble
Two quarters of Music 194H for a total of at least 6 units resulting in a senior thesis: 6-8
Special Study for Honors Students
Special Study for Honors Students
Choose at least 12 units:12
Advanced Theory, Part 1
Advanced Theory, Part 2
Tonal Counterpoint
Workshop in Composition
History & Analysis of Jazz
History of Rock Music
Introduction to Electronic Music
Handmade Electronic Music
Orchestration
Orchestration
The Musical World of Beethoven
The Musical World of a 20th-Century Composer
The Musical World of J. S. Bach
The Musical World of Mozart
The Musical World of an 18th-Century Composer
The Musical World of an American Composer
Introduction to Conducting
Intermediate Conducting
History of Film Music
Introduction to the Music of The Beatles
The Broadway Musical
Topics in Music Scholarship
Topics in Analysis & Theory
American Music
Music from Latin America
Musics of the Americas
Musics of Africa, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent
Musics of East & Southeast Asia
Folk Musics of Europe
Internship in Music
Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates
Total Units46-48