Major Requirements

A core curriculum is common for the first two years, with students pursuing a more focused course of study in the junior and senior years. For the senior capstone experience, all students complete a senior project in one of three formats: recital performance, composition, and/or music research. Declaring a music major by the sophomore year is strongly advised.

All majors and prospective majors are reviewed by the music faculty at the end of the fall semester of the sophomore year. Most students should be near the completion of core requirements at this time. Transfer students and those who decide to declare a music major after the sophomore year must consult the department chair.

The review involves a short performance in the student’s primary area of studio instruction, work samples in his or her primary area of interest (for students interested in composition, musicology, or ethnomusicology), and an interview about intended areas of focus in the junior and senior years. In this formal advising opportunity, the entire music faculty is available to help each student plan to fulfill upper-division degree requirements and complete the senior project.

A satisfactory sophomore review results in faculty approval of upper-division status as a music major and is a prerequisite for MUS 490 Senior Project.

Junior music majors must schedule a junior meeting with their advisor to complete the Junior Music Advising Form detailing their plans for and progress toward their senior project. Further advising for a student’s senior project is done individually to match students’ aims with departmental and national standards.

Enrollment in MUS 490 Senior Project requires completion of at least one semester of 300-level study in the chosen area of study. Majors are also required to satisfy the piano requirement before enrolling in MUS 490.

Credit Requirements 

Please note that these are the requirements starting with the 2022/2023 catalog. Music majors who matriculated prior to 2022 should adhere to the requirements of the catalog they started on. Previous catalogs can be found here.

The major requires a minimum of 45 credits, following successful completion of our prerequisite courses (Music Theory Fundamentals and Music Theory 1):

  • Two courses in music theory: MUS 200 (Music Theory II) and MUS 250 (Music Theory III)
  • Two courses in music history: MUS 162 (History of Western Music I) and MUS 163 (History of Western Music II)
  • Four semester credits of a single instrument or voice lessons
  • MUP-102: Intermediate Keyboard Skills Class (this appears in WebAdvisor as “Keyboard Skills 2”)
    • Students with prior keyboard experience may take private lessons to fulfill this requirement. Please refer to the college catalog for a list of courses that qualify. Your advisor must approve of a substitution.
  • Six semester credits of ensembles to be distributed as follows:
    • Two credits of Conducted Ensemble courses (Orchestra, Wind Symphony, Voces Aureum Treble Chorus, Community Chorale, Cappella Nova)
    • One credit of Guided Ensemble courses (Gamelan Ensemble, Ghanaian Music Ensemble, Zimbabwean Music Ensemble)
    • One credit of Mentored Ensemble courses (Jazz Combos, Vocal Performance Workshop, Indian Music Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Chamber Music Ensembles, Accompanying Class)
    • Two credits of ensemble courses, chosen from any category above (Conducted, Guided, or Mentored)
  • Four semester credits of world music in our flagship Workshops in World Music course that integrates an introduction to ethnomusicology with three performance sections from different global traditions
  • Eight semester credits of upper-division theory or composition: options include orchestration, counterpoint, jazz theory, electronic music seminar, and conducting
  • Four semester credits of upper-division music history or ethnomusicology: these research-based seminars have different topics each semester, such as Women in Music, Writing About Music, Portland Music Scenes, and Eco-musicology
  • Two semester credits in MUS 490 Senior Project: seniors produce a thesis, performance recital, composition recital, or other culminating project. Requirements by area of focus are as follows:
    • Composition: Preparation of professional-quality manuscripts. Recital of original musical works; graded by jury.
    • Ethnomusicology: Thesis in ethnomusicology; graded by committee.
    • Musicology: Thesis in musicology; graded by committee.
    • Performance: Recital on the major instrument; graded by jury.
    • Self-Designed Senior Project: Lecture/recital or other proposed project; graded by jury.
  • Satisfactory Sophomore Review.