Tayloe Harding, Dean
Andrew D. Gowan, Executive Associate Dean
Rebecca S. Nagel, Assistant Dean
The University of South Carolina offers two undergraduate degrees in music: the Bachelor of Arts degree and the Bachelor of Music degree with emphases in performance, theory, composition, jazz studies, music education-choral, and music education-instrumental.
The School of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.
Through the Bachelor of Music program in music education, the School of Music participates in the teacher education programs of the University which are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The School of Music also participates actively in South Carolina Honors College.
All applicants to the School of Music must audition on their principal instrument or voice. Admission to any specific degree is dependent on the qualifying audition. A student who wishes to enter the School of Music from another college on the Columbia campus must be in good standing and have a cumulative GPA of 2.25 or higher. A student who wishes to enter the School of Music from another USC campus must fulfill one of the following:
- Be in good standing, meet the admission requirements for a baccalaureate degree on the Columbia campus, and have a cumulative GPA of 2.25 or higher.
- Be in good standing and have completed 30 semester hours with a GPA of 2.25 or higher on a USC campus. Transfer applicants from regionally accredited colleges and universities are required to have a minimum GPA of 2.25 (on a 4.00 scale) on all college-level courses attempted. If fewer than 30 semester hours of college-level work have been attempted, the applicant must meet both transfer and freshman entrance requirements.
Applied Music for the Music Major. A qualifying audition is required prior to registration in applied music courses. Students who do not qualify for entrance into the music major sequence (MUSC 111 or MUSC 211 ) in their primary performance area will be placed into the MUSC 101 level. Students may study at the MUSC 101 level in their primary area for a maximum of two semesters. If, at the final examination of the second semester in MUSC 101 , the area faculty finds that a student does not meet the performance standard to enter the music major sequence (MUSC 111 or MUSC 211 ), the student will be removed from the school.
All candidates for degrees in music must continue individual instruction in their primary performance area until the applied music requirements have been satisfied. All assignments of students registered in applied music courses to actual instructors/professors are determined by the dean of the School of Music. As part of the applied study, students are required to attend concerts and perform at the School of Music seminars. The number of credit hours of applied music is determined by the chosen curriculum.
Piano Proficiency. All students except those for whom piano or organ is the major applied area are required to pass a piano proficiency examination. Specific requirements for this examination are listed in the School of Music’s Handbook for Undergraduate Students. Normally students enroll in group piano to prepare for the proficiency examinations, but students who enter the University with piano skills can take the examination at the end of any semester. For many students the study of piano will begin in group piano and progress later to private study.
Attendance. Enrollment in a course obligates the student not only for prompt completion of all work assigned but also for punctual and regular attendance and for participation in whatever class discussion may occur. It is the student’s responsibility to keep informed concerning all assignments made. Absences, whether excused or unexcused, do not absolve the student from this responsibility. Absence from more than 10 percent of the scheduled class sessions, whether excused or unexcused, is excessive and the instructor may choose to exact a grade penalty for such absences.
Regulations for attendance at ensemble rehearsals and performances are different from regulations for class attendance. Members of ensembles are expected to be present at every rehearsal and performance unless excused. Regulations pertaining to jury examinations, ensemble participation, recitals, seminar attendance and other related matters are published in the School of Music’s Handbook for Undergraduate Students.
Acceptance as a music major does not guarantee progression to the upper division. To remain in a degree program offered by the School of Music, a student must make satisfactory progress toward the degree. A student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress may be placed on academic probation or removed from the school. This includes satisfactory progress in the applied music sequence. In addition, all students in the school are subject to the regulations on probation, suspension, and readmission in the “Academic Standards” section of the “Academic Regulations” chapter of this bulletin. At the end of the sophomore year, each student’s progress toward completion of lower-division requirements will be evaluated.
Upper Division. To be admitted to the upper division, students must meet the following criteria:
- completion of piano proficiency requirements;
- completion of the Aural Skills training sequence MUSC 117 , MUSC 118 , MUSC 217 , MUSC 218 ); Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in Theory majors must achieve a minimum grade of “B”
- completion of music theory sequence (MUSC 115 , MUSC 116 , MUSC 215 , MUSC 216 ); Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in Theory majors must achieve a minimum grade of “B”
- for music education majors, completion of the Music Education Practicum (MUED 200 );
- for Bachelor of Music students, approval of the applied jury to progress to the upper-division courses (MUSC 311 or MUSC 411 ), as appropriate to the chosen degree program;
- completion of at least 60 credits with a cumulative grade point average of 2.50 in MUSC and MUED courses and 2.00 in all courses.
In order to be eligible for graduation, students in the School of Music must meet all course requirements, be in good standing, have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.50 on all MUSC and MUED courses, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 on all work attempted at USC. The last 30 semester hours must be completed in residence at the University, and at least half of the hours in the student’s major courses and in the student’s minor courses must be taken at the University. For further information on this and other University regulations, see the “Academic Regulations” chapter of this bulletin.
Every music major will be assigned an advisor in the school, who will consult with the student throughout the college career. Students must see their academic advisors at least once each semester for assistance in planning their academic program. No student will be allowed to complete the registration process without an advisement form approved by an assigned faculty advisor.
It is the responsibility of each student to understand and complete all degree requirements. The student’s major advisor is responsible for interpreting and applying major, minor, and cognate requirements. When special problems arise, the student may consult the director of undergraduate studies.
Right of Petition
A student may seek relief from academic standards and regulations by appealing to the Scholastic Standards and Petitions Committee of the School of Music. Information on procedures may be obtained from the music studies office.
The School of Music aims to complement academic advising by assisting music students in clarifying career directions. Students are encouraged to begin the process of career planning as early as possible. Career counselors are available in the University Career Center to assist students in gaining an understanding of their own interests, values, abilities, and personalities, the nature of a liberal arts education and the related marketable skills, and the numerous career opportunities available for music majors. In addition, students are encouraged to complement their academic studies with career-related work experience such as internships, cooperative education, part-time work experience, or volunteer work.
Performance Certificate. The performance certificate is awarded by the School of Music to recognize those undergraduate music students with degree emphases other than music performance as well as those students not majoring in music. The performance certificate will allow gifted and highly motivated students to acquire additional credit, professorial interaction and guidance, and departmental distinction in music performance. Incoming freshman may demonstrate their fitness for the performance certificate during their qualifying or scholarship audition. Continuing students are eligible to enter this program by application to the coordinator of the appropriate area faculty and upon recommendation of the area faculty jury. The course of study for the certificate includes applied music registration for MUSC 211 (for 3 credits each semester) and MUSC 411 (for 3 credits each semester). The certificate requires a maximum of no more than 18 hours beyond the requirements of the baccalaureate program. An extended jury is required to progress from MUSC 211 to MUSC 411 . The completion of the program is dependant upon the following musical equivalent to a senior thesis experience: successful completion of two half recitals or one full recital. The recital will be graded by the same criteria as a performance degree recital. The candidate’s program may be revoked by: request of candidate, action of the candidate’s jury, or action of the jury at the half or full recital. All qualifying students will receive the performance certificate upon completion of their degree. In addition to receiving the performance certificate, music majors will receive their degree “with distinction in music performance” at commencement as part of the Departmental Undergraduate Research Track.
Music Entrepreneurship Minor. Music majors may supplement their degree choice with a music entrepreneurship minor of 18 credits that will assist students in capitalizing on the artistic, economic and social power of their music education and degree; assist students to envision their musical career as a means of generating value; and assist in creating successful, entrepreneurial decision makers.
Independent Study. The school endorses the use of departmental independent study courses to further students’ intellectual pursuits in alternative ways. Before students may register for an independent study course, they must present a completed independent study contract which has been approved by the instructor selected for the independent study project, the major advisor, and the dean. No student may apply more than 15 hours of independent study credits toward the degree. Unless approved as a part of the major, minor, or cognate, independent study courses will be graded only on a Pass-Fail basis. A grade point average of 2.50 or greater is required to enroll in independent study courses.
Courses for the Nonmusic Major
Many courses in music may be taken as electives toward other University degrees. Such courses include those in music appreciation, music history and literature, music theory, group piano and voice, and private lessons. Membership in large performing organizations such as the choirs, bands, and orchestras may also be used for elective credit. All students of the University are invited to participate in the musical organizations.
Private lessons in applied music are available to nonmusic majors on a limited basis through audition. Approval from the School of Music is necessary prior to registration. Interested students should contact the director of undergraduate studies for information about auditions.
Minor in Music. The minor in music requires a three credit prerequisite (MUSC 115 ), 10 credits of core requirements, and eight credits chosen from music electives. Consultation with the undergraduate director in the School of Music is required.
The following courses may be used to satisfy the cognate requirements of undergraduate degrees offered by other schools and colleges on the USC campus: MUSC 115 , MUSC 116 , MUSC 145 , and all MUSC and MUED courses numbered 200 and above.
The curricula established for all baccalaureate degrees awarded by the school include a set of courses that fulfill general education requirements, a set of courses that comprise a departmental major and related courses, and several hours of elective courses. Except for courses used in meeting the Bachelor of Arts cultural awareness requirement, a course may be used to fulfill only one requirement.
General Education Requirements. Degree candidates in the School of Music must satisfy all general education requirements as specified in the chosen degree. These requirements are designed to provide students with a broad experience in the liberal arts and sciences and opportunities to develop intellectual skills in analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, as well as competence in written and oral communication.
Each student must complete the specified number of hours or attain the desired level of achievement in the groups of courses outlined below. Note that the credit hours required in these groups vary somewhat between the B.A. and B.M. degrees. In planning the course of study during the first two years, a student should give precedence to courses that satisfy the general education requirements. Students must complete ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 within the first 60 semester hours of work in order for these courses to be credited toward graduation.
Major Requirements. Every degree candidate in the school must successfully complete a major program of study that meets the major requirements of the program. A minimum grade of C is required for any course submitted for fulfillment of major requirements; this includes all MUSC and MUED courses.
Course requirements in applied music include the following minimum levels of applied study: performance, and jazz studies—four semesters at the lower-division level and four semesters at the upper-division level; music education, theory/composition—four semesters at the lower-division level and two semesters at the upper-division level; B.A.—six semesters at the lower level. The number of required credits in applied music is determined by each degree program.
Teacher Preparation Program. The School of Music participates in the University’s teacher preparation programs. The Bachelor of Music degree with emphases in music education-choral or music education-instrumental is the approved course of study for students who plan to be certified as K-12 music teachers.
Double Major. Music students who wish to pursue a second major or double degree must receive the approval of the dean of music and the dean of the college in which the other major or degree is offered. Additional information may be found under “Academic Regulations” in this publication.
Cognates. In addition to satisfactorily completing all courses in the major field of study, a student in the Bachelor of Arts program must also satisfactorily complete a minimum of 12 hours in advanced courses related to but outside the major, as prescribed by the school.
The cognate is intended to support the course work in the major. Cognate courses may be drawn from one or more departments, depending on the individual interests and requirements of the student as judged by the student’s advisor. A cognate differs from a minor in that the courses must be above prerequisite level and may be distributed over more than one subject area. All cognate courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher. For cognate course offerings in other departments or colleges, consult the appropriate section of this bulletin.
Minors. In place of the cognate a student in the Bachelor of Arts program may choose a minor consisting of at least 18 credit hours of prescribed courses. The subject area of the minor may be related to the major.
The minor is intended to develop a coherent basic preparation in a second area of study. It differs from the cognate inasmuch as the courses must be concentrated in one area and must follow a structured sequence. Interdisciplinary minors can be designed with the approval of the dean.
Courses applied toward general education requirements cannot be counted toward the minor. No course may satisfy both major and minor requirements. All minor courses must be passed with a grade of C or better. For descriptions of specific minors, students should see appropriate sections of the bulletin and their academic advisors.
Electives. Electives toward credit hour requirements for all degrees in the School of Music must be in academic subjects. No courses of a remedial, developmental, or vocational nature may be applied as credit toward a degree in the School of Music. To encourage the student to select electives that will broaden the educational background and to study subjects that might otherwise be neglected, use of the Pass-Fail option is allowed on elective courses.
Programs and Courses
Click the links below to view programs and courses administered by the school.
- Audio Recording Minor
- Music Entrepreneurship Minor
- Music Industry Studies Minor
- Music Minor
- Music Performance, Certificate
- Music, B.A.
- Music, B.M. (Chamber Music Concentration)
- Music, B.M. (Composition Emphasis)
- Music, B.M. (Jazz Studies Emphasis)
- Music, B.M. (Music Education - Choral Emphasis)
- Music, B.M. (Music Education - Instrumental Emphasis)
- Music, B.M. (Music Entrepreneurship Concentration)
- Music, B.M. (Music Technology Concentration)
- Music, B.M. (Performance Emphasis)
- Music, B.M. (Theory Emphasis)
CoursesMusic (History and Literature)Music (Theory and Composition)