Degrees and Advising

On this page, you will find information about music majors and minors, general degree information, non-music major/minor opportunities, and frequently asked questions. Graduate students should review the information on the Master of Music page.

Why Study Music?

Studying music…

  • is a great way to expand your mind and develop skills that can transfer into other areas of your life.
  • can lead to a fulfilling career in music or music-related field.
  • can lead to a bachelor’s degree or music minor.
  • can prepare you for graduate study inside or outside of music.

Advising Contacts

General Degree Information

We offer one general music major (BA) and four professional undergraduate majors (BMus) in multiple concentrations. We also offer two minors that focus on general music and jazz studies. Students are encouraged to explore the degree programs in the University Catalog through the Program of Study links below. 

There are no course or academic prerequisites to becoming a music major or minor. Instead, students must complete a performance audition on their primary instrument or voice to be admitted into the program. . Priority consideration is March 1, and auditions after this date will be considered on a rolling basis. Audition information will be updated each year in October on the Entrance & Scholarship Audition page.

Due to the length of the degree programs, incoming music majors are advised to audition for the same academic year as their admissions application. Mid-year applicants should reach out to the Program Coordinator for more information about joining the program. 

The general music core sequence is as follows. Music minors will complete year one only, all music majors must complete all three years in order. Please see the University Catalog for more core classes for each BMus concentration.

  • Year 1: 100-level music theory, aural skills, and keyboarding skills each quarter for one full academic year. Piano majors, minors, and those with extensive piano experience will complete an accelerated keyboarding sequence for one academic year only.
  • Year 2: 200-level music theory, aural skills, and keyboarding skills each quarter for one full academic year.
  • Year 3: 300-level music history course each quarter for one full academic year.

Our music core equivalency assessments are diagnostic assessments to determine the correct transfer equivalency and placement into our core sequences based on previous curriculum and aptitude.  

Equivalency assessments are required for accepted music majors or minors wishing to place out of one or more quarters of our core sequences. The core sequences include music theory, aural skills, and keyboarding skills. Students may forgo assessments and start our sequences again. All credits received in music theory, aural skills, and keyboard skills will be transferred initially as general credit.

Eligible students will have completed college courses in music theory, aural skills (ear training), and keyboarding skills (class piano), or scored a 3 or higher on the AP Music Theory exam. Those who took the AP exam do not qualify for the keyboarding assessment unless they additionally completed class piano college courses. Piano majors/minors and those who have studied piano are not automatically exempt from keyboarding skills courses. Piano majors and minors and those with an extensive background in piano will be placed into an advanced section of keyboarding skills. All other students will start in our beginning and/or intermediate sections.

All timelines are contingent on academic progress and growth. Students who qualify for core equivalency assessments may be able to accelerate their graduation timeline. Incoming students interested in BMus degrees are strongly encouraged to begin their major coursework in their first quarter at WWU. These students should plan to audition before enrolling at WWU and within the same academic year, they complete their WWU admissions application.

  • The music minor is designed to take one year to complete. Incoming students can audition for the minor after their first year and still be on track for graduation.
  • Our general music degree, the Bachelor of Arts in Music (B.A), is structured to take approximately three years to complete. Incoming students can audition for entrance their second year at WWU and be on track to graduate with this major within four years.
  • Our Bachelor of Music concentrations in Performance, Composition, and History & Literature degrees (BMus) are structured to take approximately four years to complete.
  • The BMus Education P-12 core coursework takes approximately four years to complete with the final quarter of student teaching and graduation between year four and year five.

Music majors must take lessons and ensemble as part of their degree program regardless of transferring credits from another institution. Music minors may use lessons and ensembles transferred from another institution toward electives as long as transfer credits do not exceed 50% of the degree program.

We accept transfer credits from ensembles, lessons, survey classes, and general music courses as the agreed transfer equivalency. Credits for music theory, aural skills, and keyboarding skills are initially transferred as general credits until a music core equivalency assessment may determine the appropriate equivalency. Students eligible for assessments will have completed college courses in music theory, aural skills, keyboarding skills, and/or earned a 3 or higher on the AP Music Theory Exam.

Decisions related to general WWU admissions are completed independently by the WWU Admissions Office. The Music Department evaluates incoming students based on their artistic technique and eligibility for our program, whereas the Admissions Office evaluates students based on several factors for admission to the University as a whole. We appreciate your understanding that acceptance into the Music Department does not guarantee admission to Western Washington University.

How to Declare

All undergraduate students interested in becoming a music major or minor must complete an Entrance & Scholarship Audition before they can declare. After being accepted through this audition process, students will declare at orientation or at an advising session with the program coordinator.

Non Major/Minor Opportunities

Academic Courses

All WWU students can register for our MUS GURs (MUS 104-112, 202 & 205) as well as MUS 101, Fundamentals of Music.

Ensembles

All WWU students can participate in ensembles. Please see the Ensemble and Ensemble Auditions page for more information.

Private Lessons

Private "applied" lessons are available to students on a space-available basis who have previous experience on an instrument or voice. Some studios may require an official audition to be considered. Please contact the instructor or Area Coordinator if you are interested in taking lessons.

Participate in a Production

Each year the Department of Music produces Opera Scenes and Opera Workshop. Any WWU student can audition to perform in these productions as well as volunteer for the production crew. Students who are interested in musicals or theatre should look into the Department of Theatre & Dance. Musicals and staged plays are open to all WWU students.

Join a Club

Students can join a musical club through the Associated Student organization! Some musical clubs include WWU Opera Club, A Capella Club, WMEA, ACDA, Glee Club, Vocal Jazz.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! Music students can double major with any degree outside of the department. Students who complete two majors are not necessarily awarded two diplomas or two degrees. If the two majors are the same degree type (B.A, BMus, BS, etc.) or overlap by more than 50% then one diploma is awarded and the second major is listed as completed in degree notes.  Within the music department, students can complete multiple concentrations.

Students should be aware that scheduling conflicts are common when completing a double major. Students who decide to double major should plan to meet with each department advisor at least once a year to go over academic planning and coursework.

Eligible students can take our music core equivalency assessments to place or “test out” of one or more core classes. Eligible students will have completed college courses in music theory, aural skills, and/or keyboarding skills, or earned a 3 or higher on the AP Music Theory Exam. Assessments are given to students after being accepted via an Entrance & Scholarship Audition. Most incoming students will complete these assessments before their summer orientation sessions. Students who join mid-year will schedule assessments on an individual basis.

Earning an AA/DTA can assist music students by fulfilling general university requirements (GURs). However, earning an AA/DTA does not guarantee a student may graduate faster from any degree program. 

Students must complete all major and general graduation requirements to earn a degree from WWU which may not include courses previously completed at another institution. In addition, music majors meet technical and music benchmarks in private lessons that cannot be determined through previous academic coursework. Students who are eligible for course equivalency assessments offered to accepted music majors and minors may be able to graduate faster depending on the results.

We accept transfer credits from ensembles, lessons, survey classes, and general music courses as the agreed transfer equivalency. Credits for music theory, aural skills, and keyboarding skills are initially transferred as general credits until a music core equivalency assessment may determine the appropriate equivalency. Students eligible for assessments will have completed college courses in music theory, aural skills, keyboarding skills, and/or earned a 3 or higher on the AP Music Theory Exam.

Unfortunately, no. Our core courses such as music theory, aural skills, keyboarding skills, music history, conducting, and music education courses are restricted to those who have been accepted via an entrance audition.

Non-majors or minors who have previous experience on an instrument or voice are eligible to take private "applied" lessons on a studio space-available basis. Some studios may require an official audition to be considered. Please contact the instructor or area coordinator if you are interested in taking lessons.

The Department of Music offers HUM or AGCM GURs during the summer. At this time, we do not offer core music classes, ensembles, or lessons during the summer quarter. 

Yes! Students at WWU can study musical theater through the Department of Theatre & Dance. Please see the Theatre Concentrations page on the Department of Theatre & Dance website.

Students interested in these subjects are encouraged to look at the Audio Technology, Music, and Society Minor in Fairhaven College. While BMus Composition students may elect to take a course in computer or electroacoustic music, this is not the primary focus of the degree program.

Looking for more information?

If you have any questions, we're happy to find you an answer. Call the Music Department Office 360-650-3130, or view the directory of faculty and staff.