Music Advising

We provide various levels of advising for incoming and current music students. We encourage all new students to review the FAQ's below and the degree information in the University Catalog before sending advising inquiries.


Unlike most programs at Western, there are no course prerequisites needed to begin a major or minor in music. Instead, students must complete an entrance audition on their primary instrument or voice as a prerequisite to all coursework and declaration. Students cannot enroll in core music courses without first being accepted to the program through an entrance audition. Please visit the University Catalog for more information regarding core music coursework and requirements. 

Graduation Timeline

The Bachelor of Arts in Music (B.A) is structured around sequential core curriculum that takes approximately three-years to complete. The Bachelor of Music degrees (BMus) are also structured around sequential core curriculum along with specialized courses for each concentration that takes roughly four years to complete, with the BMus Education P-12 degree finishing between year four and five. Transfer students and incoming freshman who qualify for course equivalency assessments may be able to accelerate their graduation timeline. Music core sequences begin each fall and do not repeat until the following year.

Equivalency Assessments

We offer three separate assessments to determine equivalency and placement in our two-year core sequence of music theory, aural skills, and keyboarding skills for those who have successfully completed an entrance audition into our program. After assessments are complete the program coordinator will adjust course equivalency on each students’ TER (Transfer Equivalency Report), if required. All other music course equivalency will be determined by the admissions office and will not require an assessment, e.g. music ensembles, applied lessons, survey courses, etc.

See our majors under Programs of Study for eligibility, structure and advising details.

Frequently Asked Questions

We hold our annual entrance and scholarship auditions each winter season for acceptance as a major and minor the following academic year. Updated audition dates and details are posted each October. All students who complete an audition are automatically eligible for a music scholarship. Mid-year auditions to enter winter or spring quarters are not guaranteed and are dependent on studio availability and eligibility for course equivalency assessments to enter core sequences.

There is no additional application for acceptance to the department of music. Instead, students will complete our Entrance Audition form to request/submit an audition which will include questions regarding your musical background and experiences.
Admission to the university and acceptance into the music department are handled independently. Students do not need supporting music materials for the WWU admissions application. 
Please note, acceptance to the music department as a major or minor does not guarantee admission to the general university. Decisions related to general admissions are completed independently by the university and contingent on the completion of a WWU admissions application.

Students who choose not to audition for our program have many opportunities to participate in our department. Students can enroll in ensembles, music GURs, MUS 101, and applied/composition lessons. While students can enroll in University Choirs without an audition, all other ensembles will require an audition to enroll. Some studios may require a studio audition or instructor permission to join an applied area or to enroll in composition lessons.
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.

While students may have completed general university requirements before attending WWU this does not guarantee that a student may graduate faster or in two years. Students must complete all degree requirements for their major which may take three to four years to complete depending on eligibility for course equivalency assessments. Students in BMus degree programs must meet benchmarks in private lessons that cannot be determined through previous coursework. Please visit see the University Catalog for more information regarding each degree and its requirements.

The Department of Music will accept credits for courses in music theory, aural skills, class piano, as well as ensembles, private lessons, and general music survey courses.  Courses in music theory, aural skills, and class piano will be initially accepted as a general XX transfer equivalency until the core course equivalency assessments determine the correct course equivalency. Ensembles, private lessons, and survey courses will transfer according to admissions office guidelines and at the level in which it was earned. However, students must complete the minimum degree requirements in applied private lessons and ensembles at WWU regardless of the number of credits taken at another institution.

Yes! The music department does not restrict students to solely major in music. Students majoring in music may complete another major in a different field, as well as complete multiple minors if they choose to do so. 

Within the music department students can complete multiple Bachelor of Music (BMus) concentrations, but these are not considered “double majors” as the degrees overlap by more than 50%. Students who complete multiple concentrations will be awarded one Bachelor of Music degree with multiple concentrations outlined in degree notes. Students cannot complete the Bachelor of Arts in Music along with a Bachelor of Music concentration.

Student should be aware that scheduling conflicts are common when completing a double major.  As our beginning sequences are and offered once a year, we are unable to work around scheduling conflicts with core music classes. However, students often find solutions in their other degree or are able to post pone some other degree courses till the following year. It is important for students to read the advisor recommendations above to for help decision whether a double major is appropriate for them. 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.

We offer many music general university requirements (GURs) during summer sessions each year. We do not currently offer core music classes or ensembles during summer sessions.

Musical theater falls under the Department of Theatre & Dance. Please visit their website for more information.

Students interested in these subjects are encouraged to look at the Audio Technology, Music and Society Minor in the 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.