Music (Music and Culture), BA

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From the mainstream to the alternative, this program lets your imagination shape your degree.

The BA program in music with a concentration in music and culture is a broadly based liberal arts degree offering the most elective flexibility of any ASU music major.

The program provides skills applicable to careers in music and many other fields (e.g., librarianship, arts festival management or production, criticism, audience educator, recruitment, artist representation, publishing, creative writing). Students may develop mainstream competencies such as performing or writing about Western European music; conducting; and teaching about music. They may also pursue coursework in popular song writing, beat-making, acoustics, advocacy of wellness through music, dance as musical embodiment and selected musical competencies of Asia, Latin America and other areas.

Students explore music as human history, cultural artifact and social behavior, and engage in interdisciplinary thinking and academic research and writing. Because of the high percentage of elective courses, students may tailor both the General Studies courses and the music electives to suit their career goals.

At A Glance

Music (Music and Culture), BA

Required Courses

A major map outlines a major's critical requirements, courses, and optimal course sequence and aids students in remaining on track to graduation.

While circumstances vary between students and their paths towards graduation (utilizing placement testing to fulfill required math or foreign language courses, fulfilling multiple General Studies requirements with one course, etc.), completing the courses listed in a major map fulfills all of the requirements for graduation.

Application requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements:

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Admission requirements

Important: Applicants must submit an ASU application for undergraduate admission in addition to a separate School of Music, Dance and Theatre application. Students should visit https://musicdancetheatre.asu.edu/admissions/music/undergraduate-steps-to-apply for details. Admission to the School of Music, Dance and Theatre is based on an audition. Auditions take place in November (spring admission) and in January and February (fall admission) of each year. Applicants may review audition information at https://musicdancetheatre.asu.edu/admissions/music/undergraduate-auditions.

Admission to the music program is highly selective and based on an audition process. Students are admitted as music audition students and must successfully complete the audition before enrolling in music major courses. Upon admission to both ASU and the School of Music, Dance and Theatre, the applicant's major will be changed to music. In the event a student is admitted to ASU but not to the School of Music, Dance and Theatre or misses the audition deadline, the student will remain as a music audition major and will need to successfully pass the music audition milestone in the first semester in order to gain admission into the program.

The following comprise the audition process for admittance to the music and culture concentration:

  1. Students must submit a writing sample, which will be evaluated by all musicology faculty members.
  2. Students must submit evidence of musicianship broadly defined (basic notational literacy plus live audition on, for example, didgeridoo or gospel-style composition, or documented transdisciplinary installation including music), which will be evaluated by all musicology faculty.
  3. Students must attend an interview with at least three musicology faculty members.
  4. Each student will be matched with a musicology advisor at the time of acceptance. The advisor will assist them in the choice of ensembles (as qualified) and electives to support their programs of study. Students must audition and be accepted into large ensembles following established procedures.
  5. Students who wish to take studio lessons as part of the degree must audition for the appropriate performance faculty members. Students should follow the BA in music audition requirements.

Application Deadlines: Students should visit https://musicdancetheatre.asu.edu/admissions/music/undergraduate-deadlines-fees for complete music deadlines.

Spring admission: The deadline to apply for admission to this program is October 15.

Fall admission: The deadline to apply for admission to this program is January 5.

Career outlook

The program prepares students for potential careers in fields that require skilled written communication, the ability to conduct research both in electronic and print media, critical and logical thinking, the dissection of an argument and careful time management.

In addition to the careers listed below, graduates may pursue jobs in music and medical humanities or copyright and entertainment law. Graduates are prepared to work in various professional capacities, including:

  • music criticism and research, ethnomusicology and musicology
  • music entrepreneurship, concert management and promotion
  • music in culture, music blogging
  • music publishing, program annotation
  • performer in community and professional ensembles in a variety of styles and traditions
  • private studio or community program teaching
  • music librarian
  • music-related fields

Example careers

Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions. Career examples include but are not limited to:


Career*growth*median salary
Historians2.6%$63,100
Librarians and Media Collections Specialists 5%$60,820
Curators 12.6%$56,990
Music Directors and Composers1.7%$52,250
Musical Instrument Repairers and Tuners-7.1%$36,810
Musicians, Instrumental0.9%*
Musicians and Singers0.9%*

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

  • Bright Outlook
  • Green Occupation