Program Requirements

Bachelor of Arts in Music

NOTE: This degree does not offer a performance major. Private lessons are not part of the curriculum. No performance audition is required. Learn more about the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree here. 

BA applicants apply for the general degree program rather than a specific major. Concentrations are declared after the student has begun studies at Northwestern, explored course options, and consulted with faculty and the Office of Music Student Affairs. Available concentrations: general music, musicology, music cognition, music composition, music education, music theory

The applicant must be able to read music and submit the following online by October 15 (Early Decision) or December 1 (Regular Decision):

  • An example of musicianship on the applicant's primary instrument, such as a recording or video of one piece. Pick a piece that showcases your highest level of musicianship. Mash-ups or excerpts spliced together are discouraged. The example must be a solo without any accompaniment (vocalists and jazz students, you are welcome to record a piece with accompaniment). The instrument must correspond with the instruments/voice parts that comprise Bienen School of Music ensembles. 
  • Five-page essay, preferably on a musical topic relevant to the applicant’s interests; this requirement helps the admission committee understand the applicant's writing and research abilities. The paper's tone should be academic.
  • One-page statement of purpose that provides insight as to why the applicant would like to pursue the BAMus degree, as well as the applicant's intended goals within the program
  • Submission of one additional material tailored to the applicant’s personal interests. Examples include theoretical/harmonic analysis of a piece/portions of a piece, model composition, part-writing, a composition score, additional example of musicianship, etc.