The first step towards an undergraduate degree in Music is to apply to UC Santa Barbara

UC applications are due each year on November 30. Students can choose the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Music Studies as their first-choice major on their UC application and no other supplemental materials required. Students who wish to enter as a Bachelor of Music (BM) should first choose a BM as their first choice major, and then audition for entrance into the major. See each degree option below for more detailed information. For transfer students, the BA, Music Studies degrees are eligible for TAG.


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Bachelor of Arts (BA) - Music Studies

The Bachelor of Arts in Music Studies (BA), balances musical studies in history, musicianship, theory, and performance with the broad general education implied by a liberal arts degree. 

The Music Studies Major of the Bachelor of Arts degree program offers a wide range of options within a liberal arts degree. Students take the same set of GE requirements as all Bachelor of Art students in the College of Letters and Science.

The core academic courses for this degree include music theory, musicianship, and music history, which are the same base requirements as for the BM. The BAs requires fewer applied music commitments than the BM, which can be beneficial for students with many time commitments. All Music Studies majors must complete a year-long senior project.

Degree requirements for all Music Department programs 

Course Catalog, with course descriptions

Optional emphases within the BA, which, if chosen, do appear on a students transcript, are:

Applicants or Students wishing to declare the BA, Music Studies major can do so without an entrance audition. For those applying to UC Santa Barbara, simply choose BA, Music Studies as your first choice major on your UC application!

For transfer students, our BA degrees in Music Studies are eligible for TAG. See preparation recommendations for transfer students.


Bachelor of Music (BM)

The Bachelor of Music degree is a professional degree, open by entrance audition. The majority of courses are in performance, theory, musicianship, and history with intense study in applied music, requiring a high level of proficiency in an instrument, voice, or composition upon entrance.

Applicants seeking admission to the Bachelor of Music are required to pass an entrance audition. Typically these auditions take place in January prior to enrolling at UC Santa Barbara.

The core academic courses: music theory, musicianship, and music history, is similar to the BA Music Studies, Western Art Music major. In addition, BM programs all require mandatory quarterly participation in ensembles, including (depending on instrument) orchestra, wind ensemble, choir/opera and chamber music. BM students are also required to pass end-of-year freshman and sophomore auditions (performance exams for a faculty jury), and public Junior and Senior Recitals to continue in the degree.

UC Santa Barbara offers the following BM emphases: Bassoon, Cello, Clarinet, Composition, Double Bass, Flute, French Horn, Oboe, Percussion, Piano, Trombone (Low Brass), Trumpet, Tuba (Low Brass), Viola, Violin, and Voice.

Students with talent in multiple instruments may choose to audition for more than one program when applying to the university, and may also take lessons in more than one instrument. However, double-majoring with two Music degrees or emphases is not permitted (you must choose one).


Learn How to Audition for the BM!


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Music Minors

Minors can choose to study their instrument in private lessons (based on audition, studio space and instructor approval) and participate in ensembles, as well as study, ethnomusicology, music theory, music history, and other academic topics. Through the electives, students may explore their own unique musical interests. To start the minor, you will need to take Music 11. The Music 11 requirement can also be met by passing Advanced Placement Music Theory or an equivalent Music Fundamentals class at another college, or by passing it via the Music Theory Placement Exam. To declare the Music minor, email the Undergraduate Advisor from your UCSB email address, include your perm number and your request to be added to the minor. That's it!

Double-Majoring in Music

For those interested in, the Bachelor of Arts tends to lend itself more easily to those wishing to pursue the double major. It is also possible with the Bachelor of Music, though careful planning from the beginning of your course of study at UCSB is essential. If you are not already in the Bachelor of Music, you will need to apply to the program and audition before you can declare the BM as a major or double major. The BA series of degree plans does not require an audition. It allows for the study of performance, but places emphasis on music and its role in society and its value as a cultural entity within a global perspective.

Continuing students wishing to declare a minor or double major, or to apply for the Bachelor of Music, please contact the Undergraduate Advisor.