Fall New Majors Meeting

Attending this meeting is recommended for majors who have not attended a meeting before (e.g. added the major during the previous school year). Continuing majors, and those just considering the major are also welcome.

See the Fall Kickoff! page for the upcoming meeting information.

Undergraduate Theory and Musicianship Placement Exam

The Musicianship and Theory placement exam is for students new to the university or for students who wish to enter the major or minor who have not taken the exam before. Students will be placed into the appropriate class in the the Music Theory series (11, 5A, 5B, 5C, or in rare cases 160A or C), and the Musicianship series (4A-F).

This exam is only offered during the pre-instruction week of each Fall quarter. Email the undergrad advisor to RSVP.

Download the study guide on the Fall Kickoff! page

Changing your Major

Current first-year students (does not include transfer students) cannot 'officially' change their major until Spring quarter of their first year.

For an overview of the degree options in music, please visit the Undergraduate Students page.

To add a the BA in Music Studies, you'll want to fill out this form. Once completed, return the form to the Music Undergraduate Advisor. If you are double majoring, or have any questions, see the advisor for help.

Adding any BM major requires an entrance audition into the major. If this is not done in advance of entrance into UCSB, contact the Undergraduate Advisor for more specific directions by instrument. Often, students will first audition for lessons and studio placement, with an audition for entrance into the BM Degree program at the end of the first academic year they started lessons. 

Practice Room Keys & Lockers

Music majors and students (currently) enrolled in specific lessons & eligible ensembles can arrange to get a key to assigned practice rooms. To arrange for a practice room key or locker, please visit the Practice Rooms, Lockers, and Keys section of the Operations and Facilities page.

Music Department rooms are ONLY for students actively enrolled in Music Department ensembles or lessons (no exceptions). A $40 deposit is required, checks or money order (available at the Post Office in the UCen) only, made out to UC Regents is required at the time of your key appointment.

If you need a room to warm up for an audition for a lesson or ensemble (must be a MUS or MUS A designated class), please see the Advising Office in Music 1314 during office hours to see if a space is available during this time only. Once you are accepted into a lesson or ensemble, you will need to arrange for your own key.

Adding Classes

First Quarter Recommended Classes For New Majors

Offerings will depend on the quarter you start to pursue the major and previous experience. Schedule a meeting with the undergraduate advisor for personalized recommendations. See the course overview page for more information about entry level courses.

Music 3A, B or C - Introduction to Music Studies Series. You will likely need an approval code to add the class. Request your code from the undergraduate advisor. Please note these are stand-alone classes and can be started at any point in the series.

Music 4A-F, Musicianship - Offered in Fall quarter. May be placed out of with the Musicianship Exam (see that section on this page for info).

Music 11, 5A-C, Music Theory - If you have no formal Music Theory experience, take MUS 11. The Music Theory and Musicianship Placement Exam will place you in the appropriate course for those with experience. You can register for the appropriate class in the next available quarter it is offered. Please note that a passing score in AP Music Theory is considered equivalent to passing MUS 11 and you can start with 5A.

Music 10A-C, History of Music

MUS 17 - World Music

Music 31A, Class Piano - You may  place at a higher level by taking the class piano audition or switch into a higher level class.

Music 20-33, Open by Audition, Individual Instruction - Choose the appropriate course number for your instrument or voice. non-BM students must register for 1 (half-hour lesson) or 2 (hour weekly lesson) units. Upper division lessons (with the exception of MUS 22) require a sophomore level audition to place into.

A Performance Ensemble, Music A34-A70AA-ZZ - see the ensemble page for options and audition requirements (if applicable).

French, German or Italian. are the recommended languages for Music majors if you have not completed your language GE or if required by your degree.

For additional planning resources, see the course planning guide.


For any of the BA, Music Studies degree programs, no audition is required. See the information below for how to declare.

An entrance audition is required for all BM programs, even if you are actively taking lessons in a faculty studio. See your instrument instructor, or the undergraduate advisor for more information on how to go about an audition if you are already a UCSB student. BM degrees are offered with an emphasis in (must choose one): Bassoon, Cello, Clarinet, Composition, Double Bass, Flute, French Horn, Oboe, Percussion, Piano, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba, Viola, Violin and Voice.

The BA or Minor programs do not offer an instrument-specific emphasis, but you may audition for lessons in an instrument while in these programs.

Yes, the Music Theory and Musicianship Placement exams are offered each Fall quarter during Pre-Instruction week. Typically on Tuesday afternoon. Email the Undergraduate Advisor to get on the mailing list for information and reminders when the exam details are ready.

Download the Study Guide on the Fall Kickoff page.

These exams are not offered at any other time in the year.

The theory exam will place you into the appropriate class in Theory: Mus 11-5A-5B-5C, or 160A, the Musicianship exam will place you into the appropriate Musicianship class: 4A-F. You can use this exam to place out of Music 11 and satisfy that requirement if it is the only theory class required of your desired program. 


Yes. The BA tends to have more flexibility and fewer major requirements, but both the BM and BA are possibilities as double majors. 

For the BM degrees, careful planning from the beginning is essential. Once you are enrolled at UCSB, you can change your major completely, or add a double major, as early as Spring quarter of your first year.

Talk to the undergraduate advisors in both departments to start planning. For Transfer students, double-majoring may be more difficult, depending on preparation work completed. Please view the Applying as a Transfer section to see what preparation work is recommended prior to attending UCSB.

Yes, email the undergraduate advisor, or setup a time to meet to go over all your goals and options, and obtain approval codes for classes if needed and available. It is possible to begin to pursue any of the majors without being formally declared. Note that entrance into the BM always requires the passing of an entrance audition. If you are already at UCSB, and want to pursue the BM, you'll want to audition for lessons first. Programs vary slightly, so a meeting with the undergrad advisor is important.

Music Studies (no emphasis)

The music studies is the most common BA choice. It allows for maximum flexibility in your chosen coursework and performance classes. It has fewer performance course requirements than the Western Art Emphasis or the BM degrees.

Music Studies, Western Art Emphasis

The second most common BA major, the Western Art Music emphasis closely follows the BM lower division requirements and is a good alternative to the BM program for students taking lessons in a faculty studio and seeking a similar degree framework. This degree requires less participation in performance classes, and fewer proficiency checks (piano, language, some juries, etc). However, studio participation may also dictate additional requirements as appropriate.

Music Studies, Ethnomusicology

Similar to the BA, Music Studies with no emphasis, except for upper-division specific classes and forums focused in ethnomusicology topics are required.

Music Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies

Also close to the BA, Music Studies degree with no emphasis. This degree requires that 8 units of electives be taken in a music-focused topic offered by a department other than Music. Some common recent examples include: BLST143, Hip Hop; CHST156, Afro-Latina/o Diasporic Performance; FAMST, Film Music; RGST110M Religion and Music in Cuba.

No, we don't have this option at this time. If you are thinking of pursuing the Bachelor of Music in (instrument), we recommend auditioning as soon as possible for lessons or entrance into the BM program of your choice. Once officially accepted into the BM major, you can switch to that major with an emphasis in your instrument. Note that incoming freshman cannot change their declared major until Spring quarter of their first year. Often, if there is time required between auditioning for lessons and auditioning for the major, students will choose to declare the BA, Music Studies emphasis in Western Art Music to allow for priority enrollment in Music classes. Talk to the undergraduate advisor in Music for more information about auditioning for a BM as a continuing UCSB student.

Bassoon, Cello, Clarinet, Composition, Double Bass, Flute, French Horn, Oboe, Percussion, Piano, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba, Viola, Violin, and Voice.

You can only choose one emphasis, though you may take lessons in other instruments if you qualify.