Degree Programs


The degrees in music can be divided into two general groups: Liberal Arts degrees (Bachelor of Arts in Music), or Professional degrees (Bachelor of Music in Performance, Music Education, or Composition). Additionally we offer a music minor program. This page covers the requirements of these different degrees. All majors must meet the following general music major requirements in addition to the degree requirements on this page.

Four-year Plans

Suggested course sequences for the Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in music and for the Bachelor of Music Degree with options in Performance, Composition, Vocal Education, and Instrumental Education can be found here.
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Bachelor of Arts in Music

The Bachelor of Arts in Music is a liberal arts degree with a major in Music. As such, it requires a minimum of 124.4 credit hours for graduation. Of those 124.5 credits a minimum of 45 must be taken at the 300 Level (Junior) or above. The credits are divided into three general groups. Music courses (48 credits), General education, comprising courses in Basic Education (English and Library), Foreign Language, Arts and Humanities, Math and Natural Sciences, Communications, and Social Sciences (46.5), and electives (30 credits). There are also specific requirements for courses in U.S. Diversity and International Perspectives.

Specific music course requirements for the Bachelor of Arts with a major in Music can be found on the suggested course sequences (4-Year Plans) found here.

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Bachelor of Arts General Education Requirements

Basic Education

English 104, 105, Library 160 are required. Based on your ACT/SAT scores you may not be required to take English 104. If this is the case you will be given credit for English 104 by completing English 105 with a grade of C or better.

Foreign Language

8 credits of a single foreign language are required. If you had a minimum of 3 years of the same foreign language in high school you may be exempt from this requirement.

Group 1. Arts and Humanities

12 credits in Arts and Humanities are required. The credits may be selected from those courses on the approved list.

Group 2. Communications

One course from the approved list is required.

Group 3. Math and Natural Sciences

11 total credits are required. Math. One course from the approved list is required. Physical Sciences. A minimum of 8 credits from courses on the approved list are required.

Group 4. Social Sciences

9 credits from courses in two different areas of social science are required. See the approved list for acceptable courses.

International Perspectives

One course is required. Music 383 (required as part of the music major) fulfills this requirement.

U.S. Diversity

One course from the approved list is required. Check for courses which also fulfill the Group 1. Arts and Humanities requirement.
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Bachelor of Music Degrees

The Bachelor of Music degrees are professional degrees. As such, they require significantly more credit in upper level music courses and as a result, fewer credits in general education. The Bachelor of Music degrees may be divided into three basic groups: Those degrees with an emphasis on voice or instrumental performance, the degree with an emphasis in musical composition, and degrees in Music Education leading to an Iowa teaching certificate.
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Bachelor of Music in Performance or Composition

Degrees in performance are available for students in voice, wind instruments, strings, percussion, and keyboard. As professional degrees, significantly more credits are required in music courses. Specific music requirements for the Bachelor of Music in Performance or Composition can be found on the suggested course sequences (4-Year Plans) found here. In addition to those credits in music, additional credits are required in general education, comprising courses in Basic Education (English and Library), Foreign Language, Arts and Humanities, Communications, Math and Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and International Perspectives and U.S. Diversity.
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Performance or Composition General Education Requirements

Basic Education

English 104, 105, Library 160 are required. Based on your ACT/SAT scores you may not be required to take English 104. If this is the case you will be given credit for English 104 by completing English 105 with a grade of C or better.

Foreign Language

8 credits of a single foreign language are required. If you had a minimum of 3 years of the same foreign language in high school you may be exempt from this requirement. (Note to voice students. An additional 8 credits of a second foreign language are required for voice performance majors.)

Group 1. Arts and Humanities

12 credits in Arts and Humanities are required. 6 of these credits are filled by taking Music 383 and 384 (Courses also required as part of the music major). The additional 6 credits may be selected from those courses on the approved list.

Group 2. Communications

One course from the approved list is required.

Group 3. Math and Natural Sciences

9 credits are required. Physics 198 is specifically required for Bachelor of Music students. An additional course in Math and another in the Physical Sciences may be selected from those courses on the approved list.

Group 4. Social Sciences

6 credits from courses in two different areas of social science are required. See the approved list for acceptable courses.

International Perspectives

One course is required. Music 383 (required as part of the music major and also counted in Group 1. Arts and Humanities) fulfills this requirement.

U.S. Diversity

One course from the approved list is required. Check for courses which also fulfill the Group 1. Arts and Humanities requirement.
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Bachelor of Music in Music Education

Degrees in Music Education are available for students in both vocal/choral music education and instrumental music education. As professional degrees, significantly more credits are required in music, music education and professional education courses. Specific requirements for the Bachelor of Music in Music Education can be found in the suggested course sequences found here.

The credits are divided into three distinct groups. Music courses, professional education courses, and general education courses. Additional guidelines for meeting the unique requirements for music education may be found below.
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Music Education General Education Requirements

To meet certification requirements many of the general education courses are specified. Basic Education

English 104, 105 and Library 160 are required. Foreign Language

A total of 8 credits (usually French/German/Italian/Spanish 101 and 102). Group 1. Arts and Humanities

Music 383, and 384, One course in American History or Government course from the approved list (3 cr.) and one additional 3 credit course from the approved list for a total of 12 credits. Group 2. Communications

Usually Speech 212 or Theater 358. Group 3. Math and Natural Sciences

One course in Math (usually Math 104, 105, 150 or 151), one course in physical science, and Physics 198 for a total of 9 credits.Group 4. Social Sciences

Psychology/Curriculum and Instruction 230 and 333 for a total of 6 credits.International Perspectives

One course is required. Music 383 (required as part of the music major and also counted in Group 1. Arts and Humanities) fulfills this requirement. U.S. Diversity

One course is required. C.I. 406 a required professional education course in Multicultural Awareness fills this requirement. To Top Certification in Music Education

  1. Admission to Teacher Education. Students may apply for Admission to Teacher Education as early as four semesters before the one in which they plan to enroll for student teaching. Application forms are distributed in Introduction to Music Education (Music 266) and returned to the Music Education Coordinator. A grade point average of 2.5 or higher is required at the time of application. Completed application forms, once approved by the Department of Music, are forwarded to the LAS Teacher Education Coordinator, who, in turn, forwards them for final approval to the University Teacher Education Committee.

    Students with a score of 19 or higher on the ACT (SAT 835 or above) are exempt from the PreProfessional Skills Test (PPST), which otherwise is required before admittance to Teacher Education.

    Admission to the Teacher Education Program is a prerequisite for Sec Ed/El Ed 301.

  2. Prior to application for Teacher Education:
    1. A committee of at least two music education specialists and two other faculty will conduct individual interviews with music education students during the fall semester of their sophomore year to assess their preparation for admission to Teacher Education (most of these students will be concurrently enrolled in Music 266 but would include any music education student who has not been accepted to Teacher Education and has already taken Music 266).
    2. The student will compile a portfolio (assigned as part of Music 266) as part of the interview.
    3. An assessment will be made (based on the interview, portfolio and Teacher Education requirements) whether to recommend the student for full admission or tentative admission to Teacher Education.
    4. This process will become a required part of the Continuation Exam for all music education students to be done prior to scheduling the performance part of the CE
  3. Admission to Student Teaching. During the first two weeks of the semester before student teaching, the student meets with the Music Education Coordinator to discuss the student teaching assignment, responsibilities and commitment. At this time the student will receive an Application for Admission to Student Teaching. When completed, the application form is forwarded to the Office of Student Services, where it is copied and mailed to school personnel responsible for accepting student teachers in the school system requested. This application is sent to the College of Education not later than the fourth week of the semester prior to the semester before student teaching. The Office of Student Teaching notifies student teachers of their assignments near the end of the semester, after processing student teaching assignments for all ISU teacher education programs.
  4. Student Teaching Prerequisites.
    1. GPA of 2.5 or higher
    2. Passing of Continuation Examination
    3. Successful completion of Graduation Recital
    4. Completion of all professional education course requirements as specified in the ISU General Catalog. See section entitled Teacher Education, pp. 334-338, 2001-2003 General Catalog.

    Certification Option Forms are available from the Office of Student Services for students who wish to have certification requirements added to their Degree Audit.

  5. Student Teaching. The commitment to student teaching is a full-time responsibility. The student must adapt to the schedule of the cooperating teacher and only vary from this schedule with the full approval of both the University Supervisor and the Cooperating Teacher. Students should not be registered for other university courses and should not hold other outside jobs during the student teaching semester.

    Students completing K-6 and 7-12 certification requirements will teach for two eight-week sessions, normally during the spring semester. Students seeking only K-6 or 7-12 must complete a minimum of twelve weeks of student teaching to meet Iowa Certification requirements.

  6. Application for Iowa Teacher Certification. Application forms for Iowa Teacher Certification are available from the Office of Student Services in the College of Education (Lagomarcino Hall E105). After completing the form, attach a check as specified on the form and return to the Music Education Coordinator who will forward them to the University Certification Officer.
  7. Teacher Placement Service. Information regarding teacher placement is provided during Education 415, a required seminar for all students seeking teacher certification. Placement forms and blank recommendation forms will be distributed and the services of the University Placement Office will be explained.

Students in Music Education should consult the University Teacher Education Handbook for additional information and requirements. To Top

Minor in Music

Minor in Music Requirements

05-07 and 07-09 Catalogs (Page 301)
Candidates for the minor in music will complete 19 credits in music, including:

At least 6 of the 19 credits must be in courses numbered 300 and above taken at ISU with a grade of C or better. The minor must include at least 9 credits that are not used to meet any other department, college, or university requirement.

Students pursuing a music minor must meet the audition requirements and/or prerequisites for all courses they wish to take.

Minor in Music Technology

The Minor in Music Technology is a program of study in the creative application of computer technologies to the following:

  • sound editing, processing, and synthesis techniques
  • programming designs for computer-based musical instruments
  • development of human-computer interfaces for musical performance
  • electronic music composition.

The minor establishes a foundation in these areas through a core of three courses, with electives that provide:

  • broadening of musical study through courses in music theory, history, literature, performance
  • advanced study in music technology
  • coordination with foundation studies in computer programming and software engineering
  • augmentation of study in computer programming and engineering to strengthen interdisciplinary learning outcomes for these majors

Students do not need to declare a particular elective track, but are encouraged to select a combination of electives to meet one of the above goals.

Minor in Music Technology Requirments

The minor is fulfilled by earning 15 credits as follows.

At least six of the fifteen credits must be taken at Iowa State University in courses numbered 300 or above with a grade of C or higher. The minor must include at least nine credits that are not used to meet any other department, college, or university requirement.

* Music majors seeking this minor may not count in the fifteen credits music courses comprising the minor other than 246, 346, 446, 490I, and 593I. A Bachelor of Music major may not count Phys 198
** only one of Music 101 and 105 may be counted in the minor
*** only one of Music 120 and 304 may be counted in the minor

Interdisciplinary Objectives of Advanced Elective Courses

Music technology is an interdisciplinary field that changes rapidly with new technological developments. This minor includes advanced elective courses in computer programming, engineering, and music to provide an interdisciplinary track for advanced students who have the prerequisites and who will use electives to establish a bridge to their major, particularly between technical sub-disciplines. For example, mechanical engineering majors may wish to develop technologies for music that require more programming experience than provided by their major. Computer engineering majors may support their goals for music technologies with a more advanced understanding of engineering acoustics. Computer programming majors may have goals to create musical applications closely tied with digital signal processing. Students may therefore select elective courses that form a particular track for future applications of this minor.

Advanced electives in music theory, history, literature, and performance are included for non-music majors who are qualified for study at higher levels. These provide contact with more advanced musical concepts and skills that would be incorporated in software and interface design for music.

The Minor in Music Technology may also be used as an autonomous program of study to complement a major without being configured to meet specific interdisciplinary goals. In such a case, it is expected that electives would be satisfied through non-majors courses in computer programming, software engineering, and music.

Music Majors

A special case of a major in music (Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Music) earning this minor is treated as follows:

No music courses other than those in music technology core (246, 346, 446), independent study (490I), and workshops (593I) may be counted in the minor. A major in music therefore will obtain a minor that has a minimal overlap with the major, the supporting courses being taken from non-majors courses in computer science and software engineering, or as qualified from related courses in computer science and engineering.

Note: because Phys 198 is require in the major, it may not be counted by music majors as an elective in a music technology minor.

Download a PDF of this program description.