244 Music Center
(831) 459-2292

Programs Offered

Music B.A.

Music B.M.

Western Art Music Minor

Electronic Music Minor

Jazz, Spontaneous Composition, and Improvisation Minor

Music M.A.

Music D.M.A.

Music Ph.D. 

Undergraduate Program

The Music Department at UC Santa Cruz offers two undergraduate degrees: a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and a Bachelor of Music (B.M.). The B.A. degree offers a uniquely diverse curriculum, with the option of completing a concentration in either Contemporary Practices, Global Musics, or Western Art Music. The B.M. degree is designed for students who intend to pursue a career in music performance. The department also offers minors in “Electronic Music,” “Jazz, Spontaneous Composition and Improvisation,” and “Western Art Music,” providing more access for music students and students in other disciplines to engage with music during their studies at UC Santa Cruz. Both B.A. and B.M. degrees are distinctive in that they integrate elements of performance, theory, composition, literature, and history, and culture. Students leave UC Santa Cruz prepared for graduate studies and music careers in performance, teaching, and the digital arts.

Through these curricular offerings, students will encounter an extraordinarily rich variety of performance opportunities. Specifically, our students engage with music:

● as a cultural practice in ensembles focusing on musical traditions from Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, North America, South Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia;

● temporally in ensembles based on Baroque, Classical and contemporary idioms to deepen their understanding of performance practices;

● technologically in electronic music ensembles and workshops where students experiment with innovative technologies to develop their own projects with the support of their advisors and peers.

● collaboratively in seminars geared toward student composition and improvisation.

Students at UC Santa Cruz have extraordinary performance, composition, and professionalization opportunities. All instrument and voice faculty are celebrated professional musicians, who provide unparalleled guidance for students in performance and professional development. Ensemble courses culminate in an end-of-quarter performance, providing students with regular performance opportunities in a world-class recital hall. Student composers frequently collaborate with Arts Division faculty and peers to create and showcase their works. The electronic music minor provides hands-on opportunities for students to learn a variety of techniques related to electronic sound production, composition and recording in a state-of-the-art studio facility. The Opera Program allows students to be involved in every step of a major production, from concept and design considerations to marketing and arts management. As performers, composers, artistic collaborators and event organizers, these programs allow students to develop musically and professionally for diverse career paths and industries.

Our programs shape responsible, independent, and highly capable young artists that will push the frontiers of their fields. Graduates from the Music Department at UC Santa Cruz are musically attuned and socially engaged global citizens in the 21st century.

Courses for Non-Majors

All music courses are open to non-majors, with many fulfilling general education requirements while offering exploration in the field of music. Courses in the MUSC 11, MUSC 80, and MUSC 81 series cover a wide array of topics that may interest students. Non-majors are also able to enroll in all performing ensembles. Students should check out for further information regarding preparation and auditions, and contact the Music Department if they have further questions.

Graduate Program

There are three graduate programs in music: the Master of Arts (MA) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in music and the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree in music composition. The MA degree in music has emphases in composition, musicology/ethnomusicology, or performance practice, and integrates studies in performance, composition/analysis, and research. The Ph.D. degree in music has an emphasis in cross-cultural studies, and aims to provide doctoral students with an integrative framework for music scholarship, emphasizing the ways in which musicology and ethnomusicology interact and complement one another. The DMA degree in music composition allows doctoral students to pursue various and intersecting areas of emphasis such as algorithmic/computer-assisted composition, cross-cultural compositional practices, improvisation, collaborative composition, and other contemporary practices, to provide a broad awareness of the diverse styles, cultural influences, media, venues, and technical means available to them in the 21st century.

The Music Center includes a 400-seat recital hall that has recording facilities, specially equipped classrooms, individual practice and teaching studios, a student computer laboratory, rehearsal space for ensembles, a gamelan studio, and studios for electronic and computer music. McHenry Library has a separate music section and listening rooms that have individual audio and video facilities. Recording and media equipment is available from the Learning Technologies center.