Degree programs, certificates, music minor

Undergraduate degrees include the Bachelor of Music (BM), the Bachelor of Music Education (BME) and the Bachelor of Arts in Music (BA). Students also may elect to earn a Certificate in Music Technology, a Certificate in Music Entrepreneurship (includes business minor), a Certificate in Music Theory, a Certificate in Singing Health, or a micro-credential in Arts Administration in conjunction with their degree program. Our Music Minor is open to all non-music majors regardless of prior experience. Degree requirement sheets that list specific courses needed for graduation are available for all programs. First-year and transfer students will declare a degree program before matriculating their first semester.

Eligible students, with approval of faculty in the relevant areas, may complete a dual degree in music performance/music education or a dual degree in music performance/composition. Normally, such programs take at least five years to complete. The dual major in music performance and music education requires 139 to 148 credit hours, depending on the music performance area. All requirements must be satisfied for each degree and the degrees are awarded concurrently. Students pursuing a double major in music performance must complete at least 15 additional credit hours beyond the 120 credit hours required for a single performance major. Requirements pertaining to applied study, chamber music, sophomore proficiency, junior recital and senior recital must be fulfilled separately for each degree; up to four credits of university ensemble can be applied to both majors when appropriate and with faculty approval. Students completing all requirements are awarded a single BM degree with two majors. The decision to earn more than one music degree/major should be carefully weighed, as it may be more advantageous to complete a single degree/major and then begin work on a graduate degree in music.

Bachelor of Music

A minimum of 120 credit hours is required for Bachelor of Music degree programs. BM students complete approximately 80 credit hours in music, including core requirements in music theory, history, and literature; 30 credit hours of non-music electives, including a written communications course, and up to 12 credit hours of free electives (music or non-music courses).

Bachelor of Music Education

A minimum of 126 credit hours is required for the Bachelor of Music Education degree program. BME students complete approximately 60 credit hours in music, including core requirements in music theory, history; 15 credit hours of non-music (general education courses), 9 credit hours of non-music electives, and approximately 40 hours of course work in music teacher education as required for licensure.

Bachelor of Arts

A minimum of 120 credit hours is required for the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree program. BA students complete approximately 45 credit hours in music, 8 credit hours of free electives (music or non-music courses), and 68 credit hours of non-music (includes general education courses and 3rd semester of Foreign Language). A minimum of thirty credit hours must be taken at the 3000 or 4000 level.

Students may elect to pursue a degree in a non-music field (e.g., engineering, business, journalism, arts or science major) in addition to a music degree program. This is typically done most often in conjunction with the BA degree program. A double degree program can only be completed with the advisement and approval of the second degree-granting department, school, or college. Most double degrees require more than four years to complete.

Certificate in Music Technology

The Certificate in Music Technology curriculum consists of 18 credit hours, including an introduction to technology course, and classes in composing at the computer, interdisciplinary performances, recording techniques, and special topics in music technology. This certificate provides students with an opportunity to study music technology in greater depth than music degrees currently allow. Each participating student must elect the certificate's curriculum in addition to the normal requirements of their degree program.

Certificate in Music Entrepreneurship

The Certificate in Music Entrepreneurship curriculum consists of 18 credit hours and will give students a range of tools to develop their careers and apply entrepreneurial skills to their professional development. This certificate is offered in partnership with the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business. Students will take a combination of music and business courses, participate in an internship with an entrepreneurial venture, take a capstone exam and earn a business minor.

Certificate in Music Theory

The Certificate in Music Theory program will be open to qualified music majors. The purpose of the certificate is to 1) provide students with interest and aptitude the opportunity to take more varied upper-level courses and develop independent projects under faculty mentorship; and 2) provide these students with a formal acknowledgment of their work in music theory, which could serve as a stepping stone to graduate school, private teaching, theory teaching in primary or secondary schools, or work in music-related media and technology.

Certificate in Singing Health

Vocal students and speech-language pathology students will be able to declare the Certificate in Singing Health. The certificate is designed to 1) train speech pathologists in signing techniques and specialized support to vocalists, and 2) train singers to be specialists in their field, and promote longevity and health in singing careers.

Arts Administration Micro-credential

The Arts Administration micro-credential is a credit-bearing credential for undergraduate music majors to gain knowledge about management, leadership, and administration within arts organizations. Student participate in practical applications of management and leadership crucial to the field of Arts Administration through their coursework, and access authentic experiences and skills through an established network of top arts administrators practicing in the profession.

Music minor

The Music Minor curriculum consists of 19 credit hours. Students pursuing the Music Minor are required to complete a basic music theory course and participate in at least one music ensemble. Beyond that, students may choose from a variety of course options focused on creating or making music, as well as appreciating and thinking about music in relation to historical or sociocultural issues. Many elective course options for the Music Minor are approved for the General Education Requirements. Grades in courses applied to the Music Minor must be a C- or higher.

Academic advising

All music majors are assigned an academic advisor and faculty mentor/coach before matriculating their first semester. Both advisors will guide students through degree program requirements. First-year students in all degree programs (BM, BME, BA) are assigned to the First Year Academic Advisor. Continuing students in all degree programs (BM, BME, BA) are assigned to the Senior Academic Advisor. 

Transfer students

Of the 120+ hours required for an undergraduate degree in music, the last 56 credits must be completed in residence in the College of Music. This may be reduced by the Undergraduate Associate Dean for excellent work done at this university and for good scholarship exhibited at previous institutions attended. In no case shall the minimum be fewer than 45 hours distributed over three semesters. At least 9 hours in applied lessons must be earned in this college for the BM and BME music degrees, and 6 hours for the BA in music degree.

Transfer credit evaluation

Classes from other university institutions in which a grade of C- or higher has been earned generally will transfer to CU Boulder as long as an equivalent course is offered here. Transfer credit for applied study is based on applied standing and performance proficiency, as typically demonstrated through an entrance audition.

Transferology is a useful tool that provides transferable course information and equivalencies.


Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS)

Students entering CU Boulder who finished high school in the spring of 1988 or later must meet the Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS) specified by their school/college. Students who did not complete these courses in high school are required to enroll in appropriate college classes to address the deficiency. Students must enroll, and complete at least one MAPS course each term, beginning in their first semester of enrollment until all the requirements have been completed.

  • English: 4 units
  • Natural Science: 3 units
  • Single Foreign Language: 2 units
  • Math: 4 units
  • Social Science: 3 units
  • Academic Elective in the Arts: 1 unit

Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, CLEP

Students may take Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams to earn credit or advanced standing at CU Boulder. Specific exams and course equivalents are listed on the website.

The College of Music follows the composite (theory and aural skills) grading system for the AP test. Students with an AP test score of 4 are placed into second-semester theory and aural skills, and students with a score of 5 are placed into third-semester courses. Please refer to the CU Boulder AP/IB website for information on AP/IB credits from other departments.

Course registration

Music majors register for classes during pre-registration periods in November (for the following spring) and April (for the following fall). Before registering for classes, students should follow advising instructions.  Summer session does not require advising.

  1. Locate your assigned advisor information and enrollment date in Buff Portal.
  2. Review your degree audit and unofficial transcript in Buff Portal.
  3. Schedule an advising appointment prior to your enrollment date.

Note: Lessons and any applicable courses (recitals, special studies, etc.) will be added to schedules after assigned enrollment dates during the course registration period due to restricted enrollment.

Music theory + aural skills classes

Students are required to complete all music theory and aural skills classes in a four-semester sequence. When students fail a music theory or aural skills class they are not permitted to enroll in the next level. In such situations, students are best served by extending their degree program and re-enrolling in the appropriate class at the next available opportunity. Students also may complete equivalent music theory and aural skills classes at another institution during a summer term to minimize the amount of time by which the degree program is extended. Any such transfer credits must be approved by the Music Theory Chair and Undergraduate Associate Dean.


BM and BA students may use the pass/fail option for up to 12 credit hours of non-music course work required for the degree program, except Written Communications. Transfer students are limited to one pass/fail credit for every eight semester hours of credit earned in the College of Music. Students must follow the pass/fail policies of the college/school in which such credit is earned.

Academic policies

Admission deferrals + cancellations

Students admitted to the College of Music may defer admission for up to two semesters (not including summer) without reapplying or re-auditioning. Students who have deferred admission must contact the Director of Admissions and Recruitment at before Oct. 15 for Spring admission or Jan. 15 for Fall admission to allow time for diagnostic exams, placement auditions and orientation activities to be scheduled.

Class loads

The normal academic load for an undergraduate student in the College of Music is 15 to 17 credit hours. Enrollment in fewer than 12 credit hours or more than 19 must be approved by the Undergraduate Associate Dean.


Successful work is dependent on regular attendance in all classes. Each semester instructors will inform students of policies governing grading and attendance in each class. Students are expected to attend classes and comply with the attendance requirements specified by their instructors. Attendance is especially enforced for all ensembles and performance classes to include dress rehearsals, major concerts, and other approved/sanctioned performances, as listed in the course syllabus.

Final exams

If you have 3 or more final exams scheduled on the same day or more than 1 scheduled at the same time, you are entitled to arrange an alternate exam time.  Students are expected to provide evidence of time conflict.  It is the student’s responsibility to review their final exam schedule before making necessary travel arrangements.

Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities are encouraged to be in contact with Disability Services to arrange for testing and other support services. If you qualify for accommodations because of a diagnosed/documented disability, your course instructors will receive an Accommodation Letter which will initiate a student meeting with course instructors to discuss specific course arrangements toward meeting accommodations.

Drop/add of courses

Students are responsible for distinguishing among and adhering to university deadlines for adding and dropping courses. Wednesday of the third week of classes is the standard deadline for dropping courses without an instructor’s signature; by meeting this deadline, a “W” grade does not appear on the transcript and students are not charged tuition or fees for the course. After this date, a “W” will appear on the transcript. After the tenth week of classes, an administrative drop request will not be approved unless students provide documentation of extraordinary circumstances beyond their control (e.g., major accident, serious medical condition, family emergency) that affect performance in specific courses but not all courses. Suddenly discovering a course is more challenging than anticipated or that a grade is lower than hoped for is not adequate grounds for an administrative drop. Nonattendance does not constitute withdrawal and also is not adequate grounds for an administrative drop.

Incomplete grade request

Students who have completed at least 50% of the required course work but who cannot satisfy the remaining course requirements may request an incomplete grade. The instructor will determine whether an incomplete grade is justified. If so, the student must submit an Incomplete Grade Request Form specifying the conditions for earning a letter grade (amount and type of work required, deadline for completing work). “I” grades convert to an “F” after one calendar year. In applied music, students unable to satisfactorily perform a jury or proficiency exam may receive an incomplete if the instructor decides that the student's situation merits this.


Students may withdraw from the College of Music and the University through the tenth week of the semester by completing the online withdrawal form. The request will be sent to the Undergraduate Associate Dean for approval. After the deadline, students must provide documentation of extraordinary circumstances beyond their control that affect their performance in all classes.

Leave of absence + readmission policies

Continuing students who have withdrawn from all classes and who are not under judicial suspension may apply for a leave of absence. Students approved for a leave of absence may access certain university benefits during the semester(s) they are not registered for classes.

Students who are inactive for two semesters or less may be automatically readmitted to the College of Music. After more than two semesters of inactivity (not including summer), a Dean’s hold will be placed on the student’s record and the student must reapply and re-audition for admission.

Change of major

Students interested in changing their major within music should obtain approval from their faculty advisor and submit written documentation to their assigned academic advisor. Students adding a second degree program should contact the other college/school.

Honors recognition

Students achieving a cumulative grade point average of 3.70-3.79 (honors), 3.80-3.89 (high honors) or 3.90- 4.00 (highest honors) are recognized at commencement.

Dean's List degree-seeking music students who have completed at least 24 credit hours at CU Boulder and have a cumulative GPA of 3.7 or above are eligible for the College of Music Dean’s List. The basis for calculating the grade point average is the cumulative GPA after grades for the semester are entered; transfer credits from outside CU Boulder and Continuing Education credits are not counted toward this GPA. The Dean’s List achievement is notated on the student’s transcript, and the College of Music will send recognition certificates to Dean’s List recipients after grades and updated cumulative GPAs have posted at the end of the Spring semester, generally around June.

Student academic honesty

The university has an Honor Code that is strictly enforced. Students are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest standards and follow the Honor Code Pledge which states: “On my honor, as a University of Colorado Boulder student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized assistance”.

Academic standing

To remain in good academic standing at the University of Colorado Boulder a student must maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) and make satisfactory progress toward the degree as defined by the student’s college/school. Academic Alert and Academic Warning are official standings indicating that a student’s cumulative GPA does not meet the minimum academic standard of 2.0.

Music scholarship eligibility

Students who are awarded a music scholarship sign an official agreement stating that they will maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA for eligibility. Scholarship recipients who fall below that level will be placed on scholarship probation for one semester.

Ensemble requirements

Music majors are required to be in an ensemble appropriate to and required by their degree program every semester they enroll in applied studio lessons. Exceptions are voice majors during the semester of their senior recital, BME students during their student teaching semester, and piano and guitar students whose sight-reading and accompanying classes fulfill the ensemble requirement during their first year of study.

First-Years and sophomores register for the 1000 level of ensemble; juniors and seniors register for the 3000 level. BME students who major in wind, brass, or percussion are strongly encouraged to be in Marching Band during their first year.

Music scholarship students must register for applied lessons and participate in a large conducted ensemble each semester they are enrolled, regardless of their degree program (other than the exceptions mentioned above). Students who do not adhere to the ensemble requirement may be dropped from applied lessons and their music scholarship revoked.

Juries + proficiencies

Students must pass a variety of jury tests and proficiency exams during their degree work. Each area has different requirements so students need to consult the chair of their area and/or their studio professor. All students must register and pass a Sophomore Proficiency exam (MUSC 2997). Those who cannot pass their Sophomore Proficiency receive a grade of incomplete (I) and cannot progress to the junior level of applied instruction or register for Junior Recital until the proficiency is achieved. Studio professors provide students with proficiency and repertoire requirements. Students cannot register for Senior Recital unless they have passed the Junior Recital and all levels of keyboard proficiency requirements.

Scheduling a recital + recording services

BM and BME students are required to perform a half-hour Junior Recital. BM students are also required to perform a one-hour Senior Recital. After consulting with their studio professor, students need to follow the steps on the event scheduling webpage. A $100 recital fee charge covers the time for the stage manager, recording technician, and livestream operator. After the performance you will receive links to download both the audio and video recordings, and the audio recording will be archived in the Music Library. Dates that recital scheduling opens will be emailed each semester by the Associate Dean to the student listserv. All students must preview their recital before an appropriate faculty committee at least three weeks prior to the recital.


Imig Music Building

Music majors enrolled in classes will have 24-hour swipe access to the Imig Music Building. Main entrances will continue to be open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., except on University holidays and other designated dates (e.g., days on which home football games are scheduled).

Practice rooms

New music students will be granted access to practice room corridors. Once this has been processed, students can use their BuffOne card to open the electronic locks on the practice corridors. All practice rooms in the secured corridors are reserved for music majors only; do not prop open corridor doors. Practice rooms are first-come, first-serve. Practice room privileges may be revoked for major violations or other inappropriate behavior. Please refrain from bringing food or beverages other than water into any practice room.


Active music majors have access to lockers in the Imig Music building. To check out lockers in the Imig Music Building fill out the locker request form. After completing the form, pay for the locker fee either by semester (Fall/Spring/Summer) or Academic Year (Fall + Spring). For any locker issues, please email or visit Dustin in Imig S218. Students are responsible for removing their locks by the end of the spring semester in May.

Computer labs (CAML & CRUNCH)

The Computer-Assisted Music Laboratories I and II (CAML) are designed primarily for classroom instruction. They feature numerous workstations, each with a Musical Instrument Digital Interface, sampling keyboard, and computer. The CRUNCH lab, which is adjacent to the CAML Lab, is a full electronic music project studio. This lab is optimized for computer music research (including live interactive performance systems) as well as sound recording and editing projects and audio/video production. These labs are located in the basement of the North wing of the building.

Music library

The Howard B. Waltz Music Library is located on the 2nd floor in the north wing of the music building. Students can access scores, recordings, books, periodicals and sheet music via Chinook.


Undergraduate listserv

Important reminders and announcements will be distributed to students via the undergraduate music student listserv.


University email addresses are the official method of communicating with students. All students are provided with free access to the web and an email account in conjunction with Buff Portal. Each student is responsible for activating their email account and checking it regularly. Many important communications regarding advising, course registration and important events will be emailed to students.

Student conduct + conflict resolution

Problems and conflicts of interest that students encounter should be brought to the attention of the Undergraduate Associate Dean. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached between the parties concerned, the problem will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.

Entrepreneurship Center for Music + internships

The Entrepreneurship Center for Music (ECM) helps students to think creatively about using their talents in the music industry and to develop an entrepreneurial spirit by offering specialized courses and workshops, featuring lectures by guest speakers, and arranging individual appointments in order to discuss career options. The internship program also provides valuable experience outside of the classroom in affiliation with arts organizations around the state and country.

Musicians’ Wellness Program

The Musicians’ Wellness program (MWP) increases proficiency and prevents injury through somatic training, health-related information and a medical support network. As such, the MWP provides essential assistance to injured students with the goals of returning them to full function and preventing further injury, and guiding them to resources and local medical professionals trained in the special needs of musicians. Classes and lessons in the Alexander Technique and Body Mapping are offered each semester.

Student organizations

The student body of the College of Music has its own government, represented by the College of Music Student Government and the Graduate Music Student Council.  Honorary music fraternities include:

Kappa Kappa Psi and Mu Phi Epsilon. Music education majors are eligible for membership in student chapters of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) and the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).

Institutional equity + compliance statement

CU Boulder has a responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment. If you disclose having been impacted by sexual misconduct, protected-class discrimination or harassment, intimate partner violence, stalking, or related retaliation, we are required to share that information to the CU Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) for outreach regarding support and reporting options.  You are not required to respond to OIEC. If you are in need of support, here is a list of resources, including confidential assistance. If you have questions before you want to submit this type of information, please contact the confidential Office of Victim Assistance.

Additionally, please note that the university takes disclosures around threat of harm to self or others seriously and when information of this nature is received, it will be shared with the appropriate offices to offer additional support and resources.