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Academics Overview

Students holding class outdoors

Students meet for their course section outdoors on a nice day.

Undergraduate Programs

The Department of Music at Stanford offers a Bachelor’s of Arts (BA) degree in Music centered around core studies in Music Theory and Musicianship, History, Analysis, Writing, and Applied Music. As a part of the Music major, students can opt to concentrate in Composition; Conducting; Music History, Theory, and Ethnography; Music, Science, and Technology (MST) or Performance.

The Music Minor is a distilled version of the major, covering the same core areas, with roughly half the number of required credits. Music minors are offered in General Music and in Music, Science, and Technology (MST), with each program focused on core elements of both the General Music pathway and the MST pathway.   

Music at Stanford is open to both Music majors and non-Music majors. The Performance Certificate for Non Music Majors is a departmentally recognized certificate given to non-Music majors and minors who display a committment to musical excellence. In contrast to the Minor, 75% of the Performance Certificate requirements center entirely around private lesson and ensemble performance study.

Learn more about the undergraduate program

Graduate Programs

The Master of Arts (MA) program in Music, Science, and Technology prepares students for a professional career or doctoral studies. This is achieved through the completion of coursework in the primary field as well as in related areas and experience with independent work and specialization. The MA/MST program is the only terminal Master’s degree offered by the Department; it is two years in duration. It is is available to current Stanford undergraduates as a coterminal MA, current Stanford graduate students, and external applicants.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is conferred upon candidates who have demonstrated substantial scholarship and the ability to conduct independent research and analysis in either Musicology or Computer-Based Music Theory and Acoustics. The PhD culminates in the preparation and defense of a dissertation that makes an original contribution to the knowledge and practice of Music and demonstrates advanced ability to interpret and present the results of such work in appropriate venues and publications.

The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Composition is conferred upon candidates who have demonstrated substantial training in the field and high promise of attainment as composers. Students may work in traditional and/or electronic forms. Breadth is achieved through studies in other branches of music and in relevant fields outside music, as desirable. In addition to formal coursework and independent study, candidates are required to write a number of works in various forms and to present a public lecture-demonstration based on their final project, a large-scale composition.

Learn more about the graduate programs