Undergraduate Programs in Music at Columbia University

Undergraduate Programs in Music at Columbia University

The Department of Music at Columbia University and Barnard College offers undergraduate courses and programs of study (major or concentration) for the four following schools: Columbia College, Barnard College, General Studies, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.  We also offer a joint degree program with the Juilliard School for highly qualified musicians. 

Please see the drop-down menus in the right sidebar for detailed descriptions of course and other requirements for music majors or concentrators in each of these schools.

A page of general advice for prospective undergraduate applicants to Columbia (and their families) can be found here. 


Music in Columbia College

Prof. Brad Garton (garton@columbia.edu) is Director of Undergraduate Studies for Columbia College, 2014-15.

Columbia College is a liberal arts college for men and women. It was founded in 1754, and currently has 3,700 students, making it the smallest college in the Ivy League. Students earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The cornerstone of a Columbia College education is its core curriculum, a body of required courses in literature, philosophy, history, music, art, and science, all taught in seminar-style classes. View the Columbia College Bulletin for detailed information on courses and major/concetration requirements.


Music in Columbia Engineering

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) traces its origins back to 1864, and became a separate engineering school in 1926. It offers programs to both undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduates earn a Bachelor of Science degree, in which music courses can play a significant part.

Important Note on Undergraduate Admissions (Columbia College and Columbia Engineering)

If you are considering applying to Columbia College and have a specific interest in music (whether as a potential major or not), please contact the College Admissions Office with all initial inquiries. The Music Department's office staff and faculty members cannot advise or answer questions on the specifics of the admissions process, and we do not interview or audition College applicants in person. We are happy to answer questions about our curriculum and the performance opportunities we provide. Most inquiries about the admissions process should be addressed to:
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Columbia College 
Email: ugrad-ask@columbia.edu 
Phone: 212-854-2522 
Office Address: 212 Hamilton Hall


Music in Barnard College

Please contact Miriam Miller, Admission Counselor at memiller@barnard.edu or 212-854-2014 or Barnard’s Music Major Adviser for Barnard College: Professor Gail Archer, garcher@barnard.edu

Founded in 1889, Barnard is a small liberal arts and sciences college for women. Our unique and longstanding partnership with Columbia University provides students with a vast selection of additional course offerings, extracurricular activities, NCAA Division I Ivy League athletics, and a fully coeducational social life. A Barnard education is structured around The Nine Ways of Knowing, a flexible set of requirements designed to equip students to respond critically and creatively to a rapidly changing world and debate ideas from new perspectives. Our faculty is comprised of leading scholars who serve as dedicated, accessible teachers to our diverse community of 2400 extraordinary women. The College’s metropolitan location grants students access to thousands of internships in addition to excellent cultural, intellectual, and social resources. Barnard students graduate from the University, though we remain an independent institution.


Music in the School of General Studies

Professor Brad Garton (garton@columbia.edu), Departmental Adviser for General Studies, 2014-15.

Current GS Music Majors who wish to pursue Departmental Honors (thesis project required in senior year) should read this page.

The School of General Studies is a liberal arts school for students whose education since high school has been interrupted by at least a year. Its students earn either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. In both cases, the majority of points of credit must be in liberal arts subjects. The School has a set of core courses and a distribution requirement, as well as departmental majors and minors.

To learn more about the Music Major in General Studies, please visit this page.


Departmental Honors and Independent Study

Undergraduate Music majors in Columbia College and General Studies programs are eligible to compete for Departmental Honors.  Only a small percentage of graduating seniors are eligible for honors (generally 10% in each school).  A senior project or thesis is required.  Please view this page of information and meet with the designated undergraduate adviser (Prof. Garton) in the spring of your junior year or very early in the fall of your senior year to discuss honors.  Departmental approval and specific honors research registration are required.  All honors projects must have an individual faculty sponsor. 

Music majors, minors, and concentrators are eligible for independent study with faculty members once they have passed through required theory and history course sequences, and at the sole discretion of the individual faculty member.

Music/Ethnomusicology majors in Barnard College are required to complete a senior thesis and must take the BC senior thesis seminar in Music.  As of 2011-12, thanks to the generosity of Barnard College, CC and GS students completing honors theses are also welcome to take this seminar (BC3993)

Columbia/Juilliard School Joint Degree Program

Exceptionally talented Columbia College and Barnard College (only) students have access both to the Lesson Exchange Program at Juilliard and the Joint Degree Program (BA/MM). For information on the two programs Columbia College students should contact Rebecca Schiavo  (rab2195@columbia.edu or 212 854 2522), and Barnard College students should contact Miriam Miller (memiller@barnard.edu or 212-854-2014). 

For a detailed description of the program, students may refer to information available on the Juilliard School website or on The Department of Music website.

Additional information about Barnard College's relationship with both the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music can be found here.