Bachelor of Music (BMus) Degree with a Major in Music History

Program Learning Outcomes for the BMus Degree

Upon completing the BMus degree, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate technical and musical competence in solo performance, composition, or music-historical research appropriate to the standards of a four-year undergraduate program.
  2. Possess intermediate analytical skills in music theory and an understanding of how those skills inform music performance.
  3. Acquire a fundamental understanding of the relationship between music history and music performance.
  4. Develop superior technical collaborative skills in the student’s major area through a combination of practice, coaching, and rehearsal in large and small ensembles.

Requirements for the BMus Degree

For general university requirements, see Graduation Requirements. Students pursuing the BMus degree must complete:

  • The requirements for one major offered by the BMus degree program
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements

All students pursuing the BMus degree in any major must participate in core music, applied music, and other required music courses as well as in chamber music and large ensembles, plus electives. These students are entitled to one hour of private lessons each week of each semester they are enrolled as a music major; private or group lessons beyond this may result in additional fees. 

The courses listed below satisfy the requirements for this major. In certain instances, courses not on this official list may be substituted upon approval of the major’s academic advisor (or official certifier). Students and their academic advisors should identify and clearly document the courses to be taken.

Summary

Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Music History78-89
Total Credit Hours Required for the BMus Degree with a Major in Music History120

Degree Requirements

Music Theory
MUSI 211THEORY I3
MUSI 212THEORY II3
MUSI 311THEORETICAL STUDIES III3
MUSI 312THEORETICAL STUDIES IV3
Select 1 from the following:3
EXPERIMENTAL SOUND AND VIDEO
CLASSICAL, CONTEMPORARY, AND CROSS-CULTURAL ASIAN MUSIC
BASIC ELECTRONIC MUSIC
ELECTRONIC MUSIC COMPOSITION
MUSIC BUSINESS AND LAW
ORCHESTRATION
MUSIC FOR MEDIA
ANALYTICAL SYSTEMS
MODAL COUNTERPOINT
SCORE READING AND THEORY AT THE KEYBOARD
EARLY MODERN MASTERS
TONAL COUNTERPOINT
MUSIC SINCE 1950
Aural Skills and Performance Techniques
MUSI 231AURAL SKILLS AND PERFORMANCE TECHNIQUE I2
MUSI 232AURAL SKILLS AND PERFORMANCE TECHNIQUE II2
MUSI 331AURAL SKILLS AND PERFORMANCE TECHNIQUES III2
MUSI 332AURAL SKILLS AND PERFORMANCE TECHNIQUES IV2
MUSI 431AURAL SKILLS AND PERFORMANCE TECHNIQUES V2
Music History
MUSI 222 / MDEM 222MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE ERAS3
MUSI 321BAROQUE AND EARLY CLASSICAL ERAS3
MUSI 322CLASSICAL AND ROMANTIC ERAS3
MUSI 421THE MODERN ERA3
Instrumental or Vocal Study
Select a minimum of 6 semesters from the Concentration or Instrument or Voice for Majors (see course list below)12-18
Undergraduate Chorus or Orchestra
Select a minimum of 5 semesters from the following:5-10
UNDERGRADUATE CHORUS
UNDERGRADUATE ORCHESTRA
Foreign Language
Select 1 year of a foreign language by completing course numbers 141 and 142 from language course offerings or equivalency as determined by university exam. German (GERM) is highly recommended.6
Advanced Musicology Coursework12
Select 3 courses from Advanced Musicology courses/seminars (see course list below)
Select 1 additional course from Advanced Musicology courses/seminars or 1 Advanced Theory Course (see course list below)
Senior Thesis
MUSI 449UNDERGRADUATE INDEPENDENT STUDY (minimum of 2 semesters)3
Piano Proficiency Exam
Students must complete and pass the Piano Proficiency Exam
Total Credit Hours Required for the Major in Music History 78-89
University Graduation Requirements *31-42
Total Credit Hours120

Footnotes and Additional Information

Instrumental or Vocal Study 

Instrumental or Vocal Study
Select a minimum of 6 semesters from the following:12-18
CONCENTRATION FLUTE
CONCENTRATION OBOE
CONCENTRATION CLARINET
CONCENTRATION BASSOON
CONCENTRATION HORN
CONCENTRATION TRUMPET
CONCENTRATION TROMBONE
CONCENTRATION TUBA
CONCENTRATION PERCUSSION
CONCENTRATION VOICE
CONCENTRATION PIANO
CONCENTRATION ORGAN
CONCENTRATION HARP
CONCENTRATION VIOLIN
CONCENTRATION VIOLA
CONCENTRATION VIOLONCELLO
CONCENTRATION DOUBLE BASS
FLUTE FOR MAJORS
OBOE FOR MAJORS
CLARINET FOR MAJORS
BASSOON FOR MAJORS
HORN FOR MAJORS
TRUMPET FOR MAJORS
TROMBONE FOR MAJORS
TUBA FOR MAJORS
PERCUSSION FOR MAJORS
VOICE FOR MAJORS
PIANO FOR MAJORS
ORGAN FOR MAJORS
HARP FOR MAJORS
VIOLIN FOR MAJORS
VIOLA FOR MAJORS
VIOLONCELLO FOR MAJORS
DOUBLE BASS FOR MAJORS

Advanced Musicology Courses  

Advanced Musicology Courses
Select 3 from the following: 9
RENAISSANCE MUSIC (Recommended)
MUSIC OF THE MIDDLE AGES (Recommended)
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND RESEARCH METHODS
AMERICAN MUSIC
PERFORMANCE PRACTICES SEMINAR
WOMEN IN MUSIC
TOPICS IN EARLY MUSIC
TOPICS IN THE 17TH AND 18TH CENTURIES
TOPICS IN 19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES
MUSIC, MAGIC, AND SCIENCE IN THE MODERN WORLD
PROGRAM MUSIC IN THE 19TH CENTURY
SATIE, COCTEAU, & LES SIX: PARIS IN THE 1920s AND BEYOND
MUSIC AND MODERNISM IN FRANCE
MUSIC OF RICHARD STRAUSS
WORDS AND MUSIC
EARLY OPERA
J.S. BACH: CAREER, WORKS, AND CRITICAL RECEPTION
SEMINAR ON A SELECTED COMPOSER
MOZART OPERAS
THE CLASSICAL STYLE
ROMANTIC SONGS AND PIANO PIECES
MUSIC OF SCHOENBERG
MUSIC OF STRAVINSKY

Advanced Theory Courses  

Advanced Theory Courses
Select 1 from the following (or select an additional Advanced Musicology Course)3
ANALYTICAL SYSTEMS
MODAL COUNTERPOINT
SCORE READING AND THEORY AT THE KEYBOARD
ADVANCED ORCHESTRATION
EARLY MODERN MASTERS
ADVANCED ELECTRONIC AND COMPUTER MUSIC SYSTEMS
ADVANCED COMPUTER SOUND SYNTHESIS
CLASSROOM PEDAGOGY
TONAL COUNTERPOINT
SPECIAL TOPICS IN MUSIC THEORY AND MUSIC THEORY COMPOSITION
MUSIC OF RAVEL: MUSIC THEORY AND COMPOSTION
MUSIC SINCE 1950
ANALYTICAL APPROACHES
SEMINAR IN ADVANCED ANALYSIS
SPECIAL TOPICS IN ADVANCED ANALYSIS
AESTHETICS OF MUSIC

Policies for the BMus Degree

Admission

An audition, in person, is required of each undergraduate applicant. A recorded audition may be considered in lieu of a live audition in extreme circumstances. The Shepherd School faculty and the university’s Committee on Admission jointly determine admission, the latter basing its evaluation on successful academic achievement and other standards of college admission. Transfer applicants from other colleges, conservatories, and universities also must provide an audition, and take placement exams in both music history and music theory. Once admitted, their prior preparation in music is assessed, which may reduce the required period of study at Rice.

Academic Standards

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

Further information on curricular requirements for all majors and degree programs is available from the Shepherd School of Music.

Grading Policy

A minimum grade of “B-“ is expected of all music students in their major applied area. A grade of “C+” or lower is considered unsatisfactory and will be evaluated in the following manner:

A music major who receives a grade of “C+” or lower in their major applied area will be placed on music probation. Music probation signifies that the student’s work has been sufficiently unsatisfactory to preclude graduation unless marked improvement is achieved promptly. A student on music probation may be absent from class only for extraordinary reasons and may not represent the school in any public function not directly a part of a degree program.

If a student receives a second semester of “C+” or lower in their major applied area, whether for consecutive semesters or not, the student will be discontinued as a BMus degree seeking student and merit scholarship from the Shepherd School will be discontinued.

Note: For music history and musicology majors, a grade of “C+” or lower in any music history course is considered unsatisfactory and will be evaluated as noted above. For music theory majors, a grade of "C+" or lower in any advanced music theory course is considered unsatisfactory and will be evaluated as noted above.

Leaves of Absence and Voluntary Withdrawal

Music majors must obtain permission in writing from the dean of the Shepherd School before requesting a leave of absence from the university. Requests must be in the dean’s office before the first day of classes in the semester for which leave is requested.

Music majors taking voluntary withdrawal from the university are not guaranteed readmission into the Shepherd School and may be asked to reapply/reaudition. Students should explain the reasons for their withdrawal to the dean before leaving campus.

Transfer Credit 

For Rice University’s policy regarding transfer credit, see Transfer Credit. Some departments and programs have additional restrictions on transfer credit. The Office of Academic Advising maintains the university’s official list of transfer credit advisors on their website: http://oaa.rice.edu. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic program’s transfer credit advisor when considering transfer credit possibilities. 

Examinations

At the end of each semester, a jury examination in applied music may be given over the material studied during the semester. All degree candidates except BA students must demonstrate keyboard proficiency by examination. If students have little or no knowledge of the keyboard, they should enroll in secondary piano at the beginning of their first semester and continue study until they can meet the examination requirements.

Performance

Students are expected to perform frequently during their residence at Rice. Performance majors must present at least two full recitals. Composition and conducting students should present recitals as specified by their degree programs. Students are expected to attend both faculty and student recitals. In addition, all music majors must participate in the school’s conducted ensembles as assigned.

For additional information, please see the School of Music website at: http://music.rice.edu

Opportunities for the BMus Degree

BMus/MMus Honors Program

Shepherd School students who demonstrate truly exceptional musical and academic accomplishment may apply for the BMus/MMus five-year coordinated program. This program, often referred to in the school as the BMus/MMus Honors Program, allows for the completion and awarding of both the BMus and MMus degrees concurrently. Application to this program is made in the student’s fifth or sixth semester of undergraduate studies.

The same general university requirements apply, but students seeking the combined BMus/MMus degrees must complete a total of at least 150 semester hours by graduation. The number of required hours varies according to major area.

The first five semesters of course work in this program parallel the core curriculum of the bachelor's degrees. The sixth semester is a transitional semester during which students qualify for admission to the combined program. For further information, including application procedures, see the Shepherd School Student Handbook.

Other Musical Opportunities

Lectures and Performances

A visiting lecture series, a professional concert series, and numerous distinguished visiting musicians contribute to the Shepherd School environment. The Houston Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Chorus, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, Houston Masterworks Chorus, Da Camera, Context, and Chamber Music Houston, as well as the activities of other institutions of higher learning in the area, also provide exceptional opportunities for students to enjoy a wide spectrum of music. 

Academic Honors

The university recognizes academic excellence achieved over an undergraduate’s academic history at Rice. For information on university honors, please see Latin Honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) and Distinction in Research and Creative Work. Some departments have department-specific Honors awards or designations.

For additional information, please see the School of Music website at: http://music.rice.edu