BA in Music, Sound, and Culture

The BA in Music, Sound, and Culture empowers students to chart their own musical path, and provides them with the creative, scholarly, social, and professional tools they need to confidently embark on this journey. This major is open to undergraduates with any and all prior backgrounds in music; it is designed around the interests and needs of individual students. Everyone is welcome!


The open structure of the Music, Sound, and Culture major enables a rigorous, balanced study in many disciplines of music—such as composition, cultural studies, ethnomusicology, musicology, performance, psychology, technology, and theory—and varieties of music, such as classical, popular, international, film, and more.

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Program Requirements and Policies

  • The Music, Sound, and Culture (MSC) major requires 11 courses falling within three phases: Embark (4 courses), Explore (4 courses), and Expand (3 courses). 
  • We recommend that EMBARK courses be taken early in the sequence of major courses.
  • All major courses must be taken for credit, for a letter grade (not Pass/Fail).
  • Please see the Music Department Website for complete major requirements and policies

Course Requirements

These four courses introduce essential modes of musical inquiry, and emphasize an integrated, community-oriented approach to music studies.

  • Theory and Musicianship: Take MUS 11 (Sound and Structure 1, course plus lab; offered every Fall); or MUS 112 (Sound and Structure II, course plus lab, offered every Spring).
  • Tools and Methods: Take two of the following -- MUS 21 (American Music), MUS 48 (Music in the Age of Empires), MUS 125 (The Cultural Study of Music), and/or MUS 150 (Listening and History)
  • Performance: Take one Private Lesson or Ensemble course (anything from MUS 7-9, 67, or 69-94. Music Scholarship at Tufts (course plus lab; offered every Spring)

These four courses encourage testing out new areas outside the student's comfort zone. Offerings may come from MUS 12-66, 95-97, or 100-198.

These three courses are meant to represent the culmination of a student's experience in the MSC major, where they not only familiarize themselves with musical scholarship and creative endeavors, but actively contribute to and expand the musical culture at Tufts as individuals. Students may take 3 courses from 127-139 or 145-199 to fulfill this requirement. Alternatively, they may take two classes from that range and complete a senior capstone project, either MUS 68 (Juried Senior Recital, one semester), MUS 198 (independent study, one semester), or MUS 199 (senior honors thesis, two semesters).