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 music, and more.

Program Requirements and Policies

  • The BA in Music, Sound, and Culture requires completion of 10 or more courses falling within three categories: Foundation (3 courses), Concentration (5 or more courses), and Free Choice (2 courses). 
  • We recommend that Foundation courses be taken early in the sequence of major courses. Otherwise, courses may be taken in any order.
  • Students pursing the major are encouraged to take advantage of the department's many seminars and upper-level offerings, which provide smaller classroom environments and specialized instruction.

Course Requirements

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

  • MUS 11: Sound and Structure (course plus lab; offered every Fall)
  • MUS 12: Music Scholarship at Tufts (course plus lab; offered every Spring)
  • MUS 67: Performance - Private Lessons or Ensemble (or one from MUS 69–94; offered every semester)

In consultation with your major advisor and with approval of the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies, majors will take at least five courses to make a concentration. You have the opportunity to select the particular combination of courses that will comprise your own personal concentration. Concentration clusters may be formed on the basis of a sub-discipline, a specialization, a genre or style, a field, or a career goal.

Download a brochure with examples of concentration clusters recommended by students and faculty.

Free Choice
Any two courses numbered MUS 14 or above that give breadth to your program of study.

Download Major Checklist

Choosing an Advisor and Declaring a Major

Students should request a full-time faculty member as their major advisor based on shared interests or positive relationships in the classroom. Your major advisor and the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies will review your program of study for its coherence, depth, and breadth. The Director of Undergraduate Studies can help connect prospective majors with an advisor.

Once you have selected an advisor, you may declare your major(s)/minor(s) electronically, using the appropriate Student Services form. You should also complete the Music, Sound, and Culture Major Checklist in consultation with your advisor, to track your progress and ensure you have fulfilled requirements in all three areas.

Courses at New England Conservatory of Music

A reciprocal arrangement between Tufts University and New England Conservatory of Music allows students at both institutions to select a limited number of courses at either school that may be applied toward their respective degrees. Students may not take a course at the conservatory if it is offered at Tufts. This agreement does not apply to summer school. Students must first receive permission from their primary dean and then from the dean of the second institution.