University of South Carolina


Music: What to Expect

The School of Music offers a Bachelor of Music with emphases in Composition, Jazz Studies, Music Education, Music Theory, Performance, and Piano Pedagogy. An audition is required to be considered for admission to all music degree programs. You will benefit from two-thirds of your coursework within the School of Music, which will include rigorous study within your selected emphasis. The Bachelor of Music degree is a good choice if your future goals include teaching or attending a graduate school program in music following graduation. As a Music major, you will benefit from tremendous faculty involvement and gain key skills including ear training, academic research, and music performance skills. Inside the classroom you will enjoy individual tutoring on the applied instrument and ensemble rehearsals. Outside of the classroom, you will benefit from freelance opportunities based on your skill development inside the classroom. As a Music major you can also take advantage of special programs including Spark: Carolina's Music Leadership Laboratory, the String Project, and the Performance Certificate.

The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Music:

  • Music Theory I-IV
  • Aural Skills I-IV
  • History of Western Music I - III
  • Recital Class (and laboratory)
  • Music Advocacy I: Understanding the Power of Your Music
  • Applied Studies
  • Ensembles

There is a 25 to 1 student-faculty ratio in academic coursework, 1 to 1 student-faculty ratio in applied lessons, and 80 to 1 student-faculty ratio for ensembles. You will take additional courses depending on your area of emphasis. These can be found in Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. You may also choose to intern, volunteer, or conduct research abroad. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Web site for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. As a Music major, you may wish to get involved with Phi Mu Alpha, Sigma Alpha Iota, Tau Beta Sigma, and Kappa Kappa Psi. Getting involved in these organizations will allow you to gain performance and leadership opportunities. You can also participate in annual competitions such as the Concerto Aria Competition and the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. Getting involved in an organization that interests you can help you network, meet new friends, and develop leadership skills. You can also seek out volunteer opportunities that relate to your major. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Many Music majors go on to pursue graduate programs in performance, conducting, research, and education.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. The School of Music offers more than 40 different scholarships each year.
Associated Learning Communities are an integral part of the university experience, providing you with the opportunity to live in an environment that promotes diversity, embraces excellence, encourages insightful faculty-student interaction and works to develop a strong sense of community. These academically themed communities also emphasize active service-learning experiences, study-abroad opportunities and undergraduate research. Students in the Music Community will live together, perform together, study together, and explore musical opportunities available on campus and in the community. The community provides musical immersion experience to better your musical talent and help you develop an even greater appreciation for music and fine arts!

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

Career Opportunities

Graduates often pursue careers within organizations including symphony orchestras, military bands, opera, and choral societies. Music majors may also go on to teach in public schools, develop private studios, pursue entrepreneurial activities, and work in higher education.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

About the School of Music

The University of South Carolina School of Music has established a national reputation for artistic and scholarly excellence. An acclaimed faculty teaches undergraduate and graduate Music majors, including students specializing in virtually every orchestra and band instrument and in voice, piano, organ, and guitar. Facilities include more than 100 acoustically designed rooms for practicing, rehearsing, and teaching; an intimate recital hall that is an ideal venue for solo recitals and chamber music; a comprehensive music library that contains more than 90,000 books and scores and 60,000 sound recordings; a music technology center; and a fully-equipped recording studio.  The School of Music enriches the musical life of the University and the city of Columbia by offering more than 200 concerts annually including symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, choirs and wind bands, opera, jazz ensembles, percussion ensembles, chamber music, and solo recitals.

Points of Pride

  • The School of Music is peer-evaluated to be among the most highly regarded music schools and conservatories in the U.S. and is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.
  • The School of Music’s home is adjacent to the University’s Koger Center for the Arts and features modern studios, classrooms, library facilities, rehearsal rooms, a recital hall, and the newest technologies.
  • The USC String Project is a model of community service and teacher education for more than 40 other universities across the nation.
  • The Southern Exposure concert series was recognized with an award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), while the USC Opera Program received an award from the National Opera Association Production Competition.
  • Our faculty members and student ensembles tour regularly and have appeared on concert stages in more than 30 countries and five continents.
  • The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education has rated the School of Music as having the most comprehensive music program in South Carolina.

Additional Resources
School of Music Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin