Bachelor of Arts in Music

The Bachelor of Arts in Music is a liberal arts degree that gives students the opportunity to pursue diverse interests and prepare for a variety of career paths. Students in the program have the freedom to choose much of their own coursework, including courses within and beyond the School of Music. While the Bachelor of Music (BM) degree offers focused, specialized training in vocal or instrumental performance, the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Music provides a more interdisciplinary education. The degree is well suited to students pursuing a double-major or minor, to students interested in the School of Music’s Jazz or Electronic Music and Digital Media (EMDM) programs, to students whose musical interests extend beyond their primary instrument, and to students who envision a career that might include arts administration, academics (musicology and music theory), church music, and theatre.

Selecting the BA

Students should declare a BA in Music as early as possible within their course of study but preferably no later than the end of their fourth semester. At that point, they will need to select a two-person Advisory Committee, which consists of a major professor and another professor. Under the guidance of the Advisory Committee (and with the approval of the School of Music’s BA Committee), students will plan their coursework for their remaining semesters. It is possible for students to switch to the BA in Music from another music degree (BM and BME) after their fourth semester, but their course options may be limited.

For additional information on the programs in EMDM and Jazz, students should contact faculty members in those areas. Both areas have a separate application process for prospective students. The program in Jazz also requires ensemble courses and applied lessons that students should begin taking in their first semester.

Choosing a Concentration

  • To help students select their coursework for the BA in Music, seven concentrations are available: Academic Studies, Arts Administration, Church Music, EMDM, Intradisciplinary Music, Jazz, and Theatre. These concentrations are guided pathways through the curriculum, with the most relevant coursework preselected for each area of specialization.
  • Students interested in pursuing graduate degrees in Musicology or Music Theory are encouraged to select the Academic Studies concentration, which includes advanced history and theory courses as well as additional language courses.
  • Students who wish to pursue careers as arts administrators and cultural entrepreneurs are encouraged to select the Arts Administration concentration. It includes coursework in LSU’s E. J. Ourso School of Business and arts management courses in the School of Theatre.
  • Students interested in working as church musicians may elect the Church Music concentration, which includes courses in religion, liturgy, keyboard accompaniment, and choral conducting.
  • Students who want to work for opera and theater companies are encouraged to elect the Theatre concentration, which offers a comprehensive study of stage performance, production, and theatre scholarship.
  • Students who want to take most of their classes within the School of Music but without following a prescribed path should elect the BA in Music with a concentration in Intradisciplinary Music. This concentration gives students the opportunity to pursue interests across many of the School of Music’s vast offerings—including ensembles and applied lessons, and courses in composition, conducting, diction, music history, music theory, vocal and instrumental repertoire, and more. To ensure that students’ course selections reflect a diverse approach to the study of music, plans for the Intradisciplinary Music concentration must be approved by the Advisory Committee and BA Committee.
    • (Intradisciplinary Music is also a good degree option for students who switch to the BA from another music degree during, or after, their third year.)
  • Students who want to double-major or minor in a field outside of music should elect a BA in Music with no concentration.

Planning the Senior Project

An important part of the BA in Music is the final capstone: Senior Project (MUS 4501), required for all concentrations except Jazz (which requires the Senior Recital [MUS 4797]). The Senior Project represents the culmination of a student’s career at LSU, integrating some of the skills, techniques, and knowledge acquired from their earlier studies. Some portion of the project should be public, allowing communities in the School of Music, LSU, and the greater Baton Rouge area to witness, engage with, and support the student’s accomplishment. Examples of possible Senior Projects include a lecture-recital, a research paper and presentation, a new instrument design, a composition, a community initiative, a musical event, an outreach program, or an internship: the possibilities are (nearly) endless. Proposals for Senior Projects need to be approved by the student’s Advisory Committee and the School of Music’s BA Committee.

Additional Information

Students who have questions about the BA in Music should speak with their academic advisor. Faculty members with questions about the degree should contact the BA Committee: during the 2019-20 academic year, its members are Katherine Kemler (chair), Jason Bowers, and Doug Stone.


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