Students entering this program should have a strong background in music. This should include performance experience with a specific instrument or voice type.

Admission into the Major

In order to declare a major in music theory, students must submit a writing sample and a statement of career goals and must take an exam on music fundamentals. To begin the application process, students must fill out a separate Audition Request Form, which is available online at Upon successful review of the materials, students are expected to declare a major formally no later than the fourth semester of full-time enrollment (or at 61 semester hours for transfer students). Students can declare a major by completing the Change of Major/Minor Application online under the Student tab of myBama.

Students earning the bachelor of music (BM) degree with a major in theory must complete all University, College and departmental degree requirements. These include the general education requirements, the following major requirements and other sufficient credits to total a minimum of 129 applicable semester hours.

More InformationHours
Major Courses
MUS 115Theory I4
MUS 117Theory II4
MUS 215Theory III4
MUS 217Theory IV4
MUS 219Composition I2
MUS 250Music In World Cultures3
MUS 251Music History I3
MUS 252Music History II3
MUS 300Intro Music Theory Research2
MUS 30316th Cent Counterpoint3
MUS 30418th Cent Counterpoint3
MUS 307Form And Analysis3
MUS 323Music History III3
MUS 325Orchestration I3
MUS 351Fund Of Conducting2
MUS 403Advanced Counterpoint3
MUS 418Schenkerian Analysis3
MUS 426Analysis 20th Cent Music3
MUS 492 or Choral Conducting2
MUS 494 Band Conducting
MUS electives 300 or 400 level3
MUA 010Music Convocation ((five semesters))0
Select four of the following: 8
Class Piano I
and Class Piano II
and Class Piano III
and Class Piano IV
Piano Proficiency
MUA applied (four semesters)4
MUA 231Piano (Secondary)0.5-1
MUA ensembles (four semesters)4
Total Hours76.5-77

Grade Point Average

A 2.0 grade point average in the major is required for completion of the degree. Please see the Grades and Grade Points section of this catalog for an explanation on grade point average calculations.

Upper-level Residency

A minimum of 12 hours of 300- or 400-level courses in the major must be earned on this campus.

Ancillary Courses

Grades in ancillary courses are not computed into the major GPA. The music major in theory requires 12–14 hours of French, German and/or Italian subject to theory faculty approval.

Required Minor

The music theory major does not require the completion of a minor.

Additional Major Requirements

MUS 121 Intro To Listening does not satisfy the fine arts (FA) general education requirement for music majors. Theory majors may audition for status as ”principals” in any instrument or voice. Principal status qualifies the student for two hours of credit per semester instead of the usual one hour. No more than 10 hours or fewer than two hours may be taken in any single instrument or family of instruments. Students who do not qualify as piano principals must enroll for that instrument during every semester. The Seminar in Music Theory Research is normally taken during the second semester of the student’s sophomore year. During the senior year, theory majors must present, to the satisfaction of the theory faculty, a paper delivered as a lecture based on research done under the supervision of theory faculty.

Students are responsible for ensuring that they have met all University, College, major and minor requirements. However, each student must meet with an adviser in the major department for academic planning and to be approved for registration each semester. College advisers are also available for additional assistance with minor, College and University requirements.

MUA Applied Courses

Students must earn a minimum of four hours and four semesters in a single instrument or voice chosen from:

MUA 231Piano (Secondary)1
MUA 232Organ (Secondary)1
MUA 233Harpsichord (Secondary)1
MUA 234Voice (Secondary)1
MUA 235Violin (Secondary)1
MUA 236Viola (Secondary)1
MUA 237Cello (Secondary)1
MUA 238String Bass (Secondary)1
MUA 239Flute (Secondary)1
MUA 240Oboe (Secondary)1
MUA 241Bassoon (Secondary)1
MUA 242Clarinet (Secondary)1
MUA 243Saxophone (Secondary)1
MUA 244Trumpet (Secondary)1
MUA 245French Horn (Secondary)1
MUA 246Trombone (Secondary)1
MUA 247Euphonium (Secondary)1
MUA 248Tuba (Secondary)1
MUA 249Percussion (Secondary)1

MUA Ensemble Courses

Four semesters of ensembles should be chosen from the following courses:

MUA 150Symphony Orchestra1
MUA 250Symphony Orchestra1
MUA 350Symphony Orchestra1
MUA 450Symphony Orchestra1
MUA 152Wind Ensemble1
MUA 252Wind Ensemble1
MUA 352Wind Ensemble1
MUA 452Wind Ensemble1
MUA 154Symphonic Band1
MUA 254Symphonic Band1
MUA 354Symphonic Band1
MUA 454Symphonic Band1
MUA 156Percussion Ensemble1
MUA 256Percussion Ensemble1
MUA 356Percussion Ensemble1
MUA 456Percussion Ensemble1
MUA 158Contemp Music Ensemble1
MUA 258Contemporary Ensemble1
MUA 358Contemp Music Ensemble1
MUA 458Contemporary Ensemble1
MUA 159Jazz Ensembles1
MUA 259Jazz Ensemble1
MUA 359Jazz Ensembles1
MUA 459Jazz Ensemble1
MUA 162University Chorus1
MUA 262University Chorus1
MUA 362University Chorus1
MUA 462University Chorus1
MUA 163University Singers1
MUA 263University Singers1
MUA 363University Singers1
MUA 463University Singers1

Career opportunities include full-time work as a performing musician, full-time opportunities as a licensed music therapist, and many other avenues within the music industry.

Types of Jobs Accepted

Recent graduates from The University of Alabama are very successful in major symphony orchestras, military bands, jazz, as freelancers, and as working music therapists.

Learn more about opportunities in this field at the Career Center