Thornton School of Music

Undergraduate Degrees

Bachelor of Music

The Bachelor of Music (B.M.) is a professional degree granted by the Thornton School of Music. The various majors for the degree are listed subsequently along with special requirements for each.

Individual Instruction in Residence

Candidates for the B.M. degree in performance must complete a minimum of three semesters of individual instruction in their major field while in residence.

Senior Recital

All performance majors must present a senior recital consisting of a memorized program one hour long (except in the case of certain wind instruments) in partial fulfillment of the degree requirements. Composition majors present a full-length recital of their original compositions. A candidate’s program must be ready for presentation before a faculty committee at least one month before the required public recital. Complete details are available from the Music Operations Office, Thornton School of Music.

General Education Requirements

The university’s general education program provides a coherent, integrated introduction to the breadth of knowledge you will need to consider yourself (and to be considered by other people) a generally well-educated person. This program requires six courses in different categories, plus writing and diversity requirements.

The provost has allowed an exception to the rules governing the new general education requirements for certain groups of students pursuing performance degrees in music. Students pursuing the Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies or the Bachelor of Music in Performance (in all tracks except organ) may satisfy their social issues and first writing requirement separately by taking WRIT 130 (instead of WRIT 140) in the spring of their freshman year. In addition those pursuing the Bachelor of Music in Performance (vocal arts) may satisfy Category I of the new program with MUHL 331 and MUHL 332.

In all other respects, students in the Thornton School of Music must satisfy the general education requirements as described on The USC Core page and the General Education Program page.

Individual Instruction Limitations

Music majors may accumulate a maximum of 16 units of individual instruction at the 300 level toward an undergraduate degree program.

Bachelor of Music in Composition

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, resume, complete academic transcripts, three original compositions, and a complete list of all original compositions including dates and media. If available, audio recordings of the submitted scores should also be included. An on-campus interview with the composition faculty is encouraged but not required. Admission to the B.M. in Composition is highly competitive. The program is a four-year program, to which transfer students are rarely admitted. Admission to programs in composition is limited to fall semester only.

Curriculum Requirements Units
General education 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
Large ensemble* 4
Ensemble electives 2
MPKS 250ab (4), MPKS 350ab (4), MPKS 301P (4)** 12
MTEC 474a or MTEC 474b or MTEC 490 2
MUCO 132ab (4), MUCO 133ab (6), MUCO 135 (2), MUCO 137ab (4), MUCO 232ab (4), MUCO 233ab (6), MUCO 235 (2), MUCO 236 (2), MUCO 237ab (8), MUCO 336ab (4), MUCO 337ab (8), MUCO 434 (2), MUCO 435 (2), MUCO 437ab (4) 58
MUCD 340 (2), MUCD 343 (2) 4
MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3), MUHL 331 (3), MUHL 332 (3) 12
Electives in music 2
General electives 4
Senior recital 0
Total required for degree 132
*Transfer credit may not fulfill the large ensemble requirement.

**Requirement may be fulfilled with MPKS 301P if proficiency level equivalent to MPKS 350b is demonstrated by examination.

In addition to the above curricular requirements, B.M. candidates in composition must take departmental comprehensive examinations in all six areas:

(1) instrumental performance at an intermediate level;

(2) theory and analysis;

(3) aural skills;

(4) instrumentation;

(5) music literature;

(6) elementary score-reading.

Students must pass in at least four areas to continue on to the senior year of the major and, in order to graduate, must pass in all six areas.

Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, resume and repertoire list. A performance audition is required for admission to this program. Specific audition requirements, along with other entrance requirements, are reviewed on an annual basis and published in the Application Requirements section online at usc.edu/music. Most applicants will also be asked to sit for a written examination consisting of listening to excerpts, basic jazz theory and jazz history. Though applicants are strongly encouraged to perform a live audition, a recent video recording may be submitted in lieu of a live audition if necessary.

Curriculum Requirements Units
General education 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
MUEN 332 (8), MUEN 329 (6) 14
MUJZ 195L (8), MUJZ 395L (8) 16
MUCO 132ab (4), MUCO 133ab (6), MUJZ 141ab (4), MUJZ 305ab (4) 18
MUSC 496 (2) 2
Two courses from: MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3), or MUHL 331 (3) 6
MUJZ 153 (4), MUJZ 253 (4), MUJZ 286ab (6), MUJZ 353 (4), MUJZ 400 (2), MUJZ 443 (2), MUJZ 453 (4) 26
Electives 18
Comprehensive exam* 0
Senior recital 0
Total required for degree 132
*Students must pass a comprehensive performance exam prior to the senior recital, which entails performance and improvisation, from memory, of songs selected from the “Jazz Studies Department Required Tune List.”

Bachelor of Music in Performance (Classical Guitar)

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, resume and repertoire list. A performance audition is required for admission to this program. Specific audition requirements, along with other entrance requirements, are reviewed on an annual basis and published in the Application Requirements section online at usc.edu/music. A recent high-fidelity recording may be submitted in lieu of a live audition if necessary.

Curriculum Requirements Units
General education 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
MPGU 153CG (4), MPGU 253CG (4), MPGU 353CG (4), MPGU 453CG (4), MPGU 159 (2), MPGU 257 (8), MPGU 259 (2), MPGU 357 (2), MPGU 457 (6), MPGU 417 (2), MPGU 426 (3), MPGU 427 (3), MPGU 459 (2) 46
MPKS 250ab 4
MUEN 326 (6) 6
Large ensemble* 2
Ensemble electives 2
MUCD 340 (2) or MUCD 343 (2) 2
MUCO 132ab (4), MUCO 133ab (6), MUCO 232ab (4), MUCO 233ab (6), MUCO 338x (2) 22
MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3), MUHL 331 (3), MUHL 332 (3) 12
Electives 4
Junior recital 0
Senior recital 0
Total required for degree 132
*Transfer credit may not fulfill the large ensemble requirement.

Bachelor of Music in Performance (Studio Guitar)

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, resume and repertoire list. A performance audition is required for admission to this program. Specific audition requirements, along with other entrance requirements, are reviewed on an annual basis and published in the Application Requirements section of the Thornton Website (usc.edu/music). A recent, high-fidelity recording may be submitted in lieu of a live audition if necessary.

Curriculum Requirements Units
General education 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
Common core:
MUCD 343 2
MPGU 153SG (4), MPGU 253SG (4), MPGU 353SG (4), MPGU 453SG (4), MPGU 158 (2), MPGU 159 (2), MPGU 258 (4), MPGU 358 (4), MPGU 415 (2), MPGU 416 (3), MPGU 426 (3), MPGU 428ab (6), MPGU 458 (2) 44
Traditional emphasis:
MPKS 250ab (4) MUCO 132ab (4), MUCO 133ab (6), MUCO 232ab (4), MUCO 233ab (6), MUCO 338x (2), MUEN 326 (6), MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3), MUHL 331 (3), MUHL 332 (3), Ensemble electives (4), Electives (6) 54
Jazz emphasis:
MTEC 310, MUCO 132ab (4), MUCO 133ab (6), MUJZ 141ab (4), MUJZ 305ab (4), or MUCO 338x (2), MUJZ 286ab (6), 6 units chosen from MUHL 231, MUHL 232, MUHL 331 (6), MUEN 326 (6), MPGU 301 (2), Ensemble electives (4), Electives (10) 54
Junior recital 0
Senior recital 0
Total required for degree 132

Bachelor of Music in Performance (Piano)

Entrance Requirements for Piano Major

Applicants in piano must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, resume and repertoire list. A performance audition is also required. Current requirements for the audition may be found at usc.edu/music. Follow the links to the Keyboard Studies Department and choose “Application Requirements.” Although live auditions are strongly encouraged, a recent, high-fidelity audio or CD recording may be submitted in lieu of a live audition if necessary by applicants living a distance greater than 200 miles from the USC campus.

Curriculum Requirements for Piano Units
General education 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
MPKS 153P (4), MPKS 253P (4), MPKS 353P (4), MPKS 453P (4), MPKS 160ab (4), MPKS 170ab (2), MPKS 228 (2), MPKS 260ab (4), MPKS 360ab (4), MPKS 431ab (4), MPKS 472ab (4), MPKS 481 (2) 42
MUCD 340 (2) or MUCD 343 (2) 2
MUCO 132ab (4), MUCO 133ab (6), MUCO 232ab (4), MUCO 233ab (6), MUCO 338x (2) 22
MUEN 328 (4) 4
Large ensemble* 4
MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3), MUHL 331 (3), MUHL 332 (3) 12
Electives 14
Senior recital 0
Total required for degree 132
*Transfer credit may not fulfill the large ensemble requirement

Bachelor of Music in Performance (Organ)

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, resume and repertoire list. A performance audition is required for admission to this program. Specific audition requirements, along with other entrance requirements, are reviewed on an annual basis and published in the Application Requirements section online at usc.edu/music.

Curriculum Requirements Units
General education 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
MPKS 153OR (4), MPKS 253OR (4), MPKS 353OR (4), MPKS 453OR (4), MPKS 160ab (4), MPKS 260ab (4) 24
MUCO 132ab (4), MUCO 133ab (6), MUCO 232ab (4), MUCO 233ab (6), MUCO 338x (2) 22
MUCD 340 (2), MUCD 343 (2) 4
Large ensemble* 4
Ensemble electives 2
MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3), MUHL 331 (3), MUHL 332 (3) 12
Electives in music 21
Electives 11
Senior recital 0
Total required for degree 132
Transfer credit may not fulfill the large ensemble requirement.

Bachelor of Music in Performance (Violin), (Viola), (Violoncello), (Double Bass) or (Harp)

Entrance Requirements (Violin), (Viola), (Violoncello), (Double Bass) or (Harp)

Applicants must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, resume and repertoire list. A performance audition is required for admission to this program. Specific audition requirements, along with other entrance requirements, are reviewed on an annual basis and published in the Application Requirements section online at usc.edu/music. A recent video recording may be submitted in lieu of a live audition if necessary.

Curriculum Requirements for Violin, Viola and Violoncello Majors Units
General education 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
Foreign language 2 courses
MPKS 250ab (4), MPKS 350ab (4), MPKS 481 (2) 10
MPST 153 (4), MPST 253 (4), MPST 353 (4), MPST 453 (4), MPST 471ab (4), MPST 472 (4) 24
MUCD 343 2
MUCO 132ab (4), MUCO 133ab (6), MUCO 232ab (4), MUCO 233ab (6), MUCO 338x (2) 22
MUEN 327 (8) 8
Large ensemble* 8
MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3), MUHL 331 (3), MUHL 332 (3) 12
Electives** 6
Junior recital 0
Senior recital 0
Total required for degree 132
*Required each semester in residence

**Violin majors are required to take MPST 301VL (2) as 2 units of the 6-unit elective requirement.

Curriculum Requirements for Double Bass Majors Units
General education 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
Foreign language 2 courses
MPKS 250ab (4), MPKS 350ab (4), MPKS 481 (2) 10
MPST 153 (4), MPST 253 (4), MPST 353 (4), MPST 453 (4), MPST 262 (4), MPST 462 (4), MPST 472 (4) 28
MUCO 132ab (4), MUCO 133ab (6), MUCO 232ab (4), MUCO 233ab (6), MUCO 338x (2) 22
MUCD 343 (2) 2
MUEN 327 (4) 4
Large ensemble* 8
MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3), MUHL 331 (3), MUHL 332 (3) 12
Electives 6
Junior recital 0
Senior recital 0
Total required for degree 132
Curriculum Requirements for Harp Majors Units
General education 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
Foreign language 2 courses
MPKS 250ab (4), MPKS 350ab (4), MPKS 481 (2) 10
MPST 153 (4), MPST 253 (4), MPST 353 (4), MPST 453 (4), MPST 263 (4), MPST 463 (4) 24
MUCD 343 2
MUCO 132ab (4), MUCO 133ab (6), MUCO 232ab (4), MUCO 233ab (6), MUCO 338x (2) 22
MUEN 327 (8) 8
Large ensemble* 8
MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3), MUHL 331 (3), MUHL 332 (3) 12
Electives 6
Junior recital 0
Senior recital 0
Total required for degree 132
*Required each semester in residence.

Bachelor of Music in Performance (Vocal Arts)

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, resume and repertoire list. A performance audition is required for admission to this program. Specific audition requirements, along with other entrance requirements, are reviewed on an annual basis and published in the Application Requirements section online at usc.edu/music. A recent video recording may be submitted in lieu of a live audition if necessary.

Curriculum Requirements Units
General education 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
Foreign language 4 courses
FREN 120 (4), GERM 101 (4), ITAL 120 (4); FREN 150 (4) or GERM 102 (4) or ITAL 150 (4)
MPKS 250ab (4), MPKS 350ab (4) 8
MPVA 153VO (4), MPVA 203ab (4), MPVA 253VO (4), MPVA 301VC (3), MPVA 353VO (4), MPVA 453VO (4), MPVA 404 (2), MPVA 438 (2), MPVA 439 (2), MPVA 440 (2), MPVA 441 (2), MPVA 479 (4) 37
MUCD 340 2
MUCO 132ab (4), MUCO 133ab (6), MUCO 232ab (4), MUCO 233ab (6) 20
Large ensemble* 4
Ensemble electives 2
MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3), MUHL 331 (3), MUHL 332 (3) 12
Electives 3
Junior recital 0
Senior recital 0
Total required for degree 132
*Transfer credit may not fulfill the large ensemble requirement.

Bachelor of Music in Performance (Flute), (Oboe), (Clarinet), (Bassoon), (Saxophone), (French Horn), (Trumpet), (Trombone), (Tuba) or (Percussion)

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, resume and repertoire list. A performance audition is required for admission to this program. Specific audition requirements, along with other entrance requirements, are reviewed on an annual basis and published in the Application Requirements section online at usc.edu/music. A recent, high-fidelity recording may be submitted in lieu of a live audition if necessary.

Curriculum Requirements Units
General education 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
MPKS 250ab 4
MPWP 153 (4), MPWP 253 (4), MPWP 353 (4), MPWP 453 (4), MPWP 252 (4), MPWP 452 (4) 24
MUCD 343 (2), MUCD 340 (2) or MUCD 443 (2) 4
MUCO 132ab (4), MUCO 133ab (6), MUCO 232ab (4), MUCO 233ab (6), MUCO 338x (2) 22
MUEN 323 (8)* 8
MUEN 325 (8)* 8
MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3), MUHL 331 (3), MUHL 332 (3) 12
Electives 18
Senior recital 0
Total required for degree 132
*Required each semester in residence.

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, résumé and repertoire list. A performance audition is required for admission to this program. Specific audition requirements, along with other entrance requirements, are reviewed on an annual basis and published in the Application Requirements section of the Thornton Website (usc.edu/music).

Curriculum Requirements Units
General Education 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
MUCO 133ab (3-3), MUCO 131ab (2-2), MUCO 132ab (2-2), MUCO 232ab (2-2), MPPM 325ab (2-2), MUSC 255 (2) 24
MUHL 315 (4) and two courses from the following: MUJZ 100 (4), MUJZ 419 (4), MUSC 400 (4), MUSC 420 (4), MUSC 422 (4), MUSC 444 (4), MUSC 450 (4), MUSC 460 (4) 12
MTEC 310 (2), MTEC 311 (2), MUIN 270 (4), MUSC 496 (2) 10
MPPM 100 (4), MPPM 120 (8), MPPM 153 (4), MPPM 240* (2), MPPM 250** (2), MPPM 253 (4), MPPM 320 (4), MPPM 450ab (1-1) 30
Ensemble 2
Electives 22
Total required for degree 132
*Drummers will substitute a class in guitar or voice.

**Keyboardists will substitute a class in guitar or voice.

Bachelor of Music in the Music Industry

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, resume and repertoire list. A performance audition according to the requirements of the department of the applicant’s primary instrument or voice is also required.

Curriculum Requirements Units
General education 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
MPxx 153 (4), MPxx 253 (4), MPxx 353 (4) Individual instruction in primary instrument/voice* 12
MPKS 250ab 4
MUCD 340 (2) or MUCD 343 (2) 2
Ensemble electives 2
MUCO 132ab (4), MUCO 133ab (6), MUCO 232ab (4), MUCO 233ab (6) 20
MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3), MUHL 331 (3), MUHL 332 (3) 12
MUIN 270 (4), MUIN 280 (4), MUIN 360 (4), MUIN 450 (8) 20
Two courses from the following: MUIN 370 (4), MUIN 385 (4), MUIN 425 (4), MUIN 430 (4), MUIN 435 (4), MUIN 440 (4), MUIN 443 (4), MUIN 445 (4), MUIN 495 (4) 8
Music Technology requirements:
MUIN 275ab (8) and 6 units from the following: MUIN 287 (2), MUIN 340 (4), MUIN 389 (2), MUIN 392ab (2-2), MUIN 442 (2), MUIN 446ab (2-2), MUIN 476ab (2-2), MUIN 477 (2), MUIN 478 (4), MUIN 479 (2), MUIN 494 (4), MUIN 496 (4) 14
Electives 6
Junior recital 0
Total required for degree 132
*All individual instruction units must be taken in the same area in which the students auditioned.

Bachelor of Science in the Music Industry

The Bachelor of Science in the Music Industry is a professional degree that prepares students to enter a variety of careers in the music industry of today. Students must fulfill a series of core requirements for the degree, but they are allowed to choose one of two options for the remainder of their curriculum. The industry option emphasizes classes in the business and legal aspects of the music industry, while the technology option allows students to gain a solid background in the various uses of technology in the modern music industry.

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, resume and full academic transcripts. A full academic review will be the primary consideration for admission to this program. In some cases, a phone or in-person interview will be requested by the Thornton admission office.

General Education Requirements

The university’s general education program provides a coherent, integrated introduction to the breadth of knowledge you will need to consider yourself (and to be considered by other people) a generally well-educated person. This program requires six courses in different categories, plus writing and diversity requirements, which comprise the USC Core. See The USC Core and the General Education Program for more information.

Business-related Requirements

In addition to the above general education requirements, the following courses offered through the USC Marshall School of Business, the USC Leventhal School of Accounting and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences are required.

ECON 203 1 course
ECON 205 1 course
BUAD 307 1 course
ACCT 410x 1 course
4 courses
Core Curriculum Requirements Units
General education requirements 6 courses
Writing 2 courses
Business-related requirements 4 courses
School of Music requirements:
One course from the following: MUHL 315x (4), MUSC 444 (4), MUSC 450 (4), MUSC 460 (4) 4
MUIN 270 (4), MUIN 275ab (4-4), MUIN 280 (4), MUIN 360 (4), MUIN 450 (8) 28
MPKS 150ab (2-2) 4
MUCO 101x (2) 2
Total core units: 86
Industry option (42 units) units
BUAD 215x 4
Four courses from the following: MUIN 370 (4), MUIN 385 (4), MUIN 425 (4), MUIN 430 (4), MUIN 435 (4), MUIN 440 (4), MUIN 443 (4), MUIN 445 (4),MUIN 495 (4), MUIN 496 (4) 16
6 units from the following: MTEC 448 (2), MTEC 474a (2), MUIN 287 (2), MUIN 305 (4), MUIN 340 (4), MUIN 389 (2), MUIN 392ab (2-2), MUIN 442 (2), MUIN 446ab (2-2), MUIN 476ab (2-2), MUIN 477 (2), MUIN 478 (2), MUIN 479 (2), MUIN 493 (2) 6
Electives 16
Total: 128
Technology option (42 units) units
MUIN 305 (4), MUIN 446ab (2-2) 8
Three courses from the following: MUIN 370 (4), MUIN 385 (4), MUIN 425 (4), MUIN 430 (4), MUIN 435 (4), MUIN 440 (4), MUIN 443 (4), MUIN 445 (4), MUIN 495 (4), MUIN 496 (4) 12
12 units from the following: MTEC 448 (2), MTEC 474a (2), MUIN 287 (2), MUIN 340 (4), MUIN 389 (2), MUIN 392ab (2-2), MUIN 442 (2), MUIN 476ab (2-2), MUIN 477 (2), MUIN 478 (2), MUIN 479 (2), MUIN 493 (2) 12
Electives 10
Total: 128

Bachelor of Arts in Music

Applicants must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, resume and repertoire list. A performance audition according to the requirements of the department of the applicant’s primary instrument or voice is also required.

General Education Requirements

The university’s general education program provides a coherent, integrated introduction to the breadth of knowledge you will need to consider yourself (and to be considered by other people) a generally well-educated person. This program requires six courses in different categories, plus writing, foreign language and diversity requirements, which together comprise the USC Core. See The USC Core and the General Education Program for more information.

Curriculum Requirements
Required courses Units
General education, writing, foreign language, and electives 64
Lower division
MPKS 250ab 4
MUCO 132ab (2-2), MUCO 133ab (3-3), MUCO 232ab (2-2), MUCO 233ab (3-3) 20
MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3) 6
Upper division
Ensemble electives 4
Individual instruction 301 6
MUCO 338x 2
MUHL 331 (3), MUHL 332 (3) 6
Music electives 16
Total required for degree 128
Curriculum Areas of Study

Within the curriculum for the B.A., students may wish to focus in a particular area of music that suits their interest and the faculty’s expertise. Students may specialize in one area or may design individual programs of study by choosing various combinations of electives that best meet their needs and career objectives. Relevant courses for each area are posted at usc.edu/music. One such option is listed below.

Vocal Jazz Option: This option is designed for students with a strong interest in the performance of solo and ensemble vocal jazz music. Students should take two semesters of Vocal Jazz Techniques, as well as individual instruction in jazz voice. Students may also perform in vocal ensembles and with instrumental combos.

Bachelor of Arts in Choral Music

Applicants must submit the Thornton School of Music Supplementary Application, a statement of objectives, resume and repertoire list. A performance audition according to the requirements of the Choral Music department is also required.

General Education Requirements

The university’s general education program provides a coherent, integrated introduction to the breadth of knowledge you will need to consider yourself (and to be considered by other people) a generally well-educated person. This program requires six courses in different categories, plus writing, foreign language and diversity requirements, which together comprise the USC Core. See The USC Core and the General Education Program for more information.

Required courses Units
General education, writing, foreign language, and electives 64
Lower division
MPKS 250ab 4
MUCO 132ab (2-2), MUCO 133ab (3-3), MUCO 232ab (2-2), MUCO 233ab (3-3) 20
MUHL 231 (3), MUHL 232 (3) 6
Upper division
Ensemble (choral) 8
MPVA 301 (6), MPVA 442 (2) 8
MUCO 338x (2), MUCO 441 (2) 4
MUHL 331 (3), MUHL 332 (3) 6
MUCD 340 (2), MUCD 441 (2) 4
MUCM 320 (2), MUCM 440 (2) 4
Total: 128