Undergraduate Students

Degree Programs for Undergraduate Students

The School of Music and Dance prides itself on its diverse offering of undergraduate degrees, allowing all students to choose studies in music that fully serve their passions and career goals. During their studies at San José State University, music students have the opportunity to work closely with our outstanding faculty to gain valuable professional experiences in their chosen field. Overall, our undergraduate students are guaranteed an education that is reputable, well-rounded, and will prepare them for the competitive world of professional artistry.

See the list of degree forms with course requirements.

The School of Music and Dance offers four professional undergraduate degrees in music:

one general degree in music:

and a music minor.

Professional degree programs lead to careers in performance, composition, jazz studies, and music education including a fifth year credential program. We highlight core courses in our curriculum that include experience in performance, music systems (theory), technology and improvisation. Beyond the core courses, individual contracts or concentrations within the BA and BM degree address professional opportunities that include:

  • Credentialed school instruction
  • Private school instruction
  • Vocalists or instrumentalists for the concert stage, opera, musical theater, jazz
  • Composers and/or arrangers for film, television, multimedia
  • Sound engineering and music technology
  • Conductors in all performance areas
  • Arts and education administration
  • Writer/scholar in Music or Dance

BM – Bachelor of Music in Composition

Music Composition Majors engage themselves in the study of new music and its construction for traditional ensembles as well as electro-acoustic mediums. Private composition lessons are at the heart of this degree program: each student is given individual time to be mentored by one of our distinguished faculty in the art of composing music. This degree program also offers group composition classes and provides many opportunities for students to hear their own works performed by other students and faculty members. Students in this program must complete both junior and senior recitals in addition to the regular course of study.


BM – Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies

The BM concentration in Jazz Studies is a degree tailored for students who are intent on pursuing an active career as a professional jazz musician. Emphasis is placed on jazz improvisation, jazz performance styles, jazz arranging/composition, and jazz pedagogy. Jazz Studies students receive in-depth private instruction on their chosen instrument(s) and also receive opportunities to rehearse and perform with the SJSU Jazz Ensembles: Jazz Orchestra and Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble. Students in this program must complete a senior recital in addition to the regular course of study.

More information is found here for Jazz Orchestra and Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble


BM – Bachelor of Music in Performance

The BM in Performance is designed for students who are intent on pursuing an active career as a performer and/or private instructor. Music Performance students receive private lessons from one of our outstanding applied instructors for their instrument/voice type to develop their individual technique, sound, expression, and understanding of standard repertoire. In addition to core courses such as Music Theory, Performance Majors participate in appropriate Major and Minor ensembles. Students in this degree program are expected to present both a junior and senior recital.

More information is found here for Major and Minor Ensembles


BM – Bachelor of Music in Music Education

SJSU’s Music Education program has long been recognized for its outstanding preparation of music teachers. During their studies in in either vocal or instrumental pedagogy, Music Education students also enroll in core music classes such as Music Theory, private lessons, and performance ensembles that will allow them to grow as musicians. By obtaining a BM in Music Education, SJSU students are better prepared to undergo the California teaching certification process that is required in order to be a certified California music teacher. Students in this degree program are expected to present a thirty-minute senior recital.

More information is found here for Music Education


BA – Bachelor of Arts Music

This is a flexible program of general studies with minimum performance requirements that allows students to combine studies in music with other fields of interest. An entrance audition is required. All students must complete the core classes and then consult the Music Advisor to design a Capstone that includes elective coursework from at least three different areas. BA students wishing to participate in private lessons must also be enrolled in an ensemble.


BA - Bachelor of Arts in Music, Emphasis in Music Technology

This course of study offers in-depth training in music technology within the broader liberal arts education at SJSU. Students pursue this track in preparation for careers in electro-acoustic music, studio arts, sound design, music/sound production, and multimedia sound applications.


Music Minor

The Music Minor program is designed for students interested in taking music coursework although music may not be their career choice. Music Minors are required to earn a minimum of eighteen units in core coursework, concert attendance, performance skills, ensemble performance, and other music support courses. Music Minors are not required to give a junior or senior recital. 

See the Music Minor Information Packet for further information about the requirements. 


Music Minor, Focus in Music Technology

This option is provided for students who already have a major in a related field and wish to develop skills in music and audio technologies as a strategic complement to their major.

See the Music Minor Information Packet for further information about the requirements.