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Columbia University Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :01 Jan 
International :01 Jan 

BA Music

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

3 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

46040 USD
46040 USD

Application fee

International 75 USD
National 75 USD
Barnard College
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600

World University Ranking

About this course

The Barnard Music Program provides the vocal program for the university, which includes the Barnard-Columbia Chorus and Chamber Choir, solo studio voice lessons and three limited-enrollment vocal classes, Technique in Singing, the Vocal Repertoire Class and Worldmuse. There are two opera companies in residence, Opera Hispanica and the Brooklyn Opera Theater which present on-campus performances in the fall and spring. The program provides a music history course, Introduction to Music, which is a year-long survey of Western European art music from sixth-century Gregorian Chant to the work of living composers; the course fulfills the Fine and Performing Arts requirement of the General Education Requirements and serves as a pre-requisite for the music major. An additional option is an undergraduate major in ethnomusicology. Students may complete a senior project in music repertoire by presenting an hour-long recital, or may write a fifty-page thesis project in music research. The successful student will gain professional level performance skills though studio lessons and the theory and ear training sequence, and gain a comprehensive knowledge of music history from the courses in historical musicology and ethnomusicology provided by the Music Department at Columbia University.

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Eligibility Criteria

To be well-prepared for a college like Barnard, it is important to think about the academic community you are hoping to join. Barnard's general education requirements cover a wide range of subjects: literature, the social sciences, language and the arts, lab sciences, and quantitative areas. For this reason, you should acquire a strong foundation in high school, taking courses from the core academic subjects: math, science, English, history, and foreign language. Do your best to take the most rigorous classes available to you in which you can do your best work. For transfer students, our recommendations are similar. Take courses that are recommended to fulfill general requirements in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. If an area is a relative weakness, continue taking that subject while pursuing advanced coursework in areas of relative strength. Remember, we hope to see how you might contribute to our intellectual community, and your choices tell us what kind of a student you will be.

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Course Modules

Requirements for the Major

Program of Study: to be planned with the department consultant before the end of the sophomore year. Prospective music majors should complete the prerequisites by the end of their sophomore year and are encouraged to complete them by the end of their first year. By the end of her first year as a music major she should select a faculty adviser.

Prerequisites: BC 1001 or 1002, MUSI UN1002 Fundamentals of Western Music, and MUSI UN1312 Introductory Ear-training. Prospective music majors are advised to satisfy the prerequisites prior to their declaration as majors or before the end of their sophomore year. This requirement may be fulfilled either through successful completion of the courses or satisfactory performance on examinations administered each semester by the department.

Courses: At least 40 points, including MUSI UN2318–UN2319 Diatonic Harmony and Counterpoint; UN3321–UN3322 Chromatic Harmony and Counterpoint; four semesters of ear-training, unless the student is exempt by exam; the following two history courses: UN3128 History of Western Music I: Middle Ages to Baroque and UN3129 History of Western Music II: Classical to 20th Century; and at least three 3000- or 4000-level electives in your area of interest (theory, history, composition, or ethnomusicology). The remaining points are chosen from 2000- to 4000-levels. No more than 6 points of 2000-level courses and no more than 4 points of instrumental or vocal lessons will count toward the major.

Senior Project: Working with her adviser, a major must complete an original project in her senior year. Normally, it may be the expansion of a paper done in a 4000-level course (as long as it deals with primary sources), a composition, or a recital.

Keyboard Proficiency: Music majors will be required to take a keyboard proficiency exam, which must be arranged by making an appointment with a member of the piano faculty, immediately upon declaration of the major. Those who do not pass the exam will be required to take
MUSI UN1517x–UN1518y, for 1 point each term, which will count against the maximum 4 points allowed toward completion of the major.

Languages: For students who plan to do graduate work in music, the study of German, French, Italian, and/or Latin is recommended.

NoteWith the permission of Gail Archer, Barnard Director, students may apply to take lessons at the Manhattan School of Music or the Juilliard School. For non-majors, there is a six semester limit, but majors may continue for the remainder of their program. More information can be found on Juilliard's website.

Practice rooms: Piano practice rooms are available, at a nominal fee, upon application to the Music Department in 319 Milbank. Application should be made during the first week of classes. Preference in assigning hours is given to students taking piano instruction, majors, and concentrators, in order of application. The organ studio in St. Paul’s Chapel is available for organ practice. Arrangements should be made with Mary Monroe, Associate in Organ Performance, during the first week of classes.

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How to Apply

Submit all supporting materials

  • Request that all official high school and college transcripts be sent to Barnard College along with your high school's profile. Your guidance counselor will also need to submit the School Report.
  • Submit official standardized testing. For more information, please view
  • Submit Teacher Evaluation forms. We require letters from two teachers that taught you in core academic subjects (English, foreign language, history [social science], mathematics, or science) in your final two years of secondary school.
  • Your counselor will submit the mid-year report with your first semester senior grades by March 1st via the common application.
  • Submit TOEFL or IELTS (if applicable). In addition to SAT/ACT requirements, TOEFL/IELTS scores are required for students whose primary language is not English and who have not been enrolled in a school where English is the primary medium of instruction for four consecutive years

Optional Supplemental Materials

  • Students may choose to complete an on-campus or off-campus interview. For information on how and when to schedule an interview, please visit our admissions interview page. 
  • Students may choose to submit supplementary portfolios (art—including film, photo, drawing, painting, sculpture—music, dance, theatre, or creative writing) for review via Slideroom. 
    Please note: Supplementary material will not be reviewed by Barnard faculty, and unfortunately, during high volume periods, we cannot guarantee it will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. 

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