French horn player

The B.A. in music is a great choice for students with a variety of musical backgrounds and goals. Students with years of classical training, as well as musicians with informal, on-the-job experience, will benefit from the flexibility built into the degree.

In contrast to the music performance and music education curriculum, the B.A. curriculum allows for over 40 credit hours of elective courses. These courses may be taken in any academic area offered at Rhode Island College, allowing students to design a personalized academic plan. Here are just a few of the possibilities for your electives:

  • Courses in business and accounting to prepare you for a career in music merchandising.
  • Courses in management and marketing, leading to a career in arts management.
  • Courses in theatre, dance and the visual arts for a diverse arts background.

Additional, highly focused courses in music will prepare you for graduate study in theory, composition or musicology.

To qualify for acceptance as a B.A. in music major, you must be admitted to Rhode Island College (follow the general admission procedure described on the Office of Admissions website) and successfully complete an audition. You DO NOT need to be admitted to audition, but we recommend that you have your admissions application at least completed by your audition date. Audition information will be available soon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Auditions are required for entrance into all music programs at RIC because we care about your success. Our programs are demanding, and it would be wrong to accept students into a program for which they do not show potential for success. An audition clearly reveals this.

No. Please schedule your audition as soon as you can. However, it is to your advantage to also apply for admission as early as possible.

Yes. The B.M. in performance has the highest expectations, followed by the B.M. in music education and the B.A. in music.

We sometimes hear students audition for the music education or the performance programs who, though they show potential, are not quite ready to be accepted into these majors. They may be accepted as music majors into the B.A music program and have the opportunity to re-audition for the program of choice after one or two semesters at RIC. Fortunately, most music classes are the same for all incoming freshmen music majors.

RIC is an excellent college, and we are proud of our programs in all areas. Students who do not pass the audition are encouraged to find an academic major which is more suited to their strengths.

Please check back soon for the audition schedule.

Piano accompaniment is required for all vocalists and will be provided if requested. Accompaniment for instrumentalists is not required.

A committee of the music faculty will hear each audition.

To qualify for admission as a freshman or transfer student, all applicants must follow the general admission procedure of the college, which includes submitting a complete application to the Admissions Office. To learn more, click here.

Program Details

Admission Requirements

Entrance to the B.A. in music program begins with applying to Rhode Island College through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and simultaneously applying for the required entrance audition. Once you have been admitted to the college and pass the music audition, you will be designated a “Music Performance Intended Major.”

Course Information

Click below for information on course requirements, course descriptions and the Academic Rhode Map, which lists all the courses you will need to complete this program and graduate in a timely fashion.

Course Requirements

Course Descriptions

Academic Rhode Map

Program Learning Goals

Upon completion of this program, students will:

  • Be able to perform at a professional level, successfully compete in their chosen professional fields and pursue advanced graduate studies.
  • Be highly qualified and skilled music educators who serve in public and private schools, engage their own students and assume leadership roles in their professional associations.
  • Be able to encourage intellectual and creative expression through research and musical scholarship.
  • Be able to educate non-music majors in ways that enrich, enlighten and encourage the development of their own musical expression and appreciation.
  • Be able to produce concerts and other musical events of the highest quality for Rhode Island College and the community.
  • Be able to encourage and support faculty development through research and creative activity.
  • Be able to cultivate arts audiences of the future.

Writing in the Discipline

1. Why or in what ways is writing important to your discipline/field/ profession?

The ability to write well is important for all students seeking a career in music. Performers, music educators, musicologists and composers are required to write resumes, cover letters, grant applications and program notes. Music educators must also be adept at creating lesson plans, student assessments and learning outcomes. Musicologists and theoreticians will use their writing skills to produce scholarly research papers, magazine articles, and books. Music administrators are required to create websites, write copy for promotional materials, create grant applications and write to benefactors in order to solicit donations. Music critics will need sufficient writing skills to compose performance reviews and written interviews with prominent figures in the field of music.

2. Which courses are designated as satisfying the (Writing in the Discipline) WID requirement by your department? Why these courses?

The music area within the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance has designated the courses listed below as satisfying the WID requirement.

MUS 205: Music History and Literature I (all music degree programs)

MUS 206: Music History and Literature II (all music degree programs)

MUS 391: Junior Recital-Music Performance Majors


MUS 492: Senior Recital-Music Education Majors

MUS 493: Senior Recital-Music Performance Majors

PFA 461: Senior Seminar (Music B.A. only)

These specific courses have been designated as WID classes due to the fact that they teach and require various types of writing skills which are critical for music majors.

3. What forms or genres of writing will students learn and practice in your department’s WID courses? Why these genres?

A number of writing genres are introduced and developed in the music area WID courses.

In MUS 205: Music History and Literature I students are required to write about interpretive approaches toward music of the past by listening to multiple recordings of the same piece of music and writing a comparative analysis in the form of an essay. This course also requires a stylistic analysis and two research papers on topics related to music history. In addition to course materials, students must consult at least three outside sources of scholarly merit.

In MUS 206: Music History and Literature II students continue to refine the materials and methods of written discourse in the field of music, in part, by focusing on the integration of primary sources into the writing process.

Another important requirement is learning forms of writing associated with the concert experience such as concerts reviews and program notes. MUS 391: Junior Recital, MUS 492: Senior Recital-Music Education Majors, and MUS 493: Senior Recital- Music Performance Majors all require students to write press releases, promotional materials, a recital program and program notes.

In PFA 461: Senior Seminar students develop individual projects by either 1) completing a research paper on a topic in music history, literature or ethnomusicology, 2) completing an in-depth analytical essay on a topic in music theory or music criticism, or 3) presenting a lecture-recital with a supplementary written component such as a research-oriented term paper.

4. What kinds of teaching practices will students encounter in your department’s WID courses?

There are a few modes of writing instruction in the music area WID courses. In MUS 205 and 206 students submit a topic, an outline, and a rough draft to the instructor for feedback. MUS 391, 492 and 493 typically involve regular one-on-one meetings between student and instructor to discuss the works-in-progress. PFA 461 involves both of these modes of instructions as well as presenting works-in-progress to classmates for feedback and discussion.

5. When they’ve satisfied your department’s WID requirement, what should students know and be able to do with writing?

Students who have completed the WID requirement should be able to do the following:

  • • Effectively market themselves to a prospective employer or funding source.
  • • Critically review musical performances and recordings in an effective and coherent manner.
  • • Analyze musical works from a theoretical, aesthetic, and historical perspective.
  • • Write coherent and effective research papers on all topics related to music history, music theory, musical performance practice, and musical biographies.

Minors in Music and Jazz Studies

Declaring a minor allows you to explore other areas of interest and make interdisciplinary connections. Minor areas at RIC complement and reinforce all major areas of study. By declaring a minor, you can set yourself apart as a candidate for job, internship and volunteer opportunities. Click below for information on the minors in music and jazz studies.

Minor in Music

Minor in Jazz Studies