You love music and think you might like to perform, conduct, teach, compose, or become a music therapist. Your idea of doing something fun and creative is to join a performing group—choral or instrumental, jazz, popular, classical, or marching band.

You’ll find plenty of opportunities to do all of that and more as a music major at Iowa. For example, recent Iowa graduates with a degree in music have found careers as professional performers, music therapists, and music educators.

Why Iowa?

The University of Iowa School of Music has long been recognized as one of the best university-based music schools in the United States. It also has a stellar reputation in the international fine arts community.

With an enrollment of about 470 music majors, the school is large enough to have strong programs in all areas of specialization but small enough to give you the individual attention that will help your talent grow.

The school gives all qualified students—music majors and non-majors alike—the opportunity to study music. In addition to its comprehensive course offerings for majors, it provides a generous selection of courses for non-majors as well as opportunities to participate in performing groups.

The School of Music also collaborates with the Tippie College of Business to provide instruction for a Certificate in Arts Entrepreneurship for students interested in starting a performing arts business or using entrepreneurial skills to promote their work as an artist.

Admission Requirements

Prospective music majors must apply to and be accepted by both the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Music.

Admission to the music major is selective. As an entering first-year student, you'll declare a music interest as your major for advising assignments and course selection.

You should audition for admission to the major during your senior year of high school—before the end of February if you want to be considered for scholarships. If you are applying to the music composition program, you'll need to submit examples of your creative and/or written work.

For details, visit the School of Music website.

 Information

Major(s)
Music
BA
Music
BM
Minor(s)
Music
Concentrations
Chamber Music-Piano
Chamber Music-Strings/Winds
Composition
Jazz
Music Education
Musicology
Music Theory
Music Therapy
Performance (Brass and Woodwinds, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Strings, Voice)
Piano Pedagogy
  Teaching Licensure
for students in BM program
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Yes, except in Music Therapy Concentration
  Selective Admission
Admission Process

first-year

First-Year

Students interested in the music major must meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Also review the specific requirements for admission to the music major.

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100 Study Abroad Programs and multiple Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Performance Opportunities

All music majors with scholarships must participate in a major ensemble and studio lessons each semester.

From new music to jazz to symphonic classics and opera, Iowa has nearly two dozen performing groups for music students. Among them are the University Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Band, Hawkeye Marching Band, Percussion Ensemble, Center for New Music ensembles, Johnson County Landmark Jazz band, and University Choir.

  Scholarships

The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

Prospective music majors who demonstrate exceptional talent are considered for scholarships when they audition for admission. Awards are renewable for four years if students meet specific academic and performance criteria. See the School of Music website for more details.

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Course Work

Students majoring in music may earn a Bachelor of Music (BM) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.

The BM program is for students who plan on careers as musicians, music educators, or music therapists. Professional certification in music education and music therapy are available only through the BM program. 

The BA program is designed for students who have strong abilities and interest in music but are not planning on careers as musicians or who want to combine the music major with a second major in another discipline.

Bachelor of Music (BM) Program

If you're a BM student, especially in music education or music therapy, common course requirements include music fundamentals, theory, and history; group piano; recital attendance; and conducting. Four years of applied music and ensemble participation are required, as well as a variety of elective courses. You'll also present a senior recital.

Four concentrations are available for BM students:

  • The Performance Concentration offers programs in brass, jazz, keyboard, percussion, strings, voice, and woodwinds. 
  • The Composition Concentration requires additional course work in composition and music theory. Composition students also must pass an audition in a performance area.
  • The Music Education Concentration requires enrollment in an instrumental or vocal performance program and completion of the College of Education’s Teacher Education Program (TEP).
  • The Music Therapy Concentration includes a comprehensive education in music, with a variety of performance opportunities, and provides students with access to facilities at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) Program

BA students will complete many of the same requirements that Bachelor of Music students do, but they will be more limited in the amount of music credit they may count toward graduation. 

BA students may choose one of the following tracks: 

  • Major in Music Without a Track
  • Chamber Music - Piano Track
  • Chamber Music - Strings/Winds Track
  • Jazz Track
  • Music Theory Track
  • Musicology Track
  • Piano Pedagogy Track    

All students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who wish to earn a bachelor's degree must complete the requirements of the GE CLAS Core

See Music in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the BM and BA degree programs, earning a minor in music, and graduating with honors.