Jul 16, 2024  
Course Catalog 2016-2017 
Course Catalog 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Bachelor of Music: Musicology

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Those students coming to Oberlin intending to major in Music History must follow the regular Conservatory admissions procedures concerning performing auditions. Admission to the major will be determined by the Division of Musicology following an interview with the division director, usually in the sophomore year, after successfully completing at least two courses in Music History. Continuation in the major is subject to annual review by the department. Majors must maintain a minimum average of 3.0 in all Music History (MHST) and Ethnomusicology (ETHN) courses. All MHST and ETHN courses required for the major must be taken for a letter grade.

Music Theory and Aural Skills Requirement

Students are expected to register for Music Theory and Aural Skills courses each semester until they have completed the requirements. Part or all of these requirements may be waived by placement examination when the student enters Oberlin.

Music Theory I-IV and Aural Skills I-IV must be taken concurrently, e.g., a student will register for Music Theory I (MUTH 130 or 131) and Aural Skills I in the same semester. Under certain circumstances, with the permission of the appropriate division director and the Music Theory division director, students will be allowed to take Aural Skills IV and Music Theory IV separately. A student’s aural skills requirement must be completed before the senior recital can be scheduled. Double-degree students will resolve any conflicts with these expectations in consultation with their advisors.

Expository Writing Proficiency

Students with an SAT verbal score below 580 or an ACT score below 24, or a TOEFL score below 600 must complete one course chosen from RHET 101 or 102.


An honors program is offered for music history majors qualified to do research leading to a BMus degree with Honors, High, or Highest Honors. Qualified students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Generally, in his or her penultimate year, a music history major wishing to do honors work will submit a detailed proposal to a member of the faculty of the Division of Musicology who has agreed to become his or her advisor. Upon approval by the advisor, the proposal will be submitted to the Division of Musicology for approval. Entry to the Honors Program is contingent upon the Division’s approval of the proposal.

Students admitted to the Honors Program must enroll in MHST 400, 401 (Senior Honors); this may not substitute for the 300-level Music History requirement. The requirements for successful completion of the Honors Program in Music History are:

i. Submitting an acceptable scholarly paper on some topic in music history. Four copies should be submitted to the Director of the Division of Musicology.
ii. Passing a written comprehensive examination in music.
iii. Taking an oral examination to defend the paper and to discuss aspects of the written examination as well as broad areas of music history and theory related to the honors paper.

At the end of Winter Term, the advisor will submit a short report to the Division on the student’s progress. If this progress is such that the Division approves continuation of the project, then the normal schedule for the second semester is as follows:

Paper due: on the first day of classes after spring break.
Comprehensive examination: on two successive days during mid-April.
Oral examination: during the last week of April.

The student should contact the Director of the Division of Musicology as soon as possible after submitting the completed paper—during the first week of April at the latest—in order to schedule exact dates for the comprehensive and oral examinations. Typically, the examination committee consists of four to five people; the Director of the Division of Musicology, at least one other faculty representing the Division of Musicology, one or more other members of the Conservatory or College faculty, and possibly someone from outside Oberlin College. The student’s advisor is invited to sit in on the oral examination as an observer.

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