May 29, 2022  
Course Catalog 2021-2022 
Course Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Bachelor of Music: Musicology

Course Requirements

For course requirements for the Bachelor of Music: Musicology, please see the grid .


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

All BM students complete a core of music theory and aural skills classes, which includes the following: Music Theory I-II (MUTH 131 and 132), which prepares students to hear, perform, and communicate about multiple aspects of music in diverse repertoires; two additional music theory courses at the 200 level (MUTH 250-299), which include topic- and repertoire-based classes that are chosen in consultation with academic advisors; Aural Skills I-IV (MUTH 101, 102, 201, 202). Students are expected to register for one Music Theory and one Aural Skills course each semester until they have completed the core requirements. 

A music theory placement test score of 80 or higher is a prerequisite for MUTH 131. Students with lower scores must successfully complete MUTH 120 before taking MUTH 131. The placement exam may be taken five times.


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.

Conservatory Writing Requirement

All entering Conservatory and Double-Degree students must complete a writing assessment administered by the Conservatory Writing Committee. Generally, this assessment takes place during Orientation week. Students who enter the Conservatory midway through the academic year must complete this assessment by the end of the second week of classes of the Spring semester.

This assessment is graded on a Pass/No Pass basis.  Students who receive a passing grade on this initial assessment will have satisfied the Writing Requirement. Students who receive a No Pass on this initial assessment must successfully complete a second writing assessment by the end of their second year, which they can do in one of two ways: (1) Students may compile and submit to the Conservatory Writing Committee a portfolio comprising two pieces of persuasive writing and one reflective piece. Types of writing that might be submitted include (but are not limited to) essays submitted for Oberlin courses (College or Conservatory), artistic statements, program notes, personal statements, and grant proposals. The Conservatory Writing Committee will award each portfolio a grade of Pass or No Pass. Students who receive a Passing grade will have successfully completed the Writing Requirement. Students who receive a No Pass on this second assessment may revise and resubmit their portfolio one more time. Students must receive a Pass upon resubmission in order to satisfy the Writing Requirement. (2) Students also may fulfill the Writing Requirement with successful completion of Oberlin courses designated as Writing-Intensive (W-Int) or Writing-Advanced (W-Adv).  Students should contact the Chair of the Conservatory Writing Committee for writing course review.

Students are expected to complete the Conservatory Writing Requirement by the end of their second year of study at Oberlin. Students may not schedule their Junior Recitals until they have completed the Writing Requirement. Conservatory students enrolled in degree programs that do not require Junior Recitals will not be permitted to enroll in upper-division courses (taken during the Junior year or later, according to the advising grids) until they have successfully completed the Writing Requirement. 

Numerous campus resources are available to help students develop their writing skills and fulfill the Conservatory Writing Requirement. These include Oberlin’s Writing Center and writing-oriented courses offered through the College of Arts & Sciences. Additionally, it is expected that Conservatory students develop as writers as they progress through the first years of the Conservatory curriculum, in particular their musicology and music theory coursework. To this end, students are encouraged to work closely with their Conservatory teachers to hone their writing skills as they progress through these courses. Students enrolled in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) sequence will fulfill the Conservatory Writing Requirement as part of their ESOL coursework.