Degree Programs and Majors

• Bachelor of Arts in Music

• Bachelor of Music

Admission to the music major (either Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Music) is required. Students may not self-declare a music major. Admission to the B.A. music major is selective; admission to the B.M. program is highly selective. Consequently, it is not unusual for the B.M. applicants to be admitted to the B.A. music major initially. These students would begin the core music major coursework in the fall of their first year and may re-apply for admission to the B.M. program after they begin their studies at St. Olaf.

Bachelor of Arts in Music

A liberal arts degree with approximately one-third of the course work in music, the music major is offered alone or with the following emphases:
• History–Literature
• Theory–Composition
• Teaching credential in K–12 instrumental or K–12 vocal music.

The structure of the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements makes it feasible (indeed common) for students to complete the requirements for a double major in four years. This option is especially suitable for students who wish to study music and a second major without the commitment to a five-year double-degree program.

Bachelor of Music

This highly-specialized, professional music degree requires approximately two-thirds of the course work in music. Students may pursue the following majors under the Bachelor of Music degree:

  • Performance
    (collaborative piano performance emphasis is also offered for piano and organ majors)
    Students who wish to major in performance are admitted to the program by audition, either as part of their application process or after beginning their studies at St. Olaf.
  • Music Education
    (K–12 instrumental or K–12 vocal)
    Students who wish to major in music education audition to enter the program as B.A. music majors and make a formal application to the B.M. Program and Education Department in their sophomore year.
  • Church Music (Organ emphasis)
    Students who wish to major in church music are admitted to the program by audition, either as part of their application process or after beginning their studies at St. Olaf.
  • Church Music (Choral emphasis)
    Students who wish to major in church music (choral) audition on voice to enter the program as B.A. music majors and make a formal application to the B.M. program in the spring of their first year.
  • Theory–Composition 
    Theory–Composition students audition on their primary instrument/voice to begin their studies as B.A. music majors. After having taken a St. Olaf composition course, admission to the B.M. theory–composition major is based on a composition portfolio and interview.

Bachelor of Music with Elective Studies

Substantively integrated with professional music studies, students propose and complete an individualized program of study in a second discipline. Admission to this individualized degree program is by a competitive proposal process during the student’s first year. Graduates pursue professional careers in music with substantive connections to an additional arts area, business, science, language and culture, or other area of expertise.

Five-Year Double Degree Program

The nature of a strong liberal arts program, which is a hallmark of St. Olaf College, and the existence of the professional degree in music create a distinctively effective environment for nurturing study in music and the liberal arts. Under the five-year double-degree program, students earn both Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts degrees. The program involves the following provisions:

  • Students must meet the application and admission requirements for both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music degree programs.
  • Students pursuing the double-degree option may choose any of the four Bachelor of Music majors (church music, music education, performance, or theory-composition) and any of the Bachelor of Arts majors except music.
  • Students shall meet the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts major and Bachelor of Music major, as well as the general and comprehensive graduation requirements for the two degrees.
  • The duration of the double-degree option may vary among disciplines but will be less than the sum of the durations of both degree programs if undertaken separately. For most students, pursuit of a double-degree option will require five years of study. It should be noted that in a few cases (notably when the Bachelor of Arts major is in the natural sciences), completion of all requirements in five years may not be possible.
  • Students required to continue study in a fifth year to complete two degrees are eligible for continuing financial aid from St. Olaf College.
  • Graduating double-degree students receive two diplomas — one for each degree.

Admission to the B.A. music major is selective; admission to the B.M. program is highly selective. Consequently, it is not unusual for B.M. applicants to be admitted to the B.A. music major initially. These students would begin the core music major coursework in the fall of their first year and may re-apply for admission to the B.M. program after they begin their studies at St. Olaf.