Feb 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin

School of Music

The University of Southern Mississippi School of Music is a fully accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music. Requirements are in accordance with the published regulations of this association.

There are three undergraduate degrees available to students in the School of Music: the Bachelor of Music (BM), Bachelor of Music Education (BMEd), and Bachelor of Arts (BA) in music. Emphasis areas in the BM are jazz studies, performance-percussion, performance-piano, performance-strings, performance-voice, and performance-wind instruments). Music education emphasis areas are instrumental pedagogy, instrumental licensure, choral pedagogy, and choral licensure.

The Bachelor of Music degrees provide education and training for those who seek careers in music performance or in jazz.  Each curricular emphasis presents a variety of courses, performances and presentations that each student must complete during their undergraduate career at our university.  Students in these courses try new things, test their creative limits, engage with the current state of knowledge in their field, and encounter topics they have never explored before.  Experiences such as these help to develop the skills our students will need to compete in their chosen specializations while they also encourage our students to keep their curiosity alive and to practice lifelong learning.  Our Bachelor of Music degrees are fully certified by the National Association of Schools of Music.


Music BA   

Music (Jazz Studies) BM  

Music (Performance-Percussion) BM  

Music (Performance-Piano) BM  

Music (Performance-Strings) BM  

Music (Performance-Voice) BM  

Music (Performance-Wind Instrument) BM    

Music Education (Choral Licensure) BMEd    

Music Education (Choral Pedagogy) BMEd    

Music Education (Instrumental Licensure) BMEd    

Music Education (Instrumental Pedagogy) BMEd  


Applied Music Minor  

History and Music History Minor  

School of Music Admission Policies


All prospective music majors must audition regardless of their choice of degree plan. To be admitted to the School of Music, applicants must meet minimum standards in applied music through the Admission Audition and meet the academic requirements of the university.

Placement Exams

Music Theory:
Every potential music major is required to take a music theory placement examination prior to the start of their first semester in the program. Students scoring 80 or above on the theory placement exam are permitted to forego MUS 100 - Music Fundamentals and may begin their music theory course of study with MUS 101 - Music Theory I.

In addition to the theory placement exam, incoming transfer students will also take a piano placement exam prior to the start of their first semester in the program. This exam will place students into the appropriate level of class piano. Incoming freshmen with prior piano experience will be given the opportunity to take a placement exam during the first week of classes. Incoming piano majors should consult with their USM piano instructor.

Piano Competency

All BM and BME students must pass a piano competency. There are two protocols through which this can be accomplished. 1. Successful completion of the Piano Competency Exam (MED 302) or 2. Completion of the final course in the class piano sequence (MED 202), which may require prior completion of MED 101, MED 102, and/or MED 201, based on course placement following the piano placement exam. Students who opt not to enroll in class piano may take the Piano Competency Exam at one of the five times it is offered throughout the year (mid-term and final exams week during the fall and spring semesters, and end of July). However, the exam must be taken in its entirety on the first attempt; if any portions are not passed, those sections must be retaken at a subsequent offering(s) of the exam until successful completion.

School of Music Academic Policies and Requirements

Fee: Students taking applied lessons are required to pay an additional fee.

Major Instrument Requirement

Major instrument credit hour requirements vary based on degree sought. Specifics are in the School of Music Undergraduate Handbook.
To enroll in upper division (400-level) applied lessons, students must pass the Upper Divisional Exam (MUP 298), as prescribed by their applied studio. Students are permitted a maximum of two attempts to successfully complete this course. Failure to pass the Upper Divisional Exam will necessitate a change of degree plan, per the recommendation of the applied area faculty.

Major Ensemble Requirement

The BM, BME and BA degrees require participation in a major ensemble. Specifics are in the School of Music Undergraduate Handbook.

Jury Policy

Music majors enrolled in MUP private lessons in their principal applied area must perform a jury for appropriate applied faculty. All others enrolled in MUP private lessons must perform a final examination for the applied teacher. 

Non-major Enrollment in Private Instrument/Voice Lessons

Non-majors who enroll in private lessons may be unable to take the course due to lack of available instructors. Non-majors should consult the office of the Director of the School of Music before Wednesday of the first week of school to obtain instructor availability.

Transfer Students

Transfer students will receive one semester of ensemble credit (maximum of four) for each semester of full-time work in an ensemble at their previous institution.

Transfer students receive up to four semesters of credit for recital class for each semester of full-time work earned at another college or university.