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Alumni Profiles

Forrest O'Connor '10
co-founder, Concert Window
Aram Demirjian '08
Asst. Conductor, KSO
Kathleen Stetson '08
Founder, Trill
Ben Eisler '08
Health Producer, CBS News
Kurt Crowley '07
Musical Director/Arranger, Musical Theater, NYC
Emily Richmond Pollock '06
Assistant Professor of Music, MIT
Lara Hirner '05
Speech Language Pathologist, Mass General Hospital
Berenika Zakrzewski Schmitz '05
Pianist, Arts Administrator

Undergraduate Study in Music




Occasionally we are asked what a music department does in an academic institution. The simple answer is: we train thinking musicians. This can mean a number of things, depending on your interests. Many of our students are performers, some of them excellent. We in the music department believe that understanding the cultural and historical background of the music we perform will help us gain a better understanding that will also result in a better performance. A number of our courses are concerned with the connection between detailed music analysis and performance, others with what the finer points of notation and detailed examination of manuscripts can tell us about performance practice, and others with the exploration of the connection between compositional styles and the wider intellectual movements in the arts and humanities.

The Music Department covers a wide range of styles and genres: the whole gamut of western music history is represented from medieval chant to contemporary composition, as are large areas of musical traditions from other parts of the world, with a specific emphasis on South Asian and African cultures, as well as jazz and American music. Popular music has been represented in recent years by classes from California in the 60s to Global pop.

As an academic program, rather than a pre-professional program, the music department does not have an extended performance faculty. We do not offer regular instrumental or vocal lessons, but Harvard runs a very competitive joint program with the New England Conservatory that provides its participants with both a broad-based liberal arts education and specialized music lessons. Other students take private lessons at Longy, NEC, with BSO musicians, or elsewhere in Boston’s rich musical landscape.

The Music Department offers a number of undergraduate classes with master performers coaching chamber music ensembles, vocal ensembles, and dance, in a number of different settings. Harvard University's Office for the Arts hosts 45 music groups from Mariachi to the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra to Gamelan Si Betty, an instrument built by the American composer Lou Harrison.

Harvard looks back on a distinguished line of composers. Currently the Department has special strengths in electro-acoustic music, in avant-garde music theatre and in instrumental music. Besides individual sessions with our composition faculty, a weekly composition colloquium offers further opportunities for lively discussions of recent compositions.

In our concentration we pay great attention to providing all our students with a solid and rigorous foundation in music theory and history, which will then lead on to further study in more specialized fields. The concentration offers a great deal of flexibility and ensures that the many diverse interests of our students are represented in its course offerings.

Training thinking musicians means fostering connections between music and the other arts and humanities. We regularly offer classes that engage music in a wider cultural context, linking musical works with works of art, literature, or with philosophical questions. Many of our students are joint concentrators, who combine the rigorous study of music with another discipline. In their final year they write an honors thesis that combines their two chosen subjects. Some combinations are more common than others, but very exciting senior thesis have brought such diverse fields as economics, computer science, linguistics, or neuroscience to bear on music.

Our graduates go on to careers in music performance and music scholarship, as well as careers in journalism, medicine, law, social service, and arts administration, among many others.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to conduct pit orchestras, music direct everything from Bernstein to Jason Robert Brown, and compose my thesis. How am I qualified to do any of that? I’m not. But Harvard’s support system is so brilliant, you’re never far from a world-renowned conductor, composer, or director. The most consistent and familiar feeling of my Harvard experience has been coming home from rehearsal (to start homework at 1 a.m.), and only thinking: I’m the luckiest girl in the world. Why do I get to do this?”—Madeline Smith '14 READ MORE


What are the Admissions requirements?
What degree will I receive?
Does Harvard offer a performance program?
Is an audition required?
How do I submit a sample of my performance?
What performance opportunities are available?
Why concentrate in Music?
What can you do with an AB in Music from Harvard?
How does it work?
Is an honors thesis required?
What if I want to write one?
Are there generals?
Can I concentrate in more than one subject?
Do I have any flexibility in how many courses I take each semester?
Can I transfer credit for courses I've taken at another school?
Can I get credit for my AP Theory course?

More Frequently Asked Questions

Listen in on
Music 175 class recital:
Transfigured Night 12/12
[Pierrot Lunaire]

Music 153 class concert: Jazz Harmony 12/12
[Joint Fracture]
[Coffee for Midterms]


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2013 Survey findings: Excellent prospects for music majors!

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Let there be Music!
Improvisational Prodigy


Changing Lives with Music and Science

Miranda visits American Musicals

Voice Studies/NEC joint program

Sound Studies Lab opens at Harvard
Alumni In the News
Stealth Lawyer: Derrick Wang, Composer & Pianist
[Bloomberg TV]

Profile: Meet Ryann Ahmed
[Early Music America]




What is required for Admission to Harvard, and how I can I prepare? Are there minimum scores I need on my tests? Minimum GPA?

The Department of Music does not handle the admissions process. All applications go to Harvard College Admissions, and it is the Admissions Office that makes offers to accepted students. Therefore, the requirements for admission to Harvard College are the only ones necessary (e.g., there is no special "music" application or requirement). Successful applicants usually have taken the most challenging courses offered in their schools, and have interests and passions (such as music!). There is no stated minimal GPA or SAT/ACT score, but admitted students usually show academic strength. The College's financial aid is generous, and is based on financial need. If you are accepted, the College will offer you a financial aid package. Harvard does not recruit musicians, nor does it offer scholarships based on musical ability. A full description of admissions requirements and information can be found here:

What degrees does Harvard's Music Department offer?

You can earn an A.B. from Harvard College with a concentration (or joint concentration, or secondary field [minor]) in Music.

In addition, Harvard and New England Conservatory offer a five-year, dual degree program where students can earn a A.B. from Harvard College and an M.M. from NEC. This program has a slightly different application process. Click here for details.

Does Harvard offer a music performance degree?
Harvard's Music Department is an academic one, not a conservatory program, and does not have performance faculty or offer lessons. Also, we don't offer Music Education, Music Therapy, Vocal Performance, or Music/Sound Engineering degrees.

That said, the music scene at Harvard is an especially vibrant one, and there are many experienced and talented musicians who chose Harvard for its strong liberal arts education and continue their music studies at a level equal to or greater than noted conservatories. The difference is that students must take the initiative to audition for the performance groups that interest them, and arrange lessons with Boston area tutors outside their work at Harvard.
If you are a serious musician, you will find dozens of musicians at Harvard who work and perform at a Conservatory level. If you are someone who enjoys performing for pleasure, you will likely be able to find your place within a large community of performers and a wide range of opportunities.

The Music Department offers a number of performance-based courses each year. Examples from recent years include choral conducting, chamber music, jazz improvisation, orchestration, and performance/analysis. It also offers a full composition program.

Does Harvard require an audition for admission?

No. Harvard does not hold auditions of any kind during the admissions process. If music is important to you, you are welcome (not required) to send in an "Arts Supplement" to your Common Application. Instructions for how to upload music files or scores are detailed here:
(Be aware that those applying to the joint Harvard/NEC five-year program will need to audition for admission to NEC.)

How do I submit a recording of my performance?

You can submit a sample of your performance as an Arts Supplement to the Common Application, which you'll find online, together with instructions from Admissions about uploading your material. Admissions encourages electronic submissions of solo pieces or pieces with accompaniment that is not distracting. Ensemble performances should not be submitted. Applicants will be able to upload whatever files they would like provided they meet size requirements. Each Video upload can be up to 250MB. Each Audio file can be up to 30MB. Each Document file can be up to 10MB. There is no overall limit on total media uploaded.

Admissions uses "Slideroom" for submissions, which can be accessed at; the link is also posted on their website at:


What performance opportunities are there at Harvard?

The majority of Harvard students come to college with some musical background. There are around 45 student music organizations on campus ranging from Mariachi to gamelan, Chinese chorus to jazz bands to several orchestras, choral groups, a capella groups, world music groups, bands, and percussion ensembles. Each operates independently with their own schedule of rehearsals and concerts, and most audition for new members each fall. Musical activities are considered extra-curricular (with some exceptions, such as the performance classes run by the department for credit). For information on music performance both in the Music Department and elsewhere on campus,
click here. For information about Harvard's new A.B./M.M. dual degree performance program with New England Conservatory, click here.

Is it possible to study an instrument with music department faculty?
Music faculty do not give instrument or vocal lessons. Students who wish to pursue lessons are encouraged to find a private tutor in the Boston area. For more information on finding a tutor, go to Performanc

Does Harvard have a choral music program?
There are numerous choral music opportunities at Harvard, including the Choral Fellows Program and the University Choir. However, the Music Department offers no degree program in choral music. The Director of Choral Activities at Harvard is Andrew Clark; for information about Professor Clark and many of the choral groups on campus,
click here.

Why concentrate in Music?

The study of music not only deepens the student's appreciation and understanding of art, culture, and history; it hones the analytic, writing, creative, and critical thinking skills as much or more than any liberal arts subject. The concentration in Music incorporates theory, much as math does, and composition, much as any study of the arts. But the study of music also includes cultural history, politics, science (sound studies), and philosophy.

Recent course offerings include those on Schoenberg, technomusicology, Coltrane, music in Jewish life, sacred and profane music in the 13th century, and sound studies. See a full isting of this year's courses here.

The Music Department at Harvard serves around 50 undergraduate concentrators (and a PhD program). Students reap the advantages of a smaller concentration: individual attention, friendliness, the opportunity to get to know faculty, fellow students, graduate students in music, and to become familiar with the department's many resources.

What can you do with an A.B. from Harvard with a concentration in Music?

Graduates in Music go on to a variety of careers. Graduates have become lawyers, congressional aides, software developers, sound technicians, arts administrators, and speech pathologists, as well conductors, performers, and professors. The A.B. degree from Harvard with a concentration in Music is a liberal arts degree, and our students pursue careers in professions similar to anyone with liberal arts training. They also pursue careers as professional musicians, and many continue their studies and go on to become scholars. Click on any of the alumni profiles to the left to read more about recent graduates who concentrated in Music.

How does it work?

Students begin the concentration in Music with two foundational pillars: musicology (the Music 97 series) and theory (the Music 51/151 series). The Music 97 series (Music 97a, 97b, and 97c) provide extensive knowledge of the history and literature of Western music as well as the principles of ethnomusicology and world music repertories; Music 51a, 51b, 150a, and 150b teach skills important in musicianship, theory, composition and analysis. While it is possible to complete the concentration requirements within five semesters, we encourage potential concentrators to enroll in Music 51 as early as possible to allow for the greatest possible flexibility in the path through the concentration.

Students are then offered a wide range of advanced, specialized electives that build on the foundations laid in Music 97 and Music 51/150. A variety of courses in music theory, composition, musicology, ethnomusicology, and performance-related areas allow students to engage with musical questions at a deep level. In musicology and ethnomusicology, these courses take the form of proseminars for small groups that explore in detail selected musicological issues and direct students toward significant independent projects. Several advanced courses in acoustic and electronic composition are given each year, along with occasional offerings in orchestration and other specific compositional topics. Advanced theory and analysis courses include such topics as tonal and post-tonal analysis, jazz harmony, and modal and tonal counterpoint. Performance-oriented courses include chamber music, historical performance practice, improvisation, and conducting.

Is an honors thesis required? What if I want to write one?

Students are welcome to take a term of Supervised Reading and Research (Music 91) as an elective. This consists of individual work with a faculty member of the student’s choice. A term of Music 91 is especially encouraged for juniors intending on pursuing a senior thesis. For those writing senior theses, a year of senior tutorial (Music 99) is required. Options for senior theses include research papers, original compositions, or senior recitals.

Are there generals?

There are no general examinations for undergraduates.

Can I concentrate in more than one subject?

The department welcomes joint concentrations with other departments that allow them. Joint concentrators need to fulfill a reduced number of course requirements, as outlined below. A senior thesis is required on a topic in which both fields are represented. Joint concentrators pursue combined fields such as Music/Government, Music/Physics, Music/Math, and Music/Anthropology, to name just a few of the many options.

If you joint concentrate you are required to write a senior thesis combining both areas of study. A joint concentration is not a double concentration. Joint concentrators usually take 5-7 music courses and the same number in their other field rather than 13-15 music courses (the normal load for a music concentration). You can also study music as a secondary field, which requires five music courses. Specifics are outlined in "undergraduate Information" on this site.
You needn't be a music concentrator to take music courses, as the Department's General Education, Interdisciplinary, and introductory-level courses are open to all Harvard students.

I'm a performer and I practice a lot. Do I have any flexibility in how many courses I take each semester?

For students who feel they require more time for applied practice and study, the department offers a five-year program. Students approved by the department and the Administrative Board for this program take the normal number of courses in their freshman year, but then work at the three-course rate for the four years following. This permits more intensive work in performance. These students are expected to give a senior recital. [Harvard's Five-Year Program is NOT the same as the Harvard/NEC Dual Degree program, which is also a five-year performance program where students earn a A.B from Harvard and an M.M. from New England Conservatory. For information on the Harvard/NEC program go to mmperformance.html

Can I transfer credit for courses I've taken at another school?

Students who have taken college courses in music at other institutions may receive concentration credit for work done elsewhere. This ordinarily involves a written petition to the faculty and may require taking an examination in the materials of the course for which credit is requested.

Do I get credit for my AP Theory course?

All students in the concentration are required to take Music 51.

Freshmen who have studied music theory previously will be admitted to the appropriate Harvard course given their preparation. This qualification will be determined by a Harvard Placement examination given during the Freshman Orientation. Students who wish to take the Harvard Placement examination in Music should check the Calendar of Opening Days.

Students who place out of both Music 51a and Music 51b though the Harvard Placement Examination in Music will earn one full credit toward Advanced Standing. Concentration credit is not granted for passing out of Music 51; substitute courses may be selected with consultation of an adviser. The AP exam in Music cannot be applied toward either Advanced Standing credit or Music Concentration credit at Harvard.

For more detailed information, please consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Sindhu Revuluri, or the Undergraduate Coordinator, Abby Rahn [ | 617-495-2791]. READ MORE ABOUT THE CONCENTRATION IN MUSIC

Opera director Peter Sellars talks with students in "The Operas of John Adams" seminar, spring 2011.

How to Apply

The Harvard Department of Music is an academic department of the university. It does not conduct a separate admissions process. The annual deadline is usually around January 2 for entrance the following fall term. There is also an early admissions program.

All applicants must apply to Harvard College for admission. If you are interested in music, submit a CD of your performance or composition along with your application as part of your supplementary materials. Admissions will not accept a CD of you playing with a large band or orchestra, so submit either a solo CD or one with an accompanist. The choice of material is up to you. There are no live auditions.

Please do not send these to the Music Department. Your materials will be evaluated by music department faculty, but the process is "blind," and Harvard College Admissions will remove your name from your materials before they are sent to us. For more information about CD requirements, click here.

Harvard College admission is open to everyone, including all international students. To begin the application process, go to

To visit Admissions, take a campus tour, or sit in on a class, visit

To read about the undergraduate music program at Harvard College, go to

Does Harvard offers scholarships or financial aid?
Yes. Financial aid is based entirely on need. You may fill out a financial aid application along with your admissions application. There are no music scholarships or financial aid based on specific skills; rather, Harvard College admissions will make their decision based on the strength of all your application materials. If you are accepted, you will receive an offer of aid (grants, work/study, loans) based on your family's financial need.

Will interviewing with the Music Department aid my chances of acceptance to Harvard?
No. The music department does not take part in the admissions process. Harvard College Admissions makes all decisions and manages all admissions materials.

If I want to talk to a member of the music department about the program, how do I go about it?
Prospective undergraduates with questions about the Harvard Music Department should contact Managing Communications Coordinator, Lesley Bannatyne ( to schedule an appointment to talk about the program. This is not an interview, but rather an informational meeting to answer your questions (the music department has no hand in the admissions process and does not conduct interviews). For questions about performance on campus it's best to read about the
Office for the Arts or research any of the music groups on campus. Student performance groups are independent of the music department.

Herbie Hancock talking with undergraduates as part of his Norton Lectureship.
How to get over stagefright? "Put yourself in that position as often as possible.
It take courage to have courage."

Undergraduate Handbook: The Concentration in Music

The concentration in Music provides an understanding of music in diverse cultural and historical contexts as well as a solid foundation in theory, analysis, composition, and criticism. While the Department of Music is not in itself a school of music with a performance department, all of our courses support the intellectual development of musicians, and several of our courses incorporate or focus on performance.


Requirements for the A.B. with the Concentration in Music

Basic Requirements: 13 half courses

  1. Required courses:
    1. Music 51a and 51b: Theory I.
    2. Music 150a and 150b: Theory II.
    3. Music 97a and 97b: Western Music History and Repertory; and Music 97c: World Music History and Repertory.

  2. Required categories:
    1. Topics in Musicology: Any two courses chosen from Music 190r through Music 194r, Music 182r or Music 183r.
    2. Advanced Theory: Any two courses chosen from Music 151 through Music 159.
    3. Electives: Any two from the following:
      1. Composition: Music 160r through Music 167r.
      2. An additional half-course from those listed in 2a above.
      3. An additional half-course from those listed in 2b above.
      4. Music 175r, 180r, 181r, 185r, or 186r.
      5. Music 91r.
      6. Conducting or orchestration: Music 121a through Music 128r.

  3. Tutorial: None required. 

  4. Examination: None. 

  5. Other information:
    1. Students interested in the music concentration are encouraged to take Music 51a as early as possible.
    2. A theory placement examination is given at the beginning of the fall term. See Dr. Richard Beaudoin (617-495-2791; for more information.
    3. Courses counting for concentration credit may not be taken Pass/Fail, except that one Freshman Seminar graded (SAT/UNS) may be counted for concentration credit with departmental approval.

Requirement for Honors Eligibility: 15 half-courses

  1. Required courses: Same as Basic Requirements, plus two terms of Music 99r, senior tutorial (see item 2).
  2. Tutorial: Two terms of Music 99r, senior tutorial, are required. Independent study in the junior year through Music 91r is strongly encouraged, but not required.
  3. Thesis: Required of all honors candidates. May be an original composition, a senior recital, or a verbal thesis. Plan or subject to be approved by the department at the end of the junior year. Early in the second term of the junior year, students wishing to submit a composition as their thesis are required to submit a portfolio of work for consideration by the composition faculty, and students wishing to pursue a recital must submit a representative recording for consideration by the performance committee. Any change of plan must be resubmitted to the department.
  4. Other information: Same as Basic Requirements.

Joint Concentration Requirements: 8 half-courses

    1. Required courses: Music 51a and 51b, Music 150a and 150b, and any two semesters of Music 97 (a, b, and/or c).
    2. Electives: Two additional upper-level courses (taken from item 2 under Basic Requirements). The remaining semester of Music 97 may also count as one of these electives.
    3. Tutorial: Students should enroll in two terms of 99r in their primary department. A faculty adviser in Music will be provided in any case. Will not count towards Music concentration credit.
    4. Thesis: Required. Plan or subject to be approved by both departments by the end of the junior year.
    5. Examination: None.

Concentrators Planning a Senior Honors Recital

Beginning in 2010-2011, junior music concentrators (excluding joint concentrators) may subsitute a senior recital (with a substantial research component) for the senior honors thesis.

Honors recitals are normally given in the second semester of the senior year, either in Paine Hall or in another space provided by the Music Department; alternative arrangements are considered on an individual basis.

Preliminary approval for a recital must be obtained in the junior year. Students wishing to present a recital as a thesis project should submit the following for consideration by the performance committee no later than the date specified by the Music Department (please see Abby Rahn for deadline dates):

a. A résumé of training and performance history (including music coursework)
b. An audition video of at least 15 minutes with three contrasting pieces
c. A letter from the principal teacher recommending that the student be permitted to give a thesis recital.

Repertoire for the recital should be submitted to the adviser and to the undergraduate coordinator by November 15 of the senior year.
The program copy, including program notes suitable for distribution to the audience, should be submitted for the adviser’s approval and possible revision one month before the date of the recital.

If preliminary approval is obtained (normally by mid March), the student identifies a thesis adviser from among the Music faculty and submits a thesis proposal (according to distributed departmental guidelines) for consideration at the Department’s April meeting. All honors recitals include a substantial research component formulated in collaboration with the adviser, and subject to departmental approval.

Click to read more details.


Concentrations Planning to Write an Honors Thesis

If you are a candidate for honors, please note that a plan or subject for your thesis is to be approved by the department at the end of your junior year. Confer with your music faculty advisor(s), write up a brief and succint description of the proposed project, have your advisor sign the proposal and submit to Abby Rahn in the Music Department. There is usually a March deadline for this; please confirm the exact deadline with Abby (abbyrahn@fas).

Sample proposals might be:
a. “I plan to study the economic structure of concert series in American cities of medium population, focusing on two to four such cities.” (Joint concentration in music and economics, signed by you and your music adviser. Be sure it’s OK with Econ!)
b. “I plan to study the reception of John Cage and his music in Germany during the 1950s, under the supervision on Prof. X.” (Signed by you and Prof. X.)
c. “I plan to write a string quartet, under the supervision of Prof. X.” (Signed by you and Prof. X.) *See note below
d. “I plan to perform a piano recital, under the supervision of Prof. Y.” (Signed by you and Prof. Y.) **See note below

The thesis is to be “either an original composition,” a “verbal (written) thesis,” or a “performance thesis.”

It’s OK to change your thesis topic next semester – in a reasonably timely fashion – if it begins veering substantially from what you propose now. However, you must resubmit a revised, signed proposal in order to change your thesis topic.

*Students wishing to submit a musical composition as a thesis project should submit a portfolio of recent work for consideration by the composition faculty.  The faculty will evaluate this work to determine whether you are prepared to pursue a thesis in composition. Please check with Abby for this deadline.

Deadlines and requirements for your senior thesis.
There are four deadlines, valid for all types of theses. All deadlines are effective at 4:00 pm that day.

Material for deadlines nos. 1, 2, and 3 should be submitted to:
a) the advisor, in electronic or paper format;
b) the Assistant to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Abby Rahn. The material should be in electronic format (sent to, although those submitting compositions have the option of doing so in hard copy. The material will be stored and will be made available to both the student and music department faculty other than the Advisor, for consultation.

DEADLINES [note: dates are approximate: check with Abby Rahn abbyrahn@fas for precise dates for your year]

1. Prospectus. For composition theses it should lay out the scope of the proposed project, including performance forces, approximate duration, and text to be set (if any). For ethnomusicology, theory, and music history theses, it should consist of an outline and a bibliography (approximately 4-5 pages total). Deadline: EARLY October (check with Abby for the precise date for this year). Completion of a minimum of 50% of the work. For ethno, theory, and history theses this corresponds, for example, to two out of four chapters--the draft should include footnotes as well. Deadline: December

3. First complete draft of work: Deadline: February

4. The final copies of the thesis should be given to the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies in Room 101S, Music Building (total of 2 or 3, additional Reader(s); see format requirments below).
FINAL DEADLINE (no exceptions): March

A bound copy of the final thesis is required for submission to the Music Library. If you are awarded summa cum laude or magna cum laude for your thesis, you will also be responsible for submitting an unbound copy for the University Archives. This is a requirement for receiving the final award on the thesis. The Library and/or archive copies must be submitted to the Assistant to Director of Undergraduate Studies by early April.

NOTE: After the due date, no revisions are accepted, except those mandated by the Thesis Advisor (copy editing will be allowed for library and archival copies).

An explanation of the required format for your thesis is on the following page. Please see your Advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Studies if you have any questions.

Important note for joint concentrators: Deadlines for other departments may be different. If the Department of Music deadline happens to be earlier, you must submit your complete, final thesis by our deadline. Likewise it is required that you follow our preliminary deadlines. This rule applies whether you are a primary or secondary concentrator in Music. If your other department’s deadlines are earlier, you must verify with them whether they will follow our deadlines or theirs.

Undergraduate Thesis Formats

• All copies should be submitted to the Assistant to the Director of Undergraduate Studiesr by the stated deadlines.
• Deadline for the final version of thesis to the readers and the Department is early March.
• The final readers’ copies of the thesis (usually a total of two for joint concentrators and three for honors concentrators) should be bound and fully formatted (i.e., footnotes, appendices, bibliography, etc.). Either single- or double-sided copies are acceptable. Three-ring binders are acceptable.
• The Assistant to the Director of Undergraduate Studies should be provided one single-sided, bound copy on acid-free paper, for cataloging in the Music Library, by late April.
• The Music Library prefers undergraduate theses bound with ACCO press binders or glued binders like the Sourcebook. The binding must stand upright on the shelf (for example, spiral plastic binding, which tends to slump and fall apart in a short time, is not acceptable).
• Students receiving summa or magna honors for their theses (notification late April) should also submit one single-sided, unbound copy on acid-free paper directly to the Assistant to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, also in late April. This copy will be cataloged in the University Archives.
• Format for title page is illustrated by attached Sample.
• Format of the body of the document: 1” margins top and bottom, and 1.5” on left and right; single-sided pages.
• For theses submitted by joint concentrators, the second department usually defers to the first department with regard to format requirements. The student should confer with the second department to confirm this.
• For compositions, it is not recommended that you submit a thesis in pencil. If a software program is not feasible, then a high-quality photocopy of a penciled work should be submitted. Please confer with your advisor to determine the best format.

[note: dates are approximate: check with Abby Rahn abbyrahn@fas for precise dates for your year]


All students are required to confer with the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies at the outset of their concentration or joint concentration, in order to develop an overall plan for fulfillment of requirements. All concentrators will continue to be advised by one of these two officials at the start of each term. For up-to-date information on advising in Music, please see the Advising Programs Office website


The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library offers an outstanding collection of books and scores, as well as listening equipment for its extensive recording collection. An electronic music studio is available. Musicians have access to the practice rooms, all of which have pianos, and a limited number of instrument lockers are provided. The many musical organizations on campus include the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, the Bach Society Orchestra, the Mozart Society Orchestra, the Harvard Glee Club, the Collegium Musicum, the Radcliffe Choral Society, the University Choir, the Group for New Music at Harvard, and the Organ Society. Students interested in composition may submit works for performance at concerts offered by the department and for the Harvard University Prizes. The Office for the Arts offers a special lesson subsidy program (by audition), as well as information on private teachers in the area.

Music as a Secondary Field

The Department of Music offers one secondary field designed to be flexible enough to accommodate a broad range of interests in this field. Students are free to explore the field by selecting a variety of courses, or they may focus on a specific aspect of the larger field.

REQUIREMENTS: 5 half-courses
Any five half-courses selected from among the courses offered in Music (including Core courses, Gen Ed courses and Freshman Seminars taught by Music Department faculty), with the exceptions noted below:

  • No more than one half-course may be selected from Music 1a, Music 1b, Music 2, Music 3, Music 4, Core Courses, Gen Ed Courses, or Freshman Seminars.

  • No more than one half-course may be selected from the Music 120 series (conducting), Music 175, or the Music 180 series (performance and analysis).

  • Courses counting for secondary field credit may not be taken Pass/Fail, except that one Freshman Seminar graded (SAT/UNS) may be counted.

While the department recommends taking a portion of the foundational courses of the concentration (51, 97, 150), these are not specific requirements of the secondary field. Occasionally, with the permission of the instructor, secondary field students may take upper-level courses without having taken certain prerequisites.
Courses taken abroad or in the summer school can be counted in the secondary field only with the permission of the department, normally granted only after the course has been completed.

Students pursuing a secondary field are urged to seek out members of the Music Department faculty for advice on their specific course choices. For general information about the department, its faculty, and courses visit the department website.

For more information on the secondary field and for advising, please speak to either the Undergraduate Coordinator or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.


Five Year Program (not the 5-year dual degree Harvard/NEC program)

For students who wish to pursue a program with more emphasis on performance, the department offers the Five-Year Program. Students approved by the department for this program take the normal number of courses in their freshman year, but then work at the three-course rate for the four years following. This permits more intensive work in performance. These students are expected to give a senior recital.

This program is designed for music concentrators; thus admission to the five-year program is only granted to students willing to commit to this concentration choice as freshmen.

Permission to follow the five-year program involves a first year of study at the normal rate, and four further years of working and paying at the three-course rate. This means that a student doing the five-year program will pay four years of tuition, but ten terms of fees, room and board.

Students may combine this option with advanced standing to finish degree requirements in four years and remain at Harvard for a fifth year at the reduced rate.


1. In the freshman year, student requests certification from Department. This takes the form of a brief letter to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, outlining the student’s performance background and plans for performance study in the five-year program.

2. The Music Department considers and acts on this request.

3. If the request is approved, the student takes the department’s certification to her/his Resident Dean, and makes a request for permission to remain at Harvard for ten terms, and to work for eight terms at the three-course rate.

4. Resident Dean takes this request to the Administrative Board for permission.

5. Resident Dean notifies the student and the Director of Undergraduate Studies of Music of the Administrative Board’s decision.


Composition Prizes and Department Grant Support

*****NEW: Students traveling abroad on trips funded or arranged by Harvard or who will receive Harvard credit during their travel are required to record their itineraries in the Harvard Travel Registry:

The deadline for all fellowships/prizes is April 6, 2015. All compositions should be presented to the Music Department staff member Eva Kim.

"The Bohemians"
(New York Musicians Club) Prize

By the gift of two thousand dollars from "The Bohemians" (New York Musicians Club) there has been established in the Department of Music a prize in original musical composition. The competition is open to undergraduates or the members of any graduate school of the University. The interest of the bequest will be awarded for an original composition for one or two instruments.

Francis Boott Prize

From the income of the bequest of Francis Boott, of the Class of 1831, a prize of exactly two hundred and fifty dollars has been established for the writer of the best composition in concerted vocal music. The competition is open to undergraduates or to members of any graduate school of the University. The prize is offered for the best composition for chorus of not less than three nor more than eight parts, either a capella or with accompaniment for piano, organ, or small instrumental ensemble, requiring not more than ten minutes for performance. The choice of text, which may be either sacred or secular, Latin or English, original or selected, is left to the contestant. Every effort will be made to arrange a performance of the winning composition before the end of the academic year, provided the composition falls within the scope of the available performing forces.

George Arthur Knight Prize

In 1909 the University received from William H. Knight, of the Class of 1903, a fund for the establishment of a prize in memory of his brother, George Arthur Knight, late of the Class of 1907. On this foundation the George Arthur Knight Prize is offered for the best composition in instrumental music, "preference to be given to compositions for string quartets or trios, though works with piano accompaniment may compete." The competition is open to all members of the University.

Hugh F. MacColl Prize

From the bequest of Hugh F. MacColl of the Class of 1907, this prize was established in 1954, The income from the fund is "to be applied from time to time . . . to the awarding of prizes" in an undergraduate competition "for original musical compositions."

John Green Fellowship

This award was established by friends and family of the late John Green '28 in support of excellence in musical composition. It is made annually to an undergraduate or graduate student composer.

Department Grant Information John Knowles Paine Traveling Fellowships

Each spring, the Music Department awards John Knowles Paine Fellowships for travel and study during the following academic year. The Fellowships were established in 1912 by Mrs. Paine in memory of her husband and are available to music concentrators in their senior year (for study during the summer following graduation) and graduate students in the Department of Music. If you are interested in applying, please submit a letter to the Department Chair, detailing your plans of travel or study and proposed budget. If you have any questions, please see the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Department Administrator. Due April 7, 2014.

Davison Fellowships

The Davison Fellowship for Travel in Music, a gift from Alice D. Humez in memory of her husband Archibald "Doc" Davison, provides financial support for students engaged in short projects relating to music that require travel away from Harvard University. Undergraduate and graduate students in good standing are eligible to apply. While the terms of the fellowship are broadly defined, preference will be given to proposals that have an academic component. Economical and resourceful proposals will be favored. Undergraduates engaged in research are particularly encouraged to apply.

Applications consist of a short project description (1-2pp.), a budget, and a confidential letter of recommendation from an academic adviser.These materials should be submitted to the Department of Music (Eva Kim or Nancy Shafman). Applications are due by April 6, 2015 for projects beginning in the summer or the following academic year. The fellowship selection will be made by a committee in the Department of Music and will be announced in the first week of May.



c 2014 President and Fellows of Harvard College