At the Mead Witter School of Music

  • we teach by example offering participatory, mentor-driven education;
  • we provide individualized instruction and flexible curricula that encourage students to find their own musical pathways;
  • we foster musical excellence and high academic standards;
  • our faculty exhibit the best of their respective fields, are deeply engaged in artistic scholarship and research, and are committed to teaching at all levels;
  • we whole-heartedly embrace the Wisconsin Idea;
  • our department is a dynamic educational community, part of a large and vibrant research university within a city that values and supports the arts.

The Mead Witter School of Music enriches students' educational experience by hosting guest artists and scholars for master classes, recitals, colloquia, seminars, and festivals. Its performing organizations and ensembles perform more than 350 recitals and concerts every year, making a significant contribution to the cultural life of the university and the wider Madison community. Facilities specifically designed for music study and performance offer excellent resources for students to pursue their interests. 

In addition to a thriving undergraduate student body, music students have the advantage of working side-by-side with master's-level and doctoral-level music students. Working collegially in class and studio, making music together on stage and off, and building professional relationships across program boundaries all enable the sharing of expertise, experience, and perspectives and add immeasurably to every student's development.

The music degree programs are demanding and require care in taking courses in the proper sequence. Graduation could be delayed if a course is not taken in the appropriate semester. Refer to the Requirements tab for details on the coursework and sequences of study in specific majors.

Mead Witter School of Music views its goals and objectives as complementary to those of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, which include "to provide an environment in which faculty and students can discover, examine critically, preserve and transmit the knowledge, wisdom and values that will help ensure the survival of the present and future generations with improvement in the quality of life." 

The University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and has been an institutional member of NASM since 1966.


The greatest asset of Mead Witter School of Music is its people—staff, faculty, and students—who are daily immersed in learning, building, researching, writing, and making music. Mentoring is the core of our teaching, manifest in one-on-one applied instruction as well as in small-group coaching and classes. Undergraduate students will build professional relationships with many faculty, form friendships with peers across the boundaries of degree programs, and collaborate with staff in addressing the practical matters of academic study. Extensive information on faculty, including biographies, is available here.

The Mosse Humanities Building, built in 1969, houses most of the music classrooms, rehearsal rooms, faculty studios, and 111 practice rooms. Most recitals and concerts take place in one of three performance spaces: Mills Concert Hall, Morphy Recital Hall, and Eastman Organ Recital Hall. The school's extensive collection of instruments, both common and unusual, is available to both faculty and students. Music Hall with its clock tower, built in 1879, is a campus landmark. Renovated in 1985, it is the home of the opera program. The new Hamel Music Center, scheduled to open in 2019, will include a concert hall, a recital hall, and a large ensemble rehearsal space.

Memorial Library is the home of the Mills Music Library, which offers extensive research and circulating collections, attractive study space, and personal staff assistance with research. Music materials on campus number over half a million, ranging from scores and sheet music to archival collections and historic audio recordings. Through Mills Music Library and other UW–Madison libraries, students have access to a wide range of online research databases as well as millions of articles, books, and streaming media. All genres of music are represented, with notably strong collections in Americana and ethnic music. Nationally known special collections include the Tams–Witmark Collection, a treasury of early American musical theater materials, and the Wisconsin Music Archives.


Mead Witter School of Music offers several degree programs at the undergraduate level. The bachelor of arts and bachelor of science curricula are liberal arts majors in the College of Letters & Science and are excellent programs for students interested in exploring the wide array of course offerings in the college or in two or more major areas of study. In these programs music courses comprise one-third of a student's work toward the degree. By comparison, the bachelor of music curriculum a professional degree in music, requires 75 percent of total coursework within the Mead Witter School of Music. Students in this program are looking for depth in performance study along with a large complement of other musical studies at advanced level. A number of alumni from both B.A. and B.S. have completed two majors at UW-Madison. Both of these programs may provide a foundation for graduate study and sometimes for a career in music. We encourage conversations with Mead Witter School of Music professors at any point during your first two years as a music major to learn as much as possible about options that are available to you.


Mead Witter School of Music is a department of the UW–Madison College of Letters & Science. Information on the grading system and academic procedures is available in the College of Letters & Science section of this catalog and in the opening section of this catalog.

The undergraduate advisor of the Mead Witter School of Music serves as the advisor for every music major. The advisor maintains records and assists students in determining an appropriate course schedule each semester.

Admissions Procedures

To major in music at Mead Witter School of Music, a student must:

  1. apply and be accepted by the UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment and
  2. apply, audition, and be accepted by the School of Music faculty.

In addition to the UW-Madison application, students must apply to the Mead Witter School of Music. Application material is available on the  School of Music website and the music application process is handled by the Undergraduate Admissions Office, 3561H Mosse Humanities Building.

The steps for applying to the UW–Madison School of Music are:

  • Review the information on the website for Mead Witter School of Music. Follow instructions carefully. Any questions may be directed to the Undergraduate Admissions Office.
  • Download and complete the music application. On the application you will request an audition date.
  • Download and provide the recommendation forms to two recommenders. These will be people who can attest to the applicant's musical background and ability.
  • If there will be need for financial assistance, consult the Office of Student Financial Aid.
  • Request that official transcripts be sent to the School of Music Undergraduate Admissions Office from all high schools and colleges attended. 
  • Prepare the appropriate repertoire and materials for the audition.
  • Come to the campus for an audition, which includes a ten- to twenty-minute performance audition, music theory and piano placement examinations, and an introduction to School of Music faculty, students, and facilities.

Transfer Students

Students who have earned more than 24 course credits at another college or university follow the same application and audition procedures described above. Upon acceptance by UW–Madison and the School of Music, credits for music courses taken at another institution are interpreted by the UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment simply as elective music credits. These course credits, as they appear on the transcript(s), will be reviewed during a conference with the advisor upon enrolling at UW–Madison. Transfer credit for music courses will be reviewed only after all placement and proficiency examinations in theory and piano have been taken at UW–Madison and syllabi for academic music courses have been submitted.

Reentering the School of Music

Students who were previously enrolled in the School of Music and UW–Madison who desire to reenter to seek an undergraduate degree should apply for reentry to both the UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment and the School of Music Undergraduate Admissions Office. An audition will be required in most cases.

International Students

Students from foreign countries who seek admission to the university and the School of Music should contact International Student Services in addition to the UW–Madison Office of Admissions and Recruitment and the School of Music Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Special Students

Persons who are interested in courses offered by the School of Music but who are not working toward a UW–Madison degree should contact the Division of Continuing Studies, 21 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53715; 608-263-6960. Enrollment is limited in music courses, and priority is given to UW–Madison undergraduate degree candidates.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.

Bachelor of Arts degree requirements

Mathematics Fulfilled with completion of University General Education requirements Quantitative Reasoning a (QR A) and Quantitative Reasoning b (QR B) coursework. Please note that some majors may require students to complete additional math coursework beyond the B.A. mathematics requirement.
Foreign Language
  • Complete the fourth unit of a foreign language; OR
  • Complete the third unit of a foreign language and the second unit of an additional foreign language

Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
L&S Breadth
  • Humanities, 12 credits: 6 of the 12 credits must be in literature
  • Social Sciences, 12 credits
  • Natural Sciences, 12 credits: must include one 3+ credit course in the biological sciences; must include one 3+ credit course in the physical sciences
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework 108 credits
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work 60 intermediate or advanced credits
Major Declare and complete at least one (1) major
Total Credits 120 credits
UW-Madison Experience 30 credits in residence, overall
30 credits in residence after the 90th credit
Minimum GPAs 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison

Non–L&S students pursuing an L&S major

Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above.  Please note that the following special degree programs are not considered majors so are not available to non–L&S degree-seeking candidates:  

  • Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics (Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics)
  • Journalism (Bachelor of Arts–Journalism; Bachelor of Science–Journalism)
  • Music (Bachelor of Music)
  • Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work)

Requirements for the Major

Four options are available under this program:

  • Option in Music Performance
  • Option Music History
  • Options in Music Theory
  • Individualized Music Track

The Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science: Music curriculum is a liberal arts degree in music, designed for students whose career goals require more flexibility in course selection than that afforded by the bachelor of music degree. This degree also makes it possible to combine a major in music with majors in other fields. All prospective B.A. and B.S. music students must audition on an instrument or voice and be accepted into the School of Music at the music major level of performance study following normal admission procedures.

In the second or third year of study, the faculty of the Mead Witter School of Music assesses each student's readiness to continue in advanced-level work in the major and to declare the major. To be eligible for the major declaration, students must maintain a minimum 2.000 GPA in the core academic music courses (theory and history) specified for their major option. Admission to and retention in the music history or music theory major option may require a higher GPA; see specific requirements for these programs. Enrollment in courses is limited; therefore, core academic music courses may be repeated only with permission of the area. Only one approved repeat per area will be calculated into the GPA for purposes of determining eligibility to declare a major in music.

Satisfactory academic progress in the degree is measured by the regulations of the College of Letters & Science. The music advisor maintains current records and advises the student on music course selection each semester. The music advisor can provide information on all degree requirements. However, the L&S academic deans are the final authority responsible for interpretation of L&S policy regarding B.A./B.S. degree requirements outside the major department. The music course requirements listed are subject to change.


All prospective music students must audition on an instrument or voice and be accepted into the Mead Witter School of Music at the music major level (200 level) of performance study according to standard admission procedures. Students are not admitted directly into the Individualized Music Curriculum but must complete at least three semesters of the core curriculum as a preliminary music student (PRM program) before applying for this track. The track is approved only rarely and is intended for those students whose desired area of emphasis in music does not fit into the framework of the performance, history, or theory options. However, the area of emphasis must be one that will utilize music courses currently offered; all courses used for the major must be School of Music courses. The Individualized Music Curriculum is planned and designed by the student in conjunction with a School of Music faculty member willing to act as the curricular advisor; the music advisor reviews the proposed curriculum for compliance with all School of Music and L&S requirements. The curriculum then must be approved by the appropriate Faculty Area Committee(s) and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. The Individualized Music Curriculum can be designed with an emphasis in composition.  The core requirements are:

Music Courses in Performance Study
Major Instrument or Voice (3 semesters at the 200 level or above)6
Music Courses in Music Theory
Musica Practica 1
and Musica Practica: Aural Skills 1 (prerequisite course requirements)
Musica Practica 2
and Musica Practica: Aural Skills 2 (prerequisite course requirements)
Music Courses in Music History
MUSIC 211 Survey of the History of Western Music3
MUSIC 212 Survey of the History of Western Music3
Music Foundation Courses: 6
Select two courses from the following three categories:
Musica Practica 3
and Musica Practica: Aural Skills 3
Musica Practica 4
and Musica Practica: Aural Skills 4
Survey of Music in the Middle Ages
Survey of Music in the Renaissance
Survey of Music in the Baroque Era
Survey of Music in the Classic Era
Survey of Music in the Romantic Era
Survey of Music in the Twentieth Century
Music in the United States
Historical Performance Practices
Survey of Opera
•Performance Study:
200-level or above
Music Courses: Music Emphasis
As approved by faculty committees16
Music Course in Piano
Complete the following course or pass proficiency exam:
MUS PERF 102 Beginning Class Piano2
Total Credits44

Residence & Quality of Work

2.000 GPA in all MUSIC, MUS PERF and major courses

15 credits in MUSIC and/or MUS PERF, taken on campus

Courses that count toward this requirement are:

Music (660) Courses
MUSIC 40 Wind Ensemble1
MUSIC 41 Concert Band1
MUSIC 50 Concert Choir1
MUSIC 52 Women's Chorus1
MUSIC 53 Choral Union1
MUSIC 55 Masters' Singers1
MUSIC 61 Chamber Orchestra1
MUSIC 62 University Symphony Orchestra1
MUSIC 211 Survey of the History of Western Music3
MUSIC 212 Survey of the History of Western Music3
MUSIC 221 Musica Practica 33
MUSIC 222 Musica Practica 43
MUSIC 256 University Opera1-2
MUSIC 262 Jazz Ensemble1
MUSIC 265 Ensemble-Woodwind1
MUSIC 266 Black Music Ensemble1
MUSIC 267 Ensemble-Brass1
MUSIC 268 Ensemble-Percussion1
MUSIC 269 Ensemble-String1
MUSIC 270 Ensemble-Guitar1
MUSIC 271 Musica Practica: Aural Skills 31
MUSIC 272 Musica Practica: Aural Skills 41
MUSIC 273 Contemporary Chamber Ensemble1
MUSIC 319 Topics in Music and Ethnicity in the United States3
MUSIC 331 Jazz Improvisation3
MUSIC 332 Jazz Improvisation3
MUSIC 340 Pedagogy1-2
MUSIC 345 Practicum in String Pedagogy2
MUSIC 361 1
MUSIC/​AFROAMER  400 Music Cultures of the World: Africa, Europe, the Americas3
MUSIC/​FOLKLORE  401 Musical Cultures of the World3
MUSIC/​FOLKLORE  402 Musical Cultures of the World3
MUSIC/​FOLKLORE  404 Music of S.E. Asia: Tradition, Innovation, Politics, and Religion3
MUSIC 405 Seminar: Cultural Study of Music3
MUSIC 411 Survey of Music in the Middle Ages3
MUSIC 412 Survey of Music in the Renaissance3
MUSIC 413 Survey of Music in the Baroque Era3
MUSIC 414 Survey of Music in the Classic Era3
MUSIC 415 Survey of Music in the Romantic Era3
MUSIC 416 Survey of Music in the Twentieth Century3
MUSIC 419 Music in the United States3
MUSIC 461 Collegium Musicum1
MUSIC 467 Language Diction for Singing I2
MUSIC 468 Language Diction for Singing II2
MUSIC 497 Special Topics in Music1-3
MUSIC 499 Directed Study1-3
500 level and above
Music Performance (664)
MUS PERF 342 Piano Accompanying Lab1
MUS PERF 347 Third Year Composition3
MUS PERF 348 Third Year Composition3
400 level and above


All music major programs require a minimum piano proficiency at the level of MUS PERF 102 Beginning Class Piano.

Students who complete Theory MUSIC 122 Musica Practica 2MUSIC 221 Musica Practica 3, or MUSIC 222 Musica Practica 4 without having taken the earlier courses in the theory sequence, or who achieve advanced placement in theory through department examination, may not be required to complete the prerequisite courses in the theory sequence. However, no retroactive course credit will be granted. All students must complete at least 40 credits in Mead Witter School of Music coursework.

Honors in the Major

The School of Music is reviewing its requirements for Honors in the Major. Current music majors may contact the undergraduate advisor for more information.

To earn Honors in any music major, students must satisfy the requirements below as well as all other requirements for their music degree and major:

  • 6 credits of MUSIC 681 Senior Honors ThesisMUSIC 682 Senior Honors Thesis
  • 12 credits of honors coursework in music: 6 of the 12 credits must be at the 300 level or higher and only 6 credits can be taken in any one of the three music areas of theory, history, and performance.

To participate in the Honors in the Major program, students must:

  • Notify the School of Music undergraduate advisor of their intention to become a candidate for Honors in the Major. This will usually occur in the sophomore year.
  • Present a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.300 in all courses taken at UW–Madison and maintain this average throughout the degree.
  • Present a minimum 3.500 GPA in all music coursework and maintain a minimum 3.500 GPA in all music honors coursework.
  • Engage a faculty member who will collaborate in planning the 12 credits of honors curriculum coursework; submit this plan to the undergraduate music advisor. The course plan may change as students progress through their work.
  • Prior to beginning work on the MUSIC 681MUSIC 682 Senior Honors Thesis sequence, confirm a faculty advisor for this sequence (who may be the same person as for the 12 credits above) and submit a prospectus outlining in detail the planned work including (a) the topic, (b) plans for research, and (c) a clear substantive written component, although it may also include oral and/or performance components. The faculty advisor must sign the prospectus indicating approval.

University Degree Requirements 

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

1. Develop advanced levels of proficiency in solo, chamber and ensemble performance sufficient to enter music professions or graduate programs.

2. Understand, apply and synthesize foundational concepts of musical study in theory, history and pedagogy.

3. Demonstrate the ability to learn independently and to integrate knowledge across domains of research and applied studies.

4. Communicate verbally, in writing and through public performance, musical ideas and concepts.

5. Demonstrate ability to work collaboratively and professionally in multiple social and professional settings.

Undergraduate students—current music majors only—should consult the music advisor for help enrolling in courses and planning the completion of their degree. Students who are interested in majoring in music should consult the undergraduate audition and admissions coordinator (; 608-263-5986; 5561 Humanities). If you have questions about a scholarship that you are receiving from the School of Music, please contact the associate director for Mead Witter School of Music.

L&S career resources

SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students leverage the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and liberal arts degree; explore and try out different career paths; participate in internships; prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications; and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers).

SuccessWorks can also assist students in career advising, résumé and cover letter writing, networking opportunities, and interview skills, as well as course offerings for undergraduates to begin their career exploration early in their undergraduate career. 

Professors Cook (director), Blasius, Calderón, Chisholm, Crook, Dill, Di Sanza, Doing, Fischer, Fulmer, Hetzler, Hyer, Johnson, Karp, Koza, Leckrone, Perry, Rowe, Schaffer, Schwendinger, Stowe, Swack, B. Taylor, C. Taylor, Teeple, Thimmig, Vallon, Vardi; Associate Professors Dobbs, Grabois, Wallmann; Assistant Professors Altino, Lee, Ronis

The faculty of the Mead Witter School of Music is a distinguished group of educators, performing musicians, and active scholars. The backgrounds of performance faculty include rich experiences as professional musicians, researchers, recording artists, and entrepreneurs. Faculty in music education have particular insight into their field as a result of their backgrounds as school educators, performers, and scholars. In areas such as music theory and musicology, the musical community has high regard for the past and current contributions to the study of musical theory, historical perspectives on music, the role of music in societies around the world, and the unique contributions of American musicians. Teaching is a priority for the faculty, who are readily accessible to students for advice and support. Faculty, staff, and students cooperate in extraordinary ways with joint ventures that reach across disciplines both in research or instruction. 

Office of Student Financial Aid

Prospective music students should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid (333 East Campus Mall #9701, Madison, WI 53715-1382; 608-262-3060) to obtain information about grants and loans when returning the application for admission.

School of Music Scholarships

Some funds are available for scholarships awarded by the School of Music to outstanding applicants. It is always advisable to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit it to the Office of Student Financial Aid. Application materials will serve as support for music scholarship consideration.

Scholarship applicants must audition in person and must take the Theory Placement Examination on the audition day in order to be considered for an award. After the audition and review of materials, the associate director will notify each applicant about the scholarship decision. Accompanying each award notification will be a Letter of Commitment, to be signed and returned to the School of Music. Criteria used for awarding scholarships are:

  1. Quality of the performance audition
  2. High school and/or college academic record
  3. Letters of recommendation

Most Mead Witter School of Music scholarships are awarded for a four-year period. The music faculty reviews every scholarship award each semester and expects that each student on scholarship will maintain satisfactory progress toward completing the music major and degree requirements, continue to make significant contributions in performing organizations or accompanying, and maintain a minimum 3.000 grade point average. Please see the Mead Witter School of Music website for more information regarding music scholarships.


National Association of Schools of Music

Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2022–2023