Ethnomusicology B.A.

Herb Alpert School of Music

About the Major

The undergraduate major in Ethnomusicology emphasizes general world music, performance/composition, public ethnomusicology, and scholarly research. Admission requires an audition/interview. The major provides students with a wide-ranging liberal arts education in music. At its core, this includes (1) comprehensive knowledge of music cultures of the world; (2) understanding of the interrelationship of music, society, and culture; (3) grounding in the basics of Western music theory and musicianship; and (4) the experience of playing in one or several musical ensembles from various traditions around the world.

Beyond the core and emphasis requirements, students in the world music concentration may, through elective courses, prepare for a variety of career goals, including the study of ethnomusicology in graduate school, composing and performing music, working in the music industry, serving society in the nonprofit sector, or becoming a K through 12 music teacher.


Herb Alpert School of Music in the General Catalog
Herb Alpert School of Music website

Contact Information

Herb Alpert School of Music
Schoenberg Music Building 2678

Choosing Your Course of Study at UCLA

Making the Right Decision

One of the most important decisions you will make in college is your choice of major — the field of study that represents your principal interest and that will likely contribute to your career goals. Some students select their major at the time they fill out the University’s application for admission, although a far greater number are undecided about their major.

Students in the College of Letters and Science do not need to declare their major in their freshman year. In fact, you can be an “undeclared major” until the end of your sophomore year, which is particularly advantageous if you are not certain of your specific academic goals. It is wise to wait and explore the diversity of subject areas offered at UCLA through taking introductory courses in a variety of disciplines. It would not be unusual for you to become enthusiastic about disciplines previously unfamiliar to you. With careful planning, these courses may also apply toward fulfilling your university and college requirements.

To narrow your choice of study, carefully consider the general college requirements, the description of courses offered in the major, and the departmental requirements for completing the program of study. Look at the books required for each course. Sit in on a few classes and talk with professors during their office hours. Discuss interests and plans with a departmental counselor or faculty adviser, a college counselor, or advisers in the UCLA Career Center.

Certain majors, especially in the arts, engineering, the sciences, and theater, film, or television require early declaration. Some have enrollment quotas and allow application by new majors only during a specified term. Students should check with the departmental adviser for the majors that interest them.

In addition, UCLA undergraduate students are limited to between 208 and 216 quarter units, depending on the college or school, to complete the academic program and fulfill all degree requirements. So, if you wait to declare a major, you should not wait too long. In any case, you must declare your major by the beginning of your junior year (90 quarter units).

When you are ready to declare your major, you should obtain a Petition for Change of Major from your college or school office.