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Programs / Arts / Music (BA)

Program Summary

Do you have a desire to learn more about the history of Music from Medieval music to modern day Pop? Then the Bachelor of Arts in Music is for you. This program will allow you to study a wide range of topics from the history of Western art music (Medieval, Renaissance, Classical, Romantic, etc.) to Canadian and Indigenous Music and Culture, to Jazz, Pop and Rock, to Music of the World’s Peoples.

The degree consists of an intensive study of non-performance based courses in music and culture: from the historical past to the present-day music industry, from musicology to ethnomusicology. It allows a wide choice of options in subjects and will leave you with a solid understanding of Music and how it has impacted our everyday lives.

Note that the BA in Music is not a performance degree and does not require an audition. Individual instruction in performance is not part of this program. Theory and ear training are not requirements of the program nor is recital or ensemble work

In the Bachelor of Arts in Music, you may take an Honours, Combined Honours or General program. A Bachelor of Music and a minor in Music are also available. Only the Bachelor of Music (Honours) is performance based and requires an audition.

Study history, musicology and more

When you enroll in the Bachelor of Arts Music program at Carleton, you will be studying with world class instructors who specialize in various genres of music. We have historians, researchers, ethnomusicologists and specialists in every genre from classical to jazz, to alternative music, and from hip hop to Indigenous and World music traditions.

Our Carleton University Library has a wide variety of books and recordings specializing in musics from every era and from around the world. We offer the widest option for our students so that they can learn from a range of different genres and understand how music influences everything we do.

Just minutes away from campus are the research resources of Library and Archives Canada, the National Arts Centre, the Canadian Museum of History, and the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Ottawa also has a large variety of small playing venues that feature local artists who play in almost every genre imaginable. A Bachelor of Arts Music student would not have to look far to find a venue that plays the genre they are studying or to find a local spot that is rich in artistic history.

The Bachelor of Arts Music program is usually completed after four years (Honours) or three years (BA General) of full-time study. This degree provides valuable preparation for graduate work in musicology, or for careers in various facets of the music industry, cultural policy, and music education. Students will study the background and influence various cultures and traditions have from a social point of view as well as from a historical one.

Bachelor of Arts Music students have the opportunity to study every genre of Music from the history of Western Classical Music to Music of the World’s Peoples. Our program also offers a variety of courses that focus on Canadian and Indigenous Music history and its influences.

You will be able to round out your courses with a number of free electives allowing students to take a Minor if they wish or to widen their interests into other areas that may complement their studies.

A BA in Music can serve as a foundation for a variety of careers in fields related to music, or in such fields as communications or cultural policy. It can also be used as a gateway degree to completing another program or for a future in Music education. General Bachelor of Arts students can combine studies in Music with a minor in another discipline.

Performance courses are not available to students in any of the BA in Music programs.

The workplace

Graduates of the Bachelor of Arts Music program enjoy careers in a wide range of areas including arts management, teaching, cultural policy and arts journalism.

Graduate studies

Graduates of our Honours programs are well qualified to go on to graduate studies in a variety of fields including musicology, ethnomusicology, journalism, music therapy or cultural studies.

Professional programs

Many professional programs, including teaching, encourage well-rounded applicants from a variety of backgrounds to apply. Music provides a strong foundation for such programs.