Music, BA

The BA in Music at Northeastern engages students in the study of how music works and the many contexts in which it is created and received. Students encounter a wide range of musical repertories, theoretical approaches, and research strategies.

The Bachelor of Arts in Music at Northeastern provides a course of study through which students develop a breadth and depth of musical knowledge, engaging with how music works technically, psychologically, and socially, and its cultural importance both historically and across the world. As a field, music encompasses a diverse set of skills, including performance, composition or songwriting, quantitative analysis, cultural interpretation, and research. 

While many students opt to major in music alone, many others enroll as part of a double major. This is especially true of young scholars who are aiming for careers in engineering, sciences, business, medicine, and fields in the humanities and social sciences but who still want to pursue their interests in music. 

The BA in Music offers a set of advising paths to help students tailor their course of study to their particular musical interests and goals. Students are not required to follow one advising path, but are encouraged to explore them and consult relevant path advisors as they discover their passions and the field’s possibilities. Advising paths for Music BA students include: Popular Music Studies, Music Performance, Music Composition & Songwriting, Music History & Ethnomusicology, Music Theory (Analysis & Visualization), Music in the Community (Education, Activism, Outreach), Music & Health Research, and Music Humanics. 

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Co-op Opportunities

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Boston, MA

World Music/CRASHarts

Cambridge, MA

Rolling Stone

New York, NY

Career Opportunities


Arts Administrator

Culture Writer



Music critic

Music Theorist



Multidisciplinary Skills

Research and analysis

Critical reasoning

Critical listening

Persuasive writing

Public speaking



Cross-cultural knowledge

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a B.A. in Music are expected to have acquired the following competencies:

Musical Aptitudes

1. To identify and apply the fundamental principles
behind the melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, and formal
components of music from a variety of time periods
and cultures.

2. To hear, identify, and work conceptually with the
elements of music, including intervals, scales,
chords, meters, rhythm, melody, harmony,
modulations, structure, and other elements.

3. To understand the basic principles and structures
of at least three or four other systems of musical
performance, including improvisation from genres,
cultures and ethnicities beyond the European/North
American “classical” canon.


Northeastern Alumna Andrea Lieberherr Douglass Brings Global Perspective to Music Performance and Teaching

Northeastern University alumna, Andrea Lieberherr Douglass, is an ethnomusicologist, performer, and educator with an impressive background in a variety of ensembles performed around the world. From playing in an outdoor amphitheater while on-tour in Brazil to jumping into an all-female […]

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