The Music History degree places musical trends, composers and individual musical works within historical, philosophical and social contexts. This combination both enlivens the understanding of musical works and broadens our values regarding what kinds of music we should listen to, compose, support or perform. You may find a talent in this field if you like to use musical knowledge to awaken an appreciation of music in others, if you enjoy finding out the background or context of a work, or if you are skilled in investigating and communicating. Whether pursuing further study in graduate school or directly entering the world of music, you will feel well prepared for a musical career of your choice. The department offers coursework taken by all conservatory majors and also courses aimed at or available to other university majors.

This program requires an interview with faculty. Interviews are conducted on the same day as the live audition or by telephone if submitting a video-recorded audition.

Pacific faculty Dr. Sarah Waltz
Listen with someone else's ears

Our students have the rare opportunity to major in Music History with the support of a full liberal arts college on campus. I encourage you to consider how others have thought about music in other times and places because listening with someone else’s ears opens up worlds within the music and yourself.

Dr. Sarah Waltz
Associate Professor and Program Director for Music History,
Program Director for Bachelor of Arts in Music

Notable program features

Music History is rewarding for academically-focused students who also wish to study music, as the program combines intensive musical training with academic work in music and the other humanities, including foreign language (typically German). Courses in related areas, such as art history, European or American history, film, studies in gender/sexuality and the social sciences are encouraged; a list of recommended courses is available from the program director.

  • Minor
  • A rare inter-disciplinary major
  • One-on-one advising and career planning with a faculty mentor
  • Student-led research
  • Small class sizes
  • Seminars and master classes with accomplished alumni and visiting artists
  • Faculty with expertise in career development and up-to-date knowledge in the field
  • A strong network of the conservatory’s students and alumni

Our graduates

Our graduates have gone on to highly reputable graduate programs, including directly to the PhD in Music History, and to master's programs in conducting, arts management and performance. Some have become professors in music history, while others have become conductors, writers, archivists, historically-informed performers and arts administrators, music librarians and arts journalists. Other fields in which graduates have employed their globally- and artistically-informed communication skills include college administration, teaching English and writing, digital marketing, and international programs.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Music in Music History
Music History Minor

Contact Us

Kate Williams jazz trumpet player
Conservatory of Music

Conservatory of Music
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211