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​Music History and Cultures

Immerse yourself in the study of music in a historic, social, and cultural context, as well as in its relation to other arts.

The major in Music History and Cultures is designed for students who wish to study music in its historical, social and cultural contexts and in relation to other arts. Although majors are encouraged to develop performance skills, the focus of the degree is on the study of musical cultures and styles in a liberal arts environment.

About the College of Arts and Sciences

The founding college of Syracuse University remains at the center of undergraduate learning. The College is divided into the natural sciences and mathematics, the humanities, and the social sciences, with the lattermost offered in partnership with the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.


Sample courses for music history and cultures majors include:

  • Film Music
  • Music and Gender
  • Hip-Hop Studies
  • Writing about Music
  • Music and Media
  • Global Popular Music

View official major requirements.

Practical Experience

Seize opportunities to do community volunteering and professional internships—on campus, off campus, or internationally. Academic counselors and faculty advisors will guide you in aligning your interests and academic path with opportunities for growth.

Take advantage of research resources, including the SOURCE program that supports and funds faculty-mentored independent projects. Qualified music history and cultures majors may also complete a large-scale project to earn departmental distinction honors.

There are more than 300 recognized student organizations at Syracuse University, including many that are specifically related to music, and a Living and Learning Community (LLC) devoted to Music & Culture. Explore other themes too, including art, culture, language, advocacy, government, religion, and service.

Study Abroad

Syracuse Abroad  features more than 100 programs in 60 countries. You can choose semester, summer, short term, and yearlong options for international study.

Music history and cultures majors most often go abroad to Syracuse University centers in Florence and London.

Life After Syracuse University

As a College of Arts and Sciences graduate with a major in music history and cultures, you can explore such careers as:

  • Music education
  • Music historian
  • College professor
  • Music librarian
  • Forensic musicology
  • Arts management

You can also pursue graduate training in such areas as education, arts administration, music journalism, and more. Recent graduates of the program have attended some of the top graduate schools in the U.S.