Degree Plans in Music

* Students matriculating prior to August 2012 must complete COMM 103, Academic Writing and Argumentation, if the English Composition Exam was not passed. Students matriculating August 12 or later must complete a FWIS, First-Year Writing-Intensive Seminar course in their first year. Students who fail the English Composition Exam (or fail to take it) must successfully complete FWIS 100 during their first semester, and prior to enrolling in the FWIS course used to meet the graduation requirement. FWIS 100 cannot be used to meet the FWIS graduation requirement.

Bachelor of Music

The Bachelor of Music is a professional degree awarded by Rice University. It is designed for those students seeking intensive study in their major area to prepare for a career in the music profession. The BM program consists of a core curriculum (theory, aural skills and music history), applied study (lessons, ensembles, chamber music, recitals), and keyboard proficiency. Like all Rice undergraduate degrees, it is built on a liberal arts foundation: BM students earn at least 27 credit hours in humanities, social sciences and natural/physical sciences.









Bachelor of Arts degree with a Concentration in Music is appropriate for students who wish to specialize in music and at the same time receive either a broad liberal arts education or have a concentration in an additional discipline. There is no admission directly into the Bachelor of Arts in Music.

Bachelor of Music/Master of Music 5-Year Honors Program

Shepherd School students who demonstrate truly exceptional musical and academic accomplishment may apply for the five-year honors program. Upon completion, the B.M. and M.M. degrees are awarded concurrently. Application to this program is made in the student’s fifth or sixth semester.

Master of Music

The Master of Music is a two-year degree. The curriculum emphasizes intensive work with world-class faculty through lessons, coachings, and research, and offers an array of performance opportunities in large ensembles, chamber groups and solo settings. The rich academic resources within The Shepherd School of Music and throughout Rice University enhance our students’ applied training. Beginning Fall 2011, all MM performance majors will be required to complete four credit hours of our new Music Career and Skills Enhancement Courses. We believe in educating informed musicians, whose artistry, creativity and intelligence will have a lasting impact on the classical music world.

Artist Diploma

The Artist Diploma in Music is a two-year, post-master's degree program that is intended for exceptional young musicians who possess both extraordinary musical talent and the potential to flourish in the highly competitive contemporary musical world, i.e. those aiming towards a career focused on performance at the highest levels.  Courses in advanced performance, performance style or performance practice, special projects, ensemble, recitals, and music career and skills enhancement comprise the curriculum.  

A unique feature of the Artist Diploma is the master teacher committee. Each student will receive instruction not only from a principal teacher, but also from two or three additional faculty members. This committee will present the student with an abundance of feedback from multiple professional perspectives. Performance opportunities for instrumentalists include the Shepherd School Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, chamber music, and our newly formed Shepherd School faculty/student ensemble.  Vocalists will be cast in leading roles in opera productions, do intensive work in scenes programs, and receive advanced training in acting, movement, language and diction.   

Artist Diploma Degree Plan for the following areas of study.

Double Bass

Orchestral Conducting

Doctor of Musical Arts

The Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rice University is designed for those gifted, experienced musicians who desire careers combining performance or composition with an academic appointment. Therefore, our extensive application and audition process results in our admitting a small number of highly talented, accomplished individuals who have the ability and the ambition to be successful both as teachers and as performers or composers. Our degree includes superlative studio teaching, a wide array of performance opportunities, and innovative, challenging academic courses. Under the direction of dedicated and imaginative faculty mentors, our doctoral students receive classroom and studio teaching training and experience. The curriculum encourages and supports both independent and collaborative work with students and faculty from both the Shepherd School and from Rice University.  

Features of the DMA include:  

  1. Full tuition and generous stipends for three years of coursework

  2. Team-taught seminars exclusively for doctoral students, designed to prepare them to be leaders in the music world

  3. Training in classroom pedagogy as well as in studio teaching, leading to actual classroom and studio teaching responsibilities

  4. Flexibility within the degree structure to enable each student to pursue independent projects and interests