Honors Programs for Music Majors

If you have strong academic skills, want to major in music, and don’t want to lose your academic mojo, look for schools with honors programs that welcome music majors.

You’re likely to get:

  • smaller classes for your non-music requirements;
  • an opportunity to broaden your social circles and mingle with non-music majors;
  • in-depth exploration of a host of subjects;
  • more time with the professor;
  • credit, of course, for your non-music-specific requirements.

This is a great way to keep your writing skills in good form as well as exercise different parts of your brain. It’s also a great way to appease your parents in case worry about what will happen to your academic prowess if you ever decide to focus away from music or decide to go to graduate school.

You may have to run interference between the music school and the honors program, especially if advisors at the school haven’t had many music students do both. Learn what you can, ask as many questions as you need to, talk to students who’ve done both. Stand up for what you want ––  that in itself will serve you well in your career in music.


  1. Amy

    What is the honors program? Is it different than a double major? My daughter has a 4.57GPA going in to her senior year and a 2120 on her SAT. She is passionate about vocal performance, but is also highly committed to academic excellence, but she doesn’t necessarily want to double major.
    Thanks for enlightening me. .

    • Many schools have honors programs, where academically-strong students can take their non-music arts and sciences required courses. Classes are typically small, and more challenging and analytical. Students in honors programs tend to be from many departments within the overall school, which allows for a rich cross-pollination of ideas across disciplines. As a music major (or any other major), it is not necessary to double major in order to take advantage of an honors program.

  2. Stephanie

    My son had this issue when applying to colleges. He chose to apply to dual degree programs. Look for universities that either offer either dual degree programs with their own music school or local conservatories.

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