BS in Music

B.S. in Music

The B.S. in Music focuses on preparing musicians for careers in creative professions combining depth in music with breadth in the sciences, media, and engineering. It advances music study within the technological university by preparing students for the multiplicity of roles available to musicians in the 21st century.

The core music curriculum consists of 40 credits.  The music core may be taken as a standalone degree or as a dual major with various science and engineering disciplines.   The curriculum detailed in this proposal can also be supplemented with 4 course, 16 credit minor in various interdisciplinary arts fields, including interactive arts, animation, and filmmaking.  

Music Curriculum


Portfolio Requirements

Applicants are required to submit a Statement of Intent, a Portfolio, and a Portfolio Description. There are no live auditions. For more information about how to submit your materials, please see the Admissions Office.

Statement of Intent: Write a 1-2 page essay that describes your interest in the major and your goals. Please include completed course work in music, private music instruction, musical performance and production experience, or independent projects completed.

Portfolio: Prepare a digital portfolio of musical materials comprised of 5-10 works that best represent your creative abilities. These may include, but are not limited to, audio and video recordings of compositions and performances, scores, and software programs. Acceptable formats for portfolio items are DOCX, PDF, AIFF, WAV, MP3, QUICKTIME, JPEG, or PNG. Allowed media types and size limits are as follows: 

  • Images (up to 5MB each)
  • Video (up to 250MB each)
  • Audio (up to 30MB each)
  • PDFs (up to 10MB each)
  • 3D Models

Portfolio Description: Describe each item in your portfolio, including the medium, year created, and your role in the creation of the work.


Outcomes of the Undergraduate Curriculum:

  • an ability to evaluate musical works in relation to style, period, and social context.
  • an ability to effectively discuss and critique one’s own work and the work of others.
  • proficiency integrating technologies appropriate to creative practice.


Faculty Profiles:

Nicholas DeMaison, Senior Lecturer

  • Conductor of Rensselaer Orchestra and Concert Choir
  • Composition
  • Contemporary Instrumental and Operatic Performance
  • Renaissance Vocal Music

Tomie Hahn, Professor and Director of the Center for Deep Listening

  • Ethnomusicology
  • Performance
  • Dance & Movement
  • Sensory Studies
  • Improvisation
  • Deep Listening


Rob Hamilton, Assistant Professor

  • Technology-Driven Composition, Improvisation and Performance
  • Music and Gaming
  • Virtual Instruments
  • Procedural Music and Audio Systems


Ade Knowles, Professor of Practice

  • African, Afro-Cuban, and New World Percussion
  • Folkloric Ensemble Performance
  • Building Community Via Drum Circles
  • Hand Drumming Improvisation


Michael Century, Professor

  • Music and Cultural History
  • Contemporary and Classical Performance
  • Media Theory


Curtis Bahn, Professor and Associate Dean for Research, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

  • Computer-Extended Instruments
  • Interactive Electronic Music Performance and Dance
  • Hindustani Classical Music


Matthew Goodheart, Lecturer

  • Jazz and Improvisation Performance and History
  • Music Composition
  • Sound Art and Installation
  • Contemporary Music Theory and Aesthetics


Mary Simoni, Professor and Dean, School of Humanities, Arts,and Social Sciences

  • Music Composition
  • Electroacoustic Music Performance
  • Music Theory and Analysis
  • Piano Performance
  • Algorithmic Music

The Arch