BA/BMus in Liberal Arts and Music

Some Northwestern undergraduates choose to combine intensive study in music with a broad exploration of the liberal arts and a major in a liberal arts discipline. Students accepted into the Weinberg College–Bienen School of Music dual bachelor’s degree program may simultaneously earn a bachelor of arts degree from Weinberg College and a bachelor of music degree from the Bienen School (BA/BMus). Normally this takes five years of enrollment, but at a minimum students must complete the units of credit and quarters of enrollment described for the dual bachelor's degree in the Undergraduate Registration Requirement. The following requirements also apply.

  • Units of credit may be double-counted towards both degrees, subject to some limitations.  Students must earn at least 30 units in Weinberg College disciplines (what constitutes an applicable unit can be found in this Catalog under Weinberg College Requirements), and may double-count up to 15 Bienen School units to satisfy the required 45 units for the BA degree.  Of the double-counted 15 units, up to 9 may be in applied music (see the Bienen School policies for applied music list).  Students also must earn at least 30 Bienen School units, for a total of at least 60 units of credit for the dual degree. Courses taken in other schools of the University do not count toward these totals.
  • Students satisfy the Bienen School's distribution requirements automatically by completing the requirements for the Weinberg College Bachelor of Arts degree.
  • Students must complete all requirements in a major for the BMus.
  • Students must complete all requirements in a major for the BA.
  • Certain music courses may be applied towards Weinberg College distribution requirements (see list below).

Music courses which may be used by BA/BMus students in substitution for Weinberg College distribution courses:

Course Title
Music theory sequences which each may be used in place of 1 unit in distribution Area II (Formal Studies) 1
Music Theory I
and Music Theory II
and Music Theory III
Music Theory IV
and Music Theory V
and Music Theory VI
Music courses which may be applied towards distribution Area VI (Literature and Fine Arts) 2
The Classical Canon
Performers and Performance
Music in the Present

Completion of both sequences satisfies the Area II (Formal Studies) distribution requirement.


Completion of two of these courses satisfies the Area VI (Literature and Fine Arts) distribution requirement.

Participants in this program must be accepted by both Weinberg College and the Bienen School. Students work closely with academic advisers from both schools to develop an individual curricular program. Most follow a balanced curriculum in which about half of the coursework each year is done in each school. It is possible, however, to take mostly courses in one school in the earlier years and to then take mostly courses in the other school. Current students interested in this program should consult with the assistant dean for student affairs in the Bienen School and the Weinberg College advising office; the application to add a dual degree program should be submitted before the end of the sophomore year.