Smiling students play steel drums on an outdoor plaza

Academics

The Department of Music at Cornell provides opportunities for the study, creation, and performance of music under the guidance of a distinguished faculty within the broader framework of a B.A. degree in the College of Arts & Sciences, or as part of a degree in another college. In addition to the music major, a minor in music is offered. The Department of Music is renowned for research and scholarship in music, represented by three graduate programs: musicology (Ph.D.), composition (D.M.A), and critical keyboard studies (D.M.A).

Conductor in front of a student jazz band

The Undergraduate Program

Our classroom courses run the gamut from medieval chant to hip-hop, from Western music theory to musical systems from other parts of the globe. Whether you are contemplating a music major or taking your very first course in music, we have courses appropriate to your background. 

Students across campus are welcome to participate in the department’s many and varied ensembles. Some ensembles require auditions, others are open to anyone. Click hearn to learn more about performance opportunities.

Cornell’s composers, performers, and music scholars shape the character of musical life on campus, and their impact is felt all over the world. Click here to browse profiles of our faculty.

Music majors, minors, and non-majors alike benefit from the enormous collection of scores, books, recordings, and videos housed in the Sidney Cox Library of Music and Dance. Click here to explore the library.

Students perform on unusual instruments in a museum lobby

The Graduate Program

"The intimacy of the department allows for students to work alongside some of the leading composers, conductors, musicologists, and performers in the world. Conservatories and other large schools cannot compete with the amount of faculty interaction that music students are given at Cornell."

Explore our graduate degree programs:

Since I first arrived at Cornell, I have discovered what it feels like to appreciate and enjoy learning. I have found joy in coming to better understand the music I love.

— Chris Worden, '19