The Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) provides students with the flexibility to chart their own distinctive path. BA options allow for ample independent study, research, composition, or pursuit of an additional major or certification, and can lead to a variety of careers in music. As with all School of Music degrees, BA majors are given access throughout their time at KSU to nationally renowned studio teachers and ensembles.
There are five concentrations within the degree: Composition, Music Theory (the study of musical structure and interpretation), Musicology (the study of music history and culture), Ethnomusicology (the study of world music and culture), and Voice. The faculty consists of nationally and internationally recognized composers, scholars, and teachers who promote premieres of original compositions, scholarly presentations, and publications of new research. Recent KSU graduates have advanced to prestigious graduate schools and have used their skills to succeed in a wide range of professional pursuits.
The BA degree prepares students for a varied array of musical careers, such as the ones below. Entrepreneurial BA graduates have created their own career paths by combining a number of these activities. Skills learned during BA studies have also been successfully applied in other professions our graduates have chosen.
- Film and video game scoring
- Classical composition
- Music business and production
- Audio design
- Arts management
- Arts administration
- Music journalism
- Music criticism
- University-level teaching
- Music archivist and librarian
- Recording studio professionals
- TV and radio announcers and program planners
- Music therapy
- Concert producer and promoter
- Private studio teacher
- Touring and performing musician
- Professional arranger
- Worship music director
- Music publishing
- CD and DVD company positions
- Music retail and merchandising
- Instrument design and repair
- Piano technician/tuner
- Music scholarship and research
- Entertainment law
- Government/industry cultural planner
- Music software programmer
KSU Undergraduate Catalog
The Kennesaw State University Catalog contains important information and is the official source of the university's academic programs, courses, and policies. The Catalog should be used as a guide in conjunction with an academic advisor and DegreeWorks in planning a course of study and in meeting requirements for graduation. For more information, please contact the College of the Arts Office of Admissions at 470-578-6614 or by email.
2017-18 Class Grids
KSU composition students having their works recorded in a professional studio.
KSU composition students having their works recorded in a professional studio.
KSU Composition Studio with composer John Adams at Atlanta Symphony Hall.
Dr. Ben Wadsworth leading a Theory Pedagogy class.
Bachelor of Arts student Brianna Westland receives prestigious Pi Kappa Lambda membership.
KSU students and faculty learning about and performing Balinese kecak (vocal gamelan) with guest artist and scholar, Dr. Michael Bakan, April 2016.
Mariachi Búhos de Oro performing for KSU students, March 2016.
Bachelor of Arts student Kenan Mitchell performs in Studio recital.
Bachelor of Arts student Brianna Westland prepares for her capstone presentation.
Students studying composition at KSU encounter a range of great opportunities for the development and advancement of their creative work. There are numerous opportunities for students to get performances and recordings of their compositions, ranging from our annual composition recitals to our composition contest winners who have their works presented by our top orchestra or wind ensemble. Students study with our faculty composers and with internationally recognized guest composers, and there are a growing number of opportunities for scoring for film, video games, and new media.
“I love that the the Bachelor of Arts in Music program allows me to not only concentrate on my composing, but also allows me to explore all areas of music. I know that my music composition is improved by playing in the orchestra, taking oboe lessons, and taking musicology classes. Being well-rounded will put me ahead in my field.”
Rachel Rabeneck, BA, Composition Concentration
“We are taught how to become entrepreneurs on our own, and something I have really enjoyed in the BA degree is the opportunity to meet guest composers. We are fortunate to present our own talents to such inspirational people. It is wonderful that KSU allows us the opportunity to have these experiences that will further our chances in becoming successful in our field.”
Julie Mitchell, BA, Composition Concentration graduate
“The Bachelor of the Arts degree leads me to develop a versatile educational experience, while still allowing me to focus on music composition. The well-rounded education gives me a wide range of professional opportunities, and because of that my horizons are broadened in places that I would not have thought. For example, I get to learn topics ranging from contemporary composition techniques to analyzing music in video games. This “Swiss Army Knife” education will be extremely beneficial in my professional career.”
Andrew Niehoff, BA, Composition Concentration
Past Guest Composers
- David Lang, Pulitzer prize winner and faculty at Yale University
- Joseph Schwantner, Pulitzer prize winner
- Chen Yi
- Nico Muhly
- Thomas Benjamin
- Massimiliano Messieri
- Nicola Baroni
- Steven Bryant
- Joel Puckett
- and more
Music theory offers musicians and scholars the flexibility of a broad liberal arts education with an emphasis on the study of patterns in music and their interpretation. Our faculty is top-notch, with three PhDs in Music Theory from schools such as Eastman and LSU. A degree in music theory gives a musician a wide range of skills including writing, musical analysis, piano and singing proficiency, scholarly reading, and composition in different musical styles. Training is hands-on with lots of one-on-one faculty-student interaction. Students have lots of flexibility in designing their program of study.
If accepted into the program, students continue to play their instrument, take applied lessons, and participate in our many well-known ensembles. We ask that all theory majors maintain a GPA of at least 3.0.
“When I began the Music Theory BA track at Kennesaw I had no idea how impactful it would be. Being a musician and music creator requires the versatility to be able to understand and synthesize music you enjoy. Music theory has given me a tool to do just that. The guided study aspects of the program, along with the freedom to choose classes according to my needs, allow for a unique College of the Arts experience. Coupled with classes in the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program (MEBUS) I have been able to study music holistically as it pertains to both business and art.”
Simon Needle, BA, Theory Concentration
“The Bachelor of Arts in Music with a Music Theory concentration is perfect for any well-rounded musician with a special interest in music theory. The degree leads the student to an in-depth understanding of music. Not only does the program allow for some training on your instrument, but it also allows for multiple music electives in which you expand your musical knowledge.”
Kristin Houston, BA, Theory Concentration
News and Events During Spring Semester 2017
- Simon Needle and Madison Coffey both presented article summaries at a Graduate Student Workshop on the music of Franz Schubert in Memphis, TN, March 18
- Dr. Jeff Yunek was elected Program Chair of the South-Central Society for Music Theory, Memphis, TN, March 18
- Music Theory Day: a morning of free help for area high school juniors and seniors, March 25
- NCUR: Nikki Hamel is presenting on musical topics in the Legend of Zelda video game, Memphis, TN, April 6–8
- Dr. Jeff Yunek is presenting his research (with help from Simon Needle and Dr. Ben Wadsworth) on DJ Earworm’s mashups at the Rocky Mountain Society for Music Theory’s Annual Meeting, April 6–8
- KSU Symposium: a chance for our majors to present their research, April 20
- Dr. Ben Wadsworth is presenting his research on the pedagogy of Schenkerian analysis at the “Pedagogy into Practice” conference in Cleveland, TN, June 1–4
The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Musicology offers the opportunity to study and perform music with a focus on its place in history and in culture. Students in the BA choose from a variety of courses that address music’s societal and expressive significance as well as how various musical systems have evolved over time. They also continue private lessons on their instrument/voice and participate in ensembles to further examine the interdependence of music and performance in social, cultural, and historical settings. In the process, students will not only discover a vast array of new music but also begin to forge their own distinctive musical identities in the interconnected world of the 21st century.
The BA in Musicology also features personal mentoring from faculty who guide students
in coursework and projects that accommodate their specific interests. Students will
develop a wide range of skill sets in research, verbal and written communication,
collaborative-work, and critical thinking that prepare them for multiple paths for
the future. Graduates may opt to pursue advanced degrees in musicology with the ultimate
goal of teaching in a college or university. Or they may also seek careers in the
music publishing, music criticism, media arts, or music librarianship fields.
The Bachelor of Arts in Ethnomusicology is designed for students who wish to discover the rich variety of musical expressions and practices throughout the world and who are interested in applying cross-disciplinary approaches to understanding and analyzing musical phenomena. A concentration in Ethnomusicology will provide opportunities for students to explore new ways of looking at music from cultural and social perspectives and to study how various musical systems have evolved over time.
Courses in the degree concentration feature interdisciplinary studies of music and
musicians from Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Americas, and Europe and include performance-based
and participatory experiences with faculty and artists-in-residence in the form of
seminars, colloquia, and workshops.
A Bachelor of Arts in Music with a concentration in voice offers singers the flexibility of a broad liberal arts education coupled with an emphasis in the study of voice. Each student receives vocal training from one of KSU’s renowned voice professors, and performance opportunities in KSU’s nationally recognized choral program.
While at KSU, students can choose from a wide variety of activities in addition to applied lessons and ensembles. These include premieres of original compositions, presentations and publications of scholarly research, and enrollment in a variety of liberal arts courses.