Music Humanities

Music Humanities fosters students' appreciation of music as a distinctive art form with its own expressive resources, evolution, and national traditions. By listening to recordings and attending live performances in New York's famous concert venues, students gain exposure to a wide range of forms. Students learn to respond intelligently to a variety of musical idioms by developing analytical skills and a conceptual framework for interpretation while engaging in discussions about the character and purpose of music throughout human history.

GS students must fulfill the music humanities requirement by taking one of the following:

  • Masterpieces of Western Music (HUMA UN1123)

  • Introduction To the Musics of East Asia and Southeast Asia (AHMM UN3320)

  • Introduction To the Musics of India and West Asia (AHMM UN3321)

Exemption from the Music Humanities Requirement

Although all Columbia students are required to take Music Humanities, there are some students who enter with exceptional musical backgrounds that may qualify them for exemption. Exemption from music humanities may be obtained by passing an exemption exam. In the case of transfer students, exemption from the music humanities requirement may also be obtained by filing a course substitution request.

Exemption Exam

The music humanities exemption exam is offered on the first Friday of the fall semester by the Music Department (621 Dodge Hall). Students who matriculate in the spring semester should take the exam in the following fall term. Students may take the exam only once during their first year at Columbia. If they do not pass the exam, they must enroll in a section of Music Humanities.

Course Substitution

In addition to the exemption exam, students with approved transfer credit have the option of requesting exemption on the basis of a similar music course passed with a grade of B or higher at another college or university. This exemption must be requested during the student’s first semester at Columbia. Petitions submitted in subsequent semesters will not be considered by the Core Curriculum Office. Deadlines: November 1 for Fall matriculates, March 1 for Spring matriculates.