Music Humanities

The goal of Music Humanities is to awaken and encourage active, critical, and comparative listening practices, to provide tools to respond verbally to a variety of musical idioms, and to create engagement with the debates about the character and purposes of music that have occupied composers and musical thinkers since ancient times. By listening to recordings and attending live performances in New York's famous concert venues, students gain exposure to a wide range of forms. 

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

Exemption from the Music Humanities Requirement

Although all Columbia students are required to take Music Humanities, there are some students who may obtain an exemption by filing a course substitution request. Although rare, exemption from music humanities may be obtained by passing an exemption exam.  

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 or summer 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. Students should contact their GS advisor for assistance in submitting a petition.