Columbia University


Music & Jazz Programs at Columbia University

This school appears in our ranking of the 10 Best University Jazz Programs.

Academic areas of study in music at The Department of Music at Columbia University include Composition, Historical Musicology, Ethnomusicology, and Music Theory. Options for participation in music performance at the school’s music department include the Music Performance Program, Louis Armstrong Jazz Program, Columbia Composers, Collegium Musicum, World Music Ensembles, and Columbia University Orchestra. The university also has a trio of research centers available to students studying music, as well as those studying in other areas at the university.

Founded in 2001, the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program features several jazz ensembles, professional jazz musicians, and visiting musicians who are part of the Master Artist program. Columbia’s jazz program is described as interdisciplinary, and the students who participate don’t actually have to major in music. Students come to the program from all areas of the university. Students at Columbia University may also augment their time in the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program by participating in the Center for Jazz Studies, as well as take private lessons in jazz instruments like trombone, trumpet, electric bass, and drums.

An example of an interesting undergraduate music program at Columbia University is the Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Engineering. The program is part of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and features courses like Masterpieces of Western Music, Introduction to Digital Music, Musics of India and West Asia, and Music of East Asia and Southeast Asia. The program is divided into two sections with students taking one set of courses during their first two years at the school and another set of courses during their junior and senior years. The upper-level classes include Interactive Sound and Video, Sound: Advanced Topics, and Programming & Electronics.

Another option for undergraduate study is a music major from the School of General Studies where students will choose a concentration that may include computer music, ethnomusicology, music history, music theory, or composition. Students who wish to major in this area must pass a keyboard proficiency exam at the start of their first semester and may need to take a class in keyboarding if they don’t pass. Classes in the program include Music Theory, Ear Training, History of Western Music, and Topics in Music and Society. During the student’s sophomore year, he or she will choose a program of study on which to focus for upper-division courses. Students may also choose to enroll in a specialized concentration in jazz through the Jazz Studies Special Concentration or the Jazz Performance Program option.

For students at the graduate level, Columbia’s music programs require that students are able to read and translate in two languages in addition to their native tongue. If a student wants to earn a graduate degree, he or she must know at least one additional language beyond English. For those in pursuit of doctoral degrees, the minimum number of additional languages is two. When enrolled in the composition program, students will take weekly lessons in composition for three years and are encouraged to change teachers each year to maximize the benefit of learning from different instructors. For students who already have a master’s degree in music, students may choose to enroll in the Doctor of Musical Arts, which is a five-year program at Columbia.

About Columbia University

Established in 1754, Columbia University is a private school which is part of the Ivy League group of universities in the United States. The school is the oldest in New York and is considered the fifth-oldest chartered college in the country. As such, it’s one of only nine colleges founded before the Declaration of Independence was signed. The acceptance rate for undergraduates is only 5.5 percent, which makes the university one of the most selective in the entire country. The school has around 28,000 students attending its New York City campus that covers 299 acres. The university has several notable alumni with five of the “Founding Fathers” of the United States having attended the school.

Columbia University Accreditation Details

Columbia University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and offers students specialized accreditation within a number of its programs. For example, the Dental Assisting (DA) program and the Endodontic program are accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. The Accreditation Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications has accredited the Journalism/Mass Communications program and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business has accredited the Business program.

Columbia University Application Requirements

Applicants to Columbia University will submit several application materials including the official application, a secondary school report, standardized test scores for the SAT or ACT, and two recommendations from teachers. Students may also choose to complete an interview with an alumnus or alumna of the university. Students applying to programs at the school of music must also meet additional requirements, and the school reveals that the admissions criteria changes frequently, so students are encouraged to contact the program in which they want to study to ensure a complete application process. For example, students interested in the Historical Musicology and Music Theory programs will need to submit two essays, have the ability to read in a foreign language, and possess a strong foundation in the theory and history of Western music.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition rates at Columbia University vary depending on the program a student wishes to enter and the level of study for which they have applied. For example, architecture students enrolled in the Advanced Architectural Design program will pay $27,510 in tuition each semester. Meanwhile, programs in the undergraduate level of General Studies will cost $29,852 a semester. Meanwhile, students enrolled in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program will pay $35,772 a semester and students in the M.D. program will pay $29,682 a semester. Students are encouraged to speak with the university’s Student Financial Services to figure out the actual cost of attending the university.

Financial aid for students varies from scholarship, grants, and work-study to federal student loans and private loans. Students will financial need will want to find grants for tuition costs. Students interested in merit-based options will want to investigate scholarships. Work-study programs are also available for students through part-time employment opportunities. Some students may also wish to consider outside awards, grants, and scholarships to augment the assistance offered by the university. Many of the schools within the university have their own financial aid offices, so students interested in applying to a program in The Department of Music at Columbia University will want to speak with the department directly about financial aid.

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