Columbia University

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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 Columbia University Department of Music include:
  • Composition
  • Historical Musicology
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Music Theory
Options for participation in music performance include:
  • the Music Performance Program
  • Louis Armstrong Jazz Program
  • Columbia Composers
  • Collegium Musicum
  • World Music Ensembles
  • Columbia University Orchestra
The university also has a trio of research centers available to music students, 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
  • visiting musicians
They’re 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 may also augment their time in the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program by participating in the Center for Jazz Studies. They can also take private lessons in jazz instruments like:
  • trombone
  • trumpet
  • electric bass
  • 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. It features courses like:
  • Masterpieces of Western Music
  • Introduction to Digital Music
  • Musics of India and West Asia
  • 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. They take another set of courses during their junior and senior years. The upper-level classes include:
  • Interactive Sound and Video
  • Sound: Advanced Topics
  • Programming & Electronics
Another option for undergraduate study is a music major from the School of General Studies. Students choose a concentration that may include:
  • computer music
  • ethnomusicology
  • music history
  • music theory
  • composition
Students who wish to major in this area must pass a keyboard proficiency exam at the start of their first semester. They 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
  • Topics in Music and Society
During the  sophomore year, students  will choose a program of study focus on for upper-division courses. Students may also choose to enroll in a specialized jazz concentration through:
  • the Jazz Studies Special Concentration
  • the Jazz Performance Program option
Columbia’s graduate music programs require that students are able to read and translate in two languages. This is 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. When enrolled in the composition program, students will take weekly lessons in composition for three years. They’re  encouraged to change teachers each year. This is to get the benefit of learning from different instructors. If they already have a master’s degree in music, students may choose to enroll in the Doctor of Musical Arts. This is a five-year program at Columbia.

About Columbia University

Established in 1754, Columbia University is a private school. It’s  part of the Ivy League group of universities in the United States. The school is the oldest in New York. It’s considered the fifth-oldest chartered college in the country. 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. They campus covers 299 acres. The university has many notable alumni. Five of the Founding Fathers of the United States attended the school.

Columbia University Accreditation Details

Columbia University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It offers students specialized accreditation in 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 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
  • 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. The  admissions criteria change frequently. 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
  • have 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  and the level of study. For example, architecture students enrolled in the Advanced Architectural Design program will pay $27,510 in tuition each semester. Programs in the undergraduate level of General Studies will cost $29,852 a semester. Students in the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program will pay $35,772 a semester. 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 includes
  • scholarships
  • grants
  • work-study
  • federal student loans
  • private loans
Students with financial needs will want to find grants for tuition costs. Students interested in merit-based options should investigate scholarships. Work-study programs offer students part-time employment opportunities. Some students may also wish to consider outside awards, grants, and scholarships to augment university assistance. Many of the schools in the university have their own financial aid offices. Students interested in applying to a program in The Department of Music at Columbia University need to speak with the department directly about financial aid.

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