Keyboard Studies

Bachelor of Music – Piano Performance

  • The program details described below are subject to change. Actual degree requirements for a given academic year may differ from what is listed here.
  • Refer to the 2016-2017 USC Catalogue for complete course descriptions and degree requirements.
  • See the Thornton Admission page for specific application information.
  • Current students should refer to the specific requirements list for their major, which is available through the Thornton Student Affairs office.


The BM in piano performance is a four-year, 132-unit program consisting of course work in the major (individual instruction, piano literature, functional skills, piano pedagogy, interpretation of baroque music), core music studies (theory, aural skills, music history, conducting, large ensemble) and USC’s general education and writing program. A senior recital is required.

Sample Summary of Program of Study

Lessons (16 units)

MPKS 153-453 Individual Instruction Piano (lessons) (eight 2-unit courses)

Music Ensembles (8 units)

MUEN 328 Keyboard Collaboration (four 1-unit courses)
MUEN 3__ Large Ensemble Electives (four 1-unit course)

Program Intensive Courses (26 units)

MPKS 160ab Functional Skills for Keyboard Majors I (two 2-unit courses)
MPKS 170ab Introduction to Piano Repertoire & Performance (two 1-unit courses)
MPKS 228 Four-Hand Keyboard Repertoire (two 1-unit courses)
MPKS 260ab Functional Skills for Keyboard Majors II (two 2-unit courses)
MPKS 360ab Accompanying (two 2-unit courses)
MPKS 431ab Piano Pedagogy: Introduction & Practicum (two 2-unit courses)
MPKS 472ab Piano History & Literature (two 2-unit courses)
MPKS 481 Interpretation of Baroque Music (2 units)

Core Thornton Academic Courses (36 units)

MUHL Music History and Literature (three 4-unit courses)
MUCO 132ab-232ab Aural Skills (four 2-unit courses)
MUCO 133ab-233ab Music Theory (four 3-unit courses)
MUCO 338 Elementary Orchestration (2 units)
MUCD 340

or MUCD 343
Choral Conducting I

Instrumental Conducting I (2 units)

General Education (32 units)

GE Six 4-unit courses in various fields of study
(see for detailed requirements)
WRIT 150/340 Two 4-unit courses in Writing

Electives (14 units)

Music or non-music courses (14 units)

Capstone Projects

Senior Recitals

All curricular requirements are evaluated on an annual basis and are subject to change. Students follow the curricular requirements as published in the USC Catalogue for their year of matriculation. A typical undergraduate credit load is 16-18 units per semester.