Vocal Arts & Opera

Bachelor of Music – Vocal Arts

  • 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 2017-2018 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 vocal arts performance is a four-year, 132-unit program consisting of course work in the major (individual instruction, acting for singers, word and music in opera, pedagogy, diction, song literature), core music studies (theory, aural skills, music history, conducting, ensembles) and USC’s general education and writing program. Junior and senior recitals are required.

Sample Summary of Program of Study

Lessons (19 units)

MPST 153-453 Individual Instruction Voice (lessons) (eight 2-unit courses)
MPVA 301 Vocal Coaching (1-2 units at a time) (3 units)

Music Ensembles (6 units)

MUEN 3__ Large Ensemble (four 1-unit courses)
MUEN 3__ Ensemble Electives (two 1-unit courses)

Program Intensive Courses (18 units)

MPVA 203ab Acting for Singers I (two 2-unit courses)
MPVA 404 Word and Music in Opera (2 units)
MPVA 438 Voice Pedagogy (2 units)
MPVA 439 Voice Pedagogy Practicum (2 units)
MPVA 440 Italian and French Diction (2 units)
MPVA 441 English and German Diction (2 units)
MPVA 479 Song Literature (two 2-units)

Core Thornton Academic Courses (42 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)
MUCD 340 Choral Conducting I (2 units)
MPKS 250ab Keyboard Instruction I (two 2-unit courses)
MPKS 350ab Keyboard Instruction II (two 2-unit courses)

General Education (28 units)

GE Five 4-unit courses in various fields of study
(see http://dornsife.usc.edu/2015ge for detailed requirements)
WRIT 130/340 Writing (two 4-unit courses)

Foreign Language (16 units)

One course in French, one course in German, and one course in Italian (three 4-unit courses)
One course at the second level (4 units)

Electives (3 units)

Music or non-music courses (3 units)

Capstone Projects

Junior Recital
Senior Recital

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.