Program in Jazz Studies



  • Rudresh K. Mahanthappa

Executive Committee

  • Gavin Steingo, Music
For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Program Information

Immerse yourself in the vast musical and social history of jazz, establish a strong theoretical and stylistic foundation with regard to improvisation and composition, and emphasize the development of individual expression and creativity. Offerings for the Program in Jazz Studies include academic course work, performing ensembles, master classes, private study, and independent projects. We strongly encourage students to pursue the certificate to broaden their understanding of this music and its contribution to global culture. Students passionate about jazz performance are also welcome to pursue a certificate in music performance in their major instrument, while engaging in the rich offerings of the Program in Jazz Studies.

The certificate in jazz studies is open to juniors and seniors who have the appropriate background and who are committed to studying the performance practices and rich cultural legacy of jazz. Admission to the program is by application. The number of students in the program is limited by available resources. Although enrollment is restricted to juniors and seniors, students may begin taking courses that count toward certificate requirements in their first year.

Admission to the Program

To qualify, students are required to complete four related courses, participate in one of the department’s faculty-led jazz ensembles, and perform a recital.

Program of Study

  1. One course in Jazz History: MUS 262/AAS 262
  2. One course in Jazz Theory/Composition: MUS 261, MUS 263, and MUS 319 are preferred. MPP 252 and MUS 340 will also count.
  3. One course in Jazz Performance: MPP 251, MPP 252, MUS 340.
  4. One course in Historical/Cultural Context: Offerings in non-music departments are encouraged, such as African American Studies, American Studies, English, History, and Sociology. Program director approval is required.
  5. One complete year of studio lessons for credit (MPP 298/MPP 299). Must be taken consecutively.

Program Requirements

Jazz Ensemble

Participation is required in both junior and senior years through the Creative Large Ensemble, or one of the small groups and jazz vocal ensembles.

Studio Instruction

Fully subsidized studio lessons in jazz performance, improvisation, and composition are highly recommended.  Please visit the department website to learn more about our jazz faculty. 

Jazz Recital

A recital must be performed in senior year for completion of the certificate in jazz studies. The recital must be a demonstration of core study. The final program must be approved by both the studio instructor and a performance program director. For more information on recital procedures and requirements, please see Policies and Procedures for Student Performances. For more information, please contact the program director

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a certificate of proficiency in jazz studies upon graduation.