“No matter which continent is chosen, the experience abroad can enrich a student's musical and cultural consciousness.” – Dr. Susan Pickett, Catharine Chism Professor of Music

“The value of spending time abroad can hardly be overstated, and I strongly encourage students to consider seizing the opportunity to do so; such experiences can be once-in-a-lifetime, and are certainly life-changing." – David Kim, Assistant Professor of Music

Off-Campus Studies can help Music students…

  • Improve and acquire foreign language skills
  • Gain awareness of the major discipline from a different scholarly tradition
  • Develop primary research skills from field studies or work with primary sources
  • Hear great music performed in wonderful venues in the cultural context in which they were produced
  • Develop a global perspective
  • Gain exposure to native musical traditions and instruments 

How does a semester or year of OCS help students in Music prepare for graduate school or various career opportunities? 

  • It primarily helps students acquire foreign language skills, which are required for graduate work in music
  • Heightens awareness of music’s role in different social and cultural contexts

As a general rule of thumb, the Music Department recommends the following for students who wish to study off campus.

  • First-year students should take both the required MUS 126 Music Theory and MUS 127 Aural Skills I in the fall semester.
  • All students must take MUS 298 History II: Classical and Romantic Periods BEFORE the senior year. This class is offered every spring on the Whitman campus; if a student intends to be abroad during the spring semester, then MUS 298 History II: Classical and Romantic Periods should be taken in the spring of either the first-year or sophomore year. Ideally, students should have taken all three core music history courses (297, 298, 299) BEFORE the senior year begins.

Which requirements can Music majors fulfill while off campus?

  • Elective major credit
  • Music history as approved by major adviser (music history is required for ALL MUSIC MAJOR TRACKS)
  • Research that can be used for Senior Thesis
  • General Studies distribution credit
  • General degree credit

Major Credit Limitations

  • The maximum number of credits that can be applied to the Music major from off campus studies (including AP credit, IB credit and credits from other U.S. institutions) is 12 credits with the approval of your major adviser.
  • Business courses typically cannot be transferred to Whitman because they are vocational in nature and not considered liberal arts.

Minor Credit Limitations

  • A minimum of three-fifths of the specific course and credit requirements for the minor must be completed in the on-campus program of the college.

What are the types of OCS programs recommended by the Music department?

  • Direct enrollment in a foreign university with host-country students
  • Conservatory-style programs with U.S. and/or local students
  • Programs that offer private lessons, study with local musicians and opportunities to perform with local ensembles
  • Programs that offer access to archives for senior research
  • For students interested in ethnomusicology, field-based programs provide an opportunity to do field work and conduct interviews with local musicians

Which Partner Programs are recommended by the Music department?

  • IES: Amsterdam Conservatorium van Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  • IES: Vienna Music (Austria)
  • IES: Milan Music Tradition & Innovation (Italy)
  • University of East Anglia (Norwich, England)
  • Other Partner Programs as deemed appropriate by the student's major adviser

Students interested in Off-Campus Studies should attend an OCS First Step meeting in the fall of their second year, discuss their interests with their major adviser, and schedule an appointment with an OCS adviser.