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Undergraduate Information & Theory Placement Exam

This page contains information for Incoming and Prospective Students: Auditions and Placement Exams.

To see information about specific majors and minors, please follow these links:

If you have advising questions, please email <>.

 ***2020-21 New Student Scholarship Info*** (click here)

 Audition Information: 

 The UCSC Music program does not have an audition process as part of the UCSC general admission application process. No supplemental information is needed on the university application. Students interested in the Music Major can propose a Music Major on the UC application, but this is not mandatory. After being accepted into UCSC, students individually email the faculty instructor of their instrument to discuss/arrange an audition to determine if they are at level on their instrument for our program. 

 Music majors typically have 5+ years of private instruction in classical technique and repertoire upon entering the University. Students at a beginner level should be advised to find another major or minor in music. Lessons are only offered on standard orchestral instruments (upright bass, classical guitar, classical voice, etc). Students study standard (classical) repertoire on their instruments. ALL MAJORS must complete proficiency juries on their primary instrument in as a major requirements. 

Placement Exam Information: 

Click here to see the sample exam (Sample Exam Keys: Part I - HERE, Part II - HERE)

Theory Placement Exam - Online Practice Resources guide

The placement exam is offered only once each year. The Spring 2021 Theory Placement Exam will be held on Friday, March 19th, 2021. Specifics of time and location are below the general information.

Placement exam will determine what level theory majors will being with which can effect time to graduation. . Students that have taken theory courses or the AP Music Theory exam are still required to take the Placement Exam. Credits for the courses taken from other schools/AP Exams may transfer over and contribute to the student's class standing, however, the Placement Exam is the only way students can test into the correct theory level for their background. 

Transfers students are strongly encouraged to take the exam the year before they apply as placement results will determine if the students spends two or three years completing the major. If the student places into Music 13 or Music 14, then the only major requirement they can complete in their first year are individual lessons & ensembles in the Fall, Winter & Spring and Music 13/14 at some point during the year. All potential and incoming Transfer students should email to schedule phone-advising.

Students without theory background will still need to take the Placement Exam. These students can plan to take Music 13: Beginning Theory & Musicianship I  if they have very little prior theory experience, or Music 14: Beginning Theory & Musicianship II if they have some background in theory. Students will not be able to enroll in either Music 13 or Music 14 when online enrollment appointments open for the quarter - they must place into it via the Placement Exam (see above for info), and should attend the first day of class to receive a permission code from the instructor. Priority is given to music majors and minors by class standing. 


Placement Exam offering info:

Date: Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

Time: 10:00am-12:30pm PST

1) The placement exam will be hosted on Canvas, and proctored via Zoom. In order to invite you to the Canvas course and meeting, we must have your UCSC email address. To sign up for the exam, please fill out this Google Form;

2) Most of the exam will be offered via Canvas quizzes, with the exception of a few sections that will require you to submit worksheets. To fill out the exam worksheets, you must either have a printer available, or a writable PDF program (such as Adobe Acrobat or Mac Preview) on your tablet/computer/phone before taking the exam. The required worksheets will be attached to Canvas course as pdfs;

3) During the Zoom meeting, be seated in front of a computer with a camera on you and headphones on continuously for the duration of the exam;

4) Once you are finished with the exam on Canvas, double check that you have submitted all your worksheets as attachments in the appropriate places.