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Honors in Music

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Exceptional music majors who maintain a music GPA of at least 3.80 may participate in the School of Music's honors program. Students in either the B.M. or B.A. program are eligible. It is not necessary for students pursuing Honors in Music to be in the University Honors Program, although Honors in Music does satisfy the experiential learning component (“learning by doing,” or level two) of the University Honors Program. Graduation with Honors in Music requires the successful completion of at least 6 s.h. of honors work in music.

The requirements for Honors in Music are normally met in the junior or senior year.  Students must earn a minimum of 3 s.h. in MUS:4995 (Honors in Music). Other hours may be earned by taking honors contract courses (normally upper-level courses, numbered MUS:3000-4999) or approved graduate courses (courses numbered MUS:5000 and above).

Honors projects for which credit is given in MUS:4995 include honors recitals (solo and/or ensemble); honors compositions (or transcriptions, orchestrations, arrangements); and honors essays, research papers, editions, or translations. Normally for honors recitals, a full recital receives 2 s.h. credit and a full recital accompanied by a paper or extensive program notes receives 3 s.h. credit. None of the projects may duplicate projects assigned in other courses, nor may they be required for graduation (e.g., MUS:4900, Senior Recital).  

Note:  Students who choose to fulfill MUS: 4995 with an honors recital must contract an academic course (taken a different semester) in order to complete the remaining honors credits.  

Students who choose to fulfill MUS: 4995 with an academic project (not an honors recital) must contract at least one graduate level course (taken a different semester) to complete the remaining honors credits.

All honors projects must be approved by both the supervising professor and the School of Music Honors Advisor (Anabel Maler). The School of Music Honors Proposal form must be submitted to the School of Music academic office at the beginning of the semester in which MUS:4995 Honors in Music work is planned. This form must be signed by the supervising professor and by the School of Music Honors Advisor.

Honors contract courses are regular courses with the addition of a significant project, substantially increasing the breadth or depth of learning.  To turn a regular class into an honors class, the student must

  1. arrange details with the instructor early in the semester,

  2. submit a signed contract to the University Honors Program by the deadline,

  3. complete the project as arranged, and

  4. receive a course grade of B- or better. 

If the student does not meet these conditions, the enrollment simply earns the usual credit and grade.

Honors students in music are also encouraged to take graduate-level courses.  Advanced courses in music history and music theory are particularly recommended.  Note:  No additional project will be required for any graduate level courses (MUS:5000 and above) but also no allowance for less work will be given either. The student will take the course "as is".  

When all music honors work is completed, or no later than the beginning of the student’s final semester, the Log of Honors Work/Courses Completed must be submitted to the School of Music academic office.  The Application for Graduation with Honors is also due to the University Honors Program in about the 5th week of classes each semester (the form and deadlines are available on the University of Iowa Honors Program website:

Students who graduate with honors in their majors receive special recognition during commencement, and both their transcripts and diplomas show honors designations.  For more information on pursuing Honors in Music, contact Dr. Anabel Maler.

For complete information about the University Honors Program, please see their website, or request an appointment with Honors Advising (