The interaction of music and culture can be studied with a Music History degree at Pacific. This can be done as a stand-alone BM degree or as a minor in conjunction with any other BM degree.

Though all conservatory students study some music history in order to contextualize musical trends, composers, and individual musical works, the opportunity to major in Music History at the undergraduate level is somewhat rare. Students in a Music History degree at Pacific receive a broad exposure to musical eras and genres that encourages development of communication and research skills applied to music. Music History majors at Pacific have gone on to Ph.D. musicology and ethnomusicology programs, archival and librarianship programs, popular writing or criticism on musical figures, and conducting careers; they have also used music history to inform their performance careers or their work as music educators, analysts, or composers. You will be assured of several opportunities to practice and acquire the tools of the profession, through coursework and ample independent study and personal attention to your future goals. Recent students have had research projects ranging from Schoenberg’s relationship with Mahler, French baroque music, and individual works by Beethoven and Mendelssohn to examinations of hyperpop, Black opera composers, and women orchestral composers. The department encourages development of broad values regarding the music we listen to, compose, support, or perform.

If you are interested in this program, please schedule a personal meeting with program director Dr. Sarah Waltz on the day of your audition or another time to evaluate what the program has to offer.

This program requires an interview with faculty. Interviews are conducted on the same day as the live audition or by telephone if submitting a video-recorded audition

Sarah Waltz

Sarah Waltz

View bio
Sonia Gaind-Krishnan

Sonia Gaind-Krishnan

View Bio
Kumi Uyeda

Kumi Uyeda

View bio
 Nicolas Waldvogel

Nicolas Waldvogel

View bio

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Music in Music History

Learn how to apply and audition

Outstanding Student
Molly Westlake '22

As a recipient of Pacific’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Molly has been researching Black opera in the United States and traveled to New York to see the first-ever fully Black production of Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” at the Metropolitan Opera. Her trip was also partially funded by the Michael J. Hall Scholarship from the Conservatory.

Music History student and professor in the library archives

Program features

  • a rare inter-disciplinary major
  • a rewarding path for academically-focused students who also wish to study music
  • intensive musical training combined with academic work in music and the other humanities
  • foreign language requirement


  • one-on-one advising and career planning
  • student-led research
  • seminars and master classes with accomplished alumni and visiting artists
  • minor open to all music majors
Pacific faculty Dr. Sarah Waltz
Listen with someone else's ears

"Our students have the rare opportunity to major in Music History with the support of a full liberal arts college on campus. I encourage you to consider how others have thought about music in other times and places because listening with someone else’s ears opens up worlds within the music and yourself."

Dr. Sarah Waltz
Associate Professor and Program Director for Music History,
Program Director for Bachelor of Arts in Music

Contact Us

Faye Spanos Concert Hall
Conservatory of Music

Conservatory of Music
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211