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Popular Music Studies

FAQ and How to apply

Below is a list of frequently asked questions (F.A.Q.) and information on how to apply to the program.

Q: How do I apply for the pop studies degree?

A: First, this is NOT a separate degree. Many students inquire about this program thinking it is a separate degree program. While there has been consideration within the music department of a degree program focusing on popular music, it is still only in the consideration and discussion phases. Pop studies at CCNY is open to all music majors and is a designation, or "track," of suggested electives.  Students can take just 12 of the elective credits or as many as they would like.

To apply, just apply for admission to the college.  There is no separate audition, no CD submission, no DVD submission, no separate application.  These are all components of the other BFA degrees in the music department, but since this is not a BFA degree, there is no audition.

Q: But I'm looking for a degree in pop music, will this "track" sequence be as good?

A: Yes. Presently, there are more course credits offered in popular music than we could fit into a BFA degree. A student can take, as electives, all of these courses.  The difference is not in the breadth of skills available to acquire but simply the label on the degree. A specific model of a four-year progress of study is presented in the Advising Guide page.  Right now, it is the student's responsibility to take the electives, not a matter of degree requirement.  To help, Professors O'Donnell and Pieslak are available for advising.  Please contact them; students can have a terrific learning experience in pop music at CCNY but it is up to them to seek the proper advising.

Q: I'm having trouble applying, what should I do?

A: Contact the Admissions Office. The music professors are here to help but the process of applying to any City University of New York (CUNY) college is an administrative task that we don't handle. If you encounter a problem in the application process, contact them.

Q: I don't read music, can I still get in?

A: To the college, yes. To the music department, no. Students looking to declare themselves as music majors and take the pop studies courses need to enter the degree with a reading knowledge of music. There are many resources available to remedy this deficiency but it is a necessary requirement to start as a music major regardless of specialization within our tracks.

Q: It looks like I don't really get to start taking the pop classes until I've been at CCNY for a semester or two, why?

A: This depends upon the skills a student has when entering. If a student is qualified for Theory I from the first semester, they can take the pop classes sooner in their degree. Most of the pop classes have pre-requisites in order to maintain the high standards of academic inquiry and performance that we have in the track. We occasionally get students who want to "just rock out, dude," and those students rarely get past Theory I. The reward is that our pop-oriented classes are rigorous and highly rewarding because they are composed of serious students.