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Location: Chicago
Start Term: Fall, Spring, Summer
Program Type: Major

The BMA's curricular flexibility serves students with a tremendous passion for music as well as aptitude and interest in other fields. Senior projects have been very creative: they have included research papers, lecture-recitals, comparative studies, original dramatic works such as one-act operas, and pieces combining narration and music with both text and score written by the student.

Thomas J. Kernan
,  Program Director

What Differentiates Us

Grad Hat


The BMA is CCPA's only degree that is affiliated with the Roosevelt University Honors Program. Students admitted to this degree are simultaneously admitted to the Honors Program. As members of the Honors Program, BMA students have access to reserved seminars and special topics courses with Honors students from other degrees and majors across the university.



Students participate in conservatory ensembles based on auditions and as assigned, allowing for significant and intensive performance training alongside academic rigor.

Expectations & Requirements


Overview: The Honors Bachelor of Musical Arts (BMA) is a degree with significant flexibility for the student who wants an active role in designing his/her undergraduate experience at CCPA, a music conservatory within a lively university. Students in this degree complete the curriculum provided for in the university catalog as well as the requirements put forward by the University Honors Program. As a starting place for planning how you could approach the BMA, here are five example tracks. A student using one of these tracks still works with his/her advisor to customize an individual plan.

1. Performance Plus: If you seek the experiences of a performance degree—four full years of lessons, ensembles, and active performance throughout—as well as a secondary, non-music area of study, this is a great approach. It is ideal for strong performers who want equally challenging academic work.


  • Applied lessons in all four years
  • Large and small ensemble opportunities in all four years
  • Performance classes and/or coachings throughout your time
  • 18 credits available in a secondary area (this is in addition to core electives in Math, Science, Social Sciences, and Humanities)

2. Arts Leadership: If you are considering a career in arts administration or other music and business ventures, this approach allows you to combine conservatory training with a range of classes in performing arts management, business, and public policy. Students with these interests embrace the programming and work of CCPA’s Center for Arts Leadership (CAL). These students meet with the CAL staff throughout their degree to discuss programming, research, and initiatives, and can partner with the CAL to plan their thesis project.


  • Applied lessons in all four years
  • Large ensemble opportunities in all four years
  • 18–30 credits selected from courses in Arts Management, Business Administration, Business Law, Economics, Political Science, and Psychology
  • Collaborative projects through CCPA’s Center for Arts Leadership

3. Music, Art, and Science: If you wish to compliment your music studies with traditional Arts & Sciences offerings, this track provides maximum flexibility. Including your electives, you take 60% of your classes in music and 40% in Arts & Sciences areas. This is a great path for students seeking to pursue graduate-level studies in a music academic field, such as musicology, ethnomusicology, or music theory.


  • Many options for course combinations with traditional music study
  • 9 credits of upper-level courses/seminars in music theory and music history (beyond the Musicianship and Music History core)
  • Applied lessons and ensemble opportunities during part of your degree; larger blocks of time available for reading and research in your later years

4. Music, Mind, and Body: If you want to study in a music conservatory and wish to prepare for graduate-level work in music cognition or music therapy, this approach combines music classes with courses in psychology, biology, and human anatomy and physiology.


  • Applied lessons in your primary area as well as music-making experiences in piano, guitar, and percussion
  • Psychology offerings available throughout your degree
  • Opportunities to propose and complete undergraduate research

5. Music and Event Mgmt.: Drawing together courses in music and those in hospitality and tourism management, this approach allows you to explore and prepare for work in fields such as music tourism and music event planning.


  • Applied lessons throughout your degree, if desired
  • Course options in multiple hospitality topics
  • Courses in both the Music Conservatory and the College of Business

6. BMA Music + Theatre: For instrumentalists and vocalists in the classical or jazz/contemporary traditions but with a specific interest in American Musical Theatre, or for composers seeking to have added exposure to theatrical studies, this is a music degree that includes a minimum of 18 credit hours of classes in CCPA’s Theatre Conservatory.


  • Applied lessons in all four years
  • Ensemble opportunities in all four years in the Music Conservatory
  • 18 credits available in the Theatre Conservatory as a secondary area (this is in addition to core electives in Math, Science, Social Sciences, and Humanities)

Sample Courses


Traditional Graduate Studies
Professional Degrees or Advanced Studies
Recent Alumni Achievements

More Opportunities

The BMA colloquium:

BMA students participate in a weekly colloquium throughout their four years. This gathering provides students an opportunity to discuss current issues in the arts community as well as visit (in person and via video) with guests who work in or with the arts, but are not in the traditional areas of performance or composition. Recent Colloquium guests have included …

  • Janet Revell Barrett, Marilyn Pflederer Zimmerman Endowed Scholar in Music Education, U. of Illinois
  • Catherine Beeson, Artistic Director, Loon Lake Live
  • Gail Burnaford, Director of Research and Evaluation, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
  • Darcy Kuronen, Pappalardo Curator of Musical Instruments, Museum of Fine Arts Boston
  • Halle McGuire-Hobbins, Development Manager, South Bend Symphony Orchestra
  • Christian McWhirter, Lincoln Curator, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
  • Benjamin Lynerd, Asst. Prof. of Political Science, Christopher Newport U.
  • Emily Rafferty, President Emerita, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Board of Director, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • Frederick Turner, Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities, U. of Texas at Dallas
Guests speakers include …
  • Winthrop Rutherfurd Jr., Chairman of the Board of the Metropolitan Opera Guild & Trustee of Irving Berlin’s God Bless America Fund
  • Peter Strand, Intellectual Property Attorney and Chair of the ABA Forum on Entertainment and Sports Law
  • Alison Mrowka Spaeth, Head Music Librarian, Austin Symphony Orchestra
  • Jessica Barnett-Moseley and Brian Moseley, Post-tonal music theorists at SUNY Fredonia and SUNY Buffalo, respectively

CCPA American Music Institute - July 12-16, 2021

CCPA’s American Music Institute team comprised of faculty with backgrounds in performance, pedagogy, core music studies, and music history – presents an intensive, real-time program that will consider the many intersections of American musical life. Visit for more info!


Linda Berna

The BMA program at CCPA is perfectly positioned to serve students interested in the profession of music at its broadest levels. The professional activities of the faculty, as well as the thriving and diverse arts environment of Chicago, offers myriad opportunities for rewarding gainful employment in music and music-related fields like arts administration, various entrepreneurial ventures, and public arts advocacy - fields that are well-served by professionals possessing a mixture of liberal arts breadth and conservatory depth.

Linda Berna
​Associate Dean and Director, Music Conservatory; Professor, Core Music Studies, Roosevelt University

Admission Info

Chicago skyline

All Bachelor of Musical Arts applicants must perform an audition adhering to the requirements of performance major auditions.

In addition, all Bachelor of Musical Arts applicants who audition on campus will take part in group discussions. Applicants who audition regionally or via recording will be contacted to set up a time to discuss the program.

When submitting the secondary application on Acceptd, Bachelor of Musical Arts applicants must submit two short essays as follows:

  1. Of the musical compositions that you have studied or performed, please identify one that has been the most meaningful to you. Tell us why the composition and/or your experience with it was so meaningful. We are not judging the composition itself, so your choice is not limited to any specific genre, tradition, or degree of artistic difficulty. We are interested in learning how you think about and discuss music that is important to you. Accordingly, please do not merely summarize the composition, its lyrics, form, or style. (300-500 words)
  2. Thinking locally about the town, city, or state where you live now, what is the most pressing issue facing your arts community? (500-700 words)

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