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Bachelor's in Musical Arts (BMA)

Chicago College of Performing Arts
The Bachelor of Musical Arts degree is an interdisciplinary program with intentional curricular flexibility. It is designed for the student with a strong academic background who wishes to combine the study of music with an emphasis in a second field outside music. Students' programs are individualized according to their interests and culminate in a senior project that melds their work in music with their second discipline.
Roosevelt University's Wabash tower and Auditorium building in Chicago

Location: Chicago
Start Term: Fall, Spring
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 Kernan
, Program Director

What Differentiates Us

BMA & Honors Program

BMA & Honors Program

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.

BMA students and CCPA Ensembles

BMA students and CCPA Ensembles

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

Expectations & Requirements


The BMA program includes:

  • Completion of the core two-year sequences in musicianship and music history, performance studies, and electives in music
  • Intensive study of a second field of the student's choice (students have elected fields such as language, literature, history, psychology, and business)
  • The opportunity to pursue independent studies and formulate a senior project combining knowledge and ability in music with the material, methodology, and perspectives of another discipline


After CCPA, BMA students might pursue graduate studies in a number of fields.

Traditional Graduate Studies
BMA students are prepared to begin graduate studies in traditional music academic disciplines of ethnomusicology, musicology, or music theory
Professional Degrees or Advanced Studies
In addition to graduate programs, students might also transition into professional studies in music therapy, music production, or arts administration, or advanced studies or careers in music business, music librarianship, copyright or intellectual property law, artist management, concert promotion, public arts advocacy, or entrepreneurial ventures
Recent Alumni Achievements
Recent BMA graduates have earned competitive seats, scholarships, or fellowships, for the following programs:
MM in Music Theory at the University of Cincinnati
Music Therapy Equivalency & MA at the University of Iowa
MM in Composition & Music Theory at the University of the Art’s Sibelius Academy

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
Gail Burnaford, Director of Research and Evaluation, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Henry Fogel, Dean, CCPA; Past President, League of American Orchestras; Past President, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Erik Gellman, Assoc. Prof. of History, Roosevelt U.
Mike Jeffers, President, Chicago Jazz Magazine and
Jacki Kelly-McHale, Director of Music Education, DePaul U.
Darcy Kuronen, Pappalardo Curator of Musical Instruments, Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Benjamin Lynerd, Asst. Prof. of Political Science, Christopher Newport U.
Laura Mills, Deborah Morris, & Richard Schwegel, Archivist & Music Librarians, Roosevelt U.
Allegra Montanari, Director, CCPA Center for Arts Leadership; Founder, Sharing Notes
Emily Rafferty, President Emerita, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Board of Director, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Watch this video of CCPA Dean Henry Fogel discussing his time as President of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including his experience being on tour with the orchestra on September 11, 2001. 

Sounds of Summer: Multi-Disciplinary Institute (June 9-13, 2018)

Open to high school or college age (prior to completion of undergraduate degree) students, this one week institute explores the connections between music festivals, history, and tourism. Students will discover the origins of summer festivals and who plans them, and will use the music of these festivals to examine aspects of identity and ideology. We will ask questions of arts, tourism, and politics. Faculty and students will attend Chicago festivals including the Grant Park Music Fest, Blues Fest, the Old Town Art Fair, and more. The institute will be team-taught by Prof. Carol Brown (hospitality management), Prof. Sandra Frink (history), and Prof. Tom Kernan (music). More information is available on the Sounds of Summer event page.


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
‚ÄčAssociate Dean and Director, Music Conservatory; Professor, Core Music Studies, Roosevelt University