Policies and Procedures


for the Bachelor of Music (BM) Degree Program


The Eastman School expects all of its students to explore a diverse range of academic disciplines, develop strong intellectual perspectives, and be able to voice these convincingly. The Humanities Department fosters curiosity and engages students in the study of literature, languages, film, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, and art history. In these courses students read widely, think critically, and learn to write effectively. Our department’s courses enable students to reflect intelligently on their place in contemporary culture, and prepare them to assume roles of principled cultural leadership.

The 24-credit Humanities and Sciences Requirement has two components:

  1. Humanities Core Course: The three-credit First-year Writing Seminar (FWS 121) is a “core” course, required of all students.
    1. The Core Course: The First-year Writing Seminar (FWS 121) Elective Courses: All students are required to take a minimum of 21 additional credits. Elective courses must carry at least three credits each, and may be taken either in the Eastman Humanities Department or in the School of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. Transfer-credits from other colleges and universities must be approved by the Humanities chair or the Office of Academic Affairs.
  2. The First-year Writing Seminar introduces first-semester students to college-level inquiry and analysis by focusing on critical thinking and academic writing. In individual sections, the discussion of literary, historical, philosophical, or art historical topics will serve as the basis for writing assignments. Students will work closely with their instructors, peers, and the Eastman Writing Center to produce work of increasing complexity. Students should consult the descriptions of the individual sections before registering.


     TRANSFER STUDENTS: Students who have completed, with a grade of “B-” or better, an equivalent writing course at another accredited college before transferring to the Eastman School of Music may be exempt from FWS 121. Any exemption must be granted by the Humanities Department Chair. Students may be asked to present a syllabus and examples of work completed in the courses taken previously.


    ESL STUDENTS:  Incoming international students will meet with Academic Affairs during international student orientation before classes begin to discuss appropriate placement in ESL courses.  Undergraduate students who take ESL 103 and ESL 104 count these courses toward the degree requirements; these students then take FWS 121 in their sophomore year.


    RIVER CAMPUS RECIPROCITY: Successful completion of the College’s Primary Writing

    Requirement will satisfy the FWS 121 core requirement at the Eastman School of Music.


    1. Elective Courses: at least 21 credits (BM)




    All courses must carry at least three semester-hours of credit. Normally no more than four semester-hours of credit will be granted for a single course. A student who desires to take a course for five credits or more must have the permission of the Humanities Department Chair or the Office of Academic Affairs.

    Any course listed or cross-listed with the Departments of Music Teaching and Learning, Music Theory, Musicology, and the College Music Department does not count toward the Humanities and Sciences requirement. BCS 260 is the exception: it may be counted as a Humanities OR Music Theory elective, but not both.


    Courses may be taken in many different disciplines or be focused in one area of study. In addition to the courses offered by the Eastman School’s Humanities Department, students may also choose among any AS&E courses that are acceptable for a major or minor at the River Campus.


    Students can earn an Area Studies Certificate (ASC) at the Eastman School of Music by taking at least three courses in one of seven disciplines: French, German, Italian, Film Studies, Theater and Performance, Literature, or Politics. Please see the description for the ASC Program below.




    At least 18 of the total 24 humanities and sciences credits must be taken at the University of Rochester, either in the Eastman School of Music or in the School of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering. Courses offered in the UR summer sessions are acceptable. Matriculated students who wish to take their humanities and sciences courses at another institution (up to 6 credits) must obtain prior authorization from the Chair of the Humanities Department or the Office of Academic Affairs to verify the course will fulfill Eastman graduation requirements. Whenever possible, the student should be prepared to indicate the requirements of the course, including the number of hours to be spent in class, and to present a copy of the course description. Online courses from outside the University of Rochester will not be accepted.


    Collegiate-level courses taken during high school may be considered for humanities transfer credit if they satisfy all of the following conditions:


    1. They were not taken in fulfillment of any high school degree requirement.
    2. They do not appear on the high school transcript.
    3. They are not included in the high school G.P.A. calculation.


    If granted, such transfer credits count toward and are subject to the 6-credit limit mentioned above. Students may be asked to provide appropriate supporting documentation from the school district.




    Advanced Placement exam scores may earn a student advanced standing but, with the exception of double majors, no credit will be granted towards the Humanities and Sciences requirement on the basis of such scores.

    • “Advanced Standing”: Students with sufficient AP scores may be exempt from introductory-level courses and be able to place directly into higher-level classes. No credit will be granted for the exempted course (unless the student is a double major—see below). Those seeking such standing should consult with the appropriate chair, program director, or instructor.
    • Double majors: Students who are registered as double majors, and who

    complete both majors, may receive up to six credits (for two exams) for scores of four or five on AP exams in the humanities and sciences (except music theory), with the following two provisos: 1) that a student can receive a maximum of six credits for AP exams and summer transfer courses combined; and 2) if a student who is originally a double major drops one of his or her majors, the AP credits granted by the school will also be withdrawn.

    • Music Education majors —Psychology 111 exemption: while the ideal course of studies for MUE majors is to enroll in PSY 111/ PSY 112 at Eastman, the PSY 111 course may be waived for any music education major who scores 4 or 5 on the AP Psychology exam. This exemption in itself carries no credit, and students would still be required to obtain 24 credits in Humanities and Sciences before graduation. However, double majors who score 4 or 5 on the AP Psychology exam may be able to claim 3 credits toward their Humanities and Sciences requirement, provided they do not exceed 6 credits in total AP or transfer credit (see II:F above).
    • Voice Students—Language Exemption: a score of 3 or better on an AP language exam may exempt a voice student from part of the requirement in that

    language, at the discretion of the Humanities Department Chair and the Director of Foreign Languages. Such an exemption bears no credit. All students with prior study of/ exposure to the language must consult with their instructor in the first week of classes to assess proper placement. Students who fail to do so and are found to be overqualified for their chosen level risk receiving no credit for the course.



    Students who transfer to Eastman receive credit for qualifying humanities and sciences courses taken at the institution from which they are transferring, before their matriculation at Eastman, provided that the courses carried at least 3 semester credits and the student earned a grade of “B-” or better.



    Last revised 2/18/21