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The ASU School of Music (SOM) ranks as one of the top music schools in the United States and offers undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees in music. Barrett Honors College (BHC) students can choose among several degrees: BA in Music, BA in Music (Music and Culture), BM in Performance with concentrations in solo performance (instrumental, keyboard, or voice), collaborative piano, jazz, music theatre, BM in Music Education, BM in Music Therapy, or BM in Theory and Composition (with concentrations in theory or composition).
The thesis must address music, but may intersect with other disciplines including the Visual Arts, Theater, History, Architecture, Women’s Studies, and Religious Studies. The student develops his/her own thesis topic and provides which should entail original scholarship. The thesis can be a straightforward, written project in the style of a master’s thesis, but smaller in scope. The thesis might, instead, be documented in a way other than writing, such as a video recording of a composition, performance, or a community outreach program shared on social media. The honors thesis or creative project cannot be simply a short extension of a paper or performance required by a class. It should be based on in-depth research.
Note: Short program notes to accompany a senior recital is not acceptable as an Honors thesis.
The honors thesis or creative project is the capstone of a BHC student majoring in music and the student must comply with the requirements of both the SOM and BHC. The successful completion of an honors thesis makes students more competitive when applying to graduate programs.
BHC students must complete a BHC sanctioned thesis preparation experience before they can register for thesis credit (492): HON 498 (a one-credit course offered on the downtown campus), the Thesis Workshop Session offered by BHC or the online workshop offered through BHC via ASU Blackboard.
BHC students must register for 492 (3 credits) and 493 (3 credits). Please choose the appropriate prefix (MHL, MTC, MUE or MUP).
BHC students should meet with the Honors Advisor and SOM mentor to discuss their honors thesis projects and establish an Honors thesis committee. Honors thesis committees include two members and should be chaired by a regularly appointed faculty member. The second reader may be faculty or non-faculty, depending on the decision of the director of the thesis or the academic unit director.
Discussion of possible thesis projects should begin at the end of the third year to allow students to do research in the summer before their senior year. Writing and further research takes place during the fall semester and the final touches are added in the beginning of the last semester in which the thesis is defended and the research presented at the Honors Symposium.
Honors Enrichment Contracts
Honors contracts offer BHC students the opportunity to go beyond given course requirements and conduct an in-depth research project involving a closer contact with the course instructor. BHC students should approach the course instructor about an Honors Contract at the beginning of the semester to discuss possible projects, topics and specific requirements. BHC students may also receive advice on Honors Contracts from the SOM Honors Advisor.
Honors Enrichment Contracts are available in most School of Music courses. Examples of projects and formats include:
Music History—group or individual written or performative projects, e.g., extended term paper on marginalized composers (e.g., composers of color, female, or South American composers)
Music Theory—extended analysis, score preparation
Ensembles—research concert repertoire, create a social media plan for the concert
Music Therapy—literature review, data collection method at an arts center festival
With special permission from the professor, BHC students who have completed at least 60 hours may be allowed to enroll in selected graduate courses, e.g., Music, Nature and Sustainability; Music and Film, Musical Borrowing, Music in New Orleans, Sound Studies, Music and Gender
For more courses, check the course catalog or consult the SOM Honors Advisor.