Music Theory Placement

You can ultimately choose for yourself which of the three beginner music theory classes is most appropriate for you (MUSC 101, 110, or 111). The fifteen-minute placement test will simply give you a better sense of what might be most suitable.

Students with strong levels of fluency tend to get between 60-80 correct within 15 minutes. These are students that are unquestionably ready for MUSC 111. Students with less fluency tend to get less than 20 correct. These students are probably better off in MUSC 110. Students who get more than 20 correct are probably good candidates for MUSC 111, but if the score is less than 50, those students might want to review and practice fundamentals before the semester begins (see for help with that).

MUSC 112, Theory 2, is only offered in the Spring. Students with extensive experience in harmony and voice-leading might consider contacting one of the theory instructors about placing directly into MUSC 112. However, we generally discourage this choice, since it’s usually better to go through MUSC 111 even if much of the material is already familiar.

If you’ve received a score of 4 or 5 on the Music Theory AP exam, you can receive advanced placement credit for MUSC 110. That also means you can enroll directly in MUSC 111. No need to take the placement test.

Again, there is nothing blocking you from registering from any of the three beginner classes. You can choose for yourself. But we obviously want you to succeed, and it’s important that you choose a class that will be the best fit given your abilities and experience.

If you have any further questions, contact Professor BaileyShea at

If you have questions about the musicianship classes, please contact Chris Meeker at