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Frequently Asked Questions for Online Music Program

Is it possible to do the entire VCSU Music degree online or are there some requirements for attending classes on campus?

There is no requirement that you actually come to the VCSU campus and take courses. You must, however, take at least 30 credits from VCSU; they can be taken online.

Can I take all of the credits I need for this degree online?

All of the academic courses can be taken online. The performance classes, lessons and ensembles, cannot be taken online.

How are the classes offered online? Do I need to be available in real time?

You do not need to be available in real time although for most classes that is the best option. Most classes, such as theory and history, are offered in real time using Blackboard Collaborate (students meet online in real time in a setting similar to Skype). Students who cannot meet in real time when a class meets can watch archives of the classes.

Can I work at my own pace?

Students can work at their own pace when watching archives. There are, however, set due dates and times for assignments that must be observed and tests must be taken on the days assigned. The classes at VCSU adhere to the university calendar, and are not independent study courses that can be completed at a student’s leisure.

How much will it cost to take courses at VCSU?

To determine the cost for study at VCSU, go to the Net Price Calculator at Enter the information that is pertinent to you (the year of study, the number of credits you want to take in a semester; select online undergraduate student). If you are only taking online courses and you are an international student, just select online undergraduate student. Select “continue” and the price for the number of credits you selected will show for a full year of tuition. If you want to know the cost for just one semester, divide that figure in half.

Does Financial Aid cover everything?

Online students are not eligible for scholarships but students taking six credits or more are eligible for student loans. Students interested in financial aid should read the link to the VCSU Financial Aid Information for Online Music Students.

How and when can I register as a student at VCSU?

You must first apply to VCSU. Go to and click on the APPLY NOW link on the RH side of the page. There is a one-time $35 application fee. The Department of Music suggests that students seeking the online music degree register for VCSU no later than July 1 for Fall Semester and no later than October 1 for Spring Semester.

When can I sign up for classes?

The dates change from semester to semester. One way to find the start of enrollments for each semester is to go to You will find the enrollment dates for Spring semester sometime in mid-November and the enrollment dates for Fall semester sometime in mid-April. You can continue to enroll after those dates.

Are there limits for when I can add or drop a course?

These dates change by term. To find the correct information for an upcoming term, go to and click on the left hand link 20__-20__ Term-Session Add/Drop Dates.

How can I get credit for applied lessons and ensembles?

Lessons and ensembles must be taken for credit at a college or university that grants credit for music courses. These courses can be taken physically on campus at VCSU, or at another institution and then transferred to VCSU. The online music degree requires four semesters of lessons and four semesters of ensembles, at minimum.

Can I count lessons or ensembles taken in the community and not at a college or university?

No. Although VCSU has granted credit for such situations in the past, we are no longer doing so.

Do I have to do a senior recital for the online music degree?

All students at VCSU must complete a capstone project as a requirement for graduation. Music students have the option of completing a recital of substantial length (25-30 minutes of music) for their capstone. Students may present a capstone recital during their sixth semester of lessons, at the earliest. They may also fulfill the capstone project by writing a thesis, composing or arranging a substantial work, or other project approved by the department. Regardless of capstone, all students are required to demonstrate a minimum level of competency on an instrument. This competency is demonstrated at the Sophomore Proficiency, usually after four semesters of instruction.

I am earning a music degree from another institution but would like to take online music credits from VCSU. Is this possible?

Students earning a degree from another institution can take up to 16 credits from VCSU without declaring a major. After that, students must declare a major/degree plan at VCSU.

Do you accept credits from a long time ago?

VCSU does not have a limit on how old credits can be. As long as they meet our other requirements (e.g. from a regionally accredited institution, not developmental classes, etc.) we will accept credits from anytime in the past.

I am not a performer; can I still get this degree?

The BA/BS in Music is not technically a performance degree. All degree seeking students are required to demonstrate a minimum proficiency on an instrument, after the student has taken four semesters of private lessons on that instrument. Students may elect to present a capstone recital and focus on performance through the continuation of lessons beyond the minimum requirements. However, if a student cannot read music or has never performed, this is not the right degree for that student.

Do you accept players of any instrument to this degree?

No. We only accept students studying instruments for which we employ faculty members who teach that instrument. Currently that means acceptable instruments are all woodwind and brass instruments, percussion, piano, guitar, and voice.

Examples of instruments we do not accept are harp, string instruments (violin, viola, cello, bass), banjo, organ, and electric keyboard.

Do you offer a degree in Composition, Music Education, Piano Pedagogy, or Music Therapy?

No. We only offer a BA or BS in Music at this time. There is demand for the BS in Music Education in the online format, and the department is currently investigating the feasibility of offering this degree.

Do you offer any Music Certificates of Completion (COC) online?

Yes, we offer an online Certificate in Piano Pedagogy and one in Composition. Please see the Online Music Website for details. If you are interested in a COC, you need to apply to VCSU – be clear that you are seeking a COC rather than a degree and let Enrollment Services know which one(s).

I already have a BA. Can I get the BA in Music online from VCSU?

If you already have a BA, you can get the BS in Music online here and visa-versa. No student can get a second BA or a second BS with this program.

I already have some/all of my General Education requirements met from another school. Do I have to redo my General Education requirements for the VCSU degree?

If a student has fulfilled the General Education requirements for a completed degree from a regionally accredited institution, s/he will not need to redo any General Education courses at VCSU. VCSU will accept the student’s complete General Education block.

If the student did not complete a degree but has a number of General Education credits on his/her transcripts, the credits will be considered for transfer on a course-by-course basis and the student will be notified on his/her transcript audit about which have transferred successfully to VCSU.

What is a transcript audit?

The transcript audit is a document created by our Registrar’s Office once the student sends official copies from all of his/her transcripts to that office. The transcript audit shows all of the credits that VCSU accepts for transfer plus all of the requirements needed to complete the degree. Students can look at this document and see what courses are left to take in order to complete the online degree.

What do I need to do to apply for the online music degree?

The most important thing to do is to read the complete Online Student Handbook located at:

This handbook will answer many questions related to the degree, including how to apply. An outline of what is needed to apply includes:

  • Official application to the university with a one time $35 application fee

  • Application to the Music Department sent to the Department Chair (application form is in the handbook)

  • Audition DVD sent to Department Chair (audition requirements outlined in the handbook)

  • Transcripts from any previous colleges where credits have been earned (official transcript to the VCSU Registrar and an unofficial copy to the Department Chair)

Once that is done, additional information needs to be sent to the Chair of the Department of Music:

  • A copy of the transcript audit that is created by the VCSU Registrar (this can only be done after the Registrar receives your official transcripts; the process takes time)

  • Once the applicant receives the transcript audit, s/he should create a plan for how the remaining requirements will be met. The plan must show each the courses that are planned for semester. The online handbook lists the course rotations by semester and when various required courses are offered online.

  • Information on how the student plans to receive lessons/ensemble credits.

Are there any restrictions on who can enroll for the online music degree at VCSU? Do you accept students from all states?

Beyond the normal requirements for any bachelor’s degree (such as completion of high school), there are some restrictions based on the home state of the applicant. VCSU cannot accept students from every state due to restrictions placed by some states. There are also some restrictions placed by certain states on the types of online instruction allowed. A list of state restrictions can be found at State Availability. (

Do you accept students from other countries?

There are no international restrictions for online students. International students must show competence in use of the English language and must be able to pay their expenses while taking courses in the online program. For more information, review the section of the latest VCSU catalog that refers to online students. The catalog can be found at VCSU Catalog.

Approximately how long will this degree take?

This depends on each student, on how many credits are transferred into the program, and on how many credits the student wants to take each semester, etc. It is a basically a four-year degree that requires eight semesters of lessons and six semesters of ensembles as well as coursework. Some students may have fulfilled various credits in advance and will not take four years to complete the degree.

How many credit hours do I have to complete each semester?

Again, this is up to the individual. Twelve is considered a full load for a full-time student; we don’t recommend more than six for a student who has a full-time job.

When creating my plan, how do I know which courses are offered when?

The Online Student Handbook includes a list of courses and when each is offered online. Some courses are only offered every two years.

What other helpful VCSU links are there for online students?