Program type:


On Campus
Est. time to complete:

4 years
Credit Hours:

Fine tune your skills at the most storied Jazz Studies program in the country.
The University of North Texas became the first university in the nation to offer a degree program in jazz in 1947. Today, the North Texas jazz program, housed within the largest music school in the nation, retains its role as a leader in jazz education, earning an international reputation for excellence in both the music education field and the professional jazz industry.

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Why earn a degree in Jazz Studies?

UNT's Jazz Studies program is widely regarded as one of the nation's most respected and was the first degree program of its kind in the field.

We provide you many opportunities to perform with on- and off-campus ensembles. This includes the One O'Clock Lab Band, which has earned six Grammy Award nominations and toured Europe, Japan, Thailand and Australia. We also sponsor the acclaimed Jazz Singers. Other jazz ensembles include:

  • Eight additional jazz lab bands
  • Four Jazz Singers groups
  • The L-5 and Super 400 electric guitar ensembles
  • The Zebras contemporary music ensemble
  • The Jazz Repertory Ensemble
  • The Latin Jazz Ensemble
  • The U-Tubes jazz trombone ensemble
Marketable Skills
  • Perform notated jazz music
  • Improvise jazz music
  • Arrange jazz music
  • Understanding of jazz history/repertoire
  • Oral and written communication

Jazz Studies Degree Highlights

An annual lecture series provides unique perspectives on jazz with past speakers including Dave Brubeck, Ingrid Jensen, Tierney Sutton, Mike Moreno, Billy Hart, Curtis Fuller, John Abercrombie, Nasheet Waits, Wycliffe Gordon and Chris Potter.
Our outstanding facilities include the Murchison Performing Arts Center, which houses the Winspear Performance Hall and the Lyric Theater; the Voertman Concert Hall; and the Stan Kenton Hall.
The college is home to the Maynard Ferguson Music Library, the Stan Kenton Collection and the Gene Puerling Collection.
A Living-Learning Community brings together jazz studies students who live on campus to enhance academic and social experiences.
The College of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, which means the college meets or exceeds strict academic standards for excellence in education.
  • Our faculty members are dedicated teachers as well as nationally and internationally known performers who have earned Grammy Award nominations, toured internationally, conducted classes at the renowned Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops and written books about jazz.

What Can You Do With A Degree in Jazz Studies?

Our graduates are professional performers, composers, arrangers, teachers and producers. As entrepreneurs, some have started their own companies and bands. Others have successful careers outside of music while continuing to play at a high level. They work in:

  • Jazz clubs
  • Concert halls
  • Broadway theatres
  • Churches
  • Schools, colleges and universities
  • Recording studios
  • U.S. armed forces bands

Our jazz studies alumni include:

  • Bassists Mike Pope, Tony Scherr and Matt Wigton
  • Composers Alan Baylock, Yumiko Sunami, Brad Turner and Dale Wilson
  • Drummers Keith Carlock, Ari Hoenig and John Riley
  • Guitarists Tim Miller, Rick Peckham and Bruce Saunders
  • Musician/producers Bob Belden and Dave Love
  • Pianists Lyle Mays, Jon Ballantyne, Pavel Wlosok and Stefan Karlsson
  • Saxophonists "Blue Lou" Marini, Jim Snidero, Tim Ries, Craig Handy and Jeff Coffin
  • Trombonists Tom "Bones" Malone, Conrad Herwig, Steve Wiest and Sara Jacovino
  • Vocalists Norah Jones, JD Walter and Alison Wedding

Jazz Studies Degree Courses You Could Take

Jazz Improvisation (2 hrs)
Materials and practices for improvising in the jazz idiom.
History of Jazz (3 hrs)
Chronological survey of the major styles and artists of jazz, from African acculturation in the New World to the present.
Music Cultures of the World (3 hrs)
Survey of music cultures of Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania. Music traditions are studied from a perspective that emphasizes music as an integral part of society and culture.
Science and Technology of Musical Sound (3 hrs)
Sound production; nature of vibrations in percussion, string, and wind instruments. Sound propagation; sound speed; echoes. Sound intensity, physical and perceived. Sound pitch, physical and perceived; intervals. Complex sounds; harmonic series. Room acoustics; reverberation time; ideal listening rooms. Wave phenomena; interference and diffraction. Digital sound recording; musical scales; the human voice. Includes weekly laboratory exercises.
Music as Communication (3 hrs)
Introduction to issues of music seen as a form of human communication with emphasis on developing listening skills and critical thinking. Includes discussion of Western and non-Western music based on case studies.
Jazz Fundamentals (2 hrs)
Introduction to jazz harmony and scales. Drill in ear training and keyboard. Required for freshman majors in jazz studies.

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