The New Mexico State University Department of Music was founded January 21, 1890. New Mexico State University is the state's land-grant university, serving the educational needs of New Mexico's diverse population through comprehensive programs of education, research, extension education, and public service.
The unique elements of the original land-grant concept included providing access to a practical and liberal education for people of average means; conducting applied as well as fundamental research; and serving the people of the state through the delivery of knowledge relevant to the solution of society's problems. Land-grant universities continue to emphasize the acquisition of fundamental knowledge and its application to the solution of real-life problems, as well as the extension of the campus throughout the state to bring, on a timely basis, the latest research results to the people who need it to solve their problems and to improve their lives.
In accordance with the institutional mission, the program is designed to be accessible to students with all levels of music background, but the assumption is made that the student has experience in a specific performance area. The program is unable to accommodate students who have no previous musical training. Due to physical, personnel and financial restraints, the Music Department will be required to limit enrollment, therefore all students must audition for acceptance into the program.


The Music Department offers two undergraduate degrees: Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Music Education. The Bachelor of Music Education prepares the student to work in a school setting and provides the necessary coursework for licensure by the State of New Mexico. Students may choose a vocal or instrumental concentration. The Bachelor of Music degree is designed to allow students to pursue one of the following concentrations; Vocal Performance, Instrumental Performance, Piano Performance, or Music Business. The Master of Music degree allows graduate students to pursue studies in Conducting, Performance or Music Education.
The Music Department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. Students in the Music Education program are also under the supervision of the NMSU School of Teacher Preparation, Administration, and Leadership (TPAL), and must meet requirements established by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the New Mexico State Board of Education.
All music majors begin a course of music study their freshman year that consists of five consecutive semesters of music theory, and in their sophomore year that consists of three consecutive semesters of music history. Applied lessons, ensemble performance, and recital attendance are required for each semester. Depending on the area of emphasis, the remaining music core is required accordingly. Although it is possible for students to complete the degree requirements in eight semesters, many students take nine or 10 semesters.