Who We Are

We are the School of Music and Dance that provides specialized instruction, career development opportunities for students by creating a dynamic artistic environment based on the unique strengths and knowledge of our accomplished faculty. We emphasize high quality performance experiences for students, professional engagement and applied practical training in music and dance. Each student’s career aspirations are advanced under the supervision of a supportive and skilled faculty.

Our Core Values

We recognize and value the notion that an excellent School necessarily comprises artists and scholars of high skill, deeply held aesthetic values, and divergent lines of creative inquiry.


We promote excellence in the performance, creative, scholarly, and pedagogical efforts of our faculty and students and embrace the use of emergent technologies that enable the pursuit of such excellence.  We provide specialized instruction and experiences that prepare our students for rewarding careers in the arts.

Tradition and Innovation

We value dynamic perpetuation of artistic traditions and actively encourage visionary ideas and innovative creations that invigorate the arts.

Diversity and Internationalism

We embrace the diversity of people, ideas, and creative expression. We promote artistic expression in a global context, encouraging our faculty and students to engage in international performances, research, and learning experiences.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

We actively engage in the pursuit of interdisciplinary inquiry and creation, linking the modes of inquiry unique to music and dance with those of other disciplines.

Advocacy and Engagement

We dedicate ourselves to advocating the essential relevance of music and dance to the human experience. We are committed to engaging our students, audiences, and local communities in meaningful learning and artistic experiences. We foster in our majors critical skills and perspectives that will empower them to articulate the importance of the arts in strengthening society.

Our Mission

The mission of San Diego State University’s School of Music and Dance is to provide the highest quality education for performers, choreographers, educators, researchers, and those who may be in fields related to music and dance. In addition, the School of Music and Dance is committed to provide the general student, our future audience, with the deepest understanding and appreciation of music and dance. The School of Music and Dance serves a varied intellectual and ethnic student body in a culturally rich environment.

Through specialized faculty/student contact, the use of technology, an international programmatic focus, and our relationship with community, regional and national organizations, the School provides career development opportunities, enhances critical thinking abilities, and nurtures new generations of artists,choreographers, teachers, scholars and other professionals. Ultimately, the School of Music and Dance serves as a dedicated resource for excellence in performance, choreography, teaching, research, and creative activity.

Our History

The study of music was an early area of study at San Diego State University. Among the first seven professors hired in 1898 when the university was chartered, one was a music professor. By 1907 the university was offering graduate courses in three disciplines, and again, music was among the three. During the 1930’s a discrete major in music was approved and the department of music established. The 1960’s saw the addition of graduate degrees in music, including the MA and MM. In the 1980’s the dance faculty successfully obtained approval for the BA in Dance, separating the degree from physical education. In 1993 the two departments merged to form the School of Music and Dance. By 2003 the BFA in Dance was implemented and the School had a full complement of undergraduate professional degrees in music (BM) and dance (BFA). Today, the School of Music and Dance offers a variety of BM, BA, MA, and MM degrees in music, and the BA and BFA degrees in modern dance.