Jazz Studies


The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers jazz ensembles and undergraduate and graduate coursework in jazz improvisation, composition & arranging, and history.

Please click here for Jazz audition procedures for 2020-21 application cycle.

Undergraduate students:

The Mead Witter School of Music offers two undergraduate jazz studies degrees. The Bachelor of Music in Performance (jazz studies track) is a credit-intensive degree program that prepares students for the profession of music performance. The Bachelor of Arts in Music (jazz studies track) allows students the flexibility to pursue a broad-based liberal arts degree while still maintaining a primary focus on jazz performance studies. Both the B.M. and the B.A. degrees include eight semesters of one-on-one jazz instruction on students’ major instruments, guaranteed participation in one of the jazz ensembles during each semester, weekly jazz studio classes with jazz faculty and visiting guest artists, and a comprehensive curriculum of theory & composition, history, and improvisation courses.

Many students in the jazz area also pursue dual majors, combining the B.A. in Music (jazz studies track) with a very wide range of other majors from across the university. Pending on a variety of factors, including the number of credits required in students’ other majors and possible AP credits, many students are able to complete their dual major degrees within four years.

For application information, including deadlines, procedures, and admission requirements, please see https://www.music.wisc.edu/undergraduate-admissions/ In case of additional questions, please contact Director of Jazz Studies, Dr. Johannes Wallmann at wallmann@wisc.edu.

Graduate students:

Note: There is currently no graduate degree in jazz studies. However, both the Master’s and the Doctoral degree paths contain considerable room for customization, and Doctoral students may select jazz studies as their minor option. Students who wish to make jazz a substantive component of a performance degree at the graduate level should contact the Director of Graduate Studies at dgs@music.wisc.edu to discuss their available options.

Jazz Master Classes – Fridays at noon, Room 1321, Humanities

Click here to see a list of master class presenters.


UW-Madison’s Mead Witter School of Music is located in the heart of a vibrant jazz scene that rivals that of much bigger cities in quality and quantity. The city is home to a number of world-class local musicians who value its quality of life and proximity to Milwaukee, Chicago, and Minneapolis, and it is a frequent destination for artists touring throughout the Midwest. From the Wisconsin Union’s performance venues which include the historic Wisconsin Union Theater, the intimate Fredric March Play Circle, the iconic Memorial Terrace, the low-key Rathskeller, and the bustling Sett; to the School of Music’s own concert, recital and opera halls at the foot of State Street; to the Overture Center, Café Coda jazz club, the Nomad World Pub, and outdoor concerts at the top of State Street; to venues throughout the neighborhoods of Madison and its surrounding communities; there is always great music to hear and many opportunities for UW-Madison students to augment their formal studies with gigs in Madison and beyond. Check out this website for a list of upcoming jazz events in and around Madison: www.JazzInMadison.org