As a division of Johns Hopkins University, Peabody believes there is more to developing musicians than practice, practice, practice. It takes a broader knowledge of culture, art, history, and philosophy to really understand and perform great music, so an intellectually rigorous academic program in the liberal arts has long been a hallmark of a Peabody education.

As a Peabody student, you will fulfill 30 credits of Liberal Arts courses. Most students will enroll in a two-year Core Curriculum (12 credits); you may petition to substitute designated courses at Homewood or other institutions in place of the Core Curriculum. Students needing intense writing instruction will take six credits of Writing Intensive before beginning the Core Curriculum.

After completing the Core Curriculum, you will take the appropriate number of additional Liberal Arts courses to reach 30 credits. At least one of these courses (or three credits) must be a class at the .300 level, indicating a course that engages with secondary literature or requires a substantial research paper. While you may take some at Homewood or elsewhere, Peabody’s Liberal Arts Department provides a rich and rigorous menu of courses designed specifically for Peabody students. A regular rotation of electives (including languages) will be offered by the Liberal Arts Department to meet the additional credit requirements. U.S. History and Introduction to Psychology–required for Music Education students–will be a staple of the curriculum.

The Language Program will offer full-year six-credit courses in French I, German I, and Italian I, as well as German II, to meet the requirements of Peabody Voice majors. Language courses at Peabody will be focused primarily on language acquisition. Languages may be taken as electives to meet Liberal Arts requirements after completion of the Core Curriculum.

Peabody undergraduates are encouraged to fulfill their Liberal Arts requirement with courses offered in the School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University.

Departmental Attendance Policy

Attendance is essential to student success in our classes. Students with excessive absences cannot pass our courses. Students are advised to withdraw from a class rather than fail due to poor attendance.

Beginning in 2017, this is the attendance policy for all Peabody Liberal Arts classes:

For classes meeting once/week, students with four absences fail the course. (No distinctions are made between excused and unexcused absences.)

For classes meeting twice/week, students with six absences fail the course. (No distinctions are made between excused and unexcused absences.)

For classes meeting three times/week, students with eight absences fail the course. (No distinctions are made between excused and unexcused absences.)

Individual instructors will explain how their specific course rules abide by this policy.

Questions About AP and Transfer Credits

AP and Transfer credits


Francesco Brenna

Francesco Brenna is Assistant Professor of Italian and the Italian Program Coordinator in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Towson University. Previously he taught at Indiana University Bloomington. He holds a BA and MA in Italian from Università Cattolica in Milan and a PhD in Italian from Johns Hopkins University.

Daniel H. Foster

Daniel H. Foster chairs the Liberal Arts Department at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. A scholar with a particular interest in the intersection of music, literature, and drama, he is the author of Wagner’s Ring Cycle and the Greeks (Cambridge 2010) and is currently at work on From Bards to Blackface, or How the Minstrel Changed His Tune.

Carol Haddaway

Carol Haddaway is a part-time faculty for the ESL 1 classes. She most recently served as a Senior English Language Fellow of the U.S. Department of State at Yangon University in Myanmar and in similar postings in Belarus, Ukraine and Syria where in addition to teaching English, she conducted teacher training methodology, developed curricula and materials.

Laura Kafka-Price

Laura Kafka-Price, instructor of French, earned a PhD in musicology from the University of Maryland at College Park and degrees in voice and French from University of Alaska and MethodistUniversity in NC.

Meryl Lauer

Meryl Lauer is a cultural anthropologist specializing in ethnographies of bodily practice. She holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Minnesota, where she was a Mellon fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, and a BA in dance from Barnard College.

Ahlam Musa

Ahlam Musa has taught both English and Arabic for nearly 20 years in a variety of U.S. university and K-12 school settings as well as in the Middle East. She obtained her PhD in curriculum and instruction focusing on second language education from Texas A&M University and has continued learning ever since.

Elisa Santucci

Elisa Santucci joined Peabody after teaching German for three years during his second PhD at Johns Hopkins University. He studied Philosophy in Italy, the UK, Switzerland and lived in Berlin, before continuing to study German thought and literature at NYU and at Hopkins, working at the intersection of literature and philosophy. 

Oliver Thorndike

Oliver Thorndike received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 2009. His first book Kant’s Transition Project and Late Philosophy. Connecting the Opus postumum and Metaphysics of Morals was published with Bloomsbury in 2018. His latest article ‘Kant’s “Theory of Music”’ was published in Con-Textos Kantianos in December 2021.

Alessandro Zannirato

Alessandro Zannirato is Associate Teaching Professor and Director of the Italian Language Program at the Johns Hopkins University; he received his PhD from the School of Languages and Literatures of the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Václav Zheng

Václav Zheng is a cultural and intellectual historian of early modern Europe, with an emphasis on east-central Europe, especially Czechia and Poland. His dissertation focuses on the Polish Renaissance and the idea of utopianism, exploring various future visions and utopian/uchronian projects vibrant in sixteenth-century Poland.