Did You Say Bagpipe Major?

When someone tells you they are majoring in performing arts, it is unlikely that the first specialty that comes to mind is the bagpipes. For a Carnegie Mellon student, however, it isn't so strange . . .

When someone tells you they are majoring in performing arts, it is unlikely that the first specialty that comes to mind is the bagpipes. For a Carnegie Mellon student, however, it isn’t so strange . . .

Carnegie Mellon is said to be the only university in the United States that offers a major in Bagpipe Studies. Over two decades ago, the University’s conservatory program began offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music performance, with a major in bagpipe, making it the first and only program of its kind. As if the Scottish terrier mascot and The Tartan school newspaper weren’t screaming Scottish roots already, a bagpipe major is sure to put the icing on the cake. Some say founder Andrew Carnegie, who at one time employed his own personal piper, had something to do with it.

Admission is highly selective for the bagpipe program at Carnegie Mellon, but that also means there is less competition for the bagpipe scholarship offered. Although many universities offer partial scholarships to those that play the bagpipes in their spare time, Carnegie Mellon is the only university in the United States to offer a full four-year scholarship specifically for a bagpipe major. In addition, the University also offers a need-based scholarship to the student, meaning, the scholarship winner will be awarded up to $7,000 a year for four years under the condition that they are pursuing a degree in Bagpipe Studies. Learning how to play the bagpipes is sounding a bit more tempting now isn’t it?

However, the University’s generosity for recruitment hasn’t paid off too well. Today, there is only one student enrolled as a bagpipe major at Carnegie Mellon, and in over 20 years of its offering, only three students have completed the program. Maybe majoring in bagpipes isn’t as appealing as the University thought, but if you used to play, and you are looking for a great scholarship, dust off those bagpipes and give them a second chance! Read more about the only bagpipe major in this story at The Wall Street Journal.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

arts carnegie mellon conservatories instruments majors and academics mascots music need-based scholarships performance performing arts scholarships

About Victoria Scibilia

Victoria Scibilia

Victoria Scibilia is a freelance writer and former contributing editor for Carnegie Higher Ed.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Nikole Dixon

Nikole Dixon

$500 Refer-A-Friend Scholarship Winner

Towards the beginning of last year, I was searching for scholarships to apply to through my school, town, websites online, and anything else I could find. I asked tons of questions [online] about scholarships and the best places to find them because I was desperate and I needed as many as I could find. I came across a ton of bogus websites but as soon as I found CollegeXpress, I knew I had to tell other people about it. It was definitely the most helpful site I came across, so I told my friends about it. . . . CollegeXpress is definitely a website worth giving as a source.

Anthony Vidal

Anthony Vidal

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress has helped me in a series of different ways when it comes to finding scholarships and learning information about different universities. I actually found my dream university through CollegeXpress and am working on getting there.

Kelly Nogueiro

Kelly Nogueiro


For me, CollegeXpress has given me a valuable tool to use with my students to explore colleges easily beyond objective data. It helps me find colleges for students that fit their needs and wants that aren’t quite so black and white. It's a wealth of knowledge, and the Type-A side of me loves all the lists and the fact that I know they're coming from folks who know what they're talking about. I share it with colleagues and students alike, and it's always well received.



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress gave me options of schools with my major and from there I was able to pick what was most important to me in a school. Everything was so organized that I could see all the information I needed.

Nazira Abdelkhalek

Nazira Abdelkhalek

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2014

I am very honored to be this year’s recipient of the Multicultural Student Community Service Scholarship! This scholarship is vital to helping me achieve and fulfill my dreams, and gives me confidence and motivation as I begin my college career. The CollegeXpress website has been invaluable over the past year as I planned my educational and professional goals. I highly recommend it to all students as they begin to focus on their college and career interests. The website is a wonderful guide to schools and scholarships.

College Matches