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Please see the Graduate Handbook for complete information and a year-by-year description of the program.

Degree Requirements and Sample Programs


Ours is a Ph.D. program in which the M.A. is acquired as an intermediate step. Students take the seven required courses specified below and about eleven elective courses to the Ph.D. (Students entering with the M.A. may take fewer courses and receive credit for comparable graduate courses undertaken elsewhere.)

M.A. Requirements:

1. You must complete 8 approved semester courses with a grade of B or higher. (Courses with a mandatory S/NC grade option must be completed with a grade of S.) You may take a mix of 2000-level and 1000-level courses. Four of these courses must be:

  • MUSC 2000: Theory and Method in Ethnomusicology. Offered alternate years.
  • One 1000-level ethnomusicology course focusing on a particular musical tradition or geographical area.
  • ANTH 2000: History of Ethnological Theory
  • Two semesters of music performance (counts as two half-credits = one course).

2. Graduate level reading comprehension of one foreign language.

3. Remediation of any deficiencies in Western music theory, Western music history, or ethnomusicology as shown in preparation.

4. One research paper in ethnomusicology of about 30-50 pages. Ordinarily based on the student's own field-work, it will be a musical ethnography that will document, describe, analyze, and interpret some aspect of a music culture. It must also demonstrate the ability to investigate thoroughly the scholarship on the topic and to organize and articulate a scholarly argument.

Ph.D. Requirements:

1. Coursework must include:

  • The four courses required for the M.A. (see above)
  • Two courses from MUSC 2080 or 2090: Seminar in Ethnomusicology (various topics; repeatable for credit when the topic changes)
  • MUSC 2080E: Historiography of Music and the Performing Arts

Beyond the seven required courses required for the M.A. and Ph.D., students have their choice of electives inside and outside the music department. Practical summary: You must take at least 3 courses each semester (but you may take 4 each semester during the first year). This means taking 18-20 courses over 6 semesters of full-time study for the MA/PhD. Only 7 specific courses are required, so you will take at least 11 electives: non-required seminars in the music department, courses in other departments, language study, independent studies, etc.

2. A second foreign language.

3. Ph.D. qualifying examinations: one written general examination in the history, theory, and methods of the study of music in culture; and an oral examination in two areas of specialization, at least one of which must be geographical (e.g., East Asian music and culture; European music and culture) while another may be theoretical (e.g., musical acculturation; film as a medium for ethnomusicological research; performance studies). For students entering with the B.A., the written examination must be completed no later than the fifth semester; the oral examination must be completed no later than the sixth semester. At least two months prior to the oral examination the student shall propose for approval the two areas of specialization and the members of the oral examination committee.

4. Dissertation proposal: After passing the Ph.D. qualifying examinations, the student will choose a dissertation advisor and present a written research proposal for the Ph.D. thesis. The proposal will include a statement of the subject or problem to be investigated, a review of the relevant scholarly literature, a description of the research methods that will be employed, a projected timetable, and a discussion of feasibility of the project. The advisor and the department's graduate committee must approve the proposal, and no dissertation will be accepted from a student who has not had a research proposal accepted.

5. Dissertation: The dissertation must be original work and make a contribution to knowledge in the field of ethnomusicology. It will be read by a five-person committee (the dissertation advisor and four others) chosen by the student and approved by the department¹s graduate committee. At least three members must be music department faculty holding the Ph.D. At least one member must be someone outside the music department whose field is related to the dissertation topic, and who holds the Ph.D. or is a recognized expert in the field. A public, oral defense of the dissertation before the five-person committee will take place no later than one month after the committee has approved the dissertation in written form. The Ph.D. will be granted following a successful defense.