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Musicology / Ethnomusicology

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The doctoral degree in musicology/ethnomusicology is oriented toward preparing students for scholarly research and teaching, aiming for breadth and depth in one specialized area. The program offers the emerging scholar:

  • Courses that prepare students for advanced research in their field
  • Interdisciplinary interaction within a comprehensive school of music and a major research university
  • A curriculum with a varied range of choices with respect to historical periods, analytical systems, and cultural areas.

Applicants to the PhD should already have an MA in musicology or ethnomusicology. The MA and PhD degrees are cumulative, meaning that courses taken in fulfillment of the MA are applicable toward the PhD.

PhD students must demonstrate reading comprehension in two foreign languages, preferably German and French or Italian. Any languages other than French, German, or Italian that the student wishes to apply to this requirement must be approved by the division. Foreign language examinations are administered by the division.

Program Requirements

Programs for the PhD in musicology are developed on an individual basis in consultation with the student’s advisor. All students must take the two required seminars, MUS 8644 and MUS 8864, at the University of Minnesota. Students who have not earned the MA here and believe that they have had equivalent courses as part of the master’s degree at another institution may request an exception by submitting to the Musicology Division a petition supported by appropriate documentation, such as a syllabus and transcript.

Beyond the master’s requirements:

  • Five additional courses: four must be in musicology (8xxx) or ethnomusicology (5xxx or 8xxx). The remaining course may be in musicology (8xxx), ethnomusicology (5xxx or 8xxx), or theory and analysis (8xxx): 15 credits
  • Four 5xxx or 8xxx non-music courses (including credits taken toward the master’s degree): 12 credits
  • MUS 8888 Doctoral Thesis: 24 credits

Upon or close to the completion of all coursework listed in the degree plan, the student will take preliminary written and oral examinations in order to achieve candidacy for the degree. The written exam is conceived as a “special field” exam, with the field or fields defined by the student in consultation with the advisor and members of the examining committee. Students who have not earned the MA at the University of Minnesota must also demonstrate a comprehensive general knowledge of the fields of musicology and ethnomusicology, either in a portion of the written preliminary exam or by taking all or part of the MA comprehensive written exam, as determined by the advisor.

Once the prelims are passed, the candidate will file a PhD thesis proposal form establishing a topic for the dissertation. During the dissertation stage, the student will register for a total of 24 doctoral thesis credits (MUS 8888). Once approved, the candidate should assign online the examining committee and request the graduation packet in order to obtain the thesis reviewer’s report form and application for degree.

View degree plan for the musicology/ethnomusicology PhD.

Learn more about musicology/ethnomusicology at the University of Minnesota.