Degrees Offered


Degrees Offered

The department offers the doctor of philosophy degree (PhD) in musicology and the master of arts degree (MA) in ethnomusicology. A master’s degree (MA) in musicology will normally be earned in progress toward the PhD, but the department does not offer a terminal MA degree in musicology; that is, students are only admitted to the full PhD program. At present, the department admits around three to five graduate students each year, for a total population of about twenty students.

For basic information on the nature of the PhD programs at Eastman, please visit the main degree programs page of the School. Additional information, specific to the musicology program, follows:

Foreign Language Requirements

The PhD degree in musicology requires reading proficiency in two foreign languages, German and either French or Italian. A student whose field of specialization requires a different language may petition the department to substitute it for French or Italian. Proficiency in one language is required upon entry to the program; proficiency in the other is required by the beginning of the second year.

Qualifying Examinations

The qualifying examinations are taken in two stages. Before the beginning of the third year, the student takes the General Qualifying exam, which tests broad knowledge of musical style and musicological issues. Before the beginning of the fourth year, the student takes the Special Field exam. Over the course of the third year, the student will have worked with one or more faculty members to define a special field of interest and prepare for the exam. This exam will test for deep knowledge in a particular area of expertise, presumably the area in which the dissertation will be written.


A dissertation is required of each candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. The dissertation must constitute a distinct contribution to knowledge and should exhibit on the part of the candidate evidence of outstanding ability in research and in the organization of material. Ordinarily, the dissertation must be written in residence. In any case, it must be written under the supervision of the candidate’s adviser and must be approved by the department chair and examining committee before the submission of a final draft.

Recent dissertations in the musicology department include “West Side Storys: Changing Perspectives on an American Musical;” “Music of a ‘More Exalted Sphere’: Compositional Practice, Biography, and Cosmology in the Music of La Monte Young;” “An Anarchic Society of Sounds: The Number Pieces of John Cage;” “Structure, Design, and Rhetoric: Schubert’s Lyricism Reconsidered;” “Constructing a Nation’s Music: Howard Hanson’s American Composer’s Concerts and Festivals of American Music, 1925-71;” “Negotiating Past and Present: Max Reger and Fin-de-siècle Modernisms;” “The American Composer’s Indian, 1890-1925;” “Brahms the Programmatic;” “Nationalism and British Keyboard Music, 1740-1830;” “The Seventeenth-Century Church Keys in Theory and Practice;” “Sacred Music at the Dresden Court after Schütz.”

General Degree/Program Information

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