Ethnomusicology: The study of the music of different cultures.

Kent State is one of only 80 institutions worldwide to offer an Ethnomusicology and World Music program. 


The World Music program at Kent State University seeks to prepare students for interactions with scholars, musicians, and non-specialists from around the globe. Our courses include regional studies of West, East and mainland Southeast Asia, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, and North and South America, as well as international popular music.


Jennifer Johnstone, Ph.D. Eve McPherson, Ph.D.
Kazadi wa Mukuna, Ph.D. Priwan Nanongkham, Ph.D.
Denise Seachrist, Ph.D. Andrew Shahriari, Ph.D.
Janine Tiffe, Ph.D.  

Degrees and Programs


M.A. in Ethnomusicology


World Music Minor


M.A. in Ethnomusicology

  • Allows for an in-depth study of current and/or historical-cultural research. 
  • Fieldwork and theoretical concerns related to ethnomusicology are emphasized along with recognition and analysis of world music styles.
  • Emphasis on a particular non-western historical period, style or continent leads to both breadth and depth of research skills. 
  • Prepares you for graduate study at the doctoral level, as well as careers in public/private arts programs. 
  • Assistantships: A limited number are available every year. Those on assistantship will gain experience as classroom lecturers, music ensemble directors, online instructors, multi-media producers, and/or archival assistants. 
  • Internships: Exceptional students will be considered for internships at local area arts programs, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

World Music Minor

  • The undergraduate World Music minor exposes students to broad regional studies, as well as popular music and culture. 
  • Courses focused on Western music include Survey of Rock Music History, History of Jazz, America’s Music, Popular World Music, and the Understanding of Music – an appreciation course focused on Western art music.
  • The minor enhances major areas of study, such as music education, anthropology, dance and theatre, international business, and area studies, including Asian, Pan-African, etc.
  • The minor also prepares students interested in further study in ethnomusicology graduate programs and is open to any major across the Kent Campus.
  • No audition required for this minor. 

World Music Ensembles

  • All graduate and undergraduate students in World Music/Ethnomusicology rehearse and perform on and off-campus in these ensembles. 
  • Include the study of various performance traditions depending on the specialization of its current faculty and graduate assistants. 
  • Ensembles currently focus on  the music of Sub-Saharan Africa (West and Central, primarily Ghana and the DRC), Thailand (Piphat), China (Sizhu), and Trinidad (Steel Drum).
  • Students are encouraged to pursue other performance traditions. Often, these traditions are included on World Music concerts. Recent performances have included music from Japan, Haiti, Brazil, Scotland, and other countries as well. 
  • Learn more about World Music Ensembles.


  • Kent State University is affiliated with the Niagara chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), though students often participate in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic chapter meetings as well.
  • Faculty and graduate students frequently present at the national Society for Ethnomusicology annual conference, and are encouraged to become active in other academic organizations, such as the American Musicological Society (AMS) and College Music Society (CMS).
  • Presentation opportunities on campus, including research symposia and colloquia. 
  • Grants and other funding opportunities through Kent State to engage in field research and present/attend workshops and conferences. 
  • World Music Society, a student-run organization, is open to undergraduates and graduate students. 

Questions or Want More Information?


Glauser School Admissions | 330-672-2172

Andrew Shahriari, Ph.D.
Area Coordinator | 330-672-2830

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