M.A. Ethnomusicology

The Master of Arts - Ethnomusicology is designed to offer students a solid foundation in regional studies of music style, performance practice, history, and cultural associations in order to prepare students for continued graduate studies at the doctoral level and/or public sector careers in world music. The program integrates theoretical perspectives relevant to the discipline with these practical aims, so that students can communicate effectively with persons within and outside the field of ethnomusicology. While a balanced global coverage is emphasized, our current faculty focus on studies in Central Africa, mainland Southeast Asia, East Asia, the Caribbean, North and South America, and the Middle East, as well as popular music studies. Theoretical concerns include sociocultural identity, semiotics, gender studies, politics and power, ritual studies, globalization and hybridity, as well as studies in inter-related arts, e.g., dance and theatre. Students are required to write a thesis.

Admission Requirements

  • Official transcript(s)
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Academic paper written in English
  • Statement of career goals
  • Resumé



Students recognize, identify, interpret and discuss theoretical concerns and important contributions of historical figures in the field of ethnomusicology, as well as representative music styles from different historical periods, countries and ethnic populations.

Fieldwork techniques

Students demonstrate and apply fieldwork techniques including proficiency with photography, videography, and audio recording, interviewing, and participant-observation research.

Oral Presentation techniques

Students demonstrate the ability to plan and execute an efficient and productive lecture presentation in an academic setting for use at professional conferences, concert performances, and classroom teaching that includes time management, clear and effective explanation, efficient use of multi-media, and successful question and answer interactions.

Theoretical study

Students utilize and discuss theoretical issues related to ethnomusicology and related disciplines, such as socio-cultural identity, semiotics, gender studies, politics and power, ritual studies, globalization and hybridity.

Analysis and pedagogy

Students identify, explain, and utilize performance pedagogy, as well as analyze compositional forms, appropriate to the specific vocal or instrumental areas of study.
Performance Students display performance and interpretation skills in music through discussion and participation in rehearsals and through the resulting musical product in concert settings.

Oral examination

Students take a two-hour, comprehensive, oral examination administered by a faculty committee covering the specific degree area, music history and music theory. Students also discuss and defend their thesis as part of the oral examination.