Music (Musicology), PhD

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Examine and expand the traditional boundaries of musicology as you research, create and teach.

The PhD program in music with a concentration in musicology focuses on the scholarly study of sound and music in historical contexts, musical traditions as sociocultural artifacts and behaviors, and performance. These areas are approached through the investigation of genres, styles, forms, performance and listening practices, instruments, spaces, philosophies, musical infrastructures and geographic locations.

Faculty members include Sabine Feisst, Dave Fossum, Kay Norton, Catherine Saucier, Peter Schmelz, Ted Solis, Christi Jay Wells, and faculty associate Bliss Little. They are leading scholars specializing in western and non-Western music, particularly traditions in the Americas and Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine, USSR), and music of the Middle East, Central Asia, Latin America, and Indonesia as well as Medieval music cultures, the long nineteenth century, jazz, music in popular cultures, musical modernism and experimentalism, intellectual property law, cultural policy, improvisation, sound studies, ecomusicology, dance and embodiment, and music's role in well-being.

Coursework includes historiography, applied musicology, methodologies and pedagogy. Transdisciplinary studies are encouraged with scholars and artists in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre (e.g., a studio professor, music theorist, or composer), the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts (e.g., a design or dance faculty member), and faculty in schools and institutes across the university (e.g., specialists in languages, regions or cultures).

A plan of study is designed by the student with the faculty to support an individualized research trajectory. Research conducted by students in the doctoral program in musicology aims to examine and interrogate the discipline of musicology and to expand the traditional boundaries of music scholarship by challenging methodological and disciplinary boundaries. The program concludes with a dissertation.

At A Glance

Music (Musicology), PhD

Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete this graduate level program.

View Plan of Study

Degree requirements

Required Core (10 credit hours)
MSI 601 Contemporary Topics in Music Research (2)
MSI 602 Current Issues in Music Research (2)
MSI 755 Historical Research in Music (3)
MTC 520 Analytical Techniques (3)

Concentration (15 credit hours)
MHL 632 Applied Musicology (3)
MHL 668 Introduction to Ethnomusicology (3)
MHL 691 Seminars (9)

Electives and Research (17 credit hours)

Teaching Experience (6 credit hours)
MHL 684 Internship (3)
MHL 691 Topic: Music History Pedagogy (3)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
MHL 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information
Completion of diagnostic exams in musicology and music theory is required of all new graduate music students prior to enrollment in the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre.

As part of the concentration coursework, students take three seminars for three credit hours each. Equivalent courses may be used with preapproval by the student's faculty advisor. No more than six credit hours outside of the School of Music, Dance and Theatre may apply to this requirement.

Teaching experience requirements consist of MHL 691 Music History Pedagogy, in which students examine multiple facets and modalities of teaching music history, and MHL 684 Internship, in which students teach an appropriate undergraduate musicology course as instructor of record, with guidance of the musicology faculty.

Students should see the academic unit for a complete list of approved electives and research courses.

When approved by the student's supervisory committee and the Graduate College, this program allows 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree to be used for this degree program. Students entering the program without an earned MA degree will complete the requirements for the Master of Arts in music with a concentration in ethnomusicology or musicology.

Additional information on degree requirements for all graduate music programs may be found on the check-sheets at

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a U. S. bachelor's degree in music or a graduate degree from an accredited college or university of recognized standing in music history, musicology, ethnomusicology or music theory.

Applicants must have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee:
  2. School of Music, Dance and Theatre application
  3. official transcripts
  4. GRE scores
  5. three letters of recommendation
  6. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency. The School of Music, Dance and Theatre does not offer conditional admission under any circumstances: In order to meet English proficiency requirements, students should have a TOEFL score of at least 550 (PBT) or 80 (iBT), or an IELTS overall band score of at least 6.5, or a Pearson Test of English score of at least 60.

The School of Music, Dance and Theatre application must include a curriculum vitae, a two-page personal statement expressing the goal in pursuing this degree and two writing samples: It's preferable that each of the writing samples be a paper from a course, either an upper-level undergraduate course or a graduate course, or an article or document written by the applicant.

Students should see the program website for application deadlines.

Information about this program

Visit the School of Music website for full details.