Combined M.A./Ph.D Program in Musicology & Ethnomusicology

The First Two Years

The first two years of study provide training in the practice and methodology of musicology and ethnomusicology. A minimum of 30 hours of graduate credit is required during the first two years of graduate study.

Second-Year Review; Examinations and Research Paper

During the second year of graduate study the student will be expected to:

  • Take an examination designed to test the student's knowledge of European and American music and of music theory. This will include a four-hour written examination in general music history, and a four-hour written examination in music theory.
  • Write a paper on a topic of the student’s choice, and with approval of the student’s advisor. This third-term paper should explain and review a selected topic in musicology or ethnomusicology, survey and evaluate the available literature on the topic, and identify lines of inquiry which remain to be pursued. The recommended length for this paper is 25-30 pages of prose, in addition to the bibliography, with appendices and musical examples as needed. Three copies of the paper are to be submitted to the Division of Musicology, which may require revisions before final acceptance.

The departmental evaluation of all students in the second year is based on course work completed to date, the paper, the results of the preliminary exam, and the student's prospects for continued success in the field. The department's judgment is a collective one. If the evaluation is favorable, the student may continue in the Ph.D. program. If a student has not successfully fulfilled the requirements of the second-year review, but has performed adequately in other respects, he or she will, upon completion of 36 credits of coursework, be awarded a terminal master's degree.

Students entering the program with M.A. degrees in Musicology from the University of Kentucky or other institutions may petition the departmental faculty to participate in the Second-Year Review during their first year of residency.

The Third Year

During the third year of study, the student will take additional courses in musicology, ethnomusicology, theory, and any appropriate cognate areas within or outside the music program; a limited number of these courses may be independent study in the area of specialization.

The student will take the qualifying examinations, which will consist of a special field examination in musicology or ethnomusicology, the general sense and limits of which have been discussed in advance with the prospective dissertation advisor and the student’s advisory committee. If necessary, the committee may also retest areas in which the second-year exams demonstrated deficiencies.

The Dissertation

As soon as possible after the successful completion of Qualifying Examinations, the student should submit a dissertation proposal to his/her Advisory Committee. The student will defend this proposal at a meeting of the committee, and is expected to submit any required revisions within two months.

The dissertation itself will meet all the requirements of the University of Kentucky Graduate School, and will be defended following the usual Final Examination procedures.

Course Requirements

MUS 618 - Research Methods 3
MUS 703 - Proseminar in Musicological Methods 3
MUS 700 - Medieval and Renaissance Notation 3
MUS 702 - Seminar in Musicology (variable topics) 12-18
MUS 710 - Introduction to Ethnomusicology 3
MUS 711 - Seminar in Ethnomusicology (variable topics) 3-6
Advanced Music Theory (not including MUS 578) 9
Directed electives (including independent study) 9-18
Total 54

Note: Students entering the program with a Master’s degree will be required to take 36 hours, with specific courses to be determined by the Advisory Committee based on the evaluation of coursework taken in the previous degree.

Foreign Language

All students in the combined M.A./Ph.D. program must demonstrate reading knowledge of two foreign languages. One of these is usually French or German, but they may also be other languages appropriate to the students’ research interests. The Graduate School offers reading knowledge courses in French, German, and Spanish.


Students in the M.A./Ph.D. program will work initially with an individual advisor, and then with an Advisory Committee. Please see the Graduate Advising Policies.


Please see the Musicology Funding Policies document.