The Ph.D. requires 54 credits of course work, up to 18 credits of dissertation research, and successful completion of a dissertation project. Students who successfully complete two years (36 credits) of course work and the projects appropriate to their concentration will be granted an M.A. at the end of their second year. Those entering with an M.A. degree may petition the department's graduate committee to transfer up to 24 graduate credits.
This program encourages students to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on music and musical culture. Seminars and independent projects examine diverse musical traditions along with the research techniques of musicology, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, and popular music studies. Working closely with faculty mentors, students approach their own research interests with a combination of the most appropriate methods from these and related fields such as performance studies, feminist and queer studies, aesthetics, religious studies, and critical theory. Students in the program write on a range of modern and historical, "popular" and "classical," American, European, and non-Western topics.
During the first two years, students ordinarily take three seminars per semester, including MUSI 811 (Introduction to Critical and Comparative Studies). During the third year, students may take an additional seminar each semester while preparing for their qualifying examinations. All students must take a non-credit course in research skills during first-year orientation, as well as demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language and mastery in a second foreign language.
In a departmental colloquium at the beginning of the second year, students present a paper based on a seminar project. Successful completion of this first-year project is required for continuation in the program. By the end of the third year, students must pass a written qualifying examination showing their capacity for research and teaching. The examination covers three fields chosen in consultation with the student's advisor and examination committee. Following passage of the qualifying examination and all other degree requirements, students begin work on the dissertation, which consists of a book-length study demonstrating original research and critical insight. The completed projects are defended in a public examination before a committee of four faculty, at least one of whom will be from another department.