Music: Ethnomusicology, PhD

Ethnomusicology at Penn reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the field, combining approaches from anthropology, musicology, folklore, literary theory, religious studies, linguistics, critical theory, and gender studies in order to interrogate the webs of meaning within which music resonates. Faculty are pursuing research centrally concerned with diaspora, music and trauma, jazz in world perspective, post-coloniality, tourism and mobility studies, sound studies, applied ethnomusicology, and popular music studies. Areas of expertise for our faculty encompass the Americas, Western Europe, Africa, and the Indian Ocean. 

The Department of Music at the University of Pennsylvania offers Ph.D.programs in three other fields of study besides Ethnomusicology: Musicology, Theory, and Composition. The goal of the graduate program is not to entrench these disciplinary distinctions, but rather to seek out productive and innovative means of placing them in dialogue with each other. This orientation toward holding all of the sub-disciplines in view is reflected in the graduate curriculum as well as in the multiple colloquium series that animate departmental life. The curriculum is designed with flexibility in mind—designed specifically to offer students the freedom to craft a path of study that best addresses the research needs and methodological concerns of their particular dissertation projects. It combines the wide range of courses offered by the world-class faculty in the music department with the possibility of enrolling in seminars in other Penn departments and taking classes at consortium schools such as Princeton, Yale, and Columbia. Our colloquium series provides another means of engaging in both disciplinary and interdisciplinary conversations. In addition, workshops, public performances, and working papers presented by graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and faculty offer a wide range of perspectives on musical practice and scholarship, focusing variously on public lives in music, current research, craft and compositional issues.

View the University’s Academic Requirements for PhD Degrees.

Required Courses

The total course units required for graduation is 20. A minimum of 12 course units must be taken at the University of Pennsylvania.

Core Requirements
MUSC 605Anthropology of Music1
Select one of the following:1
Texts and Material Culture
Aesthetics and Criticism
Historical and Historiographic Approaches
The Interpretation of Oral Traditions
Studies in Medieval Music
Studies in Renaissance Music
Studies in Baroque Music
Studies in Classical Music
Studies in Romantic Music
Studies in Twentieth-Century Music
Seminar in Afro-American Music
Select one of the following:1
Creative and Compositional Approaches
Analytical Methods: Twentieth-Century Music
Analytical and Theoretical Approaches
Studies in Music Theory and Analysis
MUSC 650Ethnographic and Anthropological Approaches1
MUSC 705Seminar in Ethnomusicology1
MUSC 705Seminar in Ethnomusicology1
MUSC 799Guided Reading in Musical Scholarship (or elective)1
MUSC 802Teaching World Musics (or elective)1
Select four electives 14
Concentration Requirement
MUSC 999Independent Study and Research1
MUSC 994Preparation of Ph.D. Proposal1
Select two Anthropology of Music courses 22
Select four electives 34
Total Course Units20

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2020 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.