Ethnomusicology, MA

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The MA degree with a concentration in ethnomusicology helps students develop skills in scholarship and performance, as they focus on aspects of one or more of the world's musical cultures. Students can explore performance styles outside the Western European canon through participation in world and popular music ensembles.

Faculty members include Sabine Feisst, Dave Fossum, Kay Norton, Catherine Saucier, Peter Schmelz, Ted Solis, Christopher J. Wells and faculty associate Bliss Little.

As a culminating demonstration of professional capability in the major field, the student must submit a final project that demonstrates advanced competence in research and writing in musicology or ethnomusicology. The final project may be a thesis, a series of special papers, or a written work of equivalent scope and depth.

Are you passionate about participating in multisensory learning experiences to explore instruments, identities and geographic locations of music? Discover music from many world cultures and work closely with faculty mentors in a variety of ethnomusicology specializations, including Middle Eastern, Latin American, Southeast Asian and popular music.

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The MA program in music with a concentration in ethnomusicology helps students develop skills in scholarship and performance as they focus on aspects of one or more of the world's musical cultures.

Students can explore performance styles outside the Western European canon through participation in ensembles such as Javanese gamelan, Latin marimba, mariachi, steel pan and African drumming. As a culminating demonstration of professional capability in the major field, the student must submit a final project that demonstrates advanced competence in research and writing in musicology or ethnomusicology. The final project may be a thesis, a series of special papers or a written work of equivalent scope and depth.

At A Glance

Ethnomusicology, MA

Plan of study

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

View Plan of Study

Application requirements

Application procedures + requirements

Application deadlines
Spring 2022: closed (not available)
Fall 2022: December 1, 2022

Curriculum check sheet

Check sheets break down the course requirements for each degree program.

Ethnomusicology (MA), 2021-2022

Ethnomusicology (MA), 2020-2021

Affording grad school

Music scholarships
All applicants are automatically considered for merit based scholarships, with priority given to those who audition and/or interview on-campus.

Teaching assistantships
Teaching assistantships are offered to graduate students who convey exceptional ability. Learn more about TA benefits, eligibility and application procedures.

Financial aid
ASU has many financial aid options. Almost everyone, regardless of income, can qualify for some form of financial aid. In fact, more than 70 percent of all ASU students receive some form of financial assistance every year.

Degree requirements

Required Core (13 credit hours)
MHL 532 Music Bibliography (3)
MHL 668 Introduction to Ethnomusicology (3)
MUP 587 Ethnomusicology Ensembles (2)
music theory (5)

Electives (9 credit hours)
music electives (6-9)
open electives (0-3)

Research (2 credit hours)
MHL 592 Research (2)

Culminating Experience (6 credit hours)
MHL 599 Thesis (6)

Additional Curriculum Information
MHL 592 Research is taken concurrently with the second semester of MUP 587 Ethnomusicology Ensembles.

At least 20 credit hours for the program must be in the field of ethnomusicology or related fields approved by the student's advisor, complemented by courses in music theory, performance and cultural anthropology as listed above. Appropriate elective coursework is reviewed and approved by the academic unit prior to inclusion on the student plan of study. No more than three credit hours of musicology may apply to the music electives requirement.

Completion of diagnostic exams in music history and music theory is required of all new graduate music students prior to enrollment in courses for these programs through the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre. This is tracked internally within the academic unit.

A passing grade on the foreign language exam in French, German, Italian or Spanish is required for graduation.

Additional information on degree requirements for all graduate music programs may be found on the check sheets posted under each degree here: https://musicdancetheatre.asu.edu/degree-programs/music/graduate.

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 bachelor's or master's degree, in any field, from a regionally accredited institution or from an international institution officially recognized by that country.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00="A") in the last 60 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: https://admission.asu.edu/graduate
  2. School of Music, Dance and Theatre application (including a resume, personal statement and writing sample): https://musicdancetheatre.asu.edu/admissions/music/graduate-steps-to-apply
  3. three letters of recommendation
  4. official transcripts
  5. 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: https://admission.asu.edu/international/graduate/english-proficiency. The School of Music, Dance and Theatre does not offer conditional admission under any circumstances.

A bachelor's degree in music is not required for admission to a master's program. However, all applicants without a bachelor's degree in music should contact MDTAdmissions@asu.edu for information on potential remedial courses. Remedial courses may be taken at ASU, another accredited university or a community college before or after admission to this program, but they must be completed prior to starting graduate-level course requirements in music history and music theory.

Students should see the program website for application deadlines.

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