Graduate Program Overview

Through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Music at Columbia University offers one of the top doctoral programs in academic musicology (PhD in Ethnomusicology, Historical Musicology and Music Theory) and Composition (DMA) in the United States. In the past decade, in spite of an often challenging academic job market in the humanities fields, a significant majority of our graduates go on to professional careers. We are committed to the professional development of our students, and expect them to be committed to their own professional goals as scholars, teachers and composers.

The Musicology program incorporates three areas: Ethnomusicology, Historical Musicology and Music Theory. Within these areas, research and teaching focus on a wide range of topics, including music history in the West, non-Western musics and cultures, popular and urban musics, jazz, analytical methods, music cognition, music aesthetics, and the philosophy of music. An application is made to one of these areas, each with its own degree requirements. The Musicology program is supported by a first-class library, the Gabe Wiener Music & Arts Library, located in Dodge Hall, as well as the extensive sound archives of the Center for Ethnomusicology. The department is home to the oldest and most prestigious academic music journal edited by graduate students, Current Musicology.

The program in Composition offers instruction to a small number of highly qualified candidates working in a variety of contemporary styles and media. Its degree requirements differ significantly from Musicology. The Composition program is enhanced by its association with the renowned Columbia Computer Music Center, which includes state-of-the-art facilities for working in electroacoustic music. Columbia Composers, a student-directed organization, offers opportunities for public performances of compositions in various concert facilities in New York City. Other opportunities for students to hear their work are available through the professional ensembles.