UCLA's Department of Musicology is one of the most successful graduate programs in American musicology. Recent alumni of the department teach at the University of Michigan, UT Austin, UC Irvine, Michigan State, Dalhousie University, Bates College, and other schools across the nation and the world. Our intellectual community is strikingly diverse, with U.S. graduate students from all regions of the country, international students from Canada, Mexico, Holland, Bermuda, Guatemala and Korea, and visiting scholars from as far away as China and the Ukraine. UCLA graduate students are highly professional, running both a respected online journal, ECHO , and the department's Distinguished Lecture Series.

In academic year 2010 the department completed a thorough-going revision of its curriculum, including a reconsideration of our signature core courses in Scholarship, Historiography, and Criticism (Musicology 200A-C). We have also liberalized the structure of examinations and requirements, seeking to streamline further the individualized, flexible degree program that has been our hallmark. UCLA's graduate seminars are extremely varied, with topics ranging across the entire history of music, through music theory and analysis, popular music, critical theory and music, social theory and music, and performance studies.

The UCLA Musicology department normally enrolls 4-5 students per year. We accept applications for the Ph.D. only (an MA is normally awarded to eligible students after two years). The department is committed to competitive multi-year packages of support, and at the present time can usually guarantee a minimum of one year of fellowship and three plus years of teaching assistantship to incoming students. Students normally graduate 5-6 years after matriculation.

Current graduate students and bios can be found here.


The following information (and explanatory text) summarizes the graduate program requirements in Musicology at UCLA. Please email the Student Affairs Officer, Michele Yamamoto, or our Director of Recruitment, Zoe Ashmead, if you have any questions.

Official Graduate Division departmental requirements

Official Musicology Department Graduate Student Guide (PDF)

The department admits only students whose degree objective is the Ph.D. However, an M.A. degree may be earned while completing requirements for the Ph.D. We do consider applicants whose undergraduate degrees are in fields other than Music History. Applicants who already have a masters degree must have completed their M.A. degree (or the equivalent) in Music. The degree normally is in Musicology or Music History. Otherwise additional coursework, as prescribed by the department, must be completed.

Admission Timetable

December 1 — Application (including supplementary application materials) for admission/fellowship is due.

Applicants for the Ph.D. are required to submit:

  • A personal history statement describing how your background, accomplishments, and life experiences led to your decision to pursue musicology
  • A statement of purpose describing your scholarly and research area(s) of interest, experiences that contributed to your preparation in the field, and your plans for your time at UCLA and beyond
  • Three letters of recommendation from former instructors and/or professionals with whom they have worked
  • Two official transcripts from each college attended
  • Two to three writing samples that demonstrate sound scholarship, intellectual vigor, and the ability to analyze musical and cultural complexities (applicants should submit their M.A. thesis, if applicable)

No application can be considered until all of the above materials have been received. For a full list of supplemental materials and to see the full requirements for admissions please go to UCLA Graduate Division

Note: GRE General Test scores are recommended (but are not required) as part of your application. Our department code for the GRE test is: 2302.

Also, the TOEFL department code is: 19.

Master's Degree

Students are required to complete a minimum of nine courses at the 200 level, including specific requirements in musicology. The M.A. degree is offered through the comprehensive examination plan.

There is a language requirement  for this degree.

Doctoral Degree

The department offers the Ph.D. degree in the field of historical musicology. Degrees in composition, performance, and ethnomusicology and systematic musicology are offered through other departments. In addition to the M.A. course requirements, students are required to take a minimum of six courses at the 200 level, up to two of which may be from outside of the department. Students whose M.A. is not from UCLA must take the required introductory seminars in musicology and complete a minimum of eight additional courses at the 200 level. After completion of the Ph.D. coursework students take the special field examination , which includes both written and oral components. Following successful completion of that examination, students take the University Oral Qualifying Examination , which is a defense of the dissertation prospectus.

There is a language requirement for this degree.