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Best Schools with Ethnomusicology Graduate Programs: List of Schools

Ethnomusicology is a specific area of musicology that focuses on the social and cultural facets of music and dance. Learn more about which schools offer the best graduate degree programs in ethnomusicology in the US, including school locations and ranking, curriculum inclusions, and program requirements.

School Overviews

The best programs in ethnomusicology are offered by the University of California; one program is available through its Berkeley campus and the other in Los Angeles. Both locations have been independently ranked by the U.S. News & World Report among the top universities in the country. Graduate degrees include programs leading to master's and doctoral degrees. Read on for more specific information about the unique qualities of each campus' programs.

1. University of California - Berkeley

School Highlight: Students studying ethnomusicology at Berkeley can either pursue a graduate degree through the school's music department, or else focus on a specialty track in ethnomusicology through the school's graduate anthropology program.

The University of California - Berkeley (UC - Berkeley) is one of the top ethnomusicology graduate schools in the United States and the university is ranked 20th on U.S. News and World Report's 2015 list of top national universities in the United States.

Ethnomusicology students spend their graduate years preparing for research by studying cultural theory and methodology and can choose to work toward a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Ethnomusicology or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Ethnomusicology. The program is known for its expertise in cognitive studies, popular music studies, critical theory, and Asian, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern music.

2. University of California - Los Angeles

School Highlight: UCLA's department of ethnomusicology offers graduate students the option of specializing in systematic musicology, combining both empirical and philosophical elements of music studies for a comprehensive and interdisciplinary program.

The University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) is listed as the 23rd best school in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report's 2015 list of top national universities in America. Like UC - Berkeley, UCLA also offers a M.A. in Ethnomusicology and a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology.

In total, the master's degree consists of 12 credit hours and typically takes two years to complete, while the doctoral program usually takes around three years to finish. To be admitted into the Ph.D. program, students must have a M.A. degree in ethnomusicology or similar field.

The ethnomusicology program combines the social and cultural aspects of musicology with in-depth study of the music found in specific regions of the world. The faculty helps students concentrate on the structural nuances of the music and on the complexities of regional musical performances.

Top Ethnomusicology Graduate Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Arizona State University Students can perform in the university's ethnomusicology ensembles, which include groups that focus on African, Latin and Indonesian traditions Tempe, AZ
Boston University The Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology is home to the Center for Early Music Studies, which is focused on the study of music from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods Boston, MA
Harvard University Department of Music only offers a Ph.D. program in ethnomusicology at the graduate level Cambridge, MA
University of Arizona Ethnomusicology graduate students have opportunities to do fieldwork in places like Spain, Israel, Brazil and Ghana Tucson, AZ
University of Illinois - Urbana - Champaign The School of Music is home to the Center for World Music, an organization committed to the appreciation of global arts Champaign, IL
University of Maryland - College Park Graduate students have access to the School of Music's Ethnomusicology & Musicology Technology Lab, which is used to record and edit CD's, DVD's, scores etc. College Park, MD
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Ethnomusicology doctoral students work with an advisor to construct an individualized course of study Minneapolis, MN
University of Pennsylvania Ethnomusicology faculty have expertise in music of the Americas, Western Europe, Africa, and the Indian Ocean Philadelphia, PA
University of Texas - Austin School of Music publishes the Latin American Music Review, a scholarly journal for the study of Latin American music Austin, Texas
University of Virginia University's Department of Music has over 15 music ensembles and the school is home to the state's largest music library Charlottesville, VA

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