Music Studies

The graduate program in Music Studies (Ethnomusicology, Historical Musicology, Theory) at the University of Pennsylvania serves students who intend to conduct cutting-edge research, produce high-quality scholarship, and develop teaching and professional skills in order to pursue academic positions in music studies; it also serves those who want to consider career opportunities beyond academia in both music and non-music domains. Faculty apply methodological tools from ethnomusicology, sound studies, musicology, and music theory to a wide range of research projects. 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 annual 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. 

The faculty is particularly interested in teaching and research in the following areas: Archives, Textualities, and Materialities; Audio Politics and Sound Studies; Conflict, Healing, and Displacement; Gender, Sexuality, and the Body; Global Medieval/Renaissance; the Global South; History, Memory, and Intangible Heritage; Life Forms and Forms of Life; Opera and Performance Studies; Race, Ethnicity, and Empire; and Religion, Ritual, and Secularism.