Duke Music Graduate Programs

Duke University offers the A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in composition, musicology, and ethnomusicology; it also offers an A.M. in performance practice studies. Students in the A.M. programs are expected to continue toward the Ph.D. (those obtaining the A.M. in performance practice ordinarily continue toward the Ph.D. in musicology).

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    • Wet Ink with Duke graduate student composers Dan Ruccia (third from left) and David Kirkland Garner (far right).

    • Photo Credit: Sarah Griffin
    • Harpsichord project
    •  Graduate harpsichord building project

    • Graduate student graduation 2013 photo 1
    • Dan Ruccia, Angela Mace, Tim Hambourger, Karen Cook

    • Photo Credit: Angela Mace
    • Ben Daniels
    • dnme 2012
    • Photo Credit: D.L. Anderson
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Although there is no separate degree track in music theory, students may pursue doctoral research in this areas within the context of the musicology program. No graduate degrees are offered in performance, music education, or music therapy.

For a student with no prior graduate study in music, the A.M. may be obtained in three semesters of full-time study. However, the Music Department admits students to the Master's program only if it is their intention to continue toward a doctorate. The Ph.D. requires an additional year of course work (hence, a total of five semesters) and the completion of a dissertation, which takes another two to four years. Students entering with a Master's degree from another institution can expect their program to be shortened by approximately a year, provided that the M.A. degree is not more than six years old.

Students have much opportunity for contact with members of the faculty and for individualized instruction. Currently the department has thirty-some graduate students in residence (with a few more abroad for dissertation research) and a full-time graduate faculty of fourteen, hence a very favorable student-faculty ratio. Degree programs are comparatively flexible and to a large extent can be tailored to a student's special interests. Individual objectives can be met through a wide choice of courses in music history, ethnomusicology, composition, theory, analysis, and performance practice (including projects with performing artists on the departmental faculty), as well as courses in other disciplines.

For additional information, answers to your questions, and/or application forms, please contact , Director of Graduate Studies.

Bryan Gilliam's book nominated for Kurt Weill Prize

    • Rounding Wagner cover
Bryan Gilliam's book, Rounding Wagner's Mountain: Richard Strauss and Modern German Opera (Cambridge), has been nominated for the Kurt Weill Prize. Awarded biennially by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, the Kurt Weill Book Prize encourages distinguished scholarship in the disciplines of music, theater, dance, literary criticism and history…
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Congratulations to our graduates and departmental award winners

    • Harish Eswaran
Major in Music Harish Eswaran Graduation with Distinction for his Senior Violin Recital which featured his original composition, “Carnatic Concerto” for Carnatic & Western Violin with Violin, Cello, and Mridangam. (Performed with Abigail Lin, Michael Lin, violins; Arjun Raghavan, mridangam; Won-Ji Lee, cello; and the composer, Harish Eswaran, Carnatic…
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Ben Folds and yMusic collaborate with graduate composers

    • Ben Folds and graduate composers
In April 2015, Visiting Artist ensemble yMusic rehearsed arrangements of pop musician Ben Folds' original songs written by graduate students in the music department at Duke University for their upcoming tour. Over the last two years, yMusic has performed, recorded and collaborated with both undergraduate and graduate composition students…
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