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
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    •  Graduate harpsichord building project

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

    • Photo Credit: Angela Mace
    • Ben Daniels
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    • 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.

Kirsten Santos Rutschman receives Fulbright Award for 2015-16

    • kirsten santos rutschman
Musicology graduate student Kirsten Santos Rutschman has received the Fulbright U.S. Student Award. She will spend the 2015-16 academic year in Sweden, mainly in Stockholm and Uppsala, fostering mutual understanding through cultural exchange and conducting archival research for her dissertation on "Concepts of Folk in Nineteenth-Century Swedish Art Music.”…
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Alumni News: Summer 2015

An excellent article from Duke Magazine features three of our alumni composers: George Lam (Ph.D. '11), Bill Cunliffe ('78) and Michael Ching ('80). Carl Schimmel's (Ph.D. 2008) work, "Two Variations on Ascent into the Empyrean," was one of seven new pieces selected for the American Composers Orchestra's 24th Annual…
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John Supko on NOW Ensemble's new CD "Dreamfall"

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John Supko's piece, "divine the rest," is featured on NOW Ensemble's new CD Dreamfall (New Amsterdam Records). Dreamfall is "the fourth full-length release and third album of chamber repertoire from New York City new music mainstays NOW Ensemble. Sprawling in scope and ambition, the 76-minute album features seven composers…
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