Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology

Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements: Ethnomusicology

The interdisciplinary field of Ethnomusicology is concerned with understanding music as a global and social phenomenon, and as a creative and political practice. Universities engaged in the professional training of ethnomusicologists have developed programs with differing emphases, reflecting, in part, the specialties of the faculty and their distinctive approaches to the concerns of the field. Programs variously strike a balance between the ethnographic and musicological. The Duke Ethnomusicology track is designed with the versatility to accommodate students’ diverse interests. Those who envision conducting research that primarily intersects with other musical subfields can utilize the multi-faceted training available within Duke’s small music graduate program. Students whose primary interest lies in linking music studies to the interpretive social sciences and global humanities can exploit Duke’s lateral opportunities and interdisciplinary relationships.

Course Requirements

  • 15 Courses (45 units) of graduate instruction.  The required courses include:
    • MUSIC 790S-2 Studies in Ethnomusicology
    • CULANTH 801S (Theoretical Foundations of Cultural Anthropology) and CULANTH 802S (Fieldwork Methods: Cultural Analysis and Interpretation) OR two other sequential courses from the humanities or interpretative social sciences approved in advance by the DGS.
    • 12 additional elective graduate courses, at least four of which should be taken in the Department of Music, and three in another single discipline. 
    • At least three courses need to focus on the geographical area that is to be featured in your dissertation.

Registration Requirements

The Graduate School requires six semesters of “full-time” registration regardless of the number of courses taken or residence.    

No more than one semester may be waived for a completed Master’s degree.

Teaching Requirement

Classroom teaching is an integral part of the doctoral program. All graduate students will be required to complete eight semesters of teaching as a Teaching Assistant or Instructor of Record. (Note: This requirement applies to all students entering the program in Fall 2017 and later.) For the Ethnomusicology track, this requirement begins immediately in the first semester of the first year of study. 

Examinations and Dissertation

The Graduate School requires six semester of "full-time" registration regardless of the number of courses taken or residence.

Example Program of Study in Ethnomusicology

The following represents a typical program for students entering the doctoral program in Ethnomusicology, which begins with en route A.M. requirements and then proceeds to Ph.D. requirements. You may apply to receive an A.M. diploma en route to the Ph.D. The A.M. will be awarded after successful completion of the Portfolio Workshop, which will serve as the A.M. exam. The committee may recommend that a student receive a terminal A.M. if the student is not admitted to Ph.D. candidacy.

Semester Typical Course of Study
Year 1
  • Coursework
  • Teaching Assistantship begins
  • Begin developing portfolio using work from courses
  • Submit mini-portfolio by end of first year
Year 2
  • Coursework
  • Field Specializations Workshop
Year 3
  • Complete the portfolio
  • Prepare final version of a dissertation prospectus
  • Portfolio Workshop
  • Foreign Language exam
    (Note: Foreign language exam must be successfully completed before the portfolio workshop. Students are strongly encouraged to take it in the first or second year.)
Year 4
  • Dissertation research
Year 5
  • Dissertation writing
Following Years
  • Pay fees only (until completion of degree)
  • Final Examination (dissertation defense)
        (Ph.D. Degree)