Ph.D. in Musicology

Doctor of Philosophy Degree Requirements: Musicology

The five-year doctoral program in Musicology at Duke includes a Master of Arts degree en route to the Ph.D. Admission to the Ph.D. program is not automatically granted upon the student’s completion of the requirements of the A.M. degree, but is restricted to those students who have demonstrated the ability to do independent and original doctoral work in the field of Musicology. After passing the Qualifying Examination, the student will be notified regarding acceptance in the doctoral program. Students who wish to receive an en route A.M. in Performance Practice from Duke must also satisfy all course requirements for the en route A.M. in Musicology. Upon successful completion of the en route A.M., a diploma can be requested.


  • Seventeen courses (51 units) of graduate instruction. The required courses include:
    • Three courses in Musical Analysis: MUSIC 560, 561, and 562
    • Nine electives chosen from the following Ethnomusicology and Musicology courses: MUSIC 551, 552, 553, 554, 555, 556, 790S-1, 790S-2
    • Four additional elective graduate courses taken in or outside the Department of Music, as approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
    • Major Field Independent Study
    • Optional: Performance Practice Track
No more than four courses (12 units) of a completed Master’s degree may be accepted for transfer from another institution.
After the first year, graduate electives can be taken outside the Department of Music as approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. The DGS will consider the student’s academic record within the Department and his/her reasons for enrolling in extra-departmental courses.

Registration requirement

The Graduate School requires six semesters of “full-time” registration regardless of 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.)

Examinations and Dissertation

Example Program of Study in Musicology

The following represents a typical program for students entering the doctoral program in Musicology, which begins with en route A.M. requirements and then proceeds to Ph.D. requirements.

Semester Typical Course of Study
Semester 1  (12 units)
  • Four graduate courses in music (including MUSIC 560, 561, or 562 as offered)
  • Diagnostic Examination
  • First Foreign Language Examination
Semester 2  (12 units)
  • Four graduate courses in music (including MUSIC 560, 561, or 562 as offered)
Semester 3  (9 units)
  • Three graduate courses in music (including MUSIC 560, 561, or 562 as offered)
  • Second Foreign Language Examination
Semester 4  (9 units)
  • Two graduate courses in music
  • Qualifying Exam Part1: Major Field Independent Study and Major Field Exam
Semester 5  (9 units)
  • Three graduate courses in music
  • Qualifying Exam Part 2: Comprehensive Exam
Semester 6
  • Preliminary Examination (Dissertation Prospectus)

Semesters 7, 8, 9 and 10

  • Pay fees only (until completion of degree)
  • Final Examination (dissertation defense)

       (Ph.D. Degree)