Musicology & Ethnomusicology

Degree Requirements

Doctor of Philosophy 


In the five-year Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Musicology, students have the opportunity to acquire the appropriate tools and methods of research in both historical musicology and ethnomusicology, and to study the history of music from the remote past to the present as well as the nature and function of music in the cultures of the world. This program prepares students for positions in college teaching, research, music criticism, and, with additional training, library work.




Administrative Contacts
Role Contact Person
Director of Graduate Studies, Graduate Advisor  James Buhler
Graduate Coordinator Marina Martinez
Graduate Admissions Coordinator Daniel Seriff
Scholarships & Assistantships Coordinator Anne Hall
Registrar Stephen Wray
HR Coordinator Aaron Pyle
Operations & Scheduling Page Stephens


Musicology & Ethnomusicology Division Contacts & Faculty
Role Contact Person
Division Head & Musicology Faculty Luisa Nardini
Area Counselor, Musicology Hannah Lewis
Area Counselor, Ethnomusicology Stephen Slawek
Ethnomusicology Veit Erlmann
Ethnomusicology Robin Moore
Ethnomusicology Sonia Seeman
Ethnomusicology & Musicology James Gabrillo
Musicology Charles Carson
Musicology Andrew Dell’Antonio
Musicology Alison Maggart
Musicology Guido Olivieri
Director, African American Vocal Ensemble Charles Carson
Directors, Conjunto Ensemble J.J. Barrera & Joel Guzman
Director, Hispanic Caribbean Ensemble Robin Moore
Director, Indian Classical Music & Javanese Gamelan Ensembles Stephen Slawek
Director, Mariachi Ensemble Mónica Fogelquist
Director, Middle Eastern Ensemble Sonia Seeman



Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in Musicology requires 63 hours of registered coursework, a specialized comprehensive examination, two language proficiency examinations, and a dissertation.

Major Coursework

Major Coursework for the Ph.D. in Musicology
Hours Course Number Course Title/Description
6 MUS 381J 

Topic 1: Foundations of Musicology 
Topic 2: Foundations of Ethnomusicology 

6 MUS 380  Advanced Studies in the History & Culture of Music (2 semesters) 

MUS 385J 
MUS 385 

Graduate seminars on specific topics in musicology/ethnomusicology, including two primarily ethnomusicological (11 semesters) 

Students may substitute one MUS 388x seminar in music theory or composition. 


MUS 388T or 
MUS 388M 

Analytical Techniques or 
Topic 1: Foundations of Music Theory 

9   Elective courses approved by the faculty 
6 MUS 399R/W  Dissertation 

Language Proficiency Examinations  

Musicology students are required to pass two proficiency examinations in languages other than English, normally German and a Romance language. Additional language study may be necessary, depending on the focus of the student’s research. The first language requirement should ideally be fulfilled by the end of the second semester in residence. The second language requirement must be fulfilled before advancement to doctoral candidacy, ideally by the end of the fifth semester in residence. 

Comprehensive Examination 

The Ph.D. specialized comprehensive examination consists of long-form answers to questions chosen for each student by a faculty committee. 



Advising & Registration

For information about course registration, deadlines, adding and dropping courses and other policies, visit the Graduate School Academic & Registration Policies webpage.

Students who wish to take an independent study course need to fill out a Consent Form. Once the faculty member and Graduate Coordinator have approved your request, the bar to register for the course will be lifted.

To be eligible for fellowships, scholarships and assistantships, graduate students are required to be enrolled full-time (at least 9 hours).

All international students are also required to be enrolled full-time during each long semester, regardless of whether they receive funding from the Butler School of Music.

Transferring Coursework

A new doctoral student may petition to substitute up to twelve credits of graduate level coursework completed at another institution for degree requirements at the University of Texas, subject to approval by the Butler School Graduate Studies Committee. This process must be completed during the first semester of enrollment, before the close of the fall advising period.

Courses approved for substitution typically fall into the areas of music history, theory, literature, and pedagogy, as well as chamber music.

Under normal circumstances, transferred coursework should have been completed within the four academic years prior to the start of the doctoral work at UT. The GSC will consider on a case-by-case basis whether coursework completed more than four years prior to the start of doctoral study at the Butler School can count toward the program of study.

Coursework completed for a master's degree at the University of Texas at Austin may be included in the course work for the doctoral degree without a petition form, but is subject to approval by the Graduate Studies Committee chair in Music, the candidate's supervising committee, and the Dean of Graduate Studies.



Graduation Timeline

Semester-by-Semester Overview

Prior to 1st semester

  • Take the diagnostic examinations in music history and music theory.

Semester 1

  • Review degree requirements and milestones agreement form with advisor.
  • For students who completed an MM degree before coming to UT-Austin, course transfer requests must be submitted in the first semester. If they have not been submitted by at least the advising period for spring classes (i.e. late October), the student’s registration will be barred.

Semester 2

  • Complete all required, formal coursework.
  • Successfully complete comprehensive exams (some students may wait until the 5th or 6th semester).
  • Defend dissertation prospectus.
  • Successfully complete two foreign language exams (no later than the 4th semester).

Semester 5

  • Form doctoral committee and advance to candidacy (may take place later if the comprehensive exams are delayed).
  • After an individual’s candidacy is approved, all Ph.D. students must see the Graduate Coordinator to add MUS X99W to their registration.

Semester 10-12

  • Schedule and complete final oral defense. The defense may not take place in the last week of classes. The defense must be officially scheduled with the graduate school using the Request for Final Oral Exam application.
  • After the final defense, students must obtain all committee signatures on the Report of Dissertation document supplied by the graduate school and return it to their office by the deadline listed on their website, along with any required pages.
  • All students must apply to graduate by the deadline.

For a more detailed list of program requirements and timelines, see the Milestones for each Ph.D. degree program.




BSOM Graduate Handbook 2022-23


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