MA in Music History

Composition by Mozart.

The MA in Music History offers a broadly interdisciplinary, humanistic approach to musical scholarship. From the first semester, students participate in a central component of this degree track: the musicology seminar. By engaging with music through primary sources, analysis and critique of style, and in wider historical, cultural and philosophical contexts, graduate students develop their own unique questions about the capacity for music to both shape and be shaped by the social condition in which it was created, as well as interpretations and applications past, present and future.  

Courses are taught by distinguished Department of Music faculty whose scholarly work has been featured in many of the leading English-language journals, including The Journal of the American Musicological Society, Early Music History, The Musical Quarterly, Music and Letters, Popular Music, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, Women and Music and The Journal of Musicological Research. Generally, students complete the degree after two years of full-time study, with the fourth semester dedicated to the thesis. The timeline is also flexible to accommodate students with employment or other commitments.

Within a close, collegial atmosphere, students form supportive relationships with their peers. Encouraged to share research, attend performances by fellow students, and participate in professional development opportunities together—such as conferences with the American Musicological Society (AMS) —our graduate students leave the department equipped with a strong network of professional contacts.

Regardless of whether a student’s background is in academic or performance-based music, the MA in Music History serves as excellent preparation for both a doctoral degree and a myriad of career opportunities

Course Requirements

The following is the approved normal course of study for students pursuing the MA in Music History. In all cases, a student's particular program should be determined in consultation with his/her academic advisor.  Customized tracks, involving substitutions for required and elective courses, are encouraged. Students may also take cognate courses outside the Department of Music to augment their areas of interest. These must be planned in advance with the advisor and will require the approval of the Music Department Graduate Committee.

Courses Credits
MUS 515/517, 525-530 Seminars in Musicology (3 courses) 12-14
MUS 618 Bibliography 4
MUS 625 or 626 Notation 4
Music Theory Elective 4
Foreign Language (See below.)  
Thesis 0-8
Total 32

foreign language requirement

Reading proficiency in German. 


The student must submit a final project that demonstrates advanced competence in research and writing. This project may be a thesis, a series of special papers, or a written work of equivalent scope and depth.

Retention standards

All degree coursework must be completed with grades of "A," B," or "S."


Contact professor James Currie, Musicology Area Coordinator

James Currie

Director of Graduate Studies; Associate Professor (Historical Musicology); Area Coordinator, Historical Musicology

Department of Music

306 Baird Hall

Phone: (716) 645-0629