Graduate Program

The NYU Graduate Program in Music is designed for the professionally minded student who plans a career combining college-level teaching with continuing research and/or composition. We feature three degree tracks: Ethnomusicology, Historical Musicology, and Composition and Theory, but student research and interests are not expected to conform to narrow interpretations of these tracks. Indeed, our students work on a wide variety of topics including jazz, popular music, film music, world musical traditions, western art music, and musical theater. Recent graduates hold academic appointments in some of the most prestigious universities in the United States and Canada, and are making distinguished contributions to scholarship and musical composition on both the national and international levels.

The Graduate Program in Music is deliberately small, admitting six to eight students each year. The curriculum is research oriented; most courses are concerned with extending the boundaries of current knowledge.


Students are admitted to the department's graduate program on the basis of a superior academic record (as evidenced by transcripts and letters of recommendation) and demonstration of scholarly and/or creative promise (as evidenced by samples of scholarly writing or composition).

Applicants must hold (or be in the process of receiving) the B.A., B.M., or an equivalent degree, and their undergraduate careers should include a strong background in the liberal arts and a special emphasis on music.

For applicants in Composition/Music Theory: Two or three music samples that demonstrate recent work are required. For notated music samples, a recording should also be included. Submitted samples may include electroacoustic or multimedia works, in which case there is typically no score. A short writing sample of 5-15 double-spaced pages, on any musical topic, is also required.

For applicants in Ethnomusicology or Historical Musicology: One or two written papers that demonstrate analytical and writing abilities are required. These will play a major role in the admission decision.

Applicants must also submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

For more information, please refer to our Admissions FAQs.

Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy

All graduate students in the Department of Music are enrolled for the Ph.D. degree and take a total of 72 credits of course work. However, after completing 36 points of credit, passing the general examination and one language examination, students are eligible for the M.A. as an interim degree. The M.A. degree is not automatically awarded; students must apply for it. However, we strongly recommend that qualified students take the degree and that they apply for it as soon as they are eligible. The application should be made well in advance of the date of the degree; the deadlines for degree registration (available in Fall, Spring, and Summer terms) are listed on the GSAS Academic Calendar.

Please refer to the GSAS Bulletin for more detailed information pertaining to GSAS Registration and Degree Requirements.

Director of Graduate Studies

Professor J. Martin Daughtry