Best Ethnomusicology Graduate Schools and Programs

Ethnomusicology allows you to explore world music forms in a social context. This interdisciplinary field goes to the core of traditional cultural expression. Check out the following top schools to learn more about graduate programs in ethnomusicology and how to choose one that meets your needs. See what your program options are at three top schools, why they're worth looking into, and what you'll learn. Schools offering Ethnomusicology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look For in a Top Ethnomusicology Graduate Program?

If you're interested in studying a specific type of music - like Amazon rainforest music - you'll want a knowledgeable mentor in an institution with a complementary area studies program. If your interests are more general, you could look for at least two full-time, permanent ethnomusicologists who are part of a school's faculty.

You might seek advice from the Society of Ethnomusicology. Some schools offer special archives, publication opportunities, institutes and performance programs. Choose the one that best fits your goals of becoming an academic, music curator, music librarian or an employee of a public outreach group, like the National Endowment for the Arts.

What Are Three Top Ethnomusicology Graduate Schools?

University of California in Los Angeles

The University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) was the Times Higher Education sixteenth-ranked world university for 2016 ( The university earned first place in the 2010 National Research Council rankings for musicology programs ( UCLA's music specialties faculty was ranked fifth in scholarly productivity by the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2007 ( and tied for 23rd place in the US News and World Report's best colleges category for 2016.

The ethnomusicology department maintains an ethnomusicology archive with field recordings from all over the world. It publishes reports, DVDs, videotapes and songbooks as well as an e-newsletter. Graduate students edit UCLA's peer-reviewed Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology.

UCLA also offers an active schedule of guest world music performances. You'll have opportunities to combine your academic coursework with participation in any of eleven ensembles featuring music from Bali to the Near East. Graduate degrees include:

  • Master of Arts (M.A.) in Ethnomusicology
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Ethnomusicology

Indiana University in Bloomington

According to the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities, Indiana University (IU) ranked in the top 250 among all of the universities in the world ( Its music faculty was ranked first for scholarly productivity in music specialties, according to a 2007 Chronicle of Higher Education article ( Its musicology program placed in the National Research Council's top ten for 2010.

You'll have access to resources like the Archives of Traditional Music, African American Music and Culture and the Ethnomusicology Institute. Your department's core faculty includes over 15 folklorists and ethnomusicologists, plus research associates and joint faculty with interests ranging from hip-hop to Israeli performance ethnography.

You'll study at least one foreign language and meet a fieldwork requirement. IU graduates work for major universities and public outreach groups like the University of Illinois and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Several graduate degrees are offered, including:

  • M.A. in Ethnomusicology
  • M.A. in Ethnomusicology/Master of Library Science (M.L.S.)
  • M.A. in Ethnomusicology/Master of Information Science (M.I.S.)
  • M.A. in Journalism/ M.A. in Folklore/Ethnomusicology
  • M.A. in Arts Administration and Folklore/Ethnomusicology:
  • Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology

University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas at Austin (UT) was tied at 52nd place out of 400 in the U.S. News & World Report best colleges category in 2016 ( Its faculty ranked sixth in scholarly productivity for music specialties, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education 2007 review ( UT's Butler School of Music publishes two scholarly journals - Latin American Music Review and Asian Music. Its musicology/ethnomusicology program has 15 full-time faculty members.

UT's Center for American Music houses the Texas Music Oral History Project and other collections ranging from Aaron Copland manuscripts to private Leadbelly recordings. Students can participate in Javanese, Middle Eastern, South American, Caribbean and other ensembles. Completion of a foreign language proficiency exam is required prior to graduation. Multiple funding options may be available through university fellowships.

  • Master of Music (M.M.) in Ethnomusicology
  • Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology

Best Musicology Graduate School Programs

College/University Institution TypeLocation
University of Florida 4-year, Public Gainesville, FL
Tufts University 4-year, Private Medford, MA
University of Kentucky 4-year, Public Lexington, KY
Michigan State University 4- year, Public East Lansing, MI
Boston University 4-year, Private Boston, MA
University of California--Berkeley 4- year, Public Berkeley, CA
Pennsylvania State University 4- year, Public University Park, PA
University of California--Los Angeles 4- year, Public Los Angeles, CA
Wesleyan University 4-year, Private Middleton, CT.
University of Virginia4- year, Public Charlottesville, VA

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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