Degrees Offered:

Bachelor of Arts/Science (B.A./B.S.) *Not currently offered

Please note: The theory and history options within the music major are under review and may be changed.  During this time, we are not admitting new students to these options.  Current School of Music students who officially declared one of these options by Spring 2012 will be able to complete the current program.

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements

Admission Requirements

Please see information on the School of Music Application Process.

For admission, you will audition on your major instrument or voice for the appropriate faculty. The performance audition is for admission into the School of Music, not into the performance studio. (Private lessons are not required for the theory, history or composition major and would be available only if space would permit.)  Please visit Areas of Study for audition requirements for your instrument or voice.

Official acceptance into the History program will be determined after completion of second-year music theory (221/222); one year of music history (211/212); and a written petition to the Music History Area. For details and requirements, please see Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements.

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Music History

The M.A. program in musicology encourages graduate students to gain a broad background in musical repertories and musicological methods. Beyond a full complement of courses surveying particular periods of European music history, we offer courses in American music, popular musics, African-American music, gender studies, and performance practice. Students at the master’s level are also encouraged to broaden their backgrounds in music theory and interdisciplinary options outside of the School of Music. The two-year program culminates in a thesis, usually an expansion of work begun as a seminar paper, as well as a comprehensive examination covering all periods of music history. A reading knowledge of German is required for the M.A. degree.

Degree Overview [See Worksheet for specifics]

  • Seminars (660-411 through 660-419, 821, 822, 660-900 level), 15 cr.
  • Colloquium (660-900), 0 cr.
  • Music Research Methods and Materials (660-619), 3 cr.
  • Masters Thesis (660-990), 2 cr.
  • Graduate-level Music Theory, 6 cr.
  • Electives, 7 cr.
  • Language: German at intermediate level (credits and method of completion varies)
Admission Requirements

Please submit along with your School of Music Application:

* Substantial papers on historical or theoretical subjects for review by the area faculty.

* Scores from the general GRE exam.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Historical Musicology

In the Ph.D. program, doctoral students immerse themselves within the various critical methodologies of the discipline, choose an area of research specialization, and pursue intensive studies in a related minor area. Recent seminars have addressed The Earliest Motets, The Tams-Whitmark Collection, Rousseau musicien, the Concerti of J.S. Bach, Wagner’s Die Meistersinger, and Stravinsky’s Ballets. After two years of coursework, doctoral students write the preliminary examination, demonstrating detailed knowledge of a 200-year period of music history and scholarship surrounding the student’s area of specialization. A reading knowledge of German and one other foreign language is required for the Ph.D. degree. We regard teaching experience as a vital part of graduate training, and many of our students serve as Teaching Assistants at some point during their studies.

Degree Requirements [see Worksheet for specifics]

  • Musicology Seminars (660-911 required each semeater; 660-821/822, 660-799), 21 cr.
  • Colloquium (660-900), 0 cr. (required each semester)
  • Music Research Methods and Materials (660-619), 3 cr.
  • Seminar in Notation (660-923), 3 cr.
  • Music Theory/Music Education, 3 cr.
  • Minor, 10-12 cr.
  • Language: Two languages at intermediate level (credits and method of completion varies)

Admission Requirements

Please submit along with your School of Music Application:

*substantial papers on historical or theoretical subjects for review by the area faculty.

*scores from the general GRE exam.

Doctoral Minor – Required for all Doctoral programs

The purpose of the doctoral minor is to add breadth and depth to the D.M.A or Ph.D degree. To insure coherence a minor program must be approved by the appropriate department, a student’s advisor, or the Director of Graduate Studies, and must include courses at the 300-level or above. Typically, a minor requires 12 credits of work.

Students have a variety of options, including completing an internal minor within the School of Music (e.g., Ph.D. in music theory who minors in clarinet performance), completing a minor in a department outside the School of Music (e.g., a D.M.A. in horn performance who minors in Women’s Studies or a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology who minors in East Asian studies).

Students may, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, devise a distributed minor that brings together courses from a variety of departments around a particular topic or area of interest. For example, a D.M.A. student in voice devises a minor in vocal health that includes courses in communicative disorders, or a Ph.D. student in musicology devises a minor in Medieval History that includes courses in art history, history, and languages.


Diversity of approach and breadth of expertise distinguish graduate study in musicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Our small and flexible program provides a supportive environment within which to pursue imaginative research grounded in close interaction and cooperation among graduate students and their faculty colleagues. Our commitment to interdisciplinary research encourages students to develop original approaches that draw on recent work in history, anthropology, and cultural theory.

The curriculum is innovative and wide-ranging, with course offerings in archival and source studies, notation, the construction of music theories, genre, influence and reception, performance practice, race and gender, music criticism, music as intellectual history, and music as social practice. Graduate students may complement their music studies with courses in a wide range of related disciplines that at the doctoral level constitute the minor. Within the School of Music, possible minors include performance, composition, and music education. Other possible minors include anthropology, international studies, women’s studies, Afro-American Studies, artificial intelligence and computer science, cognitive psychology, linguistics, curriculum and instruction, philosophy, comparative literature, critical and cultural studies, history, art history, history of science, and theater and drama.

In all cases, our graduate program seeks both to deepen and widen the domain of musical discourse and to encourage students to follow their own intellectual inclinations and to discover their own musical voices. Students are encouraged to become active in their chosen fields at both the regional and national level.