Tuesday, October 29, 2019 4:30-6:00 PM
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PhD Program
MA Program

Degree Programs

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


Marié Abe
Gregory Melchor-Barz 
Michael Birenbaum Quintero
Victor Coelho
Brita Heimarck
Miki Kaneda
Rachana Vajjhala
Andrew Shenton
Jeremy Yudkin
Joshua Rifkin




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Program Description

We are a prolific, diverse, supportive, and inclusive Department, dedicated to the shared purpose of innovative, engaged, and rigorous scholarship. Our graduate program provides the disciplinary grounding, critical theoretical tools, methodological breadth and sense of engagement with the world needed to produce ethnomusicologists of the highest caliber. We offer up to 5 years of full funding for graduate students (post-Bachelor or post-Masters) and a customizable curriculum, including a combined concentration in Musicology and Ethnomusicology.
The ten full-time faculty of BU’s Department of Musicology & Ethnomusicology include four ethnomusicologists (Marié AbeMichael Birenbaum QuinteroBrita Heimarck, and Gregory Melchor-Barz) and a musicologist-ethnomusicologist (Miki Kaneda), with two affiliated faculty members based in African Studies and African American Studies. Our area specializations include sub-Saharan Africa, South and East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the United States. Ethnomusicologists work closely with our Musicology faculty, who have strong research interests in popular music, the global Early Modern period, jazz, the US 1960’s, and the avant-garde. Our theoretical focuses include sound studies, music and racial formations, global queer identities, medical ethnomusicology, violence, technology, ethnography, cultural and human geography, state cultural policy, grassroots cultural politics, ritual, secularization, modernity, cosmopolitanism, musical circulation, and historical ethnomusicology.
 Situated within a major research university, our department offers an integrated program that benefits from our close relationship with African StudiesAfrican American StudiesAsian StudiesAmerican and New England StudiesAnthropologyAsian Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Research InitiativeCenter for the HumanitiesEditorial InstituteInstitute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations, and Latin American Studies. Other resources include the Howard Gotlieb Archives (including significant collections for Cab Calloway, Charles Keil, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat Hentoff, Martin Luther King Jr., and many others) and the department’s collection of instruments from Bali, Colombia, Cuba, India, Ghana, Persia, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Senegal.
Boston University is located at an urban campus at the center of a thriving and diverse city. Boston’s concentration of colleges, universities, institutes, music institutions, tech companies, and ethnic and immigrant communities, provide a rich intellectual community and ample opportunities for local fieldwork.



Additional Resources

Undergraduate and graduate courses in ethnomusicology and world music; related anthropology, language and interdisciplinary courses.

Consortia and Cross-Registration

Students enrolled at Boston University may take courses at Boston College, Brandeis, Hebrew College and Tufts via the 1972 Inter-University Cross Registration Consortium. Check with your individual college for their particular handling of grades, registration and other errata.

Boston University's Cross Registration Consortium Guidelines for undergraduates.



Course of Study: 8 graduate-level courses (32 credits)

*denotes course required for degree 

4 Graduate Seminars in Ethnomusicology

4 Graduate Courses in Related Areas

Students will choose courses in areas such as Anthropology, Musicology, Music Education, Special Topics in Ethnomusicology, History or specific Area Studies  courses from the College of Arts and Sciences at BU, or BU Consortium courses.

  • *Proseminar in Musicology (MU739) – 3 Credits 

Additional Requirements

  • At least 2 semesters of World Music Ensemble (MU567), either as instructor or participant – .5 to 1 Credit
  • Knowledge of the undergraduate survey course Musical Cultures of the World (MU325), either as a Teaching Assistant, or by auditing the course.
  • Language - Candidates must give evidence of sufficient mastery of at least one foreign language to enable research in their area of study.
  • Master’s Thesis.
  • Time Limit - The program shall be completed within three years after the first registration for study leading to the M.A. degree. Coursework should be completed within the first 2 years, with one extra year to complete the thesis if necessary.  

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