Information for Applicants in Musicology
Thank you for your interest in Princeton's graduate program in musicology.
Musicology embraces the study of history, theory, and practice of music from many points of view; graduate study in musicology may cover approaches such as historical and ethnographic investigation as well as music theory, hermeneutics, and criticism. Students are expected to become familiar with a wide range of areas: methods, philosophies, and techniques of historical research methods for analysis of music and ethnomusicological research. There is no formal core curriculum for musicology at Princeton; courses and seminars offered by the musicology and composition faculty deal mostly with fields in which faculty members are actively engaged, and thus provide graduate students with a rich variety of methods and approaches in a lively intellectual environment. Students are encouraged to take advantage of course offerings in the Composition Program, and may also wish to explore interdisciplinary studies through Princeton’s rich offerings across the Humanities. There are no degree programs in performance or music education; the department does, however, maintain a non-degree program in musical performance instruction available to both graduate and undergraduate students.
A few specific points you should note: students are usually in residence at Princeton for the first two years of study, after which time they undertake the General Examination. Successful completion of the General Examination admits a student to candidacy for a Ph.D. in the third year of study. Possession of a Master's degree from another institution does not affect this timetable; all entering students share the same status. The application deadline for admission usually falls on December 31. Supporting materials must include the Graduate Record Examination (the advanced test in music is not necessary), and the Test of English as a Foreign Language, if applicable. See the Graduate School Website for more details on admissions requirements, including the procedure for completing an online application.
Students are encouraged to visit Princeton during the fall semester before your application is due. This gives you an opportunity to meet informally with one or two faculty members in order to discuss whether or not our program is a good match for you. We encourage you to visit during one of our special Visiting Days. For further information on campus visits, please contact Greg Smith
Your application should include at least one or two samples of your best writing that will give the faculty a sense of your potential as a scholar, your ability to do original research, to craft a persuasive argument, and to write sensitively and engagingly about music. You need not to have chosen an area of specialization. Some musicology students arrive at Princeton with a clear idea of what they might ultimately want to examine in their dissertations, while others may have multiple interests or want to use their two years of seminars to experiment with different repertories or approaches. Your personal statements, however, should provide the faculty with a good idea of the kinds of approaches, topics, and repertories that particularly interest you and why you would like to study at Princeton.