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, including methods, philosophies, and techniques of historical research methods for the analysis of music and ethnomusicological research.
Plan of Study
Entering students are normally expected to spend at least two years in full-time residence, regardless of prior graduate work, and all are subject to the same program, department, and Graduate School requirements.
There is no formal core curriculum for musicology at Princeton. Courses and seminars offered by the musicology faculty deal mostly with fields in which faculty members are actively engaged and do not attempt to survey all areas or periods. The selection of courses and seminars is made each year in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies, with the particular interests of the musicology faculty and students of that year kept in mind. Students normally take three seminars per semester, for a total of twelve over the course of their enrollment. It is possible to take a limited number of seminars in other departments, with the permission of the DGS.
In addition to active participation in courses or seminars, students are expected to familiarize themselves with the current state of musicological research and thinking through independent study as well as in consultation with faculty members. Students are also expected to take an active part in the working musicological community at large, through participation in regional, national, and international meetings and concomitant informal contacts with students and faculty at other institutions. Musicology graduate students organize and participate in a Colloquium Series each year. Graduate students and faculty also have the opportunity to present their work to the community in the Work-in-Progress Series. Graduate students from Princeton, Columbia, Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania collaborate to offer a student-sponsored conference every year.
A reading knowledge of two languages is required. The language requirement is normally satisfied by examinations administered by the appropriate language department or, if necessary the musicology faculty. Both requirements must have been passed before a student can be admitted to the general examination. Students are urged to satisfy at least one of the language requirements during the first year of graduate study. Students may wish to avail themselves of the reading courses in French, German, and Latin offered at Princeton during the summer.
Early in the second semester of the first year, each student submits to the musicology faculty a written paper based on work done in one of the fall term courses or seminars. During the second term, students are also given an examination to evaluate their control of music theory, consisting of an orally presented analysis of an assigned work from the late 18th to the early 20th century, with a week or two provided for preparation. Toward the end of the spring term, decisions about readmission to the second year of study will be made on the basis of all of the student's work to date as well as continuing promise.
The general examination for students of musicology (whether concentrating in history, theory, or ethnomusicology), normally taken in May of the second year, is in six general fields, chosen during the first three terms in consultation with and with the approval of the faculty. Fields are chosen to present a broad range chronologically, methodologically, and theoretically; it is expected that some fields will expand and complement work done in seminars, while others will cover areas studied independently. A student whose general record and performance on the general examination are satisfactory is admitted to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).
The requirements for a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree are the successful completion for all required course work (with no incompletes), the first-year paper, and the language requirements, as well as passing at least half of the general examination.
Dissertation and Final Public Oral Examinations
Students should begin considering possible doctoral dissertation subjects as soon as possible after admission to the program. Dissertation proposals should be submitted by the beginning of the spring semester of the third year of study. Reenrollment for the fourth year of study may be contingent upon approval of the dissertation proposal.
Students normally complete a draft of their Dissertation Proposals during the fall semester of their third year, participating in the Academic Writing Seminar (Music 501), when offered. Students are expected to defend their dissertation proposal during the second semester of their third year. Dissertation Proposal defenses are scheduled by Greg Smith and the DGS with the approval of the advisor. Readmission to the fourth year of study is contingent upon approval of the dissertation. Ideally, the doctoral dissertation is written during the student’s official last year in residence to ensure full and frequent consultation with the supervisor and other faculty members. When the dissertation has been completed, reviewed by two readers, seen by the entire department, and accepted, a final public oral examination is scheduled; upon its successful conclusion the student is recommended for the Ph.D.