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Doctor of Philosophy in Ethnomusicology

Three to Five Year Degree (60-30)

The Supervisory Committee creates the Doctor of Philosophy program for each student in order to fulfill the best interests of that student’s education.  Therefore, it is important that a student form a Supervisory Committee as soon as possible after entering the doctoral program.  It is the responsibility of the Supervisory Committee to assure an appropriate program of study for each student.  Program requirements assume an academic background equivalent to a master’s degree.  See the master’s degree program requirements.  The Graduate School requires ninety (90) credits for the doctoral degree, sixty (60) of which must be taken at the University of Washington.  With the approval of the degree-granting unit, thirty (30) credits from an appropriate master’s degree may be counted toward the total enrollment requirement. In addition to coursework at the master’s level, the following is a breakdown of coursework required for the doctoral degree.

Major Area: 60-63  
AIS 503, Documentary Form, Theory, and Practice, OR other approved video documentation course, 5 credits 5
MUSED 552, World Music Education, 3 credits 3
Ethnography of Music or Selected Topics Courses, at least 3 credits, selected from:
      MUSIC 428, 433, 439, 445, 446, 480, 540
MUSIC 512, Seminar in Ethnomusicology, two courses for 6 credits 6
589, World Music (2 credits ea.), OR MUSEN 589, World Music Ensemble (1 credit ea.), for at least three quarters 3-6
Complete at least 9 credits of interdisciplinary electives at the 400- or 500-level from such disciplines/fields as Music History, Theory, Education, Anthropology, Area Studies, and/or other appropriate departments and disciplines. Propose course to mentor / chair for pre-approval.
MUSAP 599, 1 credit, every Autumn Quarter during coursework and General Exam preparation 1

Doctoral Examination preparation, MUSIC 600 (3 credits)

MUSIC 800, Dissertation Writing. A student must register for a minimum of 27 credits of dissertation writing over a period of at least three (3) quarters. At least one of the three quarters must come after the student has passed the General Examination. (See under Final Examination). 27
Electives: 27-30  

Total Credits: 90

  • Language: The study of the foreign language begun for the MA requirements should be continued and periodically assessed.  PhD students are advised to study a second language as it pertains to fieldwork and to propose a study plan that is approved by the supervisory committee chair.
  • General Examination: The examination may not be taken until after all course and language requirements have been fulfilled. The General Examination consists of written and oral examinations. Written examinations are in the following four general subjects:  Area 1, Area 2, Interdisciplinary area, and General listening. Typically a different committee member supervises Area 1, Area 2 and the Interdisciplinary Area (that is, one committee member per subject), and the chair of the supervisory committee typically supervises the General Listening area.  The written exam will last one week, and the student will receive a question/prompt on a different subject area each day.  The student will typically receive the question in the morning (or agreed upon time) and submit approximately 5-8 hours later.  In each area, the committee member responsible will guide the student in preparing questions for the written exam. The oral examination is scheduled after the student has successfully completed the written examinations. Doctoral students should have their committee established at least four months before the General Examination. The student submits the online General Examination request to the Graduate School three weeks before the exam. The Graduate School requires completion of 60 credits of coursework (including coursework taken for the master’s degree) prior to the General Examination, 18 of which must be from the 500-level or above and 18 of which are from the 400-level or above and numerically graded.
  • Final Examination: The UW Ethnomusicology program acknowledges the diversity of methodologies and formats that doctoral students may choose from in designing and carrying out their PhD research. In addition to the traditional type of ethnographic monograph that is most common in our field, other kinds of projects (including but not limited to ethnographic films, exhibitions or community-based participatory research) are potentially valid forms for the dissertation. What is important is that the student be able to clearly articulate the methodology and theory behind the research, and the ways that it advances knowledge in the field of Ethnomusicology and other disciplines. To that end the dissertation, regardless of the form it takes, must include a substantial written component that explains its methodology, relates its findings to other research in the field, and identifies its original contributions. The length, content and form of this written document will be determined in consultation with the committee.

    Before carrying out their dissertation research, doctoral candidates in Ethnomusicology must first submit a formal prospectus to their committee for approval, to ensure that the project is viable and that faculty on the committee feel qualified to evaluate the research. If a graduate student wants to present their dissertation in the form of a film, for example, the committee would need to include people who are knowledgeable about film. Graduate students will also want to consider how the format of their dissertation will be received in the professional circles they aspire to join, and how it might impact their job prospects.

    Students must submit a draft of the dissertation to the Reading Committee no later than five (5) weeks before the Final Examination date.  Once the Reading Committee has read a draft of the dissertation and agrees that it is ready to defend, the student submits the online Final Examination request to the Graduate School
    no later than three (3) weeks before the exam date.  See the Graduate School home page,, for information on formatting the exam, turning in the dissertation, etc. A student must satisfy the Graduate School’s requirements for the degree at the time the degree is to be awarded.

Rev. 12/22

Doctor of Philosophy in Ethnomusicology Degree Program Sheet (PDF)