Music: Musicology (M.A.)

Music: Musicology (M.A.)

Musicology lecture

Why get your master’s degree in musicology?

For music students who are interested in researching such topics as music’s history, social context or performance practices, the M.A. in music with a musicology option offers the needed skills for this work. Students explore the research process and enroll in three seminars focused on varying musical topics (recent topics include nineteenth-century instrumental music, John Cage and Wagner). As a final project, students write an article-length, original essay. With the M.A. in musicology, students can improve their skills and knowledge for use in research, education or performance; they are also prepared for doctoral programs in musicology or performance.

Why choose UNH for your music degree?

The department boasts a diverse group of performers, conductors, musicologists and composers—many are nationally or internationally recognized. Our musicology faculty offers expert mentoring in many periods and approaches, and the opportunities for study across fields and disciplines complement required coursework. Following a long-standing tradition among our faculty, we encourage students to pursue other areas of musical interest including applied study and performance in our many fine ensembles. Students emphasizing performance are encouraged to present recitals and lectures. We understand and recognize the need to foster well-rounded musicians who can contribute to music in all its forms.

Potential career areas

  • Academia 
  • Cinema/theatre 
  • Education 
  • Journalism 
  • Libraries 
  • Management 
  • Music theory 
  • Performance 
  • Radio/television 
  • Research 


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Curriculum & Requirements

 The Master of Arts in Musicology1 offers the opportunity for in-depth study of music history, theory, and criticism. The option is valuable to students who wish to augment undergraduate degrees in performance and/or music education with more intensive academic studies. The Department of Music has maintained a long history of excellence in music historical study and performance. Many graduates have gone on to pursue Ph.D.s and D.M.A.s in music. The M.A. in musicology offers enough electives so that students may also pursue advanced study in performance of an instrument or voice if qualified and accepted by an instructor upon a successful audition.

Completion of the program requires a written research project of substantive nature on a topic of the candidate's special interest. An alternative for some students will be a lecture-recital and written essay. Students emphasizing performance are encouraged to present public recitals in addition to the above. A final oral examination assesses the ability to apply critical thinking to music literature and to describe personal advanced independent work of particular interest.

All of the Master of Arts in Music options require 30 credit hours as well as a final project for completion of the degree.

MUSI 869Musicology Seminar 19
MUSI 891Research Seminar1-4
Supportive Courses in Music
MUSI 865Introduction to Bibliography3
MUSI 894Theory Seminar3
Select 3 credits from3
MUSI 803
Music of the Renaissance
MUSI #809
Music of the Romantic Period
MUSI 811
Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries
MUSI 815
Survey of Opera
Electives 29
Select nine credits from the following:
MUSI 871 Counterpoint
Music History Period Courses
MUSI 803
Music of the Renaissance
MUSI #809
Music of the Romantic Period
MUSI 811
Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries
MUSI 815
Survey of Opera
Applied Lessons Courses
MUSI #841
Graduate Piano
MUSI 845
Graduate Voice
MUSI 848
Graduate Cello
MUSI 852
Graduate Clarinet
MUSI 853
Graduate Saxophone
MUSI 855
Graduate Bassoon
MUSI 856
Graduate French Horn
MUSI 857
Graduate Trumpet
MUSI 860
Graduate Tuba
MUSI 861
Graduate Percussion
MUSI 895
Special Studies 3
MUSI 831
Advanced Instrumental Conducting

Concentration and Supportive Courses are required; other electives are possible with approval of department.

General Competencies for All Music MA Programs

  • Demonstrate advanced capacities to work independently and make effective artistic and intellectual judgments and professional decisions in the area of specialization by producing a final project or equivalent.
  • Demonstrate advanced competence in the area of specialization.

Additional Competencies, M.A. in Conducting

  • Demonstrate advanced competencies in conducting through studies in gestural technique, score analysis, repertoire, and regular conducting experiences with appropriate ensembles.
  • Demonstrate engagement with other fields of music outside of conducting.
  • Demonstrate professional capability by rehearsing and conducting a concert-length performance or the equivalent.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply critical thinking to music literature and to have in-depth discussions regarding specific works in the repertoire.

Additional Competencies, M.A. in Composition

  • Demonstrate advanced competencies in composition.
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge and skills in one or more related fields of music.
  • Complete a faculty approved final project.
  • Manage an advanced performance of their original composition.

Additional Competencies: MA in Musicology

  • Demonstrate advanced competencies in musicology, theory, and criticism through written work and research papers in graduate-level music history and theory courses.
  • Demonstrate appropriate competency in music theory and analysis by using the analytical tools and research concerns in music theory and analysis appropriately in writing and research.
  • Demonstrate professional capability in the major area of study by completing a final project that demonstrates advanced competence and intellectual independence in research and writing in musicology.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply critical thinking to music literature and to describe personal advanced independent work of particular interest.


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Feb. 15 (for funding); April 1 (recommended US; final international); July 1 (final)
  • Spring: Dec. 1
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: VT

Accelerated Masters: Yes (for more details see the accelerated masters information page)

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts are required for any school you earned a degree from, attended for at least one year, or attended for 2 or more semesters. Exceptions to this rule may be approved at the discretion of the program you are applying to and the UNH Graduate School Admission’s office.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Additional Department Requirements

Accelerated Masters program: Applicants must have a minimum 3.4 GPA. Applicants are required to submit 2 letters of reference from UNH Faculty. 

Additional Requirements

Entrance Exam: An exam in music theory and music history is required. The exam will be sent to you upon completion of your on-line application with the graduate school. You are required to arrange for an instructor at your current institution or similarly qualified person to proctor the exam for you. Please contact the Department of Music graduate coordinator for details. 

Writing Sample: A sample of academic writing, preferably on a musical subject, should be submitted to the Department of Music graduate coordinator, either electronically (pdf file via email) or in hard copy. This might be a paper that has been submitted for a course. 

Musicology: A reading knowledge of both German and French is strongly recommended for candidates who intend to continue on for a Ph.D. in musicology.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

The University of New Hampshire recommends that international applicants who are living outside of the United States, and are planning on pursuing a research based degree, submit a preapplication form before submitting a full application. Your preapplication request will be carefully reviewed and a decision usually provided within 3 weeks. If your preapplication is approved then it is recommended you then submit a full application. If you are currently living in the United States (on a H1B visa, etc.), or you plan on pursuing a professional master’s degree, then you do not need to submit a preapplication.

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

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