Music: Musicology (M.A.)

Music: Musicology (M.A.)

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 

Request Information

We use text messages to communicate important event and application information (msg and data rates may apply).

Curriculum & Requirements

 The Master of Arts in Musicology 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.

This degree program has final approval from the National Association of Schools of Music.

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 801
Topics in Music History
MUSI #815
Survey of Opera
Electives 29
Select nine credits from the following:
MUSI #871 Counterpoint
Musicology Courses
MUSI 801
Topics in Music History 4
MUSI 813
Art Song
MUSI #815
Survey of Opera
Applied Lessons Courses
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

Enroll in MUSI 869 Musicology Seminar three times, usually with three different instructors.


Normally, electives will be chosen only from offerings within the Department of Music. Students wishing to enroll in electives outside the department are permitted to do so in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Music.


MUSI 895 Special Studies may be used to enroll in large and studio ensembles for a total of 6 credits.


MUSI 801 Topics in Music History can be repeated for credit, each semester with a different topic and/or different instructor.

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

This graduate program is approved to be taken on an accelerated basis in articulation with certain undergraduate degree programs.

General Accelerated Master's policy, note that some programs have additional requirements (e.g. higher grade expectations) compared to the policy.

Please see the Graduate School website and contact the department directly for more information.

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: 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.

Apply now


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 or Granite State College (GSC) after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester, UNH Non-Degree work and GSC. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must upload a copy (PDF) of your transcript in the application form. International transcripts must be translated into English.

If admitted, you must then request an official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. 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 from all previous post-secondary institutions must be submitted and applicants must disclose any previous academic or disciplinary sanctions that resulted in their temporary or permanent separation from a previous post-secondary institution. If it is found that previous academic or disciplinary separations were not disclosed, applicants may face denial and admitted students may face dismissal from their academic program.

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

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.

Explore Program Details

More to Explore

Take the Next Step

student in doorway of UNH campus building
Learn How to Apply
thompson hall in summer
Schedule a Visit
student at Career Event
Talk With Us