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The Department of Music offers the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in music.

The graduate program in music consists of four areas of concentration:



Composition and Theory

Jazz Studies

Students may combine work for the MA and PhD degrees with a program of theoretical, historical, or area studies specialization leading to a certificate in Cultural Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Global Studies, Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, European Union Studies, West European Studies, Russian and East European Studies, Film Studies or Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies.

Contact Information

Department Chair: Dean Root
Main Office: 110 Music Building
Fax: 412-624-4186

Admissions inquiries concerning the department’s graduate program may be obtained from the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Music, Director of Graduate Admissions, Dr. Andrew Weintraub, 110 Music Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Phone: 412-624-4120. Fax: 412-624-4186. E-mail:


Financial Assistance

A graduate student receiving a fellowship or teaching assistantship/teaching fellowship from the University of Pittsburgh who maintains satisfactory progress toward the degree can expect to receive up to four years of financial aid; continuing students must request renewal of financial assistance for the following year no later than February 15. Students who have successfully passed the PhD comprehensive examinations in their fourth year may receive additional financial assistance if there are adequate funds. The department nominates the most outstanding candidates for University- and school-wide fellowships. Students seeking financial assistance must request consideration for aid at the time of application for admission; admission by itself carries no commitment of financial assistance.

Requirements for the MA:

All students must apply to and be admitted to the PhD program. Those who do not hold a Master's degree will first complete the necessary requirements for the MA. For the master’s degree, students must earn 30 credits with a B average or better in courses numbered 2000 or above, and write a thesis (if required); the University will accept up to six transfer credits for courses comparable in scope and content to those required by the department, as judged by the department’s Director of Graduate Studies. All entering graduate students enroll in a series of four proseminars (MUSIC 2111, 2121, 2131, 2141) providing perspectives for scholarly research in the field as a whole and in the disciplines represented within the department. Much of the remainder of the MA curriculum consists of more specialized required and elective courses that are specified for each discipline, e.g., Orchestration, Electronic and Computer Music, and private tutorials in composition and analysis for students in Composition and Theory; Field and Lab, area courses and seminars for Ethnomusicology; Introduction to Jazz Literature, Jazz Musician as Composer for Jazz Studies; and topical seminars for Musicology. Students in Musicology must demonstrate a reading knowledge of a second research language.

Requirements for the PhD:

Credit Requirement: A minimum of 72 credit hours, including the master’s degree, earned from any suitable combination of formal course work, independent study, and dissertation work as detailed in the department’s Graduate Handbook .

The University will accept up to 24 transfer credits for graduate courses comparable in scope and content to those required by the department, as judged by the department’s Director of Graduate Studies.

PhD candidates must also satisfy the following requirements (distinctions between the various program requirements are detailed):

Language Requirement: For Musicology, reading knowledge of German and one other research language besides English. For Ethnomusicology and Jazz Studies, reading knowledge of a language relevant to the field of specialization and chosen in consultation with the department’s Director of Graduate Studies. For Composition and Theory, reading knowledge of one language besides English, chosen in consultation with the department’s Director of Graduate Studies.

First Year Evaluation: At the end of the first year of graduate study all first-year students meet with the faculty at a regularly scheduled faculty meeting for an oral interview/evaluation of their progress in the program.

Preliminary Evaluation: The faculty formally evaluates each student in the first year in residence beyond the master’s degree, to identify those students who may be expected to complete the PhD degree and to reveal areas of weakness in their preparation that need to be remedied.

Comprehensive Examination: Students take a written comprehensive examination normally during the third year at the completion of their formal course work. The examination in Musicology covers the history of Western music and musical analysis; in Ethnomusicology it covers the intellectual history, theory, and methodologies used in the field, as well as topics in the students' geocultural areas of interest; in Jazz Studies it covers jazz literature, jazz as a world music, and jazz composition and analysis; in Composition and Theory it covers tonal and atonal, 20th-century musical language, and orchestration.

Dissertation Overview: Following successful completion of the comprehensive examination, students prepare a written prospectus of the dissertation project for review by their dissertation committee. Approval of the overview brings admission to candidacy for the PhD degree.

Dissertation: Candidates in Musicology and Ethnomusicology submit a major work of original scholarship. Candidates in Jazz Studies submit a major work of original scholarship and produce a one-hour recital of original compositions. Candidates in Composition and Theory submit a large-scale composition and work of original scholarship in music theory.

Dissertation Defense: The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the dissertation committee and is open to the University community.

Course Listing


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