The College of Arts and Architecture

Master of Arts in Music with track in Musicology

Program Goals

The Master of Arts in Music with track in Musicology emphasizes the development of a broad knowledge of music of all periods and at the same time cultivates one or more areas of specialization. Students in the program are expected to continue development of theoretical skills as essential tools of musicological research. The program culminates in the writing of a thesis in an area of specialization.

Program Description

This program requires a minimum of 32 credits of course work including a six-credit thesis. At least 18 credits must be at the 500 or 600 level, and a minimum of 20 credits must be taken at University Park. A reading examination in German or another language appropriate to the student's thesis research, as determined by the student's thesis adviser, must be passed before thesis credit may be scheduled. Knowledge of the history and theory of Western art music must be demonstrated by satisfactory completion of competency examinations or completion of specified remedial courses in addition to the curricular requirements listed here. An oral examination focusing on the student's thesis research area and course work must be passed near the completion of the program.

The 32-credit requirement is as follows:

Requirements Credits
Introduction to Music Reference and Research Materials (Music 500) 2
Seminar in Musicology (Music 572) 3
Integrative Seminar in Music Theory and History (Music 573) 3
Thesis (Music 600) 6
*Music history 6-9
**Music theory 3-6
***Cognate area 6

*Selected from: Music 461W (Antiquity to 1600), Music 462W (1550-1750), Music 463W (1700-1900), Music 464W (1850-present).

**Selected from: Music 431 (Advanced Tonal Analysis), Music 433 (Advanced Analysis of Twentieth-Century Music), Music 531 (Analytical Techniques), Music 532 (Schenkerian Analysis).

***The Musicology M.A. requires that students take 6 credits in an area outside of music (known as a “cognate area”). These courses are selected in consultation with the student’s academic adviser, and should preferably be related to the student’s particular musicological interest and thesis topic.

Note: Unsatisfactory performance on the competency examinations in music theory and history taken at the beginning of the program may result in the necessity of additional course work. (See pp. 34-35)

Note: If music history courses total 6 credits, then music theory courses must total at least 6 credits. If music history courses total 9 credits, then music theory courses must total at least 3 credits. This will ensure that the student accumulates the required minimum of 32 credits in the degree program.

Admission Requirements

A candidate applying for admission to the M.A. in Music with track in Musicology should have completed a recognized bachelor's degree in music or music education with at least a 2.8 junior-senior grade-point average. A typical bachelor’s degree in music includes the following:

  • 12-16 credits in music theory and analysis
  • 6-9 credits in music history
  • 4 credits (2 semesters) of keyboard skills
  • 12-16 credits of a foreign language, preferably German

A candidate who is deficient in any area may be considered for admission, but must be prepared to make up the deficiency, without credit toward the degree, during the first year of graduate study and before thesis credit may be scheduled.

Student Aid

For an overview of current tuition and fees as well as the financial assistance programs available to graduate students at Penn State, see Graduate Financial Aid.

Admission Procedure Summary

Access Application Process for directions.

Please note that ALL application materials are to be uploaded to the online application.  Upload the following materials:

  • an official transcript - NOT an advising or unofficial transcript - (or equivalent documents for institutions outside the U.S., e.g., degree/study certificates, diplomas, etc.) from all post-secondary institutions attended, in the language of instruction (and an official English translation if English is not the language of instruction)
    Chinese applicants must also submit an official graduation certificate and official diploma, in Chinese and translated English, if the applicant has already earned the previous degree(s).
  • names of two references and their email addresses (Penn State will contact your references directly)
  • statement of purpose (professional goals and how graduate study at Penn State will help you to attain these goals)
  • evidence of scholarship and writing skills (research paper or thesis on a musical topic; maximum of 20 pages)
  • application for School of Music Graduate Assistantship (optional), see Graduate Financial Aid

The following should be submitted to Penn State by the testing agencies at your request.  Select "Penn State University" as the destination for your GRE, TOEFL or IELTS scores by selecting the correct school code below:

  • GRE scores (general test) - School Code 2660
  • TOEFL and IELTS scores (international applicants only) - School Code 2660

Arrangements may be made for a visit to the University Park campus and for interviews with appropriate faculty members. This is especially important when applying for an assistantship. These arrangements should be made with a faculty member representing the major area. They should be scheduled as early as possible in the semester preceding the semester for which admission is desired.

Inquiries directed to:

School of Music Graduate Admissions

The Pennsylvania State University

233 Music Building I

University Park, PA 16802-1901

Phone: 814-865-5568
Fax: 814-865-6785