PhD in Musicology

The PhD in Musicology is for students who wish to achieve a high level of knowledge in music history and the methodologies of musicology. The program aims to provide local, regional, national, and international leadership in the field of musicology. The emphasis on research and broad exposure to numerous approaches to analyzing music, as well as experience teaching in the classroom, is meant to prepare students for a variety of fields in or related to music history.

The PhD program, which has grown dramatically over the past decade and attracted a world-class faculty, has a reputation for placing its graduates in major programs in musicology and related fields across the country. The students in the PhD program are active in the larger academic community, giving papers at national and international juried conferences, publishing articles in major refereed journals in all corners of the discipline, and winning highly competitive awards, including fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Musicological Society (AMS 50), and the Fulbright Program.

The PhD program in Musicology was reviewed in 2016 as required by the Ohio Board of Regents. The next review will take place in 2024. Program goals and objectives were revised in the summer of 2016.


Applicants with good academic records from fully accredited universities and colleges will be considered for admission to graduate study at Case Western Reserve University. Admission must be recommended by the department or professional school of the university in which the applicant proposes to study and must be approved by the dean of graduate studies. 

The PhD in Musicology is granted in recognition of superior scholarly ability and attainment. Award of the degree is based not only on computation of time or enumeration of courses, but also upon distinguished work. Many applicants enter the program after completing a master’s degree in Musicology or Music History, but highly qualified applicants may enter directly upon completion of bachelor’s degree.

More information about the graduate application and audition process in music is provided in the Graduate Application Procedures.

Graduate Application Procedures

Program Requirements

All programs of study are formulated to suit the individual needs of the student and require the consent of the research advisor and Coordinator of Graduate Studies. The PhD requires 36 credit units of coursework and an additional 18 credit units of MUHI 701 Dissertation Ph.D.. Students must submit the "Pre-Doctoral Standing" form in the spring of the second year in order to register for 6 credit units (3 credit units per semester) of MUHI 701. Required coursework includes three doctoral seminars MUHI 590 Seminar in Musicology, MUHI 610 Research Methods in Music, and MUHI 612 Analysis for Music Historians. In the first two years, students will be expected to take three seminars (9 credit units) per semester, for a total of 36 units.

Find detailed program requirements, course distribution, and a sample plan of study in the General Bulletin

Music Handbook and Advising

Current graduate and professional students in music should review departmental policies and procedures in the Graduate Music Handbook. The handbook provides additional information regarding graduate assistantships, general expectations and responsibilities, program outcomes, decision points, performances, scholarly activity, outside work, prizes/awards, deadlines, petitions, examinations, advancement to candidacy, and student record-keeping.

Additional resources and forms are available on the Resources for Current Graduate and Professional Music Students.