The World Music Program offers degrees at both the master’s and doctoral levels. The MA in music has concentrations in scholarship (ethnomusicology/musicology), experimental music/composition, and performance. The PhD is in ethnomusicology. Many traditions are represented by faculty members through teaching and performing African American, Caribbean, East Asian, Euro-American, Indonesian, South Indian (Karnatak), West African, and experimental musics, and there are many opportunities for individual and ensemble study/performance.
Director of Graduate Studies in Music: Sumarsam
A total of 11 credits of coursework. Students are required to take MUSC510, four graduate seminars other than MUSC510 (two in the area of concentration), two performance courses, a course outside the department, a two-semester thesis tutorial (MUSC591/MUSC592), and four semesters of MUSC530. All degree-seeking graduate students are required to register for at least one credit in each semester that they are enrolled in the university.
One foreign language is required for the MA. All incoming students are required to take the language examination administered by the department at the beginning of their first term.
Progress and Qualifying Exams
Students in ethnomusicology submit a written thesis of original research and, if relevant, a public presentation of original work to a thesis committee. The final review or original works culminates in a thesis defense.
For students in composition, the essay may discuss the nature and form of their creative work, but it must also include a researched discussion of the broader context of that work, such as the musical discourse or social context within which it was conceived. Alternatively, the thesis may also forgo any discussion of the student's creative work and focus fully on a research topic.
Masters students in ethnomusicology are required to complete a unique thesis and defense in their area of expertise. Research may include field work, archival research, engagement in performance, and learning a field language, among other practices.
The creative work of MA students in composition can range through many forms of auditory culture, including musical compositions, sound installations, and the design of musical instruments and systems. The composition thesis includes the presentation of this work in a performance, installation or other public forum and a written essay. The research expectations of the thesis essay are developed in consultation with a thesis advisor and other music faculty.
Thesis and Defense
An ethnomusicology thesis must constitute an archivable product displaying mastery of and an original contribution to the understanding of an aspect of world music. The MA thesis may follow various formats and modes of musical investigation, but performance per se does not constitute a thesis without substantial written ancillary materials. Work such as bibliographies, translations, and journals do not normally constitute theses. After completing all department requirements and acceptance of the thesis by the committee, the candidate is scheduled for an oral thesis defense administered by the committee.
For additional information, please visit the department website at wesleyan.edu/music/graduate.