This is a small, collegial department with individualized curricula. The approach is interdisciplinary, emphasizing the study of music history, theory, ethnomusicology, and performance within the framework of cultural and intellectual history, as well as original composition. Students are encouraged to include work outside their main area of concentration in their degree programs. Beyond the general areas of Composition and Musicology, specialization is defined by the expertise of individual faculty members, including performance practice and ethnomusicology. Resources for study include an excellent library and media collection housed in the Mary Duke Biddle Music Building, a diverse collection of instruments from around the world and a new multi-media inter-arts facility. Each year the department sponsors a series of concerts which, added to the other concert offerings by Duke, neighboring institutions, and arts organizations has created a rich music life in the community.
Applicants in Musicology and Ethnomusicology: substantial paper on a musical topic; applicants in Composition: three to five samples of compositions with workable URL/links to scores and recordings. Musicology applicants with special interest in performance practice: include a recording (URL/link), in addition to a substantial musicological paper. These additional materials should be uploaded with your online application in the "Optional Supplemental Uploads” section.
- Music: PhD Admissions and Enrollment Statistics
- Music: PhD Completion Rate Statistics
- Music: PhD Time to Degree Statistics
- Music: PhD Career Outcomes Statistics
Application Deadline: January 12
Graduate School Application Requirements
See the Application Instructions page for important details about each Graduate School requirement.
- Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts required with application submission; official transcripts required upon admission
- Letters of Recommendation: 3 Required
- Statement of Purpose: Required
- Résumé: Required
- GRE Scores: GRE General (Optional for 2023)
- English Language Exam: TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test required* for applicants whose first language is not English
*test waiver may apply for some applicants
- GPA: Undergraduate GPA calculated on 4.0 scale required
Department-Specific Application Requirements (submitted through online application)
Statement of Purpose Guidelines
The Graduate School provides standard guidance for Statements of Purpose. To these general guidelines, we add that the applicant’s statement is one of the main ways the Department of Music considers applicants. Together with submitted compositions, papers, and other documents, vital and detailed statements help the faculty to understand a student’s potential match for our program.
Writing Samples/Additional Requirements
Applicants in Composition are required to submit three to five samples of compositions with workable URL/links to scores and recordings. Applicants in Musicology and Ethnomusicology are required to submit a substantial paper on a musical topic. Musicology applicants with special interest in performance practice should include a recording (URL/link) in addition to a substantial musicological paper. These additional materials should be uploaded with your online application in the Departmental Requirements section.
We strongly encourage you to review additional department-specific application guidance from the program to which you are applying: Departmental Application Guidance