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City University of New York
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City University of New York Graduate Center
Ph.D. Program in Music, Concentration in Ethnomusicology

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

Ethnomusicology is one of four concentrations within the Ph.D. Program in Music. Only candidates for the Ph.D. are accepted, but students without an M.A. can apply for one after earning 45 credits.

Program Focus

Ethnomusicology graduate students at the Graduate Center receive a thorough general background in the field, while enjoying considerable latitude in pursuing their own interests in accordance with the flexibility of the program and the diverse interests of the faculty. In recent years, regional studies seminars have covered such areas as Africa, the Caribbean, Southeastern Europe, Iran and Central Asia, South Asia, and Japan. Topical seminars have included courses on nationalism, popular music, globalization and diasporas, music and gender, music aesthetics (Western and non-Western), analysis of rhythm, performance genres, and composition and improvisation. The Graduate Center also offers Interdisciplinary Concentrations in Cultural Studies, Twentieth-Century Studies, and other fields, together with Certificate Programs in such fields as American Studies and Women’s Studies. Interdisciplinary committees have recently been formed to facilitate contact among faculty and students whose work focuses on globalization, religion, or science.

Special Resources

Sound archives with emphasis on New York City, music analysis laboratory, performers in residence at Hunter College on a regular basis, and Centro de Etudios Puertoriqquenos (Hunter), training for K-12 educators, and strong ties with major cultural institutions of New York City and "folk arts” centers.

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Ray Allen. (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) Associate Director of the Center for Studies in American Music, Brooklyn College, and the Graduate Center. Afro-American music, Afro-Caribbean music.

Stephen Blum. (Ph.D., University of Illinois) Professor of Music and full-time faculty member at the Graduate Center. West and Central Asia; North America; ethnomusicological theory; music analysis.

James Cowdery. (Ph.D., Wesleyan University) RILM and the Graduate Center. Irish music.

Barbara L. Hampton. (Ph.D., Columbia University) Professor of Music, Hunter College, and the Graduate Center. Ethnomusicological theory and method; aesthetics; gender; urban ethnomusicology; African and African-American music.

Peter Manuel. (Ph.D., UCLA) Professor of Music, John Jay College and the Graduate Center. North India, the Caribbean, popular music.

Jane Sugarman. (Ph.D., UCLA) Professor of Music, Director of program, and full-time faculty member at the Graduate Center. Eastern Europe; social theory; gender and sexuality; diaspora and globalization.

General Program Statement

The Graduate Center of The City University of New York offers a dynamic doctoral program in ethnomusicology, drawing on the rich resources of the Graduate Center, of the CUNY system, and of the New York City area as a whole. The CUNY Graduate Center's Music program is internationally renowned and was ranked fourth in "faculty quality” in the most recent National Research Council assessment. The Graduate Center as a whole, drawing its faculty from the several campuses of the University, offers the doctorate in 32 fields and has a current enrollment of around 4,000 students.

A special attraction of the Graduate Center for ethnomusicology students is its location in the heart of New York City, with its extraordinarily rich musical and cultural life. Aside from being a center for classical music, opera, and music theater, New York is also renowned as the jazz capital of the world, and as the single biggest center for Latin popular music. It is also host to a dazzling array of diverse ethnic and immigrant communities, whose musical activities present unique research as well as performance opportunities for ethnomusicologists. Further, New York is home to such research institutions as the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, and Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies.

Ethnomusicology students are able to work not only with the Graduate Center’s faculty, but also with other faculty throughout the CUNY system, which includes several colleges with distinguished music departments, such as Queens College, Hunter College, and Brooklyn College. A consortium agreement also allows students to take seminars offered at Columbia, New York University, and other associated universities for full credit.

The Graduate Center’s music program is housed in the newly renovated, nine-story B. Altman’s Building, a historical landmark on Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, across the street from the Empire State Building. In addition to the Mina Rees Library, located in the same new facility, students also have at their disposal the libraries at other senior CUNY Colleges (Hunter, Queens, City, Baruch, Brooklyn), and the vast research collections of the nearby New York Public Library and its music division at Lincoln Center, which afford special privileges to CUNY doctoral students.

Tuition at the Graduate Center, as of 2009-10, is $3290 per semester (full time) or $370 per credit (part time) for New York state residents, and $645 per credit for non-residents. Tuition goes down as students advance from Level I to Levels II and III (see program website). A limited number of fellowships are available, as are certain categories of funding for dissertation research, such as that provided by the Elebash Endowment for research focusing on some aspect of New York City. Many students gain teaching experience and remuneration by teaching classes as adjuncts in the CUNY system.

Financial Support

Some fellowship support and teaching positions are available, as well as tuition waivers and internships.

One or two Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellowships per year ($18,000/yr for 5 years, with teaching obligations in the second, third and fourth years; other service requirements in first and fifth).

Possibility of a Presidential Magnet Fellowship ($24,000/yr for 5 years, with teaching obligations in the third and fourth years) for students from underrepresented groups.

Dissertation-year fellowships are available on a competitive basis across the Graduate Center. Fellowships for pre-dissertation and dissertation research on some aspect of music in New York City are available from the Elebash Endowment. Beginning in their second year, doctoral students may apply for small research grants up to $1500 every alternate year.

Further Information

Prof. Jane C. Sugarman, Music Program, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY 10016-4309; (212) 817-8598; Email: jsugarman@gc.cuny.edu

Program Website


The content for City University of New York Graduate Center was last updated June 22, 2010.

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