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University of California-Santa Cruz
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University of California-Santa Cruz

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

There are two degree programs that allow students to concentrate on ethnomusicology offered within the UCSC Music Department, the Ph.D. in music with an emphasis in Music with an emphasis in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary studies and the M.A. in music with an emphasis on ethnomusicology.

The music department offers a variety of degrees, and faculty teach courses that often are taken by students enrolled in various degree programs.


The undergraduate degrees at UC Santa Cruz are a B.A. and a B.M. in music. The graduate degrees offered at UCSC include the M.A. in music (including tracks in ethnomusicology, composition, and performance practice), the D.M.A in composition (with tracks in world music composition and algorithmic composition), and the Ph.D. in music with an emphasis in cross-cultural and interdisciplinary studies.


Program Focus

The Ph.D. program in cross-cultural musicology provides students with an integrative framework for music scholarship, emphasizing the ways in which musicology and ethnomusicology interact and complement one another. 


A series of required courses encourages students to discover commonalities and distinctions among the world's music cultures through an examination of cross-cutting parameters, including but not limited to: pitch and rhythm systems; the relationship of music to text, dance, religion, gender, and politics; and issues of ethnography.

Special Resources

We offer the following ensembles on a rotating basis, as funding permits:

  • Eurasian Ensemble: A performance course designed to familiarize and expose musicians to the repertoire, technique, and musical styles of Eurasia, especially that of Central Asia. All students have the opportunity to learn on doyra (frame drum) and dutor (lute) as well as work on Central Asian vocal style.

  • Balinese Gamelan Ensemble: Instruction in practice and performance of gamelan music from Bali and Indonesia, including ritual and new music.

  • West Javanese Gamelan Ensemble: An ensemble of about 16-28 performers directed by a master musician from Indonesia, who teaches several regional styles of music from Java, including Kecapi-suling and Angklung.

  • North Indian Music Workshop: A course covering the music of North India taught using the oral traditions of Indian music. For beginners as well as more experienced students, this course is well suited for instrumentalists and vocalists.

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Nicol Hammond, Assistant Professor of Music

Ph.D., New York University

South African music, Popular music studies, Queer theory, Postcolonial theory, Voice, Historical Ethnomusicology, Trans-Atlantic cultural movements, Public musicology.

Tanya Merchant, Assistant Professor of Music

Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Musics of Central Asia and the former Soviet Union, music and gender, Baroque music; nationalism, globalization, and institutionalization of music.

Dard Neuman, Associate Professor of Music

Ph.D., Columbia University

20th-century Hindustani music: musicians, colonialism, nationalism, technology and pedagogy.

Affiliated Faculty

Undang Sumarna, Lecturer in Music

Undang Sumarna received instruction in the Priangan style by one of Sunda’s greatest drummers, his grandfather Pak Kyat. He subsequently studied other music, dance, and theater traditions of his Sundanese homeland and of Cirebon, Central Java, and Bali.

General Program Statement

The PhD in Music degree program provides students with an integrative framework for music scholarship, emphasizing the ways in which musicology and ethnomusicology interact and complement one another.

A series of required courses encourages students to discover commonalities and distinctions among the world's music cultures through an examination of cross-cutting parameters, including but not limited to: pitch and rhythm systems; the relationship of music to text, dance, religion, gender, and politics; and issues of ethnography. Students will also select from a series of more specialized courses that draw on the specialties of UCSC music faculty and also involve cross-cultural or interdisciplinary elements. Examples of such courses include Performance Theory and Practice; Pitch, Melody, and Tunings ; Asian Resonances in Twentieth-Century American and European Music; Music and Ideology; Politics and Patronage, and others. An ongoing colloquia series, Music 252~Current Issues Colloquium, features presentations by faculty, students, and guests, providing an opportunity for interaction and discussion of current topics in research. Since a number of UCSC faculty in other disciplines examine musical issues in their courses, students are encouraged to supplement their studies with interdisciplinary courses.

In addition to cultural approaches to world musics, the program also encourages the integration of scholarly research with musical performance, emphasizing the ways in which performance serves both rhetorical and symbolic ends within various cultural settings. To this end the concept of “performance practice” plays a significant role in this program, given that the concept of historically or culturally informed performances is applicable to music from the earliest times to the present day in all geographical and cultural regions, and can encompass research activities as diverse as fieldwork, historical editing, and recording, as well as publishing of books and articles on compositional and performance traditions.

Student Admission and Graduation


We admit 8-12 students to our graduate programs each year. Our doctoral programs are both relatively young. We graduate 2-3 students per year from our DMA program. To date there has been one graduate from our PhD program. We have one DMA graduate who has a full-time tenure track position at Cal Poly Pomona as an Asst. Professor in Music Theory and Music Industry Studies, and another who has started his own business in composition for computer games. Our other graduates have positions as adjunct faculty at various institutions.

Financial Support

Our graduate students typically get some combination of teaching assistantships and fellowships for the first year. In subsequent years they receive teaching assistantships. There are in cases fellowship funds or graduate research assistantships available as well.

Further Information

Laura McShane

Graduate Program Coordinator

Music Center

UC Santa Cruz

1156 High Street

Santa Cruz, CA  95062

(831) 459-3199

gradmusic@ucsc.edu


Program Website

Music Department: http://music.ucsc.edu

Related Websites

Music graduate programs website: http://music.ucsc.edu/programs/graduate


PhD program website:
http://music.ucsc.edu/phd


The content for University of California-Santa Cruz was last updated November 14, 2014.

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