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City University of New York Graduate Center
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City University of New York Graduate Center
Program in Ethnomusicology

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

The Graduate Center is the PhD-granting campus within the 25-campus system of the City University of New York. The Ethnomusicology Program is one of four PhD-granting programs in music at The Graduate Center. Applicants are welcome to apply to the PhD program having completed a bachelor's or master's degree. The program does not offer a separate master's degree, but doctoral students may apply for an en-route master's after completing 45 credits.

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, the CUNY system, and the New York City area as a whole. Ethnomusicology students at The Graduate Center receive a thorough general background in the discipline, while enjoying considerable latitude in pursuing their own interests in accordance with the flexibility of the program and the diverse interests of the ethnomusicology faculty. A special attraction of The Graduate Center 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 renowned as the jazz capital of the world, the first home of hip-hop, a major hub of the transnational recording industry, the single biggest center for Latin and Caribbean popular music, and host to thriving indie/alternative music and noise/sonic arts scenes. It also hosts a diverse array of immigrant communities, whose musical activities present unique research as well as performance opportunities for ethnomusicologists. New York City is home to such research institutions as the New York Public Library, including the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Performing Arts Library; the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and Center for Jewish History; and Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies. There are many opportunities for students to intern at any of a number of non-profit institutions based in New York City. 

Ethnomusicology students at The Graduate Center combine coursework in theory and methodology with seminars on specific topics and world areas, as well as in related disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, history, media studies, and religious studies. Students are able to work not only with The Graduate Center’s faculty, but also with faculty from throughout the CUNY system, including campuses such as Queens College, Hunter College, City College, John Jay College, Lehman College, and Brooklyn College. Through the Inter-University Consortium, advanced students may also take courses at other schools in the New York area, including Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, the New School, Fordham University, Rutgers University, and Stony Brook University. A number of students also complete an Advanced Certificate in an interdisciplinary field such as Africana Studies, American Studies, Critical Theory, Film Studies, or Women's Studies. The program is further enhanced by the presence at The Graduate Center of the Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation, which houses, among others, the Foundation for Iberian Music, RILM, and the Music in Gotham project. The breadth of these resources, together with the flexibility of the CUNY program and the rich cultural offerings of New York City, have enabled the ethnomusicology program to attract students from a wide variety of countries and backgrounds.

Our numerous alumni have made major contributions to the field, and the Program has an impressive record of placing its graduates in academic positions. CUNY Ethnomusicology graduates currently hold professorial positions at Columbia University, the New School, Temple University, the University of Amsterdam, the University of New Haven, the University of North Carolina, the University of North Texas, the University of Vermont, and, as well as at John Jay College, Baruch College, York College, and Guttman College within the CUNY system.

Special Resources

Students in The Department of Music take the lead in organizing a variety of activities, including a colloquium series and an annual graduate music student conference. A series of professional development workshops team-taught by faculty members covers topics such as job and fellowship applications, submitting conference abstracts and articles, and turning one's dissertation into a book. These activities are supplemented by workshops offered by The Graduate Center's Teaching and Learning Center, the Digital Initiative, and the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development. The Ethnomusicology Program maintains a separate archive of publications and recordings, as well as a media lab available for multimedia projects.  

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Bates, Eliot; PhD (Ethnomusicology) University of California at Berkeley; Assistant Professor of Music; musics of Turkey; audio technologies; recording studios; critical organology; science and technology studies.

Manuel, Peter; PhD (Ethnomusicology), University of California at Los Angeles; Professor of Music; Indian music; Caribbean music (especially Spanish and East Indian); flamenco; world popular music.

Sugarman, Jane C.; PhD (Ethnomusicology), University of California at Los Angeles; Professor of Music; affiliated with the programs in Women's Studies and Middle Eastern Studies; music and dance in Eastern Europe; social theory; gender and sexuality; diaspora and globalization; nationalism and conflict zones.

Affiliated Faculty

Agawu, V. Kofi; PhD (Stanford); Distinguished Professor of Music, The Graduate Center; analysis of West African and Western European musics, semiotics, chromaticism, music and language, postcolonial theory.

Blum, Stephen; PhD (Ethnomusicology) University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; Emeritus Professor of Music; music of West and Central Asia; ethnomusicological analysis.

Herzog, Amy; PhD (Visual and Cultural Studies), University of Rochester; Associate Professor of Media Studies, Queens College and The Graduate Center; affiliated with the Theater Department and the program in Women's Studies, and Coordinator of the Film Studies program; media studies, music and film.

Lapidus, Benjamin; PhD (Ethnomusicology), City University of New York Graduate Center; Associate Professor of Music, John Jay College and The Graduate Center; Latin music.

Pizá, Antoni; PhD (Musicology), City University of New York Graduate Center; Adjunct Professor of Music, City College of New York and The Graduate Center, and Director of the Foundation for Iberian Music; music of Spain and Latin America.

Shannon, Jonathan; PhD (Anthropology), City University of New York Graduate Center; Professor of Anthropology, Hunter College and The Graduate Center; music of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, performance theory.

Spicer, Mark; PhD (Music Theory), Yale University; Professor of Music, Hunter College and The Graduate Center; analysis of popular music.

Taylor, Jeffrey; PhD (Musicology), University of Michigan; Professor of Music, Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center; affiliated with the Certificate Program in American Studies; American music, jazz history.

Financial Support

All students accepted into the PhD Program in Ethnomusicology are awarded either a Graduate Center Fellowship (a five-year teaching fellowship that provides full support), or a Tuition Fellowship (which covers tuition expenses). Top-up fellowships may also be available for certain candidates. Teaching fellows teach one undergraduate course a semester at a CUNY campus in years 2-4 and are appointed as a Writing Fellow at a CUNY campus during their fifth year. The program generally admits between two and four students a year. Additional funding is available for current students on a competitive basis for summer pilot research, conference travel, and dissertation writing. 

Further Information

Jane Sugarman, Music Programs, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10016; (212) 817-8590; jsugarman@gc.cuny.edu

During 2018-19:

Eliot Bates, Music Programs, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10016; (212) 817-8590; ebates@gc.cuny.edu

Program Websites



The content for City University of New York Graduate Center was last updated December 5, 2018.

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