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Liberty University
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Liberty University

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

MA in Ethnomusicology (100% online with residential courses offered)

MA Certificate in Ethnomusicology (100% online with residential courses offered)

BM in Music in World Cultures (residential)

Minor in Music in World Cultures (residential--beginning Sept. 2018)

Program Statement 

Ethnomusicology is the worldwide study of the relationships between music and culture. As a student at Liberty University, you will have the opportunity to master traditional theoretical foundations in ethnomusicology while working with musicians to learn, document, preserve, and dialog about specific musical traditions and their social contexts. The Liberty undergraduate BM degree and MA degree in Ethnomusicology merge these principles with a passion for global engagement—for seeing local and global music cultures around the world express their unique identity through the expressive arts. 

Our programs emphasize Applied Ethnomusicology, that is, the intentional and strategic merging of the practices and principles of ethnomusicology that make a positive difference in the world and people around us. Though not a requirement for admission, most students enrolled in the degree are preparing themselves for work in a cross-cultural or multi-cultural environment as educators, recording engineers, global workers in NGOs, or some other form of service in the field of music or cultural development. Students will work with the program chair directly to form a personalized plan of study to make sure that the school is helping them meet their goals for their education and careers. During their time at Liberty, students will begin to develop a specialization according to their interests in at least one regional area/people group and a specific “applied” topic area (diaspora, arts facilitation, education, identity, medicine/healing, worship, peace-building, etc).

Our ethnomusicology programs are housed within the Multi-Ethnic Music Studies Department in the School of Music. Our goal is to be a major hub of support for students and practitioners in the intersections of music, new local arts facilitation, traditional arts preservation, cross-cultural engagement, worship, and scholarship. The strengths of the MA program in Ethnomusicology are our accessible online format, our comprehensive content, our experienced instructors, and our dedication to community engagement.  The strengths of our BM in Music in World Cultures lie in our emphasis in practical training in world music through global and diasporic local partnerships, performance, theory, and worship studies. 

All of our Ethnomusicology programs are fully accredited by SACS and NASM. We also have an MA certificate program and an undergraduate minor. 

Special Resources

Bato African Drumming Ensemble, Libertad Latin Music Ensemble, Music Lab, Recording Studio, Concert Hall, Liberty World Instrument Collection (on display in the School of Music), Regionally Focused Global Music Workshops and Seminars in collaboration with Global Focus Week and the International Student Organization, Multi-Ethnic Worship Events, and an Arts in Worship for the Global Church Conference (beginning in 2018)

Online Database Resources: One of the world’s leaders in distance educational programs, Liberty university has the technological capacity and resources to provide for the unique needs required in the ethnomusicology program including library database subscriptions to Groves, Smithsonian Global Sound, Garland Encyclopedia, Oxford Handbooks, and JSTOR, to name a few. 

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Dr. Katherine Morehouse; PhD in Ethnomusicology (University of Maryland);

Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology; Chair of Department of Multi-Ethnic Music within the Liberty University School of Music
Primary Fieldwork/Research Interest: Music and Worship in the Global Church, South Indian Percussion and Festival Music (Kerala), West African Hereditary Musicianship (Guinea), Arts Advoacy and Preservation. 

Affiliated Faculty

John L. Benham. Ed.D. from the University of Northern Colorado, 1971. Professor of Music and Coordinator of Ethnomusicology. School of Music. Applied Ethnomusicology, International Music Education & Literacy.

George McDow. Ph.D., University of Oklahoma, 1989. Adjunct Faculty in Ethnomusicology. School of Music. Music Education, Global Music Partnerships, Southeast Asia, China.

Jeffrey Meyer. Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1999. Adjunct Faculty in Ethnomusicology. School of Music. Ethnic music theory; Transcription of non-Western music; Eastern Europe.

Paul Rumrill. D.M.A., Eastman School of Music, 1996. Adjunct Faculty in Ethnomusicology. School of Music. Multicultural Music Education and Multicultural Performance; Asia, Carribean Music Streams.

Financial Support

A number of general Graduate Assistantship positions (covering tuition and a stipend) are allocated to the School of Music. Currently our MA students in Ethnomusicology hold three of those positions.  Graduate assistants are required to work residentially in the School of Music. 

Further Information

Contact: Dr. Katherine Morehouse
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg VA 24515

Program Website


Ethnomusicology Student Group

Our ethnomusicology students are involved in a student collaborative group online. Students are automatically added to the group upon admission by the program chair.  


The content for Liberty University was last updated September 29, 2017.

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