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University of California, Davis
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University of California, Davis
Department of Music

Type of Program and Degrees Offered

B.A. in Music - history, theory, and ethnomusicology

M.A. and Ph.D. in music - ethnomusicology 

The ethnomusicology program is closely integrated with other music programs in musicology, composition, and (for undergraduates) performance. 

Program Statement

UC Davis's graduate program in ethnomusicology, launched in 2003, offers MA and PhD degrees in music with a concentration in ethnomusicology. Housed within the Department of Music, ethnomusicology students benefit from collaboration with our distinguished faculty and students in the musicology and composition programs. The graduate program provides a rigorous theoretical grounding in ethnomusicology and has geographic strengths in musics of the Americas (especially Latin America and Native America), Southeast Asia, and West Africa; our students represent a range of geographical interests and theoretical approaches, however. Fieldwork opportunities abound in nearby communities. Graduate students build a crucial interdisciplinary underpinning to their studies through required courses outside the department in anthropology, critical theory, cultural studies, performance studies, and area studies. The BA program for undergraduate students provides training in Western music theory, musicianship, music history, and performance, along with elective courses in ethnomusicology and world music performance, culminating in a senior project that focuses on the student’s own research interests. 

Special Resources

Related on-line and electronic databases; musical instrument collection (The Calvin and Gwendolyn Schwabe College of Non-Western Instruments includes 70 instruments from around the world); sound archives. World music ensembles include Sundanese gamelan (Henry Spiller), Hindustani vocal ensemble (Rita Sahai), samba bateria (Chris Froh), and Afro-Cuban percussion. Semi-weekly “forum” for graduate students (lectures, discussions, career workshops). Valente lecture series (three ethnomusicology lectures per year). Regular workshops and conferences; cooperative programs with other institutions. Our graduate program is complemented by a rich array of area studies programs, including African American and African studies, American studies, Chicano/Chicana studies, dance history, Native American studies, performance studies, and gender, sexuality, and women’s studies. 

Full-Time Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Juan Diego Diaz. (PhD, University of British Columbia 2014) Assistant Professor of Music, Department of Music. Latin America, West Africa, and the African diaspora; musical, phenomenological, political, and historical analysis

Henry Spiller. (PhD, UC Berkeley 2001) Associate Professor of Music, Department of Music. Javanese and Sundanese music and dance; music and dance relationships; gender studies.

Affiliated Faculty

Jessica Bissett Perea. (Ph.D. in Musicology, University of California, Los Angeles) Assistant Professor in Native American Studies. Music, sound, and media studies; critical race and gender studies; Alaska Native and Circumpolar Inuit cultures, histories, and politics; Urban Indigeneities; African and Native alliances and cultural production in the Americas; jazz and improvisational musics; research ethics and methodologies.

Zoila Mendoza. (Ph.D. in anthropology, University of Chicago 1993) Professor in Native American Studies. Performance and dance in the Americas and Africa: festivals, carnivals, and dance troupes; theorizing race and ethnicity.

Financial Support

Typically the Music Department supports all graduate students for four years with tuition remission plus a fellowship that requires 25% to 50% teaching assistantship. Students are encouraged to apply for other graduate fellowships; information is available through the Office of Graduate Studies.

Further Information

Henry Spiller, Associate Professor, Department of Music, University of California-Davis, Davis CA 95616. Phone: 530-757-5791; Fax: 530-752-0983; Email: hjspiller@ucdavis.edu

Program Website


Ethnomusicology Student Group


Related Websites


The content for University of California, Davis was last updated September 21, 2017.

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