Musicology at Illinois

Musicology at Illinois encourages an holistic study of music and sound in both undergraduate degrees (BA and BMUS) and graduate degrees (MM and PhD).


Our internationally recognized Musicology faculty are leaders in their fields, with teaching, research, and publications that embrace interdisciplinary and cutting-edge approaches to ethnomusicology and historiography. Clusters of expertise exist in several areas and students benefit from complementary perspectives on a wide range of geographic regions, time periods, topics, and theoretical frameworks.

Teaching and research are further characterized by rigor and disciplinary innovation, which have been a hallmark of Musicology at Illinois since the subject was established at this university in the early 1950s. Aiming to provide all students with a high-quality, transformative educational experience, faculty refresh our course offerings regularly to reflect their current research interests.

In addition, students in all programs are incentivized to take relevant courses outside of musicology, in fields such as anthropology, history, gender and women’s studies, theatre, literature, media, architecture, ethnic studies, and philosophy: opportunities that come with being part of one of the world’s leading public research universities. Students are also encouraged to perform in Illinois’s wide array of ensembles from a variety of musical traditions.

Musicology at Illinois is committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive, and supportive educational culture. The area nurtures a collegial atmosphere in and between our student and faculty communities. Everyone benefits from the University of Illinois’ exceptionally rich library collections, digital resources, and cross-campus facilities. Colloquia and public lectures in musicology and other fields offer opportunities to engage with national and international visiting artists and scholars, while a vibrant and varied cultural life, both on campus and in the micro-urban community of Urbana-Champaign, presents plentiful options for engaging with the performing arts.

Please see the Program Explorer for admissions statistics about Musicology.

What our alumni say

“I really valued the opportunity to shape my undergraduate degree and intentionally select the courses I took, while still receiving a solid foundation through required coursework” (Former BA student)

“Notable is the broad approach to encompass historical and ethnographic musicology. … The ethos of porousness between intellectual traditions and the push to be competent [in both] was always admirable to me” (Former PhD student)

“One characteristic that stood out to me before entering the program was the overall cooperative atmosphere of the department … I’d like to think I bring this sense of collegiality to my work as a grown-up musicologist, teaching courses of my own.” (Former MM/PhD student)

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