IMPORTANT: For complete information on graduate degrees offered at the Bienen School of Music, please visit the Current Students - Academics page.
The Bienen School of Music's distinctive PhD program is structured to take full advantage of the many and varied academic opportunities available at Northwestern University. Majors are offered in music theory and cognition, music education, and musicology.
Students in this integrated program design a course of study incorporating their individual interests and a broad-based approach to contemporary music research. A unique aspect of this program is a cognate area requirement in a non-music field such as cultural studies, social sciences, learning sciences, humanities, arts, or communication studies.
Each student pursues a major field of study in close consultation with a faculty advisor. Faculty coordinators who assist with assignment of advisors are:
At several key points in the student's program of study, a department-wide assessment process asks students to demonstrate that they are making appropriate progress. This evaluation includes:
Full-time residency of nine academic quarters is required of all students, with three of those quarters waived if a student enters with a master's degree.
Prospective students in Musicology, and in Music Theory and Cognition may enter after the completion of a bachelor's degree.
Music Education students must have completed a masters degree, hold state certification, and have taught at least three years. If you are interested in the PhD program for Music Education, you should visit the site for the Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience (CSEME).
Music Theory and Cognition students can read additional information contained in the Music Theory & Cognition PhD Frequently Asked Questions page.
Curricula Distribution (27 units, or 18 beyond the master's degree)
Beyond the core pro-seminar series, the PhD program includes a cluster of courses that function inter-programmatically. These include Improvisation and World Musicianship, Multimedia Software Development, Music Cognition, Psychology of Music Teaching and Learning, Creative Thinking in Music, Music Historiography, Music and Meaning, Music Aesthetics, Ethics of Ethnography, and Music and Film.