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, of the CUNY system, and of the New York City area as a whole. Ethnomusicology graduate 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 for ethnomusicology students 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 also renowned as the jazz capital of the world, and as the single biggest center for Latin popular music. It is also host to a dazzling array of diverse ethnic and immigrant communities, whose musical activities present unique research as well as performance opportunities for ethnomusicologists. Further, New York is home to such research institutions as the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, and Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies.
Ethnomusicology students are able to work not only with the Graduate Center's faculty, but also with other faculty throughout the CUNY system, which includes several colleges with distinguished music departments, such as Queens College, Hunter College, and Brooklyn College. The breadth of these resources, together with the flexibility of the CUNY program, the rich cultural offerings of New York City, and the affordability of CUNY tuition, have enabled the ethnomusicology program to attract students from a wide variety of countries and backgrounds. As of 2008, the research interests of the approximately thirty students currently working in the program cover large stretches of the globe, including Central Europe, Brazil, Ladakh, India, Turkey, Kurdistan, Japan, Thailand, Cape Verde, North and West Africa, Ireland, Cuba, and diverse aspects of North American popular music. The Baisley Powell Elebash Endowment supports dissertation and pre-dissertation research on the musical life of New York City. Our faculty and alumni have made major contributions to the field and we have an impressive record of placing our graduates in academic positions.
For the Ph.D., ethnomusicology students will take four 80000-level seminars in music and two seminars in an approved related field: anthropology, sociology, theatre, etc., plus electives to be selected with the approval of the Executive Officer or Deputy Executive Officer.