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Music doctoral students at the CUNY Graduate Center benefit from the mentorship of renowned faculty in a small, diverse program in the heart of New York City.
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tight focus photo of a Black woman playing violin, with a blue overlay

Music doctoral students at the CUNY Graduate Center benefit from the mentorship of renowned faculty in a small, diverse program in the heart of New York City.

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Degree Offered

Ph.D. or D.M.A. in Music: Composition


Ph.D. in Music: Ethnomusicology


Ph.D. in Music: Musicology


D.M.A. in Music: Performance


Ph.D. in Music: Theory and Analysis


Admissions Deadlines

December 1 for D.M.A. in Performance

December 15 for D.M.A. in Composition & all Ph.D. concentrations

(fall enrollment only/no spring enrollment)

Our premier music doctoral programs allow students to pursue their passions while honing their expertise. Students study with faculty who are leading scholars, composers, and performers. Giving students individualized support is a top priority, and we are proud of our excellent placement record.

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Students in the doctoral program in Music focus their studies in one of five concentrations, leading to either the Ph.D. or D.M.A. degree.

Students in the composition concentration aim to compose solo, chamber and orchestral or electro-acoustic music at a high professional level and to communicate effectively about their own compositions, while conducting analysis and original research into music history, composition and performance techniques.

Explore the composition concentration

Students in the ethnomusicology concentration gain a broad knowledge of musical practices from around the world as well as specialized knowledge of music in at least one world region or representing one major repertoire. Students are expected to demonstrate working familiarity with at least 2 languages other than English, and engage with current scholarship in the social sciences.

Explore the ethnomusicology concentration

Students in the musicology concentration achieve sophisticated control of the substance, theory, and criticism of both the major issues in music-historical thought and the repertories of the Western music canon and vernacular musics.

Explore the musicology concentration

Students in the performance concentration can pursue individual instruction in flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, percussion, violin, viola, cello, piano, voice, and guitar. The program is designed for students interested in a specialization in chamber music.

Explore the performance concentration

Students in the theory and analysis concentration undertake original scholarly research in any of the core areas of the discipline, and/or in other, emerging subdisciplines.

Explore the theory and analysis concentration

Our Program

The Ph.D.–D.M.A. Program in Music of the CUNY Graduate Center is designed to train students in many fields and subfields of musical scholarship. Hear from our faculty and students.

Admissions and Aid
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The Best of CUNY Music

Students study with faculty who are based primarily at The Graduate Center as well as top music faculty from schools throughout the CUNY system, which includes colleges with distinguished music programs such as Baruch College, Brooklyn College, City College, Hunter College, Lehman College, John Jay College, College of Staten Island, and Queens College.

Meet our Faculty
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Inspiration Abounds

Our students and faculty compose, publish, produce and perform at the highest levels. Our community is, therefore, a nexus of scholarly and creative accomplishment, which is recognized and celebrated nationally and internationally.

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Take Advantage of NYC

Students draw inspiration from New York City’s extraordinarily rich musical and cultural life. A center for classical music, opera, and music theater, New York is known as the jazz capital of the world and the biggest center for Latin popular music. It is host to a dazzling array of diverse ethnic and immigrant communities whose musical activities present unique research and performance opportunities. Students also have access to special research facilities and archives at institutions like Lincoln Center and The New York Public Library.

Learn about Living and Learning in NYC

Committed to Elevating Diverse Voices

We are proud to be part of CUNY’s success at creating opportunities for diverse students. We value students and faculty who bring new and underrepresented perspectives and experiences to their study and work. Our faculty are known for exploring new avenues of scholarship and addressing long-held biases and enjoy mentoring students who challenge the status quo. We are devoted to creating an inclusive community in which students of all cultures and backgrounds feel welcomed and supported.

— Music Program Leadership

Latest News


More Like This
Dec 9, 2022

Alumni Win Society for Music Theory Awards

Congratulations to Graduate Center Music program alumni Noriko Manabe (Ph.D. Music, ‘09) and Philip Stoecker (Ph.D. Music ’03), who were honored with awards at the recent Annual Meeting of the Society for Music Theory.

Manabe, an associate professor at Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance, received the Outstanding Publication Award for her article “We gon' be alright? The ambiguities of Kendrick Lamar's protest anthem” Music Theory Online, 25(1).

Stoecker, chair of the Department of Music at Hofstra University, received the Outstanding Multi-Author Collection Award for co-editing (with Edward Venn) the book Thomas Adès Studies. Among other essays, this award-winning collection featured the article  “Sonic Allegory in Adès’s The Exterminating Angel" by CUNY Professor Yayoi Uno Everett.


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