The University of Southern California Thornton School of Music offers a full range of academic and performance opportunities for aspiring historians, allowing students to study music in an environment where scholarship and performance interact. Musicology students will benefit from the faculty’s strengths in both 20th century and Early Music. The program also benefits from close links to many on-campus partners, including USC’s Early Modern Studies Institute, the Levan Institute for the Humanities, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

The PhD degree in historical musicology prepares students for careers in musical research, writing, and university teaching. Through seminars and lectures, musicology students explore the breadth of music ranging from topics in Western art music, popular music, performance practices, criticism, jazz and film, theory and musical analysis, and music of the world.

Students are provided the opportunity to present papers at national and international conferences and symposia, and to participate in a Musicology Forum that attracts top scholars in the field. Students may take courses in the arts and letters and participate in performance ensembles at Thornton, including the renowned early music ensemble, the USC Thornton Baroque Sinfonia.

In this section

event calendar

Upcoming events

No scheduled events.

news archive


Musicology professor Lisa Cooper Vest publishes new book

March 22, 2021

Lisa Cooper Vest, a professor of Musicology at USC Thornton, recently published her book, “Awangarda: Tradition and Modernity in Postwar Polish Music,” with the University of California Press. The book explores how postwar Polish composers, scholars and political leaders created an avant-garde musical tradition. Vest frames this tradition in contrast… read more

more news

all USC Thornton faculty