PHD – Musicology

  • The program details described below are subject to change. Actual degree requirements for a given academic year may differ from what is listed here.
  • Refer to the 2016-2017 USC Catalogue for complete course descriptions and degree requirements.
  • See the Thornton Admission page for specific application information.
  • Current students should refer to the specific requirements list for their major, which is available through the Thornton Student Affairs office.


The PhD with an emphasis in historical musicology requires a minimum of 60 units beyond the bachelor’s degree and consists of course work in music history; electives in history, language, literature or arts other than music; and general electives. After completing an adaptable collection of courses suited to the student’s research interests, the program culminates with a dissertation.

Sample Summary of Program of Study

Core Academic Courses in Music (14 units)

MUHL 570 Research Materials and Techniques (2 units)
12 units of courses selected from:
MUHL 579 Studies in Music History (4 units repeatable)
MUHL 600-699 Seminars in Music History (2-3 units, repeatable)

Academic Music Electives (10 units)

10 units of courses from:
MUCO 501 Introduction to the Analysis of Tonal Music (2 units)
MUCO 502 Introduction to the Analysis of Post-Tonal Music (2 units)
MUHL 500-699 Music History electives (2 units each course)
Electives in History, Language, Literature or Arts other than Music (8 units)
Electives in Music, Letters, Arts and Sciences (24 units)

Capstone Requirements (4 units)

Comprehensive Examination
MUHL 794ab Doctoral Dissertation (4 units)
Dissertation defense and submission

All curricular requirements are evaluated on an annual basis and are subject to change. Students follow the curricular requirements as published in the USC Catalogue for their year of matriculation. A typical graduate credit load for the PhD is twelve units per semester.

Two language examinations are required to demonstrate reading knowledge in German and in one other foreign language chosen by the student from among French, Italian or Latin. With the permission of the chair of the guidance committee, a foreign language relevant to the dissertation may be chosen in place of French, Italian or Latin. These exams must be passed by the fourth semester of course work.