Critical & Comparative Studies in Music

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at

For requirements/coursework, see CCS Ph.D. Chronology.

For forms, visit the Graduate Forms page.

This program encourages students to develop interdisciplinary perspectives on music and musical culture. Seminars and independent projects examine diverse musical traditions along with the research techniques of musicology, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, and popular music studies. Working closely with faculty mentors, students approach their own research interests with a combination of the most appropriate methods from these and related fields, such as performance studies, feminist and queer studies, aesthetics, religious studies, and critical theory. Students currently in the program are writing on a range of modern and historical, "popular" and "classical," American, European, and non-Western topics. 

The Ph.D. requires 54 credits of course work, up to 18 credits of dissertation research, and successful completion of a dissertation project. Students who successfully complete two years (36 credits) of course work and the projects appropriate to their concentration may apply for an en route M.A. at the end of their second year. Those entering with an M.A. degree will generally be required to fulfill all coursework requirements. Students may petition the department’s graduate committee for advanced standing at the end of their first year.

During the first two years, students ordinarily take three seminars per semester, including MUSI 7511 Introduction to Music Research. During the third year, students may take an additional seminar each semester while preparing for their qualifying examinations. Students in years two and three are encouraged to broaden their horizons by taking one or more of their seminars outside the department. All students must demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language and mastery in another. At every moment from matriculation to graduation, students collaborate closely with a faculty mentor in their program, who advises them on seminar work, teaching, conference preparation, and general matters of professionalization.

Students turn in a first year portfolio before the start of their second year of graduate school.  By the end of the third year, students must pass a written qualifying examination showing their capacity for research and teaching. The examination covers three fields chosen in consultation with the student's advisor and examination committee. Following passage of the qualifying examination and all other degree requirements, students begin work on the dissertation, which consists of a book-length study demonstrating original research and critical insight. Students defend their projects in a public examination before a committee of four faculty, at least one of whom will be from another department.


UVA Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176