M.A. Program

Professor James Kippen on tabla, accompanying sitarist Professor Allyn Miner (University of Pennsylvania).
Walter Hall, March 2019

We offer a two-year MA degree in Ethnomusicology. Lengthier descriptions are available on the Faculty of Music’s main site under Programs, and there is also a page about Graduate Department of Music Admissions. The University’s School of Graduate Studies offers plenty of information for prospective students. Students from outside Canada may also wish to explore the University’s site for the Centre for International Experience.

Undergraduate students with some background in ethnomusicology might consider applying to our five-year Direct Entry program. For details, please see the PhD Program.

Should questions arise about any aspect of doing a Master’s degree in Ethnomusicology, please feel free to contact our ethnomusicology faculty, the Graduate Department of Music’s administrator, or the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.

The MA in Ethnomusicology

  • Eligibility — Applicants should have a background in Music and the Humanities and/or Social Sciences, with a demonstrated interest in the study of music as a social fact. Prior exposure to Ethnomusicology is desirable.


  • Course Requirements — The MA comprises 12 half-courses, and must include MUS1000 Introduction to Music Research, and MUS 1002 Fieldwork Methods and Practicum (offered in alternate years). Of the remaining 10 half-courses, at least 5 must be in ethnomusicology, while others may be taken in Musicology and Music Theory. With permission from an academic advisor, up to 2 half-courses may be taken in another division of the Graduate Department of Music or in another of the University’s graduate units (e.g., Anthropology, Area Studies, etc. with permission from that unit). Course selections must be approved at the beginning of the year by the Course and Program Advisory Committee. A member of that committee will contact you before the beginning of the term. We encourage participation in our Ensembles, two of which will comprise a half-course credit (the maximum that can count towards the degree). Students must maintain a minimum overall average of A minus in the first year of the program in order to progress to year 2.


  • Language Requirement — Demonstrated competence in a language other than English. (This is not counted towards course credits). The choice of language must be discussed with an academic advisor, and should relate to research interests. This should ideally be satisfied in year one.


We guarantee our MA students one year of funding. (NB — Our PhD students are funded for 4 years, and Direct Entry students for 5 years.) The basic funding package consists of $17,500 plus tuition expenses. This amount assumes the student will work between 140 and 180 hours as a teaching and/or grading assistant. Normally, all students must apply for external funding, and our MA students have traditionally had a high rate of success in securing funding for the second year of their degree. Although we do not pay MA students’ tuition in year 2, we try wherever possible to offer some teaching or grading hours. Complete details of the funding package are made available in our letters of offer.

International graduate students pay the same tuition fees as domestic students.

Applicants from the USA are also encouraged to explore funding options from the Fulbright Canada Awards for American Students. Traditional Fulbright student awards provide US$15,000 for one nine-month academic year.

Also, the Organization of American States offers funding for US citizens and citizens of other eligible states to study in Canada.


Students receiving an offer from us but who then elect to defer the start of their program are not automatically guaranteed admission in the following admissions cycle. Rather, they will be reassessed along with following year’s applicants. Those deferring will not be required to resubmit an application, though they are at liberty to update their materials. A deferral is limited to one year, after which a new application must be filed.