Application deadlinesFall, Dec 1 for Performance Practice and Jan. 15 for Musicology and Composition; no spring admission
- All Graduate School Requirements, including the TOEFL Exam for Non-Native English Applicants
- Three recommendations
- TOEFL minimum score of 250 computer-based or 600 paper-based
- Term papers and/or musical compositions
- Performance practice applicants contact field by Dec. 1 for audition
- Music Performance (D.M.A.)
- Musical Composition (D.M.A.)
- Musicology (Ph.D.)
- Theory of Music ()
- performance practice
- music performance
- musical composition
- theory of music
The Field of Music offers graduate degrees in three areas of study: musicology (Ph.D.), composition (D.M.A.), and performance practice (D.M.A.). Music at Cornell flourishes through an interdisciplinary approach that integrates the fields of performance, historical musicology, ethnomusicology, composition, and music theory. As a result, the Department of Music's many activities mutually reinforce each other, and graduate students at Cornell enjoy a sense of community among themselves and with the faculty.
The curriculum is highly flexible. Bound only by the few rules imposed by the Graduate School and by the Field of Music, students develop their own course of study in a close relationship with a Special Committee of three or four faculty members chosen by the student. For students in musicology, a reading knowledge of at least two foreign languages is required, and study of the language spoken in the area of research is essential. A student's Special Committee may require additional languages, depending on the area of specialization. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of course offerings in other fields, and minor subjects can be drawn either from within the Field of Music or from disciplines across the campus, such as anthropology, art history, computer science, history, linguistics, philosophy, psychology, sociology, theatre arts, and Western and non-Western languages and literatures.
There are 25 to 30 students in residence at any given time, including the approximately six new students matriculating each year. This low number allows for small seminars and encourages a close working relationship between students and faculty. The Music Colloquium Series, Composers Forum, and department concerts bring Cornellians together with distinguished visiting performers, composers, and scholars, and provide students with ample opportunity to present their own work. In addition to such visitors, resources include the Sidney Cox Library of Music and Dance, which offers one of the largest and most distinguished collections in any American university.
Musical performance is an essential part of life at Cornell. Graduate students are welcome to participate in the many performing ensembles sponsored by the Music Department, which include choirs, orchestras, wind ensembles, jazz ensembles, a Javanese gamelan, percussion ensembles, and many types of chamber music. In addition to students pursuing the D.M.A. in performance practice, many candidates in musicology and composition also perform, and some make performance a formal part of their programs by declaring a minor in this area.
The Music Department sponsors more than a hundred concerts each year, covering many historical periods and many cultural traditions. In addition, the Cornell Concert Series brings internationally renowned performers to the Cornell campus. Ensemble X, a professional new-music group based at Cornell, gives an annual series of concerts, as does the Cornell Contemporary Chamber Players, a group specializing in performing the works of the doctoral composition students. The Cornell Council for the Arts also serves as a potential source of funds for students wishing to organize their own concerts or other artistic activities.
Classroom teaching under the supervision of a faculty member constitutes a vital part of the training offered by the doctoral programs. As part of their studies graduate students serve as teaching assistants in undergraduate theory and history courses; they may also direct ensembles or give individual lessons. Every year one or two advanced students have the opportunity to design their own courses in the context of Cornell's acclaimed First-Year Writing Seminars, which pioneered the concept of "writing across the curriculum."
Only students intending to acquire a doctoral degree are admitted. Those who have not yet earned a master's degree in music at another institution are eligible to earn the M.F.A. (in composition or performance practice) or the M.A. (in musicology) in the course of their doctoral studies, but the field does not offer those degrees as terminal degrees. Further information about the Field of Music, its programs, faculty, and application procedures can be found on the Web.
Applicants for admission should follow the standard procedures as established by the Graduate School; the application, along with the statement of purpose, and TOEFL scores (if applicable) should be submitted directly to the Graduate School by January 15. Additional requirements for applicants in music are listed under the respective degree programs described on the Field of Music's Web site (www.arts.cornell.edu/music) or may be obtained by contacting the Director of Graduate Studies. Three letters of recommendation, transcripts, and the appropriate additional materials (essays, scores, recordings) should be sent to the Graduate Field Assistant in Music (101 Lincoln Hall) by January 15.
Students whose native language is not English are not required to take the GRE, but must provide a TOEFL score or other evidence showing that their English is sufficient to enable them to participate fully in graduate seminars. The minimum TOEFL score ordinarily required by the Cornell Graduate School is 550 (paper-based test) or 213 (computer-based test); the Field of Music prefers scores of 600 (=250) or above. Applicants who are fluent in English or have completed a degree program at an English-language institution may apply for a waiver from the Director of Graduate Studies.