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Tailor your program to suit your interests


Earning your MA in Musicology gives you the opportunity to investigate music’s role and meaning in various social and historical contexts, through text-based analysis informed by cultural studies.

The small size of our program guarantees a great deal of specialized attention and the possibility of tailoring courses of study to suit your interests.

The MA is a thesis-based program, in which you take two required seminar courses and choose three other seminars before embarking on a thesis prospectus and then thesis research. This is normally a two-year degree.

Once in the program, you are eligible for Dalhousie graduate scholarships and teaching assistantships in the Fountain School of Performing Arts.

Program Details

Master of Arts in Musicology (MA)

Program structure

You are required to take 5 courses (2 core required courses MUSC 5000 & 5001, plus 3 seminars), as well as a pass/fail thesis proposal ‘course’, which is an independent study to prepare for the thesis.

Normally you will do all of your course work in the first year and write your thesis during the summer, possibly carrying over into a second year.

In the fall, as a full-time entering MA student, you will normally take MUSC 5000 along with two seminars and in the winter MUSC 5001, one seminar and MUSC 8000, the thesis proposal.

If you are studying as a part-time student, you will take MUSC 5000 and 5001 in the first year.

Most of the seminars are cross-listed with senior undergraduate courses, but include readings and assignments over and above those expected of the undergraduates, and might involve extra meetings.

Further information:

Program Dates

January 15 If you are applying for scholarships and funding your application (including application, fee and all supporting documents) must be completed by January 15th.
June 1 Application for admission to the MA program should be received by the university no later than June 1 for a September start date.
July-August Register for REGN 9999 to confirm you are registering in the program.
September Classes begin. Be sure to attend required information sessions.
October Submit your SSHRC application.
April Thesis proposals are approved.

Theses Research and Writing

The thesis itself should be 15,000-20,000 words in length, including footnotes, but excluding your bibliography.

The Faculty of Graduate Studies has explicit regulations regarding the roles and responsibilities of the student and of the supervisor (or the supervisory committee), and also sets out explicit regulations for the formatting and submission of the thesis and exam procedures. For specific information, see FGS Regulations. In particular see sections VIII: Thesis Supervisors and Supervisory Committees and section IX: Thesis Regulations.

For the MA Musicology program we will follow the ‘Oral Defense’ rather than the written defense model of examination.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees are set and administered by the university and the Faculty of Graduate Studies, not the School. MA students should know, however, that after three consecutive terms of full-time status (over a 12-month period) they are only to pay continuing fees, which are a fraction of the program fees. For students in financial need, particularly after the first academic year, the Faculty of Graduate Studies can offer some aid in the form of bursaries.

Please visit Dalhousie’s Money Matters site for up to date information regarding tuition and fees.

Language Requirement

You are required to have one foreign language, satisfied either through completion of an intermediate-level language course, completion of a course designed to teach academic reading in a foreign language, or by written exam.

If you wish to satisfy the language requirement by exam, you can write your exam in the first week of September (before the beginning of classes).

Graduate student handbook

Download the Graduate Student Handbook [PDF-357kB] for full details about the graduate study program in Musicology.