The Department of Ethnomusicology will be accepting applications for Fall 2019.  The Application for Graduate Admission will be available in mid-September.

The Department of Ethnomusicology accepts applications for the Fall quarter only.  Admission to the department is based on acceptance by the UCLA Graduate Division and a faculty review of the applicant's work. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited US institution or comparable international institution, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.  An undergraduate major in music is not required as long as the applicant has the necessary background in music theory and musicianship to pursue graduate study.

The Department does not offer a master’s only program.  All applicants admitted to the graduate program will be officially entering the Ph.D. program, with the prospect of completing a doctoral degree in Ethnomusicology. However, the Ph.D. requires successful fulfillment of the requirements for the M.A. degree.  Applicants who have not previously earned a master’s degree in ethnomusicology or a closely related field should submit an application for the MA in Ethnomusicology, and those who have previously earned a master’s degree in ethnomusicology or a closely related field should submit an application for the PhD in Ethnomusicology.


Applicants must submit the UCLA Graduate Division Application for Graduate Admission by December 15 at 11:59 PM PST.  The application includes the following components:

  • Statement of Purpose: The statement of purpose should provide relevant information on the applicant's background, qualifications, interests, and reasons for undertaking graduate study in this field. Although the content of the statement is flexible, it is helpful for the department to learn about the applicant’s life and educational experiences; musical skills and musical experiences in general, as well as exposure to world musical traditions; intellectual growth and scholarly interests and concerns; contacts with the field of ethnomusicology, familiarity with the discipline, and prior experiences with research in this or related areas; and reasons for desiring to study ethnomusicology at UCLA. If possible, applicants should include the issues, interests, and areas of study they hope to pursue if admitted to the program. The statement is expected to be informative, genuine, and clearly written.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation are required.  The letters should be written by individuals who have known the applicant well, have observed their recent work and achievements, and are able to speak of their intellectual and research ability, promise, and potential as a student.  Applicants must enter the names and contact information of three recommenders within the application.  Electronic recommendation requests will be sent to recommenders, and recommendation letters must be submitted via these requests.
  • Writing Sample: The writing sample should demonstrate originality and creative conceptual thinking, competence in dealing with technical musical issues, writing skill, and proper documentation.  A master's thesis, bachelor's thesis, or substantial research paper in its entirety is preferred; alternately, several substantial essays that provide a good sense of the character and range of the applicant’s writing skills may be submitted.
  • Unofficial Transcripts: Upload unofficial copies of transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended.  Community college transcripts are not necessary, as the coursework will be reflected on the undergraduate transcript. 
  • Personal History Statement (optional): A statement describing the background, accomplishments, and life experiences that led the applicant to pursue this degree.  Applicants should only complete a Personal History Statement if there are elements of their personal history that they feel are not adequately addressed elsewhere in the application.

Campus Visit

Following review of the application materials, select applicants will be invited for a campus visit with department faculty.


Please contact  with questions about applying to the Ethnomusicology graduate program.