Note: The Department of Ethnomusicology is not accepting applications for the graduate program for Fall 2018.


Admissions decisions for the Department of Ethnomusicology are made by the faculty as a whole. Applicants submit an autobiographical/purpose statement, a research or term paper on an appropriate topic, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts.

A bachelor's degree in music will satisfy the musical background requirement.  Students from other fields may present other forms of evidence to satisfy the faculty that they have sufficient background in music theory and musicianship to work successfully at the graduate level.

The Department DOES NOT OFFER A MASTERS ONLY PROGRAM. 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 (including the M.A. courses and M.A. exams). This applies to those who do not already have the M.A. and those who, for curricular reasons, may be required by the Department to complete these requirements. However, students who choose to leave the program after the successful completion of the M.A. will still earn a master's degree in ethnomusicology. Similarly, students who are not accepted to pursue the Ph.D. degree, but who have successfully completed the M.A. requirements, will be granted a terminal M.A. degree.

Please note that an MM in Jazz Performance is offered through the Music Department. See Monk Institute Masters in Jazz Program  for more information.


In evaluating students for admission to the M.A./Ph.D. degree in Ethnomusicology , faculty look carefully at the previous academic record, the statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and the student's original work, which should demonstrate a critical and creative mind, an ability to write clearly, and knowledge of basic library research and bibliographic procedures.

The statement of purpose must be written by the applicant himself or herself for the purpose of giving the department 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 would be helpful for the Department to learn about: 1) the applicant's life and educational experiences; 2) musical skills and musical experiences in general, as well as exposure to world musical traditions; 3) intellectual growth and scholarly interests and concerns; 4) contacts with the field of ethnomusicology, familiarity with the discipline and prior experiences with research in this or related areas; and 5) 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.

The three letters of recommendation should be written by those who have known the applicant well, have observed his/her recent work and achievements, and are able to speak of his/her intellectual and research ability, promise, and potential as a student.

The required sample work, or works, will enable the faculty to assess the applicant's research abilities. The material is expected to show originality and creative conceptual thinking, competence in dealing with technical musical issues, writing ability and good communication, and proper documentation.

The application for admission, which is only online, is available beginning in September for fall of the following year at the Graduate Division website: Application for Graduate Admission (AGA). New students are admitted only in the fall. The deadline for the application and for all supporting documentation to be received in our office, is December 15th.

All U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for need-based financial assistance. All applicants may apply for merit-based financial assistance. Failure to meet any deadline may result in a delay in action or no action on an application for admission or for a fellowship or assistantship. Applicants on a waiting list for admission are notified as soon as a decision can be reached.

Visiting the Herb Alpert School of Music

Join a current School of Music student and/or staff member for a tour of the Schoenberg Music Building and the Evelyn & Mo Ostin Music Center, where you’ll see our performance spaces, classrooms, recording studio, rehearsal rooms, practice rooms, computer labs, and more!  Tours take place on Fridays at 3:00 PM. 

Click here to see dates of upcoming tours and sign up for a tour.

While you’re here, be sure to take some time to get the full UCLA experience.  Explore the campus on a general tour or take a look at your future home on an on-campus housing tour.

If you aren’t able to visit us in LA, you can still explore our campus on a virtual tour!  In addition, feel free to contact Zoe Ashmead, Director of Enrollment and Recruitment (), with any questions you have about our programs or applying to the Herb Alpert School of Music.

For further information on other requirements as well as general information on the UCLA Graduate Program in Ethnomusicology, the applicant should refer to the UCLA Graduate Division website.

The applicant may also contact the Director of Enrollment and Recruitment, Zoe Ashmead at .