Fall Deadline December 1
Spring Deadline This program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline This program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements ( Every international student from a non-English speaking country must submit a TOEFL score of 85 or higher. The Mead Witter School of Music does NOT waive the TOEFL requirement for students who have completed a degree at an American university.
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Minimum admission requirements of the Graduate School apply to all applicants for graduate study in music. The Mead Witter School of Music has additional requirements. Applicants should have a bachelor's degree in music or equivalent foundational course work as required by each area of study. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale, calculated on the last 60 credit hours) is necessary for full admission. M.A. applicants are required to submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores and samples of research writing. The M.A. program involves substantial academic work and requires excellent reading, writing, and speaking skills. Therefore, all international students are required to submit a TOEFL score. See the Mead Witter School of Music graduate admissions website for information on minimum score requirements. The Mead Witter School of Music does not waive the TOEFL score requirement for students who have completed a degree at an American university. For details on specific audition requirements and additional application materials, visit the Mead Witter School of Music graduate admissions website.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

The Mead Witter School of Music also offers teaching and project assistantships in music history, music theory, piano, conducting, voice, and other performance areas. These positions offer tuition remission plus a salary and health care benefits. In addition, the Mead Witter School of Music selects qualified applicants for the University Fellowship and Advanced Opportunity Fellowship. The UW–Madison Office of Student Financial Services assists students in obtaining general grants and loans. All Mead Witter School of Music students who receive funding are required to maintain full-time enrollment status. Many students also take advantage of work-study opportunities on campus, and many are employed part-time in area musical organizations or business entities.

Most M.A. and Ph.D. students are eligible for teaching assistant appointments in the respective area, provided that positions are available. All M.A. and Ph.D. students may be considered for a University Fellowship, and qualified applicants may be considered for the Advanced Opportunity Fellowship. Feel free to direct questions about any of these funding opportunities to the Mead Witter School of Music graduate admissions office,

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.25 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements Graduate students at UW–Madison must meet expectations for satisfactory progress toward completion of the degree while enrolled. In School of Music graduate programs, a graduate student must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.25. Even though grades below B do not count for graduate credit toward the degree, those grades are included in computation of the GPA.

In the first semester in which the cumulative GPA falls below 3.25 the director of graduate studies will notify the student in writing. After a second semester in which the GPA remains below 3.25 the student will be placed on probation for the next semester enrolled. This action suspends all financial aid awards through UW–Madison, though loans and work-study are not affected. Failure to raise the GPA to 3.25 or above in the probation semester results in the student’s withdrawal from the Graduate School and from the School of Music program.

To maintain satisfactory progress School of Music students on UW–Madison funding (teaching assistants, project assistants, fellows, and scholarship recipients) must maintain full-time status. A student’s satisfactory progress is also in jeopardy should a major project or recital be judged incomplete or deficient. Failure of one or more parts of the comprehensive examinations, preliminary examinations, or final defense is also considered a lapse in satisfactory progress.
Assessments and Examinations In addition to evaluations in individual classes, School of Music programs examine graduate students at defined points in their career.

For master’s students, comprehensive examinations measure the candidate’s range of musical knowledge in both fields of music history and the major.
Language Requirements All School of Music doctoral programs require proficiency at the intermediate level in at least one foreign language. The Historical Musicology track requires proficiency in German. Foreign language proficiency assures that the student has the tools needed to pursue comprehensive research in the major field. Details on foreign language requirements and ways to fulfill proficiency expectations are outlined in the course lists available through the Requirements tab for each degree. This information is also available in the advising worksheets for each degree major track.

Required COURSES

Direct any questions about the coursework or required proficiencies to the Mead Witter School of Music graduate admissions office,

Historical Musicology Track1

Entering students will take a short diagnostic examination in music history during the first week of classes to be used for advising purposes only.
Coursework in Musicology9
Choose from the following courses:
Survey of Music in the Middle Ages
Survey of Music in the Renaissance
Survey of Music in the Baroque Era
Survey of Music in the Classic Era
Survey of Music in the Romantic Era
Survey of Music in the Twentieth Century
Historical Performance Practices
Survey of Opera
Historical Music Theories 1
Historical Music Theories 2
Musicology Seminars (two required)6
Seminar in Musicology
Ethomusicology–choose from the following:3
Musical Cultures of the World
Musical Cultures of the World
Proseminar in Ethnomusicology
Other required courses
MUSIC 900 Colloquium0
MUSIC/​L I S  619 Music Research Methods and Materials3
Theory Proficiency
Satisfied by completion of one graduate-level course taught by music theory faculty. Theory credits may count toward electives. 2
The following courses may fulfill this requirement: 2
MUSIC 990 Masters Thesis (consult advisor for details)1-4
Electives (300-level or above)7
Language Proficiency: German required
Language study may be satisfied by one of the following:
Four semesters of undergraduate study completed during the last five years, earning a grade of B or better in the last semester OR
German may be satisfied by taking the GERMAN 391 earning a grade of B or better OR
Study on your own or through courses offered by the Division of Continuing Studies. After completing the online course you must pass the DCS exam at the Intermediate level. Contact the Division of Continuing studies or
Other courses do not fulfill this requirement unless specifically approved by the musicology faculty. 3
Total Credits29-32

Music Theory Track1

Courses in Music Theory and Composition12
Choose from the following. The first four courses are recommended. 2
Historical Music Theories 1
Historical Music Theories 2
Schenkerian Analysis
Post-tonal Analysis
Renaissance Polyphony
Baroque Counterpoint
Form and Analysis
Form and Analysis II
Current Issues in Musical Thought 1
Topics in Music Analysis 1
Topics in Music Analysis 2
Seminar in Composition
Research Methods
MUSIC/​L I S  619 Music Research Methods and Materials3
Musicology and/or Literature Courses6
Choose from the following courses: 3
Survey of Music in the Middle Ages
Survey of Music in the Renaissance
Survey of Music in the Baroque Era
Survey of Music in the Classic Era
Survey of Music in the Romantic Era
Survey of Music in the Twentieth Century
Music in the United States
Historical Performance Practices
Survey of Opera
Proseminar in Ethnomusicology
American Folk and Vernacular Music
Seminar in Musicology
Seminar in Ethnomusicology
Seminar in Notation
Masters Thesis
Choose coursework in the School of Music at 300-level or above. These may include Music (600) or Music Performance (664) courses.
Total Credits30

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

No more than 6 credits may be approved for graduate coursework taken at other institutions.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

The Graduate School allows departments to review requests to count up to 7 credits of undergraduate work at UW–Madison toward graduate program requirements, but this is rarely approved by the Mead Witter School of Music faculty.

UW–Madison University Special

Some students may have completed coursework at 300 level or above at UW–Madison as a Special Student; with program approval coursework so taken may be considered to fulfill up to 6 credits of graduate program requirements. However the Graduate School mandates that fees be paid in these cases. 


M.A. students who fail to make satisfactory progress in any of the four following areas: grades, course load, time constraints, or exams, will be notified in writing by the DGS. At the end of the second semester of failing to make satisfactory progress the student is placed on probation effective the next semester. This action suspends financial aid (but does not affect loans or work-study). For details see Satisfactory Progress for Master's Students.


All programs provide for faculty from several disciplines to follow the student’s progress through the degree, provide mentorship along the way, and assess the student’s success in reaching expected learning outcomes. Committee structures differ among degrees and majors. The principal advisor for most graduate students in the Mead Witter School of Music is generally referred to as the major professor.

In M.A. and Ph.D. programs the advisor may not be the eventual thesis or dissertation advisor. In all programs the major professor is determined with the student's particular interests in mind. The director of graduate studies is also an advisor for all graduate students in Mead Witter School of Music programs. Students are expected to consult with the director of graduate studies at least once per semester to determine appropriate course plans. Consultation is mandatory in the semester before intended graduation.

Music students have a committee of three or more graduate faculty, including the major professor.


15 credits

Time Constraints

M.M. and M.A. students not receiving university funding are expected to complete requirements and pass comprehensive examinations within seven years from the time of enrollment in the program. While graduate students may enroll on a part-time basis, this time constraint still applies.

All M.M. and M.A. students holding teaching assistant, project assistant, or fellowship appointments must complete requirements for the degree within four semesters (not counting summer sessions or thesis credits). If the appointment is more than 33.4% the expectation is to complete requirements in the sixth semester.

grievances and appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.



Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Articulates and critiques the theories, research methods, and approaches to inquiry in music-related scholarship.
  2. Identifies and employs a variety of sources and analytical approaches to inform discussion of topics in music.
  3. Demonstrates knowledge of musical study in historical and cultural contexts.
  4. Selects appropriate methodologies for research and discussion of musical topics.
  5. Rationally evaluates and synthesizes information from both primary sources and secondary scholarship, posing original questions and offering fresh insight into musical topics.
  6. Communicates clearly, both verbally and in writing, to colleagues in the field.
  7. Recognizes and applies principles of ethical and professional conduct.

Faculty: Professors Cook (director), Calderón, Chisholm, Crook, Di Sanza, Dobbs, Doing, Dominguez, Fischer, Fulmer, Hetzler, Hyer, Johnson, Karp, Perry, Rowe, Schwendinger, Taylor, Teeple, Thimmig, Vardi, Vallon, Wallmann; Associate Professors Butler, Farah, Grabois, Ronis; Assistant Professors Chana, Laurenz, Lee, Nelson, Sans; Marching Band Director Pompey; Teaching Faculty Curry, Gladstone, Gonzalez, Koester, Rottmayer, Wohn; Lecturers Patenaude, Wienholts.

The faculty of the Mead Witter School of Music is a distinguished group of educators, performing musicians, and active scholars. The backgrounds of performance faculty include rich experiences as professional musicians, researchers, recording artists, and entrepreneurs. Faculty in music education have particular insight into their field as a result of their backgrounds as school educators, performers, and scholars. In areas such as music theory and musicology, the musical community has high regard for the past and current contributions to the study of musical theory, historical perspectives on music, the role of music in societies around the world, and the unique contributions of American musicians. Teaching is a priority for the faculty, who are readily accessible to students for advice and support. Faculty, staff, and students cooperate in extraordinary ways with joint ventures that reach across disciplines both in research or instruction. 


National Association of Schools of Music

Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2022–2023