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Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details


The M.A. and Ph.D. programs in musicology at the UBC School of Music offer students advanced training leading to professional careers in teaching and scholarly research. Graduate students enjoy a program that balances sound historical methods with critical interpretation, and forges interdisciplinary connections to music theory, ethnomusicology, and the humanities in general. The musicology faculty’s areas of expertise range from Medieval repertories through music of the 21st century, and represent a variety of scholarly approaches and critical methods.

What makes the program unique?

Musicology at UBC is expansive. The four faculty members work on music from the Middle Ages to the present day. Their work also stretches across genres, among them, classical, Asian traditions, jazz, and popular music. They also engage a wide range of critical approaches, including sound studies, transnationalism, disability studies, religious cultures, gender studies, queer studies, and social justice. The Musicology Division inspires students to adopt a far-reaching, interdisciplinary vision in their work.

Program Structure

Prerequisites and remedial subjects. Registration in Music 512E (Directed Individual Studies).
Course work (curriculum, language requirements).

Formal approval of thesis topic. At this time the student should present for approval to the advisory committee evidence of progress such as a bibliography, an outline of methodology, a ground plan of themes to be explored and expanded, etc.

Comprehensive Examinations

Advancement to candidacy and completion of Music 512E.

Research and fieldwork (if applicable); thesis (Music 649); and Final Oral Examination.


Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

Program Instructions

Contact: Dr. Alex Fisher (Tel: 604-822-3524)

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 90









IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 6.5









Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

Prior Degree Requirements

The entering student should have completed a Master's degree or its equivalent, including a thesis.

Course Requirements

The entering student should have completed a Master's degree or its equivalent, including a thesis. Exceptionally, however, a student who has completed 12 credits in the first year of an M.A. program may be offered admission directly into the Ph.D. (without completing the M.A. thesis) if the student has demonstrated sufficient mastery of graduate-level material and sufficient development as a scholarly writer. Students who wish to transfer from a master’s to a doctoral program must have completed one year of study in the master’s program with a minimum 80% average in 12 credits, of which at least nine credits must be at the 500 level or above and at least nine credits must be at 80% or above. The student must show clear evidence of research ability. In either case, the following entrance requirements apply: Historical Musicology The entering student should have demonstrated extensive experience with music history research and bibliographical techniques, as well as in German or French (see the explanatory notes to the M.A. in Historical Musicology).

Document Requirements

Take the General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and request that your scoring report be forwarded to the School of Music using University of British Columbia's institution code 0965 along with department code 2302 (for Music History, Musicology, and Theory).
Note: UBC graduates within 3 years prior to application are exempt from this requirement.

Submit a paper, or papers, dealing with some aspect of musicology that is representative of your work to date.

Submit a Statement of Intent. Your Statement of Intent should outline areas of interest, current and future research plans, and why you feel that UBC would be a suitable place to pursue your degree program.

Contact: Dr. Alex Fisher (Tel: 604-822-3524)

2) Meet Deadlines

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

3) Prepare Application


All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.


Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Music, Emphasis Musicology (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Research Information

Research Highlights

Prof. Alex Fisher

“Thesaurus litaniarium: The Symbolism and Practice of Musical Litanies in Counter-Reformation

Germany.” Early Music History 34 (2015): 45-95.

Music, Piety, and Propaganda: The Soundscapes of Counter-Reformation Bavaria. New York:

Oxford University Press, 2014.

Music and Religious Identity in Counter-Reformation Augsburg, 1580-1630. Aldershot: Ashgate

Press, 2004.

“Thesaurus litaniarium: The Symbolism and Practice of Musical Litanies in Counter-Reformation

Germany.” Early Music History 34 (2015): 45-95.

“Per mia particolare devotione: Orlando di Lasso’s Lagrime di San Pietro and Jesuit Spirituality in

Counter-Reformation Munich. Journal of the Royal Musical Association 132 (2007): 167–220.


Prof. Hedy Law

Music, Pantomime, and Freedom in Enlightenment France. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press,


“Music, Bacchus, and Freedom. In Oxford Handbook of Music and the Body, edited by Youn

Kim and Sander L. Gilman, 161–176. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.

“Harpocrates at Work: How the God of Silence Protected Eighteenth-Century French

Iconoclasts.” In Oxford Handbook of Music and Censorship, edited by Patricia Hall, 153–174. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

“Composing Citoyennes through Sapho (1794). The Opera Quarterly 32, no.1 (Winter 2016): 5–



Prof. Claudio Vellutini

“Donizetti, Vienna, Cosmopolitanism," Journal of the American Musicological Society 73 (2020),


"Interpreting the Italian Voice in London (and Elsewhere), in London Voices, 1820-1840: Vocal

Performers, Practices, Histories, ed. by Roger Parker and Susan Rutherford: 51-69. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2019.

"Fanny Tacchinardi-Persiani, Carlo Balocchino, and Italian Opera Business in Vienna, Paris, and

London (1837-1845), Cambridge Opera Journal 30 (2019): 259-304.

"Opera and Monuments: Verdi's Ernani in Vienna and the Construction of Dynastic

Memory,Cambridge Opera Journal 29 (2017): 215-39.


David Metzer

“Repeated Borrowing: The Case of ‘Es ist genug.’” Journal of the American Musicological Society

71 (2018): 703-48.

The Ballad in American Popular Music: From Elvis to Beyoncé. Cambridge: Cambridge University

Press, 2017.

Musical Modernism at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University

Press, 2009.

Quotation and Cultural Meaning in Twentieth-Century Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University

Press, 2003.

Research Focus

Each of the four members of the Musicology Division has distinctive areas of expertise. Prof. Alex Fisher concentrates on aspects of religious culture and sound studies in music of the early modern period. He also leads the Early Music Ensemble. Prof. Hedy Law studies 18th-century French music, examining issues related to the Enlightenment, citizenship, and dance and bodily movement. Prof. Vellutini focuses on 19th-century Italian music, especially the transnationalism of Italian opera, opera singers and productions, and cosmopolitanism. Prof. David Metzer studies aspects of aesthetics, emotional expression, and social justice in classical and popular music of the 20th and 21st centuries. The Division has supervised theses dealing with topics across a broad range of periods, genres, and critical issues.

Research Facilities

From the state-of-the-art Chan Centre for Performing Arts, one of North America's premier musical venues, to the historic Old Auditorium and intimate Roy Barnett Recital Hall, to university-wide resources such as the Emerging Media Lab, UBC offers world-class facilities for musicology students.

Tuition & Financial Support


FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $24,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 1 student within this program was included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research, academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $43,114.
  • 1 student received Teaching Assistantships valued at $6,744.
  • 1 student received internal awards valued at $1,370.
  • 1 student received external awards valued at $35,000.

Study Period: Sep 2021 to Aug 2022 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Estimator

Applicants have access to the cost estimator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

8 students graduated between 2007 and 2012. Of these, career information was obtained for 8 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):

RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
Vanier College
University of Georgia
University of Calgary
Elon University
Cégep Garneau
Queen's University
University of Alberta
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Tsuut'ina Nation
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on
The data show all specializations in Music combined. These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

Graduates of UBC’s graduate programs in musicology have obtained professional positions at the University of Toronto, University of Victoria, University of Cincinnati, Indiana University, the City University of New York, the City University of London, and elsewhere.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Music, Emphasis Musicology (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.


New Registrations00001
Total Enrolment22333
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year.

Research Supervisors


Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Music, Emphasis Musicology (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.
Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.


Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2023 Dr. Gallagher examined the visual and musical features of pastoral landscapes (forests and fields) and anti-pastoral areas (ruins and caves) in the video games Final Fantasy X, XII, XIII, and XV. Her research shows that music significantly impacts players' perceptions of these areas, making them feel more relaxed and apprehensive, respectively.
2018 Dr. Boyle examined the role of repetition in a selection of postmodern compositions, proposing new theoretical principles for understanding the perception of musical segments. Her work expands on previous discussions of musical form by explaining not only the emergence of closed segments, but also of more open forms and processes.
2018 Dr. Mahlberg explored the biography and works of the Finnish composer Leevi Madetoja who lived from 1887-1947. This study, the first of its kind in English, considers Madetoja in light of issues of national identity and politics, and provides an overview of his place and musical contributions in the context of European musical culture.

Further Information


Musicology involves the scholarly study of music in its historical and cultural contexts. At the UBC School of Music, faculty and students in the Musicology division explore a wide range of repertory and performance practices ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Faculty Overview

Academic Unit

Program Identifier

Supervisor Search

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update contact details for application inquiries, please use this form.

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