We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Do I Become a Musicologist?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Someone who wants to become a musicologist will need to obtain a post-graduate degree in this field. This requires developing a research topic for a master's thesis and/or graduate dissertation. With educational credentials, it is possible to begin a career as a musicologist, performing work that can vary from expert witnessing in intellectual property cases to developing a music program at a college or university. Musicology careers can vary, depending on your degree and personal areas of experience.

The first step for someone who wants to become a musicologist is an undergraduate degree in music. Some schools offer musicology, history of music, music theory, and related degrees. This degree lays the foundation for graduate research. Undergraduate students should plan on taking instruction with musical instruments and may want to pursue internship and research opportunities they can apply in graduate school.

Graduate programs in musicology are available at a number of universities. A student who plans to become a musicologist may want to visit several programs to learn more about their offerings and the type of work the graduate faculty support. This can help students decide where they want to go to school. Someone interested in ethnomusicology and the study of traditional instruments, for example, needs a more multidisciplinary program. Students who want to study the evolution of hip hop, on the other hand, need to find a school with experts in this area.

Students applying to graduate schools to become a musicologist typically need test scores and may need a portfolio of work along with letters of recommendation and a strong personal essay. Candidates that look interesting will receive interview requests. They visit the school to meet faculty and students, undergo an interview, and discuss their planned research topics. It is important to show how research is unique and will contribute to the field, and to demonstrate adequate preparedness for graduate level coursework, which can be demanding.

A master's degree can provide many opportunities for someone who intends to become a musicologist, but a doctorate level degree can be better. The higher qualification may be advantageous on job applications as well as in other settings where people need to have professional credentials. It is also possible to pursue post-doctorate work to expand upon research and develop more publishing credits while getting a chance to work with leading members of the field. More training and experience can be valuable when graduates apply into available positions on college faculties and in other settings, like music libraries and record companies.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Practical Adult Insights researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.