Graduate Division

History and Theory of Music Ph.D.

Section 1


Committed to an integrated approach to the field, we award the PhD in the History and Theory of Music. We offer students rigorous, skills-centered training, placing special emphasis on music theory and analysis, critical theory, and the philosophy and aesthetics of music, while ensuring the development of a broad base of historical knowledge. By keeping the size of our program relatively small, we ensure that all students receive considerable attention and personalized professional development in a supportive, collegial environment.

Our curriculum is flexible enough to allow students to widen the scope of their work both within and outside the Department. Interested students have the possibility of earning a certificate in critical theory. Reaching outward, the program boasts a distinguished guest lecture series and regularly hosts prestigious conferences in the field.

You can learn more about the program here.

What Sets Us Apart?

In the United States, graduate programs in the humanistic study of music have traditionally tended toward a bifurcated structure, with students focusing on either historical musicology or music theory and analysis. The graduate program in musicology at UC Irvine is unique within the state of California, and rare within the United States as a whole, in combining both of these areas to offer a Ph.D. program with a particular emphasis on music theory and analysis, critical theory, and the aesthetics and philosophy of music. The program rests on two central pillars: a sustained engagement with musical works that is underpinned by a thorough grounding in musical skills and literacy, and a strong focus on critical theory, which students will learn to apply to musicological sub-disciplines such as music analysis and historical musicology.

Quick Facts

Program Type

Doctoral Program

Normative Time to Degree

6 years

Capstone Type


Accordion Section

Admissions Requirements

Applicants are normally expected to have earned an undergraduate degree with a major in music (B.A. or B.Mus.) and to possess strong analytical and writing skills. Applicants whose undergraduate major was in a subject other than music but who can demonstrate a strong background in music and are otherwise qualified may also be considered.
The online application and all supporting materials must be received by December 1. Supporting materials must include:
  • A personal statement of the applicant's experiences, primary interests, and career goals
  • Two samples of academic writing on music-historical and/or music-analytical topics that show evidence of writing and critical thinking skills
  • Results of the GRE exam, taken within the last five years
  • Three letters of recommendation

Financial Support

We guarantee five years of support for all students who remain in good standing through a variable mix of fellowships and teaching assistantships.

Tuition & Fees

Graduate/Credential Student Fees 2019-20

  Fall 2019 Winter 2020 Spring 2020 Annual
Student Services Fee 376.00 376.00 376.00 1,128.00
Tuition 3,814.00 3,814.00 3,814.00 11,442.00
Assoc. Grad Students Fee 9.00 9.00 9.00 27.00
Student Center Fee 139.69 139.69 139.68 419.06
Bren Events Center Fee 23.00 23.00 23.00 69.00
Recreation Center Fee 88.00 88.00 88.00 264.00
Document Fee * 80.00 0.00 0.00 80.00
Student Health Insurance 1,459.18 1,459.18 1,459.18 4,377.54
Total California Resident $ 5,908.87 $ 5,908.87 $ 5,908.86 $ 17,726.60
Nonresident Supplemental Tuition 5,034.00 5,034.00 5,034.00 15,102.00
Total Nonresident $ 10,942.87 $ 10,942.87 $ 10,942.86 $ 32,828.60


Posted 12 July 2019 at

The tuition, fees, and charges posted to your billing statement or account are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by increases or reductions in State funding, or other developments. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus your final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

* The Document Fee provides lifetime access to official transcripts and academic verifications without a fee for in-person pickup or delivery by USPS. In addition, there is no fee for mailing the initial diploma. Effective Fall 2018, new undergraduate, professional, and graduate students are assessed the one-time document fee. Eligible students are able to use financial aid to cover the Document Fee.

Core Faculty

Amy Bauer, 20th-century music, Ligeti, cross-cultural music research, aesthetics and psychoanalysis

David Brodbeck, Central European music and musical culture in the long nineteenth century, rock music

Nicole Grimes, Music history and music analysis in the Austro-German sphere from the late 18th century to
the present, music and philosophy, aesthetics, critical theory, music and literature

Stephan Hammel, Critical theory, music and radical politics, Latin American modernism

Colleen Reardon, 17th century music, opera and singers, archival studies