How Long Does Ethnomusicology School Take?

Ethnomusicologists are professionals who study music in the context of the culture that practices them. They study the different musical traditions, musical instruments and musicians of various peoples of the world. The job of ethnomusicologists provides deep insight into the music of different groups and helps foster understanding of their culture and practices. Many ethnomusicologists work as college and university professors, imparting their knowledge to students during the school year and conducting research when school is out.

If ethnomusicology is a field that appeals to you then you will have to be prepared to spend a lot of time in school. The entry point towards this career is a bachelor’s degree in cultural studies, sociology, anthropology or related fields. A bachelor’s degree in ethnomusicology can be obtained in some schools so this is also another program that aspiring ethnomusicologists can take. One of the schools that have a bachelor of arts in ethnomusicology degree is the University of Washington School of Music. The degree is offered with a major in music and students must complete at least 180 credits to graduate. Undergraduate degrees typically take four years to complete for fulltime students.

However, a bachelor’s degree does not make you a full-fledged ethnomusicologist. If you want to become a practicing ethnomusicologist, you need to obtain postgraduate degrees such as a master’s or doctoral degree in ethnomusicology. At the Department of Ethnomusicology of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, the master of arts in ethnomusicology degree can take two years to finish. Meanwhile, a PhD in ethnomusicology takes around five years to finish.

If you aspire to become an ethnomusicologist but don’t want to be confined to a strict on-campus class schedule, you can obtain your postsecondary degree online. These programs give you the opportunity to hold a fulltime job while you’re working towards getting your degree. For example, if you want to delve into cultural studies for your undergraduate degree, Excelsior College offers the bachelor of arts in humanities (cultural studies concentration) online which is a 120-credit course. For postgraduate degrees, Liberty University, offers the master of arts in ethnomusicology degree. The course is delivered online although it does require a residency of four, one-week intensive courses on campus. These can be finished in one or more summers.

Do take note that not everyone can successfully get their bachelor’s or master’s degree online. The self-directed nature of online programs is both its boon and its bane. While these programs provide flexibility in terms of when students are going to study or view lectures, the professors do require that assignments be submitted on time. This means that you will really have to organize your schedule so that you can complete your requirements even as you fulfill the responsibilities of your job and still be able to spend time with your family. You may also want to consider becoming a part-time student so that you don’t have to worry about pressing yourself too thin. Studying part-time, however, will mean that it will take you longer to become an ethnomusicologist.

Career Spotlight: Ethnomusicologist

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