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Administrative Unit:Music
College/School: College of Letters & Science
Admitting Plans:M.M., M.A., DMA, Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.M., M.A., DMA, Ph.D.
Minors and Certificates:Ph.D. Minor
Specializations: Music History, Ethnomusicology, and Music Theory

Faculty: Professors Cook (director), Aley, Bartley, Blasius, Bowles, Calderon, Chisholm, Crook, Davis, Dembski, Di Sanza, Dill, Doing, Earp, Farlow, Fink, Fischer, Fulmer, Greive, Hyer, Jensen, Johnson, Jutt, Karp, Koza, Leckrone, Moye, Perry, Potter, Radano, Rowe, Schaffer, Schwendinger, Smith, Stevens, Stowe, Sutton, Swack, Beverly Taylor, Christopher Taylor, Thimmig, Vardi, Welbourne; Associate Professors Faulkner, Hetzler, Johnson, Teeple, Vallon; Assistant Professors Dobbs, Grabois, Wallmann


The mission of the School of Music is:

  • to provide a comprehensive program of undergraduate and graduate education that promotes the highest levels of professional development while challenging students to achieve their greatest potential;
  • to cultivate an environment that inspires creativity, stimulates intellectual curiosity, and fosters critical thinking; and
  • to serve the University community, the public, and the profession through performance, composition, scholarship, music education and outreach.

Degrees and Majors 

The master of music is offered in performance (brass instruments, choral conducting, collaborative piano, composition, guitar, multiple woodwinds, opera, orchestral conducting, organ, percussion, piano, piano pedagogy, string development, string instruments, voice, wind conducting, and woodwind instruments) and music education. Students in music education also have the option of the M.S. degree offered through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

The master of arts is offered in ethnomusicology, music history, and music theory.

A double master's degree with the School of Library and Information Studies is also offered.

The doctor of musical arts and the Ph.D. degrees are the highest degrees conferred by the School of Music. The DMA is granted for evidence of general proficiency and distinctive attainment in a specialized field of performance. The student's ability in independent investigation is demonstrated through a series of recitals and in a final project presenting original research or creative scholarship. The DMA is offered to students working in the following areas: brass instruments, choral conducting, collaborative piano, composition, guitar, orchestral conducting, organ, percussion, piano, piano pedagogy, string instruments, voice, wind conducting, and woodwind instruments. The Ph.D., a research degree, is offered to students working in ethnomusicology, music history, and music theory. The Ph.D. in music education is offered through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Master's degrees require a minimum of 30 credits; Ph.D., and DMA degrees require significant work beyond the master's, including the extensive independent work described above. Each degree program concentration varies slightly and may impose additional requirements. Contact the School of Music graduate office for complete explanations of the degrees offered at the master's or doctoral levels.


The School of Music each year enriches students' educational experience by hosting guest artists and scholars for master classes, recitals, colloquia, seminars, and festivals. School of Music organizations and ensembles perform more than 350 recitals and concerts every year, making a significant contribution to the cultural life of the university and the wider Madison community.

The Mosse Humanities Building, built in 1969, houses most of the music classrooms, practice and rehearsal rooms, and faculty studios. Most recitals and concerts take place in one of three performance spaces: Mills Concert Hall, Morphy Recital Hall, and Eastman Organ Recital Hall. The Humanities building is home to a state-of-the-art Music Computer Lab, which has a number of music workstations with Macintosh computers and ranks as the most sophisticated among similar facilities in American universities. Students have access to Logic Pro, ProTools, Sibelius, and Midi keyboards. A fully equipped recording studio produces professional-quality recordings of many concerts presented in the School of Music; the studio is equipped with a fully automated 40-input production console and state-of-the-art digital multi-channel recording capabilities. Full digital audio production through editing and reference CD mastering stages is also offered. The school's extensive collection of instruments, both common and unusual, is available to both faculty and students. The Raymond F. Dvorak Gallery, located in the main lobby of the Humanities Building, showcases the rich history of music at UW–Madison. Music Hall with its clock tower, built in 1879, is a campus landmark. Renovated in 1985, it is the home of the opera program.

Memorial Library is the home of the Mills Music Library, which provides a major research collection, an extensive circulating collection, and an attractive, renovated space for study, listening and research. Mills Music Library contains over 250,000 books, scores, recordings and journals, as well as access to numerous online collections. While all genres of music are represented, special strengths include Americana, ethnic music and recorded sound. An additional 250,000 items are located in the Mills Music Library Special Collections. Nationally known special collections include the Tams-Witmark Collection, a treasury of early American musical theater materials, and the Wisconsin Music Archives. Memorial Library and its 13 specialized libraries on campus house more than 7 million volumes. The School of Music is a member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), the national accreditation body for schools of music, and was reaccredited in 2004.

Doctoral Minors 

Doctoral minors provide students with the opportunity to broaden their course of graduate study. Students, in consultation with their major professor and the director of graduate studies, may choose among internal minor options within the School of Music, minors in other fields, or even a self-designed minor. Typically minors require 10–12 credits of graduate-level work. Some restrictions apply to combinations of certain minor and major programs. For details of the specific course work involved and options available, contact the School of Music graduate office.


Through the generosity of Paul J. Collins, the School of Music is the recipient of a substantial fellowship fund which, in combination with the Graduate School and University Foundation, allows the school to offer multiple-year funding to the highest quality graduate students in performance. The Collins fellowships, along with The Lorna Wendt and Anonymous fund Fellowships for Choral and Voice students are offered as Wisconsin Distinguished Fellowships and provide full tuition and fees, a generous stipend, additional funds, and comprehensive health care. Nomination by a performance faculty member—usually following an on-site audition—is required for consideration.

The 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 School of Music selects qualified applicants to recommend for University Fellowships administered through the Graduate School and Advanced Opportunity Fellowships funded through Letters and Science. The UW–Madison Office of Student Financial Services assists students in obtaining general grants and loans. All School of Music students who receive funding are required to enroll full-time with 8–12 graduate credits.

Admission to the Master of Music and Master of Arts Programs 

Applicants should have a bachelor's degree in music or equivalent foundation course work including language as required by each area of study. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) is necessary for full admission. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are required for M.A. candidates only. GREs are not required for the Wisconsin Distinguished Fellowships or the Advanced Opportunity Fellowships unless required for the specific degree program admission. M.A. candidates should submit samples of research and writing (other degree programs may also require a paper). For details on specific audition requirements and additional application materials, visit the School of Music website.

Admission to the DMA and Ph.D. Programs 

Minimum admission requirements of the Graduate School apply to all applicants for graduate study in music. The School of Music has additional requirements. Admission to the DMA program requires a thoroughly grounded performance ability requiring no remedial work. Composition students must demonstrate well-developed composing skills. All Ph.D. applicants and DMA piano applicants must submit a scholarly paper as part of the application (other degree programs may also require a paper). Ph.D. students are expected to submit Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, and GRE scores are required of all students interested in competing in university-wide fellowship competitions. Performance applicants audition in person (in some cases a recording may be accepted as a preliminary audition).

For information on auditions and additional application materials, See Graduate Admissions on the school Web site.

For more information: School of Music Graduate Admissions Office, 5553 Mosse Humanities Building, 455 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706-1483; 608-263-3220; fax 608/262-8876; gradadmissions@music.wisc.edu; music.wisc.edu