All students who wish to pursue a graduate degree in musicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill must apply through the Graduate School. The guidelines below are intended to help you complete your application. Although the Music Department makes every effort to maintain the accuracy of this information, the publications of the Graduate School represent the official record and provide the most complete information on the application process. International students should see the Graduate School’s specific instructions for international applications.

  • Apply to the Graduate School
  • Submit three letters of recommendation
  • Upload your transcript(s) to the Graduate School
  • Submit your GRE scores
  • Submit your Statement of Purpose
  • Submit your Portfolio of Written Work
  • Submit the Application Fee
  • Monitor the completion of your application
  • Respond to admissions and financial aid award information

1. Apply To The Graduate School

Detailed information about applying to the Graduate School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is available online here. Please read the instructions carefully, then fill out the online application form. All students should apply directly to the Ph.D. Program (that is, fill out the application for the M.A. degree, and check the box “I plan to pursue the Ph.D. degree.”).

For questions about Graduate School Applications, please email gradadmissions@unc.edu.

2. Submit Three Current Letters Of Recommendation.

Letters of recommendation should be from faculty members who know you and your work and who are in a position to judge your potential in the field of musicology. As a courtesy to your recommenders, you should ask if they will write on your behalf well in advance of the deadline. Letters of recommendation should be submitted through the online application process (you will be asked to enter the email addresses of those writing on your behalf). All letters of recommendation are treated in the strictest confidence.

3. Submit Your Transcript(s).

Upload a copy through the online application process as indicated by the Graduate School’s instructions.

4. Submit Your GRE Scores.

Official GRE General Test scores are required for applicants to the Graduate Program in Musicology. Scores for the Subject Test in Music are not required. You should plan to take the GRE no later than October—please see the Graduate School’s website for detailed instructions. GRE Verbal and Quantitative scores for students receiving university-based fellowships through the Music Department tend to be above 159. If you feel your scores do not accurately reflect your abilities, you may wish to take the examination a second time.

5. Submit Your Statement Of Purpose.

In your Statement of Purpose (approximately 500-750 words), you should identify the particular nature of your interest in graduate study in music, your reasons for applying specifically to the graduate program at UNC-Chapel Hill, and your long-term goals in the field. Submit an electronic copy of your Statement of Purpose as part of your online application process. Be sure that all parts of your application have your name on them.

6. Submit A Portfolio Of Your Written Work.

The portfolio of your written work should show evidence of your engagement with music. We ask that you send three samples, which may include essays, papers, or examinations you have completed in your studies to date. At least one of the three items in your portfolio must be a work of prose, and at least one of the items must engage in some way with the field of music theory.

The items in your portfolio need not be lengthy, although they should be substantial enough to demonstrate your strengths and abilities. Upload your portfolio on the Graduate School Admissions website, and be sure that all items have your name on them. We encourage you to submit as much of your application as possible online.

7. Submit Your Application Fee.

The Graduate School requires a non-refundable $85 application fee, which can be paid by credit card (online), check, or money order. Instructions for submitting your application fee, or applying for a fee waiver, are posted on the Graduate School’s website. Your application is not considered complete and will not be evaluated until the application fee has been received.

8. Monitor The Completion Of Your Application.

Review the checklist below to make sure that your application is complete. Most of the funding for our graduate students comes through the Graduate School, and for this reason, it is important that all parts of your application be submitted no later than December 15. You may monitor the status of your application at this link.

9. Respond To Admissions And Financial Aid Award Information.

Based on your completed application package, the Music Department’s Graduate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee will decide whether or not to recommend an offer of admission to the Graduate School. The Graduate School, acting on this recommendation, will inform you of its admissions decision no later than March 15. Information on fellowships and funding will be sent to you shortly afterward in a separate mailing. We ask that you respond to these offers of admission and funding by the dates specified in the letters informing you of these decisions.

Although we do not require an interview as part of the application process, we warmly encourage you to visit us and talk with our faculty and graduate students. We invite you in particular to contact individual faculty members whose areas of research mesh with your own. Should you have any further questions about the application process, please contact the Director of Graduate Admissions (fauser@email.unc.edu).

Timeline For The Application Process

Application Preparation (early Fall)

  • Request letters of recommendation from three faculty members who know you and your work well
  • Take the GRE General examination

Application Deadlines

  • All application materials must be submitted no later than December 12.

Submit to the Graduate School 

  • Graduate School application
  • Transcripts (one copy)
  • GRE scores
  • Application fee
  • Email addresses for your recommenders
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Portfolio of your written work

Contact Information

Director of Graduate Admissions
Music Department
Campus Box #3320
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3320