Master of Arts - Ethnomusicology

2 years
9,666 CAD
Rolling admission
Rolling admission
St. John's / Canada
Memorial University of Newfoundland

Program description

Memorial University's MA and PhD programmes in Ethnomusicology provide unique opportunity for people interested in investigating music as a cultural activity. The programmes' course work focuses on contemporary approaches to theory and method in ethnomusicology, as well as in-depth engagements with ethnographic and historical studies of music and culture. Ethnomusicology graduate studies at Memorial University are interdisciplinary, with courses given through both the School of Music and the Department of Folklore. Our programme includes radio and video production classes. The activities are held at the Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media, and Place (MMaP), which also houses a Sundanese gamelan degung. Through its Music & Culture Lecture Series, scholar-in-residence programme, and international conferences, MMaP attracts world-renowned scholars. Many students take an active part in the thriving St. John's traditional music scene.

The MA programme provides core research training with a focus on the development of ethnographic fieldwork abilities. Students conduct independent research that is original in design but manageable in scope, in addition to courses that provide core breadth of knowledge.

Program structure

Theories and Methods:

  • Research Methods
  • Graduate Seminar
  • Video Documentary Production
  • Research Problems and Methods in Ethnomusicology
  • Research Paper
  • The Politics of Ethnographic Video Methods in Ethnomusicology
  • Radio Documentary Production
  • Survey of Folklore Genres and Processes
  • Field and Research Methods
  • Folklore Theories
  • Feminist Theories: Perspectives and Issues
  • Vernacular Theories
  • Ethnology
  • Advanced Folkloristics II: Research and Ethnography

Form and Performance:

  • Performance Option
  • Song and Music
  • Ballad
  • Folk Music Canons and Documentary Sound Recordings
  • Folktale
  • Legend
  • Personal Experience Narrative
  • Language and Play
  • Ethnography of Communications
  • Ethnography of Belief
  • Health Systems
  • Custom
  • Traditional Drama
  • Material Culture
  • Vernacular Architecture
  • Art and the Artifact
  • Food and Culture
  • Folklore and Literature

Area and Genre Studies:

  • Musics of Asia and Oceania
  • Musics of Africa and the Americas
  • Music in Canada
  • Music and Culture
  • Folksong
  • History of Jazz
  • Ballad
  • Folklore of Newfoundland
  • Folklore of Canada
  • Folklore of the United States
  • Folklore of the British Isles
  • The Global and the Local

Social Identities:

  • Urban Ethnomusicology
  • Music in the Study of Gender, Race and Class
  • Music and Place
  • Music and Intercultural Processes
  • Occupational Folklore
  • Indigenous Expressive Cultures in Cross-cultural Encounter
  • Folklore and Gender
  • Ethnicities

Public and Applied Ethnomusicology and Folklore:

  • Career Skills for Musicians
  • Music Industries Internship (2 credit hours)
  • Public and Applied Ethnomusicology
  • Public Sector Folklore
  • Archiving
  • Museums: Perspectives and Practices
  • Applied Folklore

Interdisciplinary Perspectives:

  • Media Studies
  • Folklore and Culture
  • Oral Tradition and Oral History
  • Popular Culture: Theory and Debate

Independent Study:

  • Directed Reading in Ethnomusicology
  • Reading Courses in Folklore

Special Topics:

  • Special Topics in Music
  • Special Topics in Music
  • Special Topics in Folklore
  • Reading Course in Folklore


  • Tuition — 9,666 CAD

OTHER FEES (REQUIRED) amounts listed are for two semesters

  • Student Services Fee — 100 CAD
  • Students' Union — 140 CAD
  • Recreation Fee — 138 CAD
  • Health Insurance — 523 CAD

Requirements for applicants

  • Bachelor's degree (minimum ‘B+’ standing) in Music or an appropriate area of study in Humanities or Social Science
  • Applicants from a discipline other than Music will be expected to demonstrate the following skills:
    • (1) competent performance in any musical tradition, as judged by a musician knowledgeable about the tradition, (2) knowledge of culturally appropriate language for discussion of performance techniques in that tradition, and (3) ability to discuss musical details on the basis of aural and/or written sources, as appropriate to that tradition

Applicants who did not complete a baccalaureate or post-graduate degree at a recognized university where English is the primary language of instruction must normally complete either the:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and achieve a paper-based score of 580 (or higher), computer-based score of 237 (or higher), or internet-based score of 92-93 (or higher); or
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and achieve a score of 7 (or higher).

About the university

Memorial University has a unique responsibility to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador as the only university in the province. Memorial University was founded as a tribute to the Newfoundlanders who gave their lives in military duty during globe War I and later conflicts. We take inspiration from their efforts to create a better future for our province, our country, and the globe.

Over 115 different nations are represented among Memorial University's 19000+ students. Programs range from the traditional to the cutting edge, and can be found at any of Memorial's five locations or online. Memorial University's worldwide network of nearly 100,000 successful alums enhances the institution's capacity and reputation for leadership in research, teaching, and public engagement. Learn more about Memorial University in this quick read.

Vision, Mission

  • Vision — Memorial University will rise to prominence as one of Canada's and the world's top public institutions of higher learning, and it will honor its commitment to serving the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Mission — When it comes to education, research, scholarship, creative activity, service, and public engagement, Memorial University is committed to being at the forefront of innovation and excellence. International students and scholars are welcomed and supported at Memorial, and the institution's contributions of knowledge and experience are valued on all levels of society.


More than 19,400 students and 3,800 teachers and staff from more than 115 countries study, teach, conduct research, create, and participate in activities at our campuses and other locations. You can attend classes at one of Memorial University's several campuses in Newfoundland and Labrador or anywhere in the world; we also offer 475 courses online.

  • St. John's campus
  • Grenfell Campus
  • Marine Institute
  • Harlow Campus
  • Signal Hill Campus
  • Labrador Campus

Read more about Memorial University, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

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