Ethnomusicology (dumb questions from an international student!) - Music - The GradCafe Forums
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Ethnomusicology (dumb questions from an international student!)


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I'm a British student and floundering slightly with the US grad school system. If anyone would be so kind as to help me out with a few questions I'd be *incredibly* grateful! My background is a 5 year BMus in performance (with significant academic work), plenty of teaching experience, limited research experience and 1 fluent foreign language. Coming to the US this summer to check out a few places. Current top picks are UCLA, Berkeley, Yale, Chicago and Columbia. So here is where I am stuck...

- I don't have a masters degree. Technically it seems I shouldn't need one. But it also seems that most PhD students do actually have one. What gives? Am I really disadvantaged if I don't have a masters, and even more so if my batchelors is from a conservatoire? Or will my writing samples be enough evidence of academic ability/potential?

- Which bits of the application matter most?

- It seems like not so many schools offer ethno. It also seems that most take 0-3 students per year. Are there are schools which are obviously more or less competitive, or which have a significantly bigger intake? I was wondering if the schools without a guaranteed funding package might be less competitive. Only asking because it seems sensible to put a good mix down.

- I'm planning where to apply based on the professors' interests, course list, program structure, funding and location. Did I miss something/include something silly?

Thank you so much anyone who can give any advice. The US system is incredibly different to the UK and it's very overwhelming trying to unpick the reality of how things work compared to the official line of the schools!

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I have heard that they take a mix of masters and non-masters. I myself do not have a masters degree. I believe that your essays and research experience are the most important. Of course every school ranks materials in different order. Oh yeah! Recommendations are super important too. Sounds like you've got it together. I highly encourage going to the national conference and networking. It is so important. Many of the top programs only take 2-3 students a year. I hear U of Pittsburgh has an up and coming ethno program.

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Thanks :) I'm glad to hear that essays and recommendations will hold a lot of weight. Unfortunately I can't afford transatlantic flights to the conference but after emailing faculty members it seems I will have the opportunity to meet with some before putting in my applications - a kind of interview I guess? Reassuring that you've been so successful without a masters degree. Congrats on Harvard!

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