American and Public Musicology

Program Overview

Westminster Choir College’s master of music program in American and public musicology focuses on preparing students for careers inside and outside of academia. As the first graduate program in North America to require coursework in public musicology, Westminster’s program looks beyond traditional music history and research to consider musicology as a practice in civic engagement.

This degree prepares students for doctoral studies in musicology, ethnomusicology and music theory. It also prepares students for careers as entrepreneurial performers, arts administrators or writers, or for positions with arts foundations, historical societies, performing arts centers, education departments or museums.

Curriculum Overview

Students in the American and public musicology program study with many of the best-known names in music, as well as with education directors at performing arts centers and museums, digital archivists, music journalists, oral historians and musicologists involved in K-12 education. They will develop research skills associated with a typical musicology degree while also exploring American music and the cultural relevance and influence of music. 

Students work closely with world-renowned faculty who are accessible and involved in the learning process. They learn and collaborate with the nation’s best public musicologists and experts in American music, and build their resume while performing in Westminster Choir College’s acclaimed Symphonic Choir.

Degrees Offered

  • M.M. in American and public musicology


Sharon Mirchandani, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair of Music Composition, History and Theory
Williamson Hall 44
609-921-7100, ext. 8313

Program Website:  Westminster Choir College
Associated Department:  Music Composition, History and Theory

Related Programs


Sharon Mirchandani (chair) • Professor, Music History, 1997. B.M., Bowling Green State University; M.M., Temple University; Ph.D., Rutgers University.
Christian Carey • Associate Professor, Theory, 2004.  B.M., Juilliard; M.M., Boston University; Ph.D., Rutgers University.
Charles Frantz • Adjunct Associate Professor, Theory/Music History, 2000. B.M., M.M., Temple University; Ph.D., Rutgers University.
R. Douglas Helvering • Adjunct Associate Professor, Theory, 2009. B.M., University of Nebraska; M.M., Westminster Choir College; D.M.A., University of Kansas.
Ronald A. Hemmel • Professor, Theory, and Director, Music Computing Center, 1994. B.M., Westminster Choir College; M.M., James Madison University; M.Phil., Ph.D., Rutgers University.
Eric Hung • Associate Professor, Music History, 2004. A.R.C.T., Royal Conservatory of Music; B.A., Wesleyan University; Ph.D., Stanford University. 
Jay Kawarsky • Professor, Theory, 1989. B.M.E., Iowa State University; M.M., D.M., Northwestern University.
Anthony Kosar • Professor, Theory,  1984. B.M., West Liberty State College; M.M., Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., The Ohio State University. 
Carmen Mateiescu • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Theory/Music History, 2007. B.M., M.M., University of Music (Bucharest); Ph.D., Rutgers University.
Joel Phillips • Professor, Theory, 1985. M.M., Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester; B.M., D.M.A., University of Alabama. 
Stefan Young • Professor, Theory, 1979. B.M., Rollins College; M.M., The Juilliard School; Ph.D., Rutgers University.

American and Public Musicology Program Requirements

Learn more about General Graduate Requirements.

Major Area
MH 635Public Musicology3
MH 734Proseminar in Music USA3
MH 750Thesis I3
MH 751Thesis II3
MH 731Intro to Musicology3
CR 509Symphonic Choir (2 terms)2
Theory or Music History elective (1 course)3
Core elective (1 course) 13
Graduate elective on an American topic3
Free electives 27
Total Credits33

The following educational plan is provided as a sample only.  Rider students who do not declare a major during their freshman year; who change their major; or those who transfer to Rider may follow a different plan to ensure a timely graduation.  Each student, with guidance from his or her academic advisor, will develop a personalized educational plan.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterCredits
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
MH 731 Intro to Musicology 3
MH 734 Proseminar in Music USA 3
Free Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours10
Spring Semester
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
MH 635 Public Musicology 3
Theory or Music History graduate elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours7
Year 2
Fall Semester
MH 750 Thesis I 3
Graduate Core elective 3
Graduate Elective on an American Topic 3
 Semester Credit Hours9
Spring Semester
MH 751 Thesis II 3
Free elective 3
Free elective 1
 Semester Credit Hours7
 Total Credit Hours for Graduation33

CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1 Credits

A large mixed chorus comprised of students above the lower division, including graduate students from all disciplines. The ensemble regularly performs in the region and focuses on the major choral/orchestral repertoire along with a wide variety of repertoire for large mixed chorus. Placement hearing required.

MH 635 Public Musicology 3 Credits

A graduate-level introduction to the many ways musicology can engage with communities and events outside the academy. Topics include music criticism, oral history, museum education, archives, and cultural tourism.

Prerequisite(s): Graduate Standing; removal of all Music History deficiencies.

MH 731 Intro to Musicology 3 Credits

Introduction to the basic tools of research in historical musicology in order to foster: (1) an awareness of the nature and scope of historical musicology as a scholarly discipline; (2) familiarity with the techniques of musicological research; (3) an understanding of the relationship between musicological research and performance practice; and (4) experience in the application of musicological techniques to specific musical works and issues. It is strongly recommended that this course be taken at the outset of graduate study. Required for all Master of Music candidates.

MH 733 Seminar in Music History 3 Credits

The content of the course will vary with the special interests and qualifications of the professor teaching it.

Prerequisite(s): Removal of all music history deficiencies, it is strongly recommended that MH 731 be taken prior to this course.

MH 734 Proseminar in Music USA 3 Credits

A graduate-level introduction to the scholarly study of music in the U.S. Readings will cover music in Colonial/Early America, Western art music, popular music, and music of various ethnic communities.

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing; removal of all Music History deficiencies.

MH 750 Thesis I 3 Credits

Independent research under faculty supervision leading to a master's thesis. Students register for this course in their first term of thesis research.

Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing, removal of all Music History deficiencies.

MH 751 Thesis II 3 Credits

Independent research under faculty supervision leading to a master's thesis. Students register for this course beginning in their second term of thesis research.

Prerequisite(s): Graduate Standing, removal of all Music History deficiencies, MH 750.