OSU Navigation Bar

The Ohio State University

School of Music

Graduate Studies in Music Cognition

Ohio State offers a number of opportunities for graduate study emphasizing music cognition. Since academic positions specific to the field of music cognition are limited, we require that students work towards training within a traditional academic discipline. Students of music cognition typically enroll either in the Department of Psychology or in the School of Music, according to their individual career goals. A graduate student in Psychology will pursue general training in an area such as cognition, perception, development, clinical psychology, social psychology or cognitive neuroscience. In the School of Music, students pursue general training in an area such as theory/composition, historical musicology, ethnomusicology, music education or performance.

Nonetheless, music cognition studies can also be pursued through other disciplines. For example, prospective students might pursue appropriate studies from within Speech and Hearing Science, Computer and Information Science, Anthropology, Education, Linguistics or Philosophy.

The Cognitive and Systematic Musicology Laboratory (CSML) is housed by the School of Music, but we welcome graduate and undergraduate students from all departments to join and participate. If you're interested, feel free to stop in!

Interdisciplinary Interaction

In tandem with a discipline-oriented education, innumerable opportunities are provided for cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies. Students enrolled in Psychology will commonly take courses related to music cognition offered by the School of Music, and vice-versa. All students are eligible to pursue a Graduate Minor in Cognitive Science.

The Center for Cognitive Science sponsors a number of activities to encourage cross-disciplinary educational opportunities. This includes a Summer GRA program in which graduate students are awarded $4,800 to carry out a project with a faculty member outside the applicant's home department.

Graduate Degree Programs in the School of Music

The Ohio State University School of Music offers several graduate degree programs, both in performance, conducting, or composition (M.M., D.M.A.), or in Music Theory, Musicology, or Music Education (M.A., Ph.D.). Members of all programs are encouraged to participate in the CSML if they are interested in pursuing research in cognitive or systematic musicology.

Currently, most members of the lab group are pursuing graduate degrees in Music Theory, with Prof. David Huron as their primary faculty adviser. Students are encouraged to pursue coursework not only within the School of Music itself, but to select courses broadly from the university's many departments. For specific degree requirements, refer to the guidelines offered by the School of Music.


Applications for graduate study are handled by the School of Music, and are treated separately by each academic program. Applicants should indicate on their application that they are interested in the field of music cognition. At OSU, the application process is highly competitive. Although an undergraduate degree in music is not necessary, the equivalent course work is expected for unconditional admission to a graduate program in the School of Music. Successful applicants typically have considerable musical background and high musicality. In addition, successful applicants must have an aptitude for science. Promising applicants often have some background in the biological or social sciences, or in technical disciplines such as computer science or mathematics. In addition, applicants with backgrounds in anthropology or philosophy are welcome. Further information is available concerning graduate admission in the School of Music.

Applications are handled by the Office of Graduate Studies in Music.  Visit the School of Music Graduate Studies web site for further details.

Financial Support

In the School of Music there are three primary sources of funding for graduate students. University Fellowships offer 12-month stipends and full tuition waivers. Departmental Graduate Associateships (teaching, research, or administrative) include 9-month stipends and either a full- or half-tuition waiver. Student Loans are also available (information can be found at the OSU Financial Aid web site).

Applicants wishing to be considered for university-administered merit-based fellowships should pay close attention to fellowship application deadlines. Outstanding applicants will automatically be considered for major OSU fellowships/scholarships. Since consideration for fellowships is contingent on prior admission, applicants must have GRE results available before their dossier will be forwarded to the appropriate scholarship committees.

Further Information

Prospective students are encouraged to make direct contact with faculty members prior to application. Faculty members enjoy hearing about your interests, and can offer advice that you might find valuable. In addition, prospective students are invited to contact current music cognition graduate students who can offer a "student's eye perspective". For further information about music cognition graduate studies in the School of Music contact:

Prof. David Huron
School of Music
1866 College Road
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210

Telephone: (614) 688-4753
E-mail: hüron.1@osü.edü [Please ignore the umlauts: they are present to foil web crawlers.]