Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in music history and musicology, respectively. By design, both programs are small, with no more than five students enrolled in the combined programs during any given year. A one-to-one teacher/student ratio makes individual attention a key component of our degrees. The musicology faculty, all of whom are active scholars internationally known for their research and publications, are also dedicated teachers. Upper division and graduate musicology seminars feature limited enrollments, usually 5-10 students, which further foster student-teacher interactions. Also, music history and musicology students traditionally provide program notes for Shepherd School orchestral events under the guidance of the musicology faculty, who edit these notes and coach their writers. Our alumni have found considerable success in the most prestigious musicology doctoral programs in the country and in the profession itself.
The music history and musicology programs focus on the study of European and American art musics, the social contexts in which they were created and performed, and the performance practices relevant to them. Most of the nearly 300 students enrolled in the Shepherd School are performance majors, and their music making provides a stimulating laboratory for the study of the music and its cultural origins.
Rice University, the Shepherd School, and the city of Houston provide an ideal setting for the study of music. As a major research university, Rice offers a compelling intellectual climate to its students. Rice’s Fondren Library and Brown Fine Arts Library house significant general and music collections, and students are able to access remote materials with the assistance of the music librarian and the interlibrary loan department. An informal relationship between Rice and the University of Leipzig provides music history and musicology students holding the appropriate language skills with an opportunity to study for a semester at one of Germany’s oldest universities. The Shepherd School presents numerous concerts featuring faculty, students, student ensembles, musicians from the Houston area, and the finest touring ensembles. The city of Houston hosts concerts and other artistic events of the highest level through the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, the Society for the Performing Arts, the Houston Ballet, chamber music entities, theater groups, and museums.