Ph.D. in Applied Intercultural Arts Research


Ph.D. in Applied Intercultural Arts Research

The Interdisciplinary Program in Applied Intercultural Arts Research (AIAR) is housed in the Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs unit within the UArizona Graduate College. The AIAR program offers a PhD, Masters, and minor degree programs in partnership with six other academic colleges: Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Science, Social and Behavioral Science, and Public Health.

Students in the AIAR PhD program are required to develop a strong secondary area of expertise in a discipline relating to their research agenda. For example, a student interested in questions of music cognition, such studying whether different kinds of music may help stroke patients regain speech abilities, would take courses in neuroscience, psychology, and/or cognitive sciences. 

The aim of the program is to prepare graduates for the application of knowledge of music, arts and culture to contemporary problem-solving to enhance the health and well-being of individuals, societies, and environments in an interconnected world.  A core component of the curriculum for this degree is coursework in ethnomusicology.

Doctoral students are required to complete 63 minimum total credits to be awarded their degree. This includes 12 units of core courses, 18 units of major specialization, 18 units of dissertation, 6 units of fine arts electives and at least 9 units of a minor program.

  • CORE COURSES (12 Units Total) 
    • AIAR 601 (3 Units) - Proseminar in Intercultural Arts Research 
    • MUS 696F OR 695B (3 Units) - One Seminar in Ethnomusicology
    • Core Electives (6 Units) - Two Advanced Arts Research Seminar Courses 
      • AIAR 524 A, B, & C – Arts & Community Health: Intercultural Applications and Perspectives

      • MUS 696F OR 695B – Seminars in Ethnomusicology

      • MUS 568 - Studies in Latin American Music 

      • MUS 654 - Psychology of Music 

      • ARE 535 – Theory in Art and Visual Culture Education

      • ARE 576 – Art and Cultural Criticism in Art Education

      • ARE 633 – Issues and Recent Research in Art and Visual Culture Education

      • ARE 520 – Community, Art & Culture

      • ARH 500 – Topics in Museum Studies

      • FTV 544 – Documentary Production

    • Other advanced arts seminars can be substituted from those in this list in with permission from major advisor

    • Internship, Practicum or Management Experience (3 Units) 
    • Cultural Study (6 Units) 
    • Area Study (6 Units) 
    • Analytical Theory/Research Methodology; including Field Methods Research and Design (3 Units) 
    • May include, but is not limited to, graduate level music courses; choices will depend on student qualifications – previous background in music theory for example, plans for specialization, and availability of the course. Other courses in these areas may be substituted with the approval of the faculty advisor and course instructor.

  • DISSERTATION (18 Units)
  • MINOR (9 Units Minimum)
    • Sample minors (students should minor in a secondary area of interest outside of the arts)
    • Minor in Library Science (18 units) *also awarded grad certificate upon completion*

    • Minor in Documentary (12 Units)

    • Minor in Journalism (12 Units)

    • Minor in Public Health (15 Units) *must have completed college algebra*

    • Minor in American Indian Studies (12 Units)

    • Minor in Environmental Studies (12 Units)

    • Minor in Social, Cultural and Critical Theory (12 Units)

Substitutions permitted?: Yes, with approval from faculty advisor and AIAR Chair. 

Up to 30 units earned in a master’s degree, less thesis work, may be applied to the major. 

In addition, upon completion of their course work, doctoral students must pass written and oral comprehensive exams to advance to doctoral candidacy.

For a list of recommended current interdisciplinary course offerings related to AIAR, visit our AIAR course guide: E4CEF6ZFcLcqN-ZSRs/edit?usp=sharing 

Teaching and research assistantships, traineeships and fellowships provide the most common forms of support for graduate students. Assistantships at .50 FTE or higher include a stipend, health insurance, and full tuition. Assistantships at less than .50 FTE include a stipend, health insurance, out-of-state tuition, and 50% of in-state tuition:

Research assistantships (RAs) are awarded to graduate students by faculty advisors and funded by the faculty advisor’s research program. Priority is given to PhD candidates. RA contracts may be for .25 FTE, .33 FTE or .50 FTE. The faculty advisor is responsible for supervising RAs whom they employ. In many cases, the funding for a graduate student’s master’s or doctoral study project research project comes from their mentor's research grant or laboratory.

Teaching assistantships (TAs) are awarded depending on the student’s experience and expertise and thus may be in various departments. The School of Music typically reserves one TA position for students in the AIAR GIDP, depending on previous training. AIAR GIDP students may also be hired by other departments, depending on their experience and background, such as having taken an equivalent course as an undergraduate. All TAs must pass the Graduate College’s Teaching Assistant Online Training and Orientation (TATO) test. FERPA training is required for all TA positions. Further information regarding FERPA requirements can be found at: TAs are supervised by their assigned course instructor.

Out of state tuition is waived with all RA and TA contracts. RAs and TAs receive partial or full in-state tuition coverage as part of their employment benefit as follows:

.25 FTE: 50% in-state tuition covered

.33 FTE: 50% in-state tuition covered

.5 FTE: 100% in-state tuition covered

Students awarded less than .5 FTE are responsible for payment of 50% of their in-state tuition. For specific information on tuition costs, students can refer to the online Tuition Calculator at Students who are awarded TA/RA positions will receive an offer letter outlining their specific funding, including tuition coverage at 50% or 100%, prior to the beginning of the semester in which they will serve as a TA/RA.

The Graduate College’s Office of Funding and Community Engagement assists graduate students in searching and applying for funding outside of the UA. Sign up for their monthly newsletter for up-to-date information on funding opportunities and advice on applying for funding. The office also provides writing workshops for proposal and grant writing.

The Graduate and Professions Student Council (GPSC), in addition to providing a full range of Graduate and Professional Student Support, also provides research and travel grants for graduate students. 

Typically, AIAR Ph.D. students are expected to finish between 4 or 5 years. Depending on the nature of the doctoral project, some students may need 1 year to complete their dissertation and others may need 2. This timeline is based on the assumption that the student takes at least 9 units per semester in years 1, 2 & 3 of their degree. 

AIAR PhD Comprehensive Exams take place once majority of coursework is completed and prior to full-time dissertation research. These exams are intended to help students prepare for their upcoming doctoral dissertation project and/or future careers. The exams should act as building blocks (theoretical, methodological, topical) to the dissertation proposal, which is the next step once exams are complete. AIAR PhD students will typically take their comprehensive exams in Spring of their third year of study, after completing coursework.

The goals of the comprehensive exams are for the student to 1) demonstrate general knowledge of applied intercultural arts research and mastery of the specialized area of emphasis and secondary area, and 2) demonstrate readiness to write a dissertation. The comprehensive exams include a written component and an oral examination following the regulations of the Graduate College(oral examination should last at least 1 hour and no more than 3 hours).

There are four exams in total, plus an oral defense. The AIAR components of the comprehensive exams include two written essay exams and one practice-based exam.Students will also complete an exam that will be given by the student’s minor advisor and dictated by the guidelines of the minor. The last stage of the exam process is an oral defense with the entire exam committee.

More in-depth information regarding AIAR comprehensive exams including written exams, practice-based exams, minor exam, oral defense and exam timeline can be found in the AIAR student handbook. 

All students earning the Ph.D. must complete 18 units of AIAR 920 dissertation coursework, culminating in the defense and submission of the dissertation document. The Graduate College website summarizes these requirements on their website: 

The dissertation should be inherently interdisciplinary. The thesis should be addressed through the methodologies of the fields the student is combining and will follow the formats relevant for those disciplines.

More in-depth information regarding AIAR dissertation process including proposal requirements and creating a dissertation committee can be found in the AIAR student handbook.

For questions regarding if AIAR would be the right fit for you and developing you work in the AIAR program, please contact Dr. Jennie Gubner, AIAR program chair, at

Please contact Maya Rivera, AIAR program coordinator and admissions contact, for more information on UA GradApp, admissions requirements, visiting campus, etc. at