SMT Demographics

Demographic Data: October 2016
Demographic Data: October 2015
Demographic Data: October 2014

The Society for Music Theory has three long-standing committees that are devoted to working with and for different demographic constituencies within the Society: the Committee on the Status of Women, the Committee on Diversity, and the Professional Development Committee. All three committees over the last few years have requested statistics on the Society’s demographics as a way to provide a benchmark for areas of focus, and to track progress in increasing the numbers of particular groups of people.

Former SMT president Justin London responded to these requests by establishing the Ad hoc Committee on Demographics and he gave us four charges. He wanted us to determine:

  1. what the overall breakdowns are on gender and ethnicity in higher education;
  2. what the more relevant breakdowns are for graduate students and faculty in the humanities;
  3. how many music theorists there are;
  4. and what our Society’s demographics are.

We have fulfilled the first two charges through data available from Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the third charge through data provided by the College Music Society (CMS), and the fourth charge through SMT’s own data.

On this webpage you will find a snapshot of the data collected, for the purposes of easy apprehension and comparison. If, however, you would like to review the complete data collected and collated into graphs by the committee, download the following Excel files:

About the data:
SMT: From our own Society, we were able to obtain data only from 2009, 2010, and 2011 (no gender or ethnicity data is available from 2001-2008). The data collected by the Society includes rank, gender, ethnicity.
IPEDS: From the Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System, we were able to obtain a wealth of raw data for 2005, 2007, and 2009, including a breakdown of student rank by field according to Bachelor, Master’s, and doctoral levels.
CMS: From the College Music Society, we were able to obtain data only for 2011. CMS compiles data on gender and rank, but not ethnicity. There are some problems with the data. CMS relies on universities to update their own statistics every year, and the only way to sort the data is by identifying traditional theory teaching areas (theory, aural skills, composition), not by how individuals identify themselves. Music historians, for example, who teach one section of aural skills would still be counted as music theorists. As well, gender is not self-reported; rather, it has been determined by CMS staff according to “standard” gendered name usage, which might work for names like Jennifer but not for unisex names like Lee, Madison, or Darcy. The manner in which the data has been compiled and inputted by the CMS does not allow for sorting to yield straightforward, accurate results.

SNAPSHOT of most recent demographic data:

RANK – SMT 2009 - 2011

To compare our Society’s statistics with higher education more broadly, click here.
To compare our Society’s statistics with the College Music Society, click here.
To see rank collated with gender, click here.
To see rank collated with ethnicity, click here.

Graduate students comprise the largest group of the Society; assistant professors comprise the second largest group; emeritus professors comprise the smallest group. Percentages for each group have remained roughly equal from 2009-2011.

GENDER – SMT 2009 - 2011

To compare our Society’s statistics with higher education more broadly, click here.
To compare our Society’s statistics with the College Music Society, click here.
To see gender collated with rank, click here.
To see gender collated with ethnicity, click here.

More than two thirds of the Society’s members are male while less than one third are female. While the relationship between the two categories remained nearly steady in 2009 and 2010, the percentage of male members increased in 2011.

ETHNICITY – SMT 2009 - 2011

To compare our Society’s statistics with higher education more broadly, click here.
To see ethnicity collated with rank, click here.
To see ethnicity collated with gender, click here.

The white membership comprises the largest group of the Society; the “other” membership category comprises the second largest group; and the Native American membership comprises the smallest group. Except for the white group when comparing 2009 and 2010, the percentages for each group have remained roughly equal over a period of three years.