Musicology studies have already over sixty-year-long tradition in the University of Warsaw. The Division of Musicology started its activities on 1 October 1948 as the History Section of the Faculty of Humanities, the University of Warsaw. The initiator of the creation of the division was philosophy professor Zofia Lissa, a musicologist graduated and active in the interwar period at the Jan Kazimierz University in Lviv. First studies at the new division started twelve students and on the curriculum were five lectures constituting principal subjects: "About the musical thinking", "The systematics of musicology", "The history of musical culture", "The harmonic analysis", and "The formal analysis" (it's worth to compare the subjects with the present curriculum!). The first graduates of Musicology were in 1953: Michał Bristiger, Józef Kański i Józef Patkowski.
As a result of efforts of Zofia Lissa musicological lectures at the University of Warsaw were conducted by Józef Michał Chomiński and Rev. Hieronim Feicht. The Division was transformed into the Department of Musicology which later obtain a status of the Institute (1958). The Institute of Musicology as a part of the Faculty of History was formed by three Divisions: The Division of General History of Music (Director: prof. Józef M. Chomiński), the Division of History of Polish Music (Director: prof. Hieronim Feicht) with the separate Section of Folk Music (head: doc. Marian Sobieski) and the Division of Theory and Aesthetics of Music (Director: prof. Zofia Lissa who was also the first head of the Institute). In the first academic year of the Institute (1985/59) the musicology was studied by eighty students. The next, fourth Division of the Institute, the Division of Musical Ethnography (Director: doc. Anna Czekanowska) was formed in 1969. In 1995 was established the present structure of the Institute consisting of five Divisions: the Division of General History of Music (Director: prof. dr hab. Irena Poniatowska, at present: dr hab. Alina Żórawska-Witkowska, prof. UW), the Division of History of Polish Music (Director: prof. dr hab. Mirosław Perz, at present Acting as Director: dr Elżbieta Zwolińska), the Division of Theory and Aesthetics of Music (Director: prof. dr hab. Zofia Helman, at present: dr hab. Zbigniew Skowron, prof. UW), the Division of Ethnomusicology (Director: prof. dr hab. Anna Czekanowska-Kuklińska, at present: dr hab. Piotr Dahlig, prof. UW ), and the newly formed Division of Systematic Musicology (Director: prof. dr hab. Sławomira Żerańska-Kominek). The Directors of the Institute was hold (in chronological order): prof. Zofia Lissa, prof. Anna Czekanowska-Kuklińska, prof. Zofia Helman, prof. Mirosław Perz, and at present prof. Sławomira Żerańska-Kominek.
In the academic year of 1999/2000 there were started evening studies of a profile different to the day studies. The students take up such courses as Psychology of Music, Music Therapy, and Music Criticism. At present, on both types of studies at the Institute of Musicology of the University of Warsaw there are almost two hundred students.
During this 62 years of the history of the Institute of Musicology from the Institute graduated with Master of Arts title over 500 students. 50 Philosophy Doctors (dr) and 10 Doctor Habilitatus (dr hab.) were promoted. On the proposal of the Institute, the University of Warsaw conferred a title of Doctor Honoris Causa to the most remarkable contemporary Polish composers: Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Henryk M. Górecki, and to the professor of the Univeristy of Bologna, Prof. Giuseppe Vecchi distinguished in services for Polish Musicology.