Mary Wischusen was born in New Jersey and received a Bachelor of Arts in Music (1968) from Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. She received both of her graduate degrees from Rutgers University in New Jersey: a Master of Arts in Music History (1976), for which she wrote a thesis entitled "Melody and Harmony as Structural Elements in Berlioz's La damnation de Faust," and a Ph.D. in Music History and Theory (1983), with a dissertation entitled "The Stage Works of Franz Schubert: Background and Stylistic Influences."
Before coming to Wayne State in September 1986, Professor Wischusen taught music history and theory courses at several colleges in the New York City area (including Rutgers University, Montclair State University, Rider College, and Union College in New Jersey, and Fordham University in New York).
In 1985-86 she was Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas and was invited to return as a guest instructor during the Summer of 1987. At Wayne State she directs the Music History Division, oversees the Bachelor of Arts in Music program, and serves as Departmental Graduate Officer. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1993 and received continuing tenure in 1995.
Professor Wischusen's main field of research is opera of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, especially the stage works of Franz Schubert. She has written articles on scholarly topics, including several for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, The Austrian Studies Newsletter, and other collections of musicological essays, including The Unknown Schubert. Her article on Schubert's melodrama, Die Zauberharfe, was translated into German for Schubert: Durch die Brille, the journal of the Intenationales Franz Schubert Institut. She has presented many papers at musicological conferences and lectures frequently to general audiences on a variety of musical topics.