The MA in Music (Contemporary Music Studies) examines aspects of methodology, repertoire studies and cultural theory within a wide-ranging programme of investigation into the role of contemporary music in the society for which it is created.
You'll explore the key methodologies appropriate for scholarly study of the music of the present and recent past, such as oral history and contrasting approaches to musical ‘close reading’.
Musical repertoires, and notions of repertoire, are examined, and you are encouraged to ask such questions as whether the boundaries often considered to exist between, for example, ‘contemporary concert music’ and ‘popular music’ are still meaningful for practitioners, listeners and scholars today.
Various approaches to cultural theory are viewed in the light of what they might bring to the study of contemporary music of different kinds.
The understandings developed in your coursework culminate in the methods and approaches demonstrated in your dissertation.
This gives you the opportunity to address particular challenges of studying and writing about the music of our time arising from your own musical and theoretical enthusiasms.
The programme appeals to a wide range of students concerned to develop their understanding of today's music and keen to harness this to relevant intellectual skills.
While designed as an open-ended programme of study that can subsequently be applied in many ways within, and outside, the musical profession, it will be of special value to those preparing for further postgraduate research, and those considering careers in teaching, journalism, arts administration or the culture industries.
You choose three modules from a selection that currently includes:
The programme is designed with careful consideration of the opportunities, challenges and intellectual demands presented by careers in music, such as:
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
The Music Education MA will introduce students to research and research-informed practice at the forefront of music education. The programme will provide tools for interrogating musical and educational assumptions, values and practices. It will help students to expand their understanding of effective music teaching, evaluation and assessment across the lifespan.
Undertaking the Music Education MA programme will allow students to develop their critical thinking and ability to interrogate current educational research, literature and practice in the overarching fields of music and music education. They will also have the opportunity to pursue specialist lines of enquiry that are related to their own professional and/or academic interests, working alongside prominent academics in the field.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), and either two optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits), or three optional modules (90 credits) and a report (30 credits).
The two core modules are founded on three strands in the study of music education: philosophy, psychology and sociology. These include historically-significant and cutting-edge contemporary approaches, theories and philosophies across a wide range of topics.
The Critical Studies in Music Pedagogy and Practice module examines past and present music education research and practice across a range of social and cultural contexts. Music Technology in Education provides students with opportunities to engage with published commentary and also develop practical skills. Choral Conducting, Leadership and Communication develops the skills of effective choral conducting and rehearsing in educational contexts.
Please note: at the programme leader's discretion, a student might be able to import a maximum of 60 credits.
All students undertake an independent research project, which culminates in a 20,000-word dissertation or 10,000-word report.
Teaching and learning
The main mode of delivery is through a combination of weekly lectures and seminars.
There are ten-week lecture courses for the two core modules, and also for Critical Studies in Music Pedagogy and Practice (optional module), with sessions held in the evenings at the UCL Institute of Education. However, the Choral Conducting Leadership and Communication optional module takes place over five full days at the UCL Institute, as well as through additional student-led sessions. Students are also required to engage actively with UCL's online learning environments across the programme. The Music Technology in Education optional module is delivered online. All students are entitled to face-to-face tutorials with their allocated tutors.
Assessment is predominantly through a written assignment for each taught module.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Music Education MA
Graduates of this programme are currently working as:
Recent career destinations for this degree
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
The Music Education MA at UCL is the only postgraduate programme of its type in the UK, and one of the largest recruiting in the world, that is dedicated to music education.
The programme is taught by leading academics with current and extensive expertise in externally-funded research. Research and publications from our lecturers have significant impact on educational policy and practice both in the UK and internationally. This informs learning and teaching on the programme whilst fostering the development of a research-based culture. Many of our students pursue further study at doctoral and post-doctoral level.
Our programme meets the needs of a wide range of professionals from across the international communities of music and music education. Our alumni have been and continue to be leading figures in education worldwide.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Culture, Communication & Media
78% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
This MA allows you to build an individual, 'tailor-made' programme of study, which incorporates the intellectual concerns, skills and understandings that lead to a clearly focused research dissertation.
You choose four modules, including at least one of two core modules, which provide you with specific research skills relevant to your interests.
This route is appropriate for those who have a particular interest they wish to develop not covered by one of our specialist pathways, or for those who are seeking a broadly based programme of music study at postgraduate level (taking both core modules, for example, would provide exceptional training for those going on to doctoral study).
Applicants should note that departmental timetable restrictions apply; consequently, part-time study offers the most flexible range of potential course combinations. This programme is not suitable if you're keen to take composition or performance modules – if this is what you'd like to do, please explore our MMus study options.
The programme appeals to a wide range of students developing intellectual skills in music, perhaps as preparation for further postgraduate research, prior to entering teaching, or as a basis for a employment in arts administration, journalism, or other occupations in the creative and cultural industries.
Find out more about the MA in Music.
You choose three modules from a list that currently includes:
The Graduate Diploma programme combines modules from different levels of undergraduate study into a single year.
If your first degree isn’t in Music but you have a high level of expertise, or if you’re an international student who isn’t confident in the English language or UK education system, this programme allows you to expand your knowledge of music and focus on the aspects that suit your own interests. It can bridge the gap between an undergraduate and Masters degree, but the GradDip is a respected qualification in its own right.
You’ll study core modules that build your research skills and give you a good grounding in music studies. Then you’ll also choose from optional modules in areas such as performance, composition, music technology, aesthetics, psychology of music or musicology.
This is a flexible programme, so contact us to find out about the level of knowledge and qualifications you may need for different module choices.
We have a variety of excellent facilities to support your learning, including rehearsal, performance and practice spaces, a lab for studying the psychology of music and studios for sound recording, software development and computer music composition. The Special Collections housed in our beautiful Brotherton Library contain significant collections of music manuscripts, rare printed music and letters from composers and critics to help inform your work.
We also have good working relationships with a range of prestigious arts organisations: we host BBC Radio 3 concerts, Leeds Lieder and the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, as well as enjoying a close partnership with Opera North and many others in a city with a thriving music and cultural scene.
Throughout the year you’ll take a variety of modules that both lay the foundations of musical study and allow you to specialise in the topics that interest you.
You’ll start with a core module that develops your research skills in music, preparing you for the rest of your studies, and choose from introductory modules at Level 1 that give you a background in musical interpretation and the role music continues to play in society.
From this starting point, you’ll build your knowledge with your choice of Level 3 modules – you can take specialist modules where you’ll study different aspects of music in line with the research interests of our staff. Alternatively, you could focus on performance, composition, music technology, editing and source studies or the psychology of music. If there’s a musical topic that particularly interests you, the dissertation will give you the chance to undertake independent research to explore the subject in depth.
If you still need to take further credits to complete the programme after these choices, you’ll then be able to select from Level 2 modules offered across the School of Music.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
Because this programme is so flexible, you’ll come across a range of teaching and learning methods depending on the modules you choose. These could include lectures, seminars and tutorials as well as vocal or instrumental lessons with our specialist teachers. Practical sessions and workshops may also be involved.
However, independent study is crucial to this degree, allowing you to build important skills and pursue your own interests more closely.
You’ll also be assessed by diverse methods depending on your module choices. These may include essays, exams and presentations as well as compositions, performances, project work, critical editions and commentaries among others.
This programme allows you to study undergraduate modules to develop your formal musical education. This means that it leaves you in a good position to progress to MA or MMus study in Music – and as a graduate of the University of Leeds, you will also be eligible for a 10% discount on postgraduate fees.
We also offer additional support as you develop your career plans: the School of Music boasts a unique Alumni Mentoring Network, where students can be supported by past students as they start to plan their next steps.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
The MA in Music (Ethnomusicology) introduces a range of methodologies in relation to the study of music in its cultural contexts.
As well as engaging with musical practices in various geographic or cultural areas, the programme acknowledges the importance of urban ethnomusicology and the usefulness of applying ethnomusicological approaches to Western art and popular music.
You have the opportunity to engage with key ethnographic methodologies, such as interviewing, videoing and video editing, and musical performance as a research technique.
The innovative structure of the programme allows you to specialise in one of these areas if you wish, leading to a final project that itself may have a significant practical component, and you have the opportunity to undertake fieldwork projects as part of your studies.
A written dissertation option is also available, allowing you to engage in depth with an issue that interests you.
The programme appeals to a wide range of students hoping to develop their intellectual skills in music, particularly those with interests in music as a cultural phenomenon.
It's exceptionally useful, for example, for students preparing for further postgraduate research, or for those considering careers in teaching, journalism, arts administration or the culture industries, or working with government agencies or charities abroad.
Find out more about the MA in Music.
You choose three modules from a list that currently includes:
Ethnomusicology Major Project
You'll develop an awareness of key ethnographic methodologies, investigation and evaluation skills, intellectual skills in music and specific research skills.
The programme will be exceptionally useful for, for example, students preparing for further postgraduate research, or for those considering careers in teaching, journalism, arts administration or the culture industries, or working with government agencies or charities abroad.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
The flexible modular structure of our taught MA programme allows you to focus on a chosen area of specialism but simultaneously facilitates exploration of a wide range of research areas relating to music. It will provide an excellent foundation for undertaking postgraduate research at doctoral level, but will also benefit the professional development of musicians intending to pursue careers in teaching, arts administration, broadcasting, and other domains.
Students on the taught MA programme join a vibrant international postgraduate community and study with scholars, composers, and performers who have achieved international recognition in their fields. The Music Department was ranked #1 in The Sunday Times University League Table 2016, and was in the top three music departments in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 and the Complete University Guide 2017.
The MA Music programme supports study of the following areas of specialism:
In addition, other options typically available have included:
You will choose modules from sections A, B, C, and D below:
A. Major project, weighted at 60 credits (a dissertation, a public recital, or a portfolio of compositions/orchestrations and arrangements – depending on your chosen area of specialism)
B. A 30-credit module linked to your chosen area of specialism
C. Two compulsory core 30-credit modules embedding research training and engaging with major intellectual issues attendant on all subject areas
D. An additional 30 credits of Music undergraduate modules/selected undergraduate OR postgraduate modules offered by another department OR another related specialism-specific module from list B, subject to approval of the Board of Studies in Music.
Example: MA with specialism in Musicology
A. A 12,000-word dissertation on a musicological topic weighted at 60 credits
B. 30-credit module ‘Contemporary Musicology’
C. Compulsory core 30-credit modules, ‘Core Research Seminars’ and ‘Research Methods and Resources’
D. 30 credits of Music undergraduate modules/selected undergraduate OR postgraduate modules offered by another department OR another related specialism-specific module from list B
the following specialism-specific modules will be offered every year:
Optional modules in previous years have included:
The programme is delivered through a mixture of seminars, practical sessions and one-to-one supervision. Seminars provide opportunities for you to discuss and debate particular issues, and to present your own original work, informed by the knowledge that you have gained through independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours. Practical sessions in areas such as studio or field recording techniques help to prepare you for your own independent work. All students must undertake an independent project (dissertation, composition portfolio, or performance), which is developed with the help of one-to-one expert supervision. Finally, optional modules can be drawn from the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of Music or of other departments –these free-choice modules may involve other forms of staff-student contact, depending on the subject area. The Department actively promotes interdisciplinary approaches to the study of music and you are encouraged to engage with other disciplines in the humanities and sciences.
The contact hours experienced by each individual student will vary considerably, given a high degree of flexibility in the programme. You will typically attend between 2 and 4 hours of seminars per week in term time, as well as additional practical sessions as appropriate. Individual supervision of dissertations, performance projects and composition portfolios amounts to an average of 6 hours spread over the second and third terms.
Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to attend research seminars, both student-led and those involving staff or guest academic speakers (typically 1-2 hrs each week). You must also undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and assessments, to broaden your subject knowledge and to prepare your dissertations or portfolios. You are encouraged, as an integral part of your studies, to take advantage of other opportunities including participating in performance opportunities (including staff-led ensembles) and attending research and composition seminars, some of which are organised in conjunction with University research institutes.
There is a busy programme of musical performance, both within and outside the Music department, which complements your academic programme by providing opportunities both to listen to and to perform a wide variety of music. The many musical ensembles to which you can contribute includes both independent societies (including orchestras, choirs, opera and musical theatre as well as a Javanese gamelan) and department-run ensembles such as the New Music Ensemble and Korean percussion group.
Our MA in Culture Industry will allow you to explore the interface between contemporary economics and culture, from the scale of a start-up or artwork to that of governmental policy, a city, or the global marketplace. It will also provide the approaches in critical and theoretical analysis that will enable you to conduct further academic research in areas ranging from art history to urban studies and critical theory.
Taking full advantage of the UK’s leading role in the creative industries, and London’s status as a world city, this course creates opportunities for you to:
This will give you first-hand experience of the fast moving creative economy, as well as giving you indispensable skills in understanding that economy from a cultural, philosophical and political standpoint.
Engage with the cultural sector
Within the accelerated climate of digital networks and globalisation, the forms and behaviour of culture are mutating, converting the workshop into the handheld device and the cinema and gallery into the bedroom. This course is aimed at creative practitioners, entrepreneurs and theorists wanting to experiment with these changes, and set them into a historically and discursively rich framework.
Through participant observation, critical theory, and playful experiment, the course will not just prepare you for a career in the cultural sector, but help you to engage with it imaginatively, critically and tactically.
Placements are student-led and supported by the research and organisational network of the course leaders. Students on the MA in Culture Industry have undertaken placements at the BBC, Stephen Graham Gallery, White Cube gallery, SHAPE Arts, Chinatown Oral History Project, Maximum Rock n Roll, the British Council, Black Dog Publishing, Resonance FM, Glasgow Biennale, London Architecture Week, Glastonbury Festival, London Film Festival, the British Museum, South Bank Centre, Grizedale Arts, the Japan Foundation, the London Anime and Gaming Con, and Sound and Music.
Our students’ projects are very diverse, and have included exhibitions, publications, websites, photographic projects, market stalls, travel guides, films, novels, app prototypes, ethnographies, and community resource projects.
Recommended option modules
You take option modules to the value of 30 credits. This could include:
Essays; project report and documentation/placement report and documentation; research lab participation.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
University of Aberdeen has been a creative hub of musicians since the Middle Ages. Music at Aberdeen was introduced by Bishop Elphinstone who founded the university in 1495. Since this time the University has provided the world with a wealth of global performers and composers of note, some of whom are in the current classical and other music charts and sought after globally with a packed diary. If you want to develop your musical interests at Master's level as a new graduate or returner, or if you want to improve and challenge your musical skills as part of your professional development the Mmus Music is an ideal programme of study for you. You are taught by known world renowned performers and composers within the music world including Professor Paul Mealor, and you are encouraged to start performing immediately to then start to specialise and find out what you most enjoy. If you are a highly creative individual with lots of talent this programme will ensure you progress and deepen your creative specialism.
Find out more about music at Aberdeen:
You can study orchestration and composing for choirs, and renaissance music, words and music, contemporary opera. These areas may help you advance your musical career within teaching, performing, advising and working for specific musical productions as a freelancer. Classical areas are also very useful for more contemporary approaches to musical creativity. You may decide to write music for choirs and help them perform your works or you may decide to work internationally within opera companies. With Words and Music you can study any composers and genres to then go on to work in the West End, a specific niche area of music or as an individual performer.
You develop your skills in composition, musicology and performance with further specialising to allow you to continue to develop research in the department. Career progression includes global musical outlets across the musical creative industries such as freelance performance work, composition, collaborations and more.
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
Find out about fees
*Please be advised that some programmes have different tuition fees from those listed above and that some programmes also have additional costs.
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