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Masters Degrees (Popular Music)

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The MA in Music (Popular Music Research) engages with scholarly debates and public controversies around popular music, while examining and developing both traditional and innovative ways of researching popular music. Read more

The MA in Music (Popular Music Research) engages with scholarly debates and public controversies around popular music, while examining and developing both traditional and innovative ways of researching popular music.

The Masters provides a grounding in the development of popular music research as a subfield of musicology, and encourages critical thinking about:

  • musical texts, artefacts and ecologies
  • audiences, reception and questions of interpretation
  • creativity, industries and production
  • repertoires broad in historical range and geographical scope

The course addresses contemporary issues of significance to academics, musicians, industries and organisations involved with popular music.

You'll develop research skills, critical thinking and rigorous methodological expertise with a range of applications both within the academy (at doctoral level) and outside (in music related industries, marketing, arts management, museums and archives, the sciences).

Although a knowledge of and passion for popular music is vital, it is not essential that your first degree is in music or popular music.

We welcome applicants from a wide range of disciplines: the course is designed to be of benefit not only to those wishing to continue their research at doctoral level, but also those wishing to reflect on their experiences as musicians, listeners, or media and arts industry professionals.

MA in Music student wins the 2015 Andrew Goodwin postgraduate essay prize

Ben Assiter, a student on the MA in Music (Popular Music Research) was awarded the prize by the International Association for the Study of Popular Music for an essay written as part of his coursework. Read his award-winning essay here.

Find out more about the MA in Music.

Modules & structure

Core module

Option modules

You choose two modules from a selection that currently includes:

Dissertation



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This MMus builds on our international reputation in the popular music field, as seen in the success of our BMus graduates. Read more

This MMus builds on our international reputation in the popular music field, as seen in the success of our BMus graduates.

The programme offers you the opportunity to reflect critically upon your own creative practice – whether that consists of performance, songwriting, arranging, production, or collaboration – and to integrate theoretical perspectives from contemporary popular music studies.

You’ll also be able to extend your own practice through options in sonic and studio art, advanced music technology, exploration in audiovisual media, and ethnomusicology.

The MMus in Popular Music is intended for music creators who integrate these elements in the compositional, recording and performance work.

You’ll acquire graduate-level training in creative practice and subject-specific skills that could set you up for a career as a composer-performer or studio practitioner/producer, as well as other employment within the popular music sector.

This programme is distinguished by:

  • Quality - We have an international reputation and proven leadership in the field, evidenced in the success of our BMus Popular Music alumni
  • Innovation - The unique combination of theory and practice allows for forward-thinking, innovative practice-as-research through popular music
  • Industry links - You can benefit from our proximity to central London, our links with music industry professionals, and our record label, NX Records, run in collaboration with Matthew Herbert and Accidental Records.

Modules & structure

Core modules

Elective modules

You choose two modules from a list that currently includes: 

Skills & careers

Employability and cultural entrepreneurship is in our DNA

Graduates may progress to be composer-performers, studio practitioners/producers and music industry employees within the popular music sector. Older students who have returned to advance their knowledge and practice base will be better positioned in the job market. 

We are also able to offer a series of employability/placement/internship style opportunities to include:

  • the Music Professional Practice scheme - a departmental scheme supporting final year undergraduate and MMus/MA students with employability concerns
  • Music Management Course - specifically assesses students on cultural entrepreneurship and their own real world music projects
  • NX records - the departmental record label in association with Matthew Herbert and Accidental Records
  • PureGold festival - the annual departmental festival launched at the Southbank centre
  • Simon Says - showcase events in collaboration with Goldsmiths Students' Union
  • Goldsmiths Vocal Ensemble - recent performances at Glastonbury, the Southbank Centre and Shepherds Bush Empire

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths



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A unique opportunity to study in the city of Liverpool, home of The Beatles and with access to leading Popular Music academics and Beatles specialists, this MA is the only one of its kind in the UK and the world. Read more
A unique opportunity to study in the city of Liverpool, home of The Beatles and with access to leading Popular Music academics and Beatles specialists, this MA is the only one of its kind in the UK and the world.

This MA will examine the significance of the music of the Beatles in the construction of identities, audiences, ethnicities and industries, and localities; by doing so it will suggest ways to understand popular music as a social practice, focusing attention on issues such as the role of music in the construction of regional identities, concepts of authenticity, aesthetics, meaning, value, performance, and the use of popular music as a discursive evocation of place. Furthermore, in a consideration of popular music as a text, popular music semiotics will also be employed.

This MA will be of interest to those working in the fields of popular music studies, cultural studies, social anthropology, politics, gender studies, and musicology, among others. Such a course is an essential addition to the discipline of Popular Music Studies.

Curriculum

Currently four taught modules are offered on this programme.

Texts and Contexts: Understanding Popular Music

This will offer you an understanding of how Popular Music Studies has expanded and developed to deal with the changing nature of popular music over the past 50 years. This module will also provide students with contextually related research methods.

Topics in History: Liverpool

This module will introduce and discuss musical production and consumption within the post WWII era and will discuss the roles of locality, economics, space and place, and other issues specifically relating to Merseyside.

Musicology and the Beatles

In this module you will take a popular music semiotics approach and will textually analyse a variety of Beatles material.

Historical and Critical Approaches

You will be invited to study a more ethnographic approach to the Beatles, the various cultural discourses surrounding their music, and the local tourist industry established in Liverpool to capitalise on the group.

The Dissertation module will be introduced to students towards the end of the Topics in History module with a request for student abstracts, the allocation of supervisors, and the agreement of research areas.

Please Note:

1. The Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on the successful completion of 60 credits. This will consist of two taught modules.

2. The Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on the successful completion of 120 credits. This will mean the completion of all modules apart from the Dissertation.

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Be part of a lively popular music research community that embraces everything from metal music to film scores with the opportunity to work alongside performers… Read more
Be part of a lively popular music research community that embraces everything from metal music to film scores with the opportunity to work alongside performers, composers and studio experts.This course is about the here and now - you will study everything from folk to jazz, right through to rock, hip-hop and dance, developing your knowledge of contemporary popular music.You'll join peers from backgrounds in cultural studies, sociology, music and the creative arts to explore today's local live music scene and its connection to the wider national and international industry. From getting out into the Leeds area and conducting ethnographic research into local gigs and events, to composing scores for film and television, you'll discover how a wide variety of communities fuse together to create what is recognised as a vibrant and expanding scene.Whether it's developing your music editing techniques in our studios, or organising events and liaising with artists at Leeds Festival, you'll gain the hands-on experience employers are looking for, gathering evidence for your major research project.This course is the perfect springboard to make contacts, help you discover the interconnectivity of popular music and culture, and really engage with a vibrant and varied scene which covers everything from metal right through to country.

Visit the website http://courses.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/popularmusicandculture_ma

Mature Applicants

Our University welcomes applications from mature applicants who demonstrate academic potential. We usually require some evidence of recent academic study, for example completion of an access course, however recent relevant work experience may also be considered. Please note that for some of our professional courses all applicants will need to meet the specified entry criteria and in these cases work experience cannot be considered in lieu.

If you wish to apply through this route you should refer to our University Recognition of Prior Learning policy that is available on our website (http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/studenthub/recognition-of-prior-learning.htm).

Please note that all applicants to our University are required to meet our standard English language requirement of GCSE grade C or equivalent, variations to this will be listed on the individual course entry requirements.

Careers

With more festivals and independent producers and artists than ever before, the need for live music and industry professionals has soared.

Employment opportunities could be open to you in sound engineering, performance, teaching, song writing, production, music for film and television, music journalism, marketing and PR, and events organisation.

Alternatively you may wish to further your research by studying for a PhD.

- Performer
- Songwriter
- Sound Technician
- Events Organiser

Careers advice: The dedicated Jobs and Careers team offers expert advice and a host of resources to help you choose and gain employment. Whether you're in your first or final year, you can speak to members of staff from our Careers Office who can offer you advice from writing a CV to searching for jobs.

Visit the careers site - https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/employability/jobs-careers-support.htm

Course Benefits

As well as having access to modern, professional music studios, you'll benefit from being taught by a highly skilled and experienced teaching team, including Professor Karl Spracklen who is Secretary of the International Society for Metal Music Studies and the Editor of Metal Music Studies. You'll also have the chance to network with industry professionals during our guest lecture series. Previous speakers have included Leeds Festival boss Melvin Benn and chart-toppers Rudimental. We also have fantastic links with local and national music, arts and festival organisations, which help ensure you get the most from your course.

Core Modules

Popular Music as Leisure & Culture
Examine the importance of popular music as a form of leisure and culture. You will explore music subcultures through sociology, cultural geography, cultural studies and leisure theory.

Researching Popular Music & Culture
Develop an understanding of the strategies used in the study of popular music and culture, drawing on advanced approaches from sociology, musicology, cultural studies, ethnography, leisure and other relevant areas.

Popular Music Analysis
Examine performance, record production, video and reception and the meaning of music for your small scale, individual research project which focuses on the analysis of popular music artefacts.

Popular Music in Contemporary Culture
Engage in debate and discussion of how, where and why certain strands of musical productivity and creativity remain constantly part of the vocabulary of popular music.

Final Individual Project
Combine your learning into a significant piece of work, the nature of which will be determined by yourself and the course team.

Option Modules

Studio Production Skills
Produce a series of sound design projects and create your own systems for the purpose of manipulating/processing sound which will demonstrate your understanding of the concepts behind the tools used for sound design.

Creative Music Production
Develop a broad understanding of the creative possibilities of the studio environment by investigating a range of theoretical, technical, and creative approaches to the production process.

Music Industries in Context
Develop a range of theoretical perspectives drawing on contemporary research into the ecology of the music industries and how different stakeholders across the music sector work together.

Music Industries in Practice
Investigate a host of contemporary issues affecting the practice of operating in the music industries, focusing on one key area determined by your own interests.

Facilities

- Library
Our libraries are two of the only university libraries in the UK open 24/7 every day of the year. However you like to study, the libraries have got you covered with group study, silent study, extensive e-learning resources and PC suites.

- Broadcasting Place
Broadcasting Place provides students with creative and contemporary learning environments, is packed with the latest technology and is a focal point for new and innovative thinking in the city.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/postgraduate/how-to-apply/

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This course will enable you to study popular music from a practical perspective with an emphasis on music production and songwriting. Read more
This course will enable you to study popular music from a practical perspective with an emphasis on music production and songwriting. For your final major project you will focus on composition and production within the popular music genre, producing an extended professional-quality album of your popular music compositions/covers.

Key features
-The wide selection of option modules allows you to tailor the course to your interests.
-Several members of staff are engaged practically with the professional production of popular music. You will also have the chance to attend masterclasses and workshops run by national and international producers, performers and composers - such as Youth, Gavin Greenaway, Rick Astley and Steve Martland.
-We have five, state-of-the-art recording studios, including one with a large live room used for professional recordings. We also have two computer laboratories containing iMacs with full music software for sequencing and processing.
-Lunchtime concerts, involving students or visiting artists, take place throughout the year.

What will you study?

You will focus on the production of current popular music, creating and recording tracks using the University's high-quality recording facilities.

You will also explore the composition of popular music, recording techniques and the marketing of popular music. In addition, you will widen your musical knowledge and experience by choosing one option module from an extensive range, including those covering sound design, ensemble performance and composing for film and TV.

Assessment

Coursework, essays, compositions, productions, and major recording project.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules
-Advanced Production of Popular Music
-Composing and Marketing Popular Music
-Major Project
-Researching Music

Optional modules
-Constructing Music Education in the UK
-Critical Reflection on Musical Performance
-International Music Education: Psychology, Culture and Philosophy
-Special Study: Arranging and Scoring
-Techniques and Technology for Composing for Film and Television
-Current Debates in Music Education
-Jazz Studies
-Live Performance Technologies
-Performance Studies
-The Psychology of Music
-The Studio Musician

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https://www.kent.ac.uk/locations/medway/. All our MA programmes are designed to provide knowledge and skills in practice-based research, as well as giving you experience of current research practices in various areas of critical and analytical thinking. Read more

This course will be held at the Medway Campus

https://www.kent.ac.uk/locations/medway/

All our MA programmes are designed to provide knowledge and skills in practice-based research, as well as giving you experience of current research practices in various areas of critical and analytical thinking. The MA in Popular Music (Research, Production or Performance) offers a high level of flexibility enabling you to choose a pathway that best suits your key interests.

Visit the website: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/355/popular-music-research-production-performance

Course detail

The MA Popular Music at the University of Kent gives you the opportunity to develop an area of specialism alongside rigorous training in key professional and academic skills. In studying for the MA you will choose one of three pathways:

- Research (Popular Musicology, Popular Music Studies or Ethnomusicology)
- Production
- Performance

Each pathway allows you to undertake two large-scale projects (Specialist Project and Dissertation) in areas of your choosing. Regular one-to-one tutorials and work in small seminar groups will help you to gain new levels of confidence and expertise in both theoretical and practical work.

Format and assessment

Option modules support the development of your specialism. Studies in areas such as audio engineering, music programming, critical musicology, popular music, group performance and advanced acoustics, delivered through our team of world-leading researchers and practitioners, will provide an important grounding in relevant fields of inquiry and creative practice.

Assessment is by a range of coursework, including individual projects, skills-based tasks, seminar presentations and written work.

Careers

A postgraduate degree in the area of music and audio arts is a valuable and flexible qualification, which can lead to career opportunities within the creative industries, music recording and production, audio software development, sound for film, composition and academic careers.

These possibilities are augmented by work in video games, the Internet, live sound for theatres and festivals, audio installations for museums, sonic arts and computer music. Postgraduates interested in a research career are supported by the University’s Graduate School Research Development Programme. The University’s Employability Weeks can also provide valuable support in terms of planning future careers.

How to apply: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Why study at The University of Kent?

- Shortlisted for University of the Year 2015
- Kent has been ranked fifth out of 120 UK universities in a mock Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) exercise modelled by Times Higher Education (THE).
- In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, Kent was ranked 17th* for research output and research intensity, in the Times Higher Education, outperforming 11 of the 24 Russell Group universities
- Over 96% of our postgraduate students who graduated in 2014 found a job or further study opportunity within six months.
Find out more: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/why/

Postgraduate scholarships and funding

We have a scholarship fund of over £9 million to support our taught and research students with their tuition fees and living costs. Find out more: https://www.kent.ac.uk/scholarships/postgraduate/

English language learning

If you need to improve your English before and during your postgraduate studies, Kent offers a range of modules and programmes in English for Academic Purposes (EAP). Find out more here: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/international/english.html

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This is a modular course leading to the award of MA in Popular Music. The course taught at our Kingsway Campus in Chester, and will be of interest to those concerned with the exploration of all aspects of performance, songwriting and composition or popular music studies. Read more
This is a modular course leading to the award of MA in Popular Music. The course taught at our Kingsway Campus in Chester, and will be of interest to those concerned with the exploration of all aspects of performance, songwriting and composition or popular music studies.

Our course is designed to develop your creative skills and theoretical understanding to an advanced level, and has pathways in: performance; songwriting and composition; and music studies.

Initially, you will follow a core curriculum that seeks to contextualise your own practice and start an engagement with the general field of study.

Our course offers you the opportunity to shape your learning through a series of modules that will enable you to integrate scholarly work with your own practice as a musician, composer or musicologist. Our modules consider current theoretical and practical debates in the subject area, and will guide you through the kind of research methodologies required at Master's level. You will be given the opportunity to negotiate the most effective means of approaching your subject, with a view to producing an intensive study of your specialism.

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The Popular Music Performance course is designed to address the practical, academic and professional needs of contemporary musicians, and welcomes students from all genres. Read more

The Popular Music Performance course is designed to address the practical, academic and professional needs of contemporary musicians, and welcomes students from all genres.

Our postgraduate music performance courses offer substantial one-to-one instrumental tuition, with recitalists of international renown. They comprise fascinating and engaging modules that support and extend your practical musicianship and academic skills.

London College of Music's (LCM) regular Composition Workshops and Masterclasses offer great opportunities to learn new skills and network with students from other postgraduate courses. You can also benefit from being part of the vibrant LCM community with regular performance opportunities at LCM Sessions gigs, hosted by Popular Music students, and are encouraged to join in with musical activities throughout the LCM. The college runs several large ensembles including Pop and Gospel Choir, LCM Sinfonia, LCM Big Band, LCM Choir, and LCM Glee Choir, which students are able to participate in.

Course detail

This course provides specialist training for drummers, vocalists, guitarists, bassists and keyboard players that reflects the needs of today’s music industry.

The course is taught by postgraduate tutors from the London College of Music, all of whom are active professional musicians of the highest standard.

It combines technical and stylistic performance tuition through one-to-one lessons, as well as group sessions with other students from across the postgraduate community, to ensure an enhanced learning experience and the opportunity to network with like-minded artists.

The course runs throughout each calendar year.

Modules

  • Performance Portfolio 1
  • Ensemble and Music Direction Skills
  • Research Methods
  • Critical Perspectives
  • Performance Portfolio 2
  • Master Level Project

Plus one option from:

  • Studio Recording
  • Music Pedagogy
  • Songwriting

Format

You will have the opportunity to develop your technical and creative performance skills through a programme of one-to-one tuition supported by group-based lectures, seminars and workshops.

There is also an exciting masterclass programme which provides students with the opportunity to engage with leading practitioners from across all areas of the music industry - performance, production and songwriting.

Career and study progression

Graduates will likely pursue a career as a professional performing musician.

The degree might lead to further academic study, including DMus or MPhil/ PhD.

How to apply

Click the following link for information on how to apply to this course.

Scholarships and bursaries

Information about scholarships and bursaries can be found here.



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This programme builds on one of the department’s newest areas for research and teaching. Uniquely, it focuses on popular music in global, diasporic, transnational, and linguistically diverse forms, reflecting emerging trends in popular music scholarship. Read more

This programme builds on one of the department’s newest areas for research and teaching.

Uniquely, it focuses on popular music in global, diasporic, transnational, and linguistically diverse forms, reflecting emerging trends in popular music scholarship. It moves beyond the traditional focus on album recordings and stage performances to include significant forms of ‘ubiquitous music’, including music in film/TV/advertising/video games. For those wishing to study Anglophone popular music, this approach will enhance the cultural relevance of your work.

Course details

This programme uniquely focuses on popular music in global, diasporic, transnational, and linguistically diverse forms, reflecting emerging trends in popular music scholarship.

It moves beyond the traditional focus on album recordings and stage performances to include significant forms of ‘ubiquitous music’, including music in film/TV/advertising/video games. For those wishing to study Anglophone popular music, this approach will enhance the cultural relevance of your work.

You will study three core modules:

  • Introduction to Global Popular Music Studies
  • Introduction to Musicology
  • Fieldwork Methods

You will also choose one optional module from a range which typically includes:

  • Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
  • British Music Studies
  • Contemporary Music Studies
  • Electronic Music Studies
  • Special Study in Music

Full descriptions are available below.

Assessment

Modules are typically assessed by written assignment, and some also require a presentation. You will also complete a 15,000-word dissertation on a subject of your choice.

Learning and teaching

Your learning will be enhanced by our facilities and music-making opportunities, including the Bramall Music Building and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

Employability

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Postgraduate employability: Music

Birmingham's Music postgraduates work in a wide range of careers within and beyond the music world. A postgraduate degree in Music develops a broad base of skills including general skills such as communication, problem solving and research, and also specific skills developed by practice and performance such as self-management, team work and presentation.

Over the past four years, 91% of Music postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Whilst some graduates pursue music-related careers, or go on to teaching and lecturing roles, others choose to use their transferable skills to follow career paths in fields including finance and the public sector.



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This flexible Masters is an opportunity to investigate and combine strategies for developing creative work – an inclusive and forward-thinking composition degree that acknowledges many different definitions of the term. Read more

This flexible Masters is an opportunity to investigate and combine strategies for developing creative work – an inclusive and forward-thinking composition degree that acknowledges many different definitions of the term.

You will devise a coherent yet bespoke programme of study from an extensive list of options, and have the opportunity to uniquely blend practices from popular music, sound art, contemporary composition, ethnography and multi-media work. These modules help you engage with a variety of rigorous intellectual, critical and technical skills that will inform your work and culminate in a substantial creative project.

Depending on your module choices, you have access to the Electronic Music Studios (which offer advanced facilities for electro-acoustic composition, multichannel work and live/interactive performance) and the new Goldsmiths Music Studios (which offers a HD Pro-tools recording system and large format analogue desk). You will have the opportunity to write for and collaborate with your fellow composers and performers, and in-house ensembles; and furthermore develop collaborative and interdisciplinary projects in conjunction with other departments.

The programme is exceptionally useful for students preparing for further postgraduate practice-as-research projects, or for those wishing to develop a distinctive portfolio of work for entry into the creative industries.

Modules & structure

Core modules

You choose one of the following modules:

Option modules

You choose three modules from a selection that currently includes:

Creative Project



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Come and study with the pioneer of Music Industry Studies at MA level within the UK. This MA will give you an advanced and discerning knowledge of music industry practices, drawing on our international research and the experience of our tutors. Read more
Come and study with the pioneer of Music Industry Studies at MA level within the UK.

This MA will give you an advanced and discerning knowledge of music industry practices, drawing on our international research and the experience of our tutors. On it you'll investigate current music industry practices in-depth.

The programme is taught alongside the Masters programme in Popular Music Studies, which will broaden your theoretical understanding and opportunities for research. We anticipate class sizes to be between 15 and 20 students.

All postgraduates also have access to the department's programme of research seminars and performances.

Key Facts

REF 2014
In the latest Research Excellence Framework, we increased the proportion of 4* research from 10% (in the RAE 2008)to 32%, with 40% of impact rated 4* (outstanding) and 50% of environment rated 4* (world-leading).

Why School of Music?

Strong research culture

Across the School, our research activity has a strong interdisciplinary nature and is concentrated in three cross-cutting areas:-

Critical and Contextual Approaches
Creative Practice
Media and Industry Studies.

We're at the forefront of research and postgraduate teaching. Our Institute of Popular Music (IPM) was the first academic centre created specifically to study popular music – and where better than in the home of the Beatles? It also boasts an enviable archive of donated recorded material.

Staff and students contribute fully to our research areas, which are informed by the broadly defined fields of:

Critical theory
Musicology
Music Analysis
Music and the moving image (including new media)
Ethnomusicology
Composition
Music industries
Media and cultural studies.

Research students participate fully in our research activity. They present papers at the School’s research seminars, work as Teaching Assistants within the School (with pedagogical training and support provided). There are also weekly research, career, and teaching seminars for all postgrads.

As a postgraduate student you'll be able to attend research seminars involving guest speakers from many disciplines and subdisciplines. You'll also be closely involved in classical, traditional and popular music concerts performed by professional musicians and students.

Composer Kenneth Hesketh and conductor Vasily Petrenko from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic - neighbours with whom we have launched a partnership - have recently been made honorary professors of Music at Liverpool.

Career prospects

Students from the taught postgraduate programmes in the School of Music have gone on to a wide range of careers, including various positions in the music industries, museums, arts administration, journalism, publishing, and teaching. PhDs from the School of Music are in full-time lectureships around the world (e.g. Canada, Sweden). The MMus and MA in Popular Music and Music Industry Studies have been recognised by the AHRC as appropriate training for advanced research and all three pathways prepare students for a level of further training equivalent to doctoral study.

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The MA in Music offers advanced training in either musicology or composition. The modular structure allows students to pursue a broad generalist programme or to specialise in a particular area of their choice. Read more
The MA in Music offers advanced training in either musicology or composition. The modular structure allows students to pursue a broad generalist programme or to specialise in a particular area of their choice. Within the field of musicology, students can slant their studies towards one or several of the following: music in nineteenth-century culture, opera studies, popular music studies or film music. The composition pathway, meanwhile, provides a practice-based contemporary composition curriculum that encourages students to push the boundaries of their practice and develop a voice as an engaged and creative composer.

This course is unusual in combining a rigorous academic education with the opportunity to acquire vocational skills through our innovative Professional Experience module. Students take up work placements with a wide range of external arts organisations or undertake a project with one of our specialist research units. The course therefore offers rich opportunities for career development and can pave the way for further study at PhD level if so required.

Why choose this course?

-The flexible structure of the MA Music allows you to tailor the course to your particular interests. The course is one of very few Music MAs in the UK to offer professional experience as part of the course; you can undertake a work placement with an external organisation such as a radio station, opera house, museum, music publisher, magazine, concert promoter or school. Alternatively, you can undertake a project with one of our specialist research units. Recent students, for example, worked at the Handel-Hendrix House Museum, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Audiograft festival.

The course is taught by experts who are internationally renowned in their fields. Our research informs the content and methodology of our modules, ensuring that teaching is at the cutting edge of the discipline. Following REF 2014 Music has been singled out as an area of particular research strength within the University.Our staff disseminate their research to wider audiences via appearances on BBC Radio 3, articles in the national press and talks for major performing organisations. The activities of our research units in opera (OBERTO), popular music (PMRU), or sonic art (SARU) complement the programme of formal study. MA students can contribute to the research units' activities, for instance by participating in listening groups and helping to organise study days and conferences. Student composers have an opportunity to showcase their work through the annual Audiograft festival. Opera students go on a field trip to hear a live opera, usually in London.

Oxford is a fabulous city in which to study music, with a very lively concert scene and excellent research facilities. You will have access to the world-famous Bodleian Library and the new Brookes library also offers substantial collections centring on the specialist areas of the MA.

The course provides an excellent foundation for doctoral study for those who wish to continue into a career in academia.

This course in detail

Students studying for the MA/PG Dip in Music are required to complete the following compulsory modules* (30 credits):
-Research Skills and Applied Research
-Professional Experience

MA students are also required to complete the following (60 credits):
-Dissertation / Major Project

You will then take two of the following modules depending on your chosen specialism (30 credits each):
Composition Pathway
-Approaches to Experimental Composition and Sound Arts
-Electroacoustic and Live Electronic Composition

Musicology pathway
-Advanced Musicology 1: 19th-Century Music Studies
-Advanced Musicology 1: Film Music Studies
-Advanced Musicology 2: Popular Music Studies
-Advanced Musicology 2:Opera Studies

*As our courses are reviewed regularly for quality assurance purposes, course content and module choices may change from the details given here.

Teaching and learning

The MA in Music is taught through a combination of seminars, tutorials and skills-based workshops. Those taking a work placement will also receive mentoring and formative feedback from an individual at the placement organisation.

During your time here you will engage in lively discussions and original research. We aim to give you an in-depth understanding of recent critical debates, scholarship and practice in your chosen field, as well as to broaden your knowledge of musical repertoire.

Our pathways are original, exciting and flexible and one of the most striking features of the Music Department is its breadth of subject expertise. All staff members in Music are actively engaged in research and we have published our work in top journals and with the most highly respected publishers: our research in popular music, opera and sonic art was identified as 'world-leading' in the 2014 REF.

You will have an opportunity to work closely with staff members not only through the course modules but also through our specialist research units in popular music, opera and sonic art. Membership of these units allows you to attend conferences, workshops and talks by visiting speakers that will complement your formal studies.

Careers and professional development

Having an MA will make you stand out from the crowd, whether you are joining the course straight after graduating from undergraduate study or returning to study after a break of several years.

Our MA will provide you with the skills and knowledge to embark upon a career in music or to improve your current position. The transferable skills you acquire through studying for an MA in Music can also lead to careers in many other sectors, including management, law, journalism, media and the heritage industry.

Career destinations of our recent graduates include:
-Professional composition
-Performance
-Sound engineering
-Arts administration
-HE administration
-Teaching (secondary and FE)
-Retail management
-Youth work

Our programme provides the necessary research training for doctoral work and many MA students continue on into further research and pursue careers in academia. Our students have an excellent success rate in securing funded PhD places.

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With the MMus programme you can extend your existing knowledge and skills with advanced academic and/or professional training in performance, which is designed to help you reach a professional level of competence by the end of the course. Read more
With the MMus programme you can extend your existing knowledge and skills with advanced academic and/or professional training in performance, which is designed to help you reach a professional level of competence by the end of the course.

Through the modular structure of all Masters degrees at the University, we tailor our teaching to your needs and interests.

In addition to your performance study, you'll also take a package of Research and Practical Skills customised according to your interests or needs. Performance accounts for 120 of the 180 credits in the flexible modular scheme: 30 credits for the coursework in each of the two semesters and 60 for the final recital.

Please note that we also offer MRes Music options in Composition, Musicology, and Popular Music Studies.

Key Facts

REF 2014
In the latest Research Excellence Framework, we increased the proportion of 4* research from 10% (in the RAE 2008)to 32%, with 40% of impact rated 4* (outstanding) and 50% of environment rated 4* (world-leading).

Why School of Music?

Strong research culture

Across the School, our research activity has a strong interdisciplinary nature and is concentrated in three cross-cutting areas:-

Critical and Contextual Approaches
Creative Practice
Media and Industry Studies.

We're at the forefront of research and postgraduate teaching. Our Institute of Popular Music (IPM) was the first academic centre created specifically to study popular music – and where better than in the home of the Beatles? It also boasts an enviable archive of donated recorded material.

Staff and students contribute fully to our research areas, which are informed by the broadly defined fields of:

Critical theory
Musicology
Music Analysis
Music and the moving image (including new media)
Ethnomusicology
Composition
Music industries
Media and cultural studies.

Research students participate fully in our research activity. They present papers at the School’s research seminars, work as Teaching Assistants within the School (with pedagogical training and support provided). There are also weekly research, career, and teaching seminars for all postgrads.

As a postgraduate student you'll be able to attend research seminars involving guest speakers from many disciplines and subdisciplines. You'll also be closely involved in classical, traditional and popular music concerts performed by professional musicians and students.

Composer Kenneth Hesketh and conductor Vasily Petrenko from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic - neighbours with whom we have launched a partnership - have recently been made honorary professors of Music at Liverpool.

Career prospects

Students from the taught postgraduate programmes in the School of Music have gone on to a wide range of careers, including various positions in the music industries, museums, arts administration, journalism, publishing, and teaching. PhDs from the School of Music are in full-time lectureships around the world (e.g. Canada, Sweden). The MMus and MA in Popular Music and Music Industry Studies have been recognised by the AHRC as appropriate training for advanced research and all three pathways prepare students for a level of further training equivalent to doctoral study.

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This multidisciplinary programme gives students the unique opportunity to develop critical understandings of the music industries and popular music, as well as gaining practical experience in a music industries-related organisation. Read more

This multidisciplinary programme gives students the unique opportunity to develop critical understandings of the music industries and popular music, as well as gaining practical experience in a music industries-related organisation.

Why This Programme

  • This programme is aimed at those wishing to work in the music industries and/or develop an academic interest in the music and wider creative industries.
  • Our approach is multidisciplinary: we employ a variety of academic approaches and draw upon the University's expertise in a range of disciplines including sociology, cultural studies, musicology and politics.
  • You will be studying in the City of Glasgow with its vibrant and exciting music scene – the UK’s first UNESCO city of music. There is access to a range of theorists and practitioners from within both academia and the music industries.
  • This MLitt in The Music Industries develops critical understandings of the music industries and the creative aspects of popular music.
  • It will give you the tools to develop your career or business in the music industries.
  • You do not have to be a musician to apply. The programme has been designed to appeal to students from a range of academic backgrounds.
  • You will benefit from access to our facilities including seminar and practice rooms, a small library, an audio lab, studios, and the University’s concert hall.

Programme Structure

The Music Industries programme aims to introduce and develop a critical understanding of the academic study of the Music Industries and Popular Music at postgraduate level.

The Music Industries MLitt is located within the broader academic area of Popular Music Studies - a relatively new area of academic enquiry which draws upon a range of disciplines including Sociology, Cultural Studies, Musicology and Politics. It is inherently multidisciplinary and a range of academic approaches will be adopted throughout the programme. This will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to critically evaluate the role of Popular Music and its attendant industries both historically and in contemporary society.

The programme includes a placement which has been designed for those seeking to work in the creative industries, and more specifically, the music industries including record companies, management companies and promoters. This programme is unique in the UK, offering the only postgraduate placement involving a tailored research project within a music industries-related organisation. You will spend part of semester two on placement within one of a number of music industries employers.

Career Prospects

The programme opens up opportunities to enter and develop your career or business in the music industries, as well as in related creative areas such as the games industry.

Graduates have combined the degree with other studies to pursue careers in areas such as law and education.

Positions held by recent graduates include working as a Service Delivery Manager at PRS for Music, Manager at ATC Management, Lecturer in Commercial Music and several self-employed artists and music entrepreneurs.



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The MA in Music (Ethnomusicology) introduces a range of methodologies in relation to the study of music in its cultural contexts. Read more

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.

Modules & structure

Core module

Option modules

You choose three modules from a list that currently includes:

Ethnomusicology Major Project

Skills

You'll develop an awareness of key ethnographic methodologies, investigation and evaluation skills, intellectual skills in music and specific research skills.

Careers

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



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