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:
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.
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.
You choose two modules from a selection that currently includes:
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:
You choose two modules from a list that currently includes:
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:
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
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.
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.
Plus one option from:
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.
Graduates will likely pursue a career as a professional performing musician.
The degree might lead to further academic study, including DMus or MPhil/ PhD.
Click the following link for information on how to apply to this course.
Information about scholarships and bursaries can be found here.
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.
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:
You will also choose one optional module from a range which typically includes:
Full descriptions are available below.
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.
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).
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.
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.
You choose one of the following modules:
You choose three modules from a selection that currently includes:
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.
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.
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.
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.