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.
Be part of a lively popular-music research community that embraces everything from metal music to film scores and work alongside performers, composers and studio producers.
You will join peers with backgrounds in cultural studies, sociology, music and the creative arts to explore today's local live music scene and its connection to the wider industry. From researching gigs and events to composing scores for film and television, you will discover how a variety of communities fuse together to create this vibrant and expanding scene.
Whether developing your songwriting and music editing techniques in our studios or organising events and liaising with artists at Leeds Festival, you will gain the hands-on experience employers are looking for while gathering evidence to carry through into your major research project.
With its combination of research and practice, your course will provide the perfect springboard to discover the interconnectivity of popular music and culture and engage with the vibrant and varied music scene in Leeds.
As well as having access to modern, professional music studios, you will 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 will 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.
Artist in Residence Programme
The Artist in Residence programme gives our students an opportunity to work with professional artists and gives them a taste of what is it like to work on a professional music project. So far we have welcomed artists Chris T-T, Ian Prowse, I Monster, Tom Williams and Utah Saints.
With more festivals and independent production companies than ever before, understanding the links between popular music, culture and the rapidly changing music industry is increasingly important, whether you are a researcher or practitioner. You could use the course to further your research interests by studying for a PhD or take up employment opportunities in sound engineering, performance, teaching, songwriting, production, music for film and television, music journalism, marketing and PR or events organisation.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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/
- Kent is ranked 21st in the Times Higher Education (THE) ‘Table of Tables’ 2017.
- Kent is ranked 22nd in The Guardian University Guide 2018.
- Kent is ranked 25th in The Complete University Guide 2018.
- Of Kent graduate students who graduated in 2016, 98% of those who responded to a national survey were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).
- For research quality, Music at Kent was ranked 13th in The Complete University Guide 2018 and 16th in The Times Good University Guide 2018.
- For graduate prospects, Music at Kent was ranked 14th in The Times Good University Guide 2018.
Find out more: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/why/
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/
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
This is a modular course leading to the award of MA in Popular Music. The course 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.
Our MA in Popular Music 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.
Our modules cover areas of research strategy, analysis, documentation and management, and will require you to engage with and develop your skills to an advanced level. The final phase of the MA will result in the production of a substantial piece of work – for example a large-scale performance, a portfolio of original music, or a written dissertation.
Teaching is by lectures, tutorials, seminars and workshops.
Contact time is 3-4 hours (full-time) or 1.5-2 hours (part-time) per week. Workload is 40 hours (full-time) or 20 hours (part-time) per week.
Assessment can take the form of:
For our latest fees please visit our website.
If you are interested in this course we have a number of opportunities to visit us and our campuses. To find out more about these options and to book a visit, please visit our website.
If you would like to know more about the University please request a prospectus.
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.
The MMus in Popular Music Performance is a vibrant postgraduate course which combines the development of advanced performance, musicianship and instrumental talents with innovative academic skills.
The course encourages you to develop the highest levels of instrumental expertise, performance abilities, academic research and critical reasoning skills. You’ll also explore your leadership and musical management skills via the role of musical director of an ensemble, culminating in a performance of challenging original and existing repertoire.
This one-year (full-time), or two-year (part-time), course is aimed at individuals who wish to continue their studies after having already successfully completed an undergraduate music programme. The course also attracts those who already have a vast amount of industry experience and are keen to accomplish an even greater mastery of their instrument.
Across your learning, you’ll further develop your instrumental and musicianship skills, focusing on your personal relationship with your instrument and the extension of your technical ability, while exploring your role as a performer in both live and studio environments. This is delivered using a variety of modes of study, including one-to-one lessons, small-group ensemble classes and lectures, and private and group tutorials.
As a postgraduate student, you’ll enhance your professional development by operating autonomously and engaging in self-directed study, but with guidance and support from members of ICMP’s experienced professional faculty.
The course encourages you to identify your own personal learning requirements, select your essential resources, and then design and implement a plan for achieving them. You can choose from one of three optional modules, which include an investigation of a performance tradition, the use of music in health and wellbeing, and the cultural and philosophical aspects of music.
All MMus students are required to undertake a significant research project which leads to the production of a significant body of work for recital and a dissertation. You’ll receive highly personalised instrumental and dissertation supervision from a mentor of your choice within our faculty which comprises a number of celebrated PhD recipients and music academics.
Over the duration of the course, there will be many opportunities to work alongside like-minded creative musicians across all ICMP disciplines and you’ll be encouraged to collaborate both inside and outside of the MMus curriculum.
All MMus students have access to London’s Tileyard Studios – the UK’s largest professional music community – studying classes there, using the facilities for free and attending networking events. You’ll also benefit from a regular schedule of visiting lecturers who’ll discuss their different approaches, philosophies and ideas with you, including musicians, academics and guests from the wider creative industries.
As an MMus student, you’ll have direct access to our amazing facilities with industry-standard hardware, software and instruments, including a 24-track recording studio, multiple Mac labs and dedicated performance spaces which can all be booked free-of-charge outside of class hours, seven days a week. Postgraduate students also have access to studio and writing spaces at Tileyard Studios. You’ll also enjoy access to a range of UEL facilities, including the 24/7 multimedia libraries, with over 300,000 books, journals, audio-visual resources and archives, 500 electronic books and 25,000 electronic journals and databases.
ICMP's MMus course will take you on a journey that will change the way you think about yourself as a musician and, ultimately, as a person. You’ll graduate with the skills, self-reliance and motivation needed to build and sustain a successful portfolio career as a talented music professional – whichever path you decide to take.
Core Credit Modules
Student choose one of the following optional modules:
Successful completion of the MMus Popular Music Performance programme at ICMP leads to the award of Master of Music by the University of East London.
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.
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.
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.
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: