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Music is a vital form of cultural expression that shapes and is shaped by society around it. This course allows you to study the theories, perspectives and approaches that have influenced the way we study music, regardless of your personal musical tastes and preferences.

Core modules will allow you to explore issues in musicology that affect our understanding, reception and interpretation of music in critical and applied contexts, and will equip you to challenge both your and others’ assumptions.

We have a variety of excellent facilities to support your learning, including rehearsal, performance and practice spaces, a lab for studying the psychology of music and studios for sound recording, software development and computer music composition. The Special Collections housed in our beautiful Brotherton Library contain significant collections of music manuscripts, rare printed music and letters from composers and critics to help inform your work.

We also have good working relationships with a range of prestigious arts organisations: we host BBC Radio 3 concerts, Leeds Lieder and the Leeds International Piano Competition, as well as enjoying a close partnership with Opera North and many others in a city with a thriving music and cultural scene.

Course content

You’ll study core modules that develop your understanding of both critical and applied forms of musicology. In Issues in Musicology will engage you in debates that cross and affect a broad range of musical genres and interests, and offer different ways of considering how we might engage with, understand and interpret music, musical activity and writings on music. Depending on whether you wish to specialise in critical or applied musicology you’ll take either Aesthetic Theory or Applied Research Methodologies, or you can choose both offering both depth and breadth of musicological study.


Compulsory modules

In addition to the core module below you will choose either the Dissertation (60 credits) or the Applied Research Project (60 credits) as your major project.

  • Issues in Musicology

Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

You will choose at least 30 credits from Aesthetic Theory and Applied Research Methodologies. You will complete your enrolment by choosing one or two modules from the list below.

  • Individual Project
  • Short Dissertation
  • Composition Studies
  • Instrumental or Vocal Recital
  • Applied Performance Studies
  • Electronic & Computer Music Practice
  • Electronic & Computer Music Contexts
  • Case Studies in the Applied Psychology of Music

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching and learning methods including seminars and tutorials, as well as vocal/instrumental lessons with our expert tutors. We’re also making more and more use of online learning. However, private study is also integral to this programme, allowing you to pursue your interests more closely and develop research and critical skills.


To help you build diverse skills, we also assess you using different methods depending on the modules you choose. These could include presentations, essays, literature reviews, recitals and performances or project work; however, optional modules may also use alternative methods such as recitals and composition portfolios.

Applying, fees and funding

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

How to apply

Application deadline

We will consider applications from 1 October – 1 September.

However, we recommend you apply as early as possible, especially if you are planning to apply for external funding.



Documents and information you need

  • Your degree certificate and transcript, or a partial transcript if you’re still studying.
  • Two academic references.
  • A copy (or draft) of an undergraduate dissertation, or an essay in English of around 2,000 words.
  • If English is not your first language, you’ll need to provide evidence of your English language qualification.
  • If you want to take performance as your optional module, we need to see evidence of your performance standard. You can either audition in person or submit a recording on DVD, or a link to a video of your performance online.
  • If you want to take a module in composition, please submit a recent composition (if score, no larger than A4) and recordings if you have them. These can include links to websites, Dropbox, Soundcloud, or similar.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students.


  • UK/EU: £8,500 (total)
  • International: £20,000 (total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Career opportunities

Graduates from the programme move on to a variety of careers. Recent graduates have entered areas such as arts management, librarianship, recruitment, and freelance teaching and performance. Many graduates go on to further study at PhD level in the UK and USA.

We also offer additional support as you develop your career plans: the School of Music boasts a unique Alumni Mentoring Network, where students can be supported by past students as they start to plan their next steps.

Visit the Critical and Applied Musicology MA page on the University of Leeds website for more details!





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