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Course content

Theoretical and practical grounding in the discipline of ethnomusicology, as well as the opportunity to develop performance and ethnographic skills, regional expertise, and a deeper understanding of global music – just some of what you can expect to develop on the MMus Ethnomusicology. This programme is tailored for musicians and musicologists, anthropologists, teachers and composers, as well as those dedicated to developing an in-depth knowledge of a specific music tradition.

You will study with the largest and most influential team of ethnomusicologists in the UK, who are experts in the musical traditions of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Jewish world. You will be part of a thriving culture of performance, research and active engagement with music around the globe.

The programme will suit those looking for a springboard into further research or employment in a range of music-related fields including journalism, industry, NGOs and education, and often serves as a conversion route for those trained predominantly in western music traditions.

Structure

Students must complete 120 credits of taught modules in addition to the compulsory dissertation (60 credits). In addition to these formal elements, students are expected to attend regular postgraduate and public seminars and may also participate in performance ensemble classes and other activities. 

Students may be allowed to study for the MA on a part-time basis.

  • The part-time MMus may be taken over two years, in which case the student takes two 30 credits modules (or equivalent 15 credits modules) in the first year, and two 30 credits modules (or equivalent 15 credits modules) and the dissertation in the second year.
  • Alternatively, it can be taken over three years, in which case the student can distribute the 120 credits modules evenly in each of the three years. The dissertation can be written in year two or three, but it is strongly recommended that this be undertaken in the final year of the programme. It must be submitted in September of the year in which the student registers for it.

Teaching & Learning

The Department of Music has been highly rated for teaching and research in all recent assessment exercises, and is regularly ranked amongst the top Music departments in the UK in Good University Guides.

Music students have access to the large Main Library of the School which holds numerous books, journals and recordings relevant to the study of ethnomusicology and world music, as well as the nearby British Library Sound Archive and other London libraries and museums.

The SOAS Library holds copies of standard reference works on music, such as the current edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. The Grove dictionary and the RILM database can also be accessed on line from computer terminals in the Library or elsewhere on the SOAS network. Listening facilities are provided in the Library, and most CDs are available on short loan. Among special items in the Department’s collections are:

  • field recordings, films and slides
  • a large working collection of musical instruments from Asia and Africa
  • extensive staff collections relating to specific research interests

Employment

A postgraduate degree in Ethnomusicology from SOAS gives students greater intercultural awareness, improved competency in performance and a better understanding of global music which will enable them to continue in the field of research or engage in related work. Equally, they develop a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and creative capacities including interpersonal skills, communication skills, focus, team work, passion and dedication. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.


Visit the Ethnomusicology - MMus page on the SOAS University of London website for more details!

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