This unique programme has been designed for students wishing to combine an interest in music and related cultural performance with advocacy and social development practice. Students will build critical understanding of how music’s agentive and imaginative capacities act in different contexts - e.g. human rights, forced migration, health, and environmental justice - to communicate needs and interests, and to mobilize action.
Students will have the opportunity to build the programme around their specific interests by drawing on optional courses from a range of disciplines, while also developing an understanding of the musical practices of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The programme is particularly suitable for students wishing to deepen their understanding of social and cultural theory and to develop applied research skills. It appeals to those wishing to develop a career in the international NGO sector, in arts-based public sector programmes (e.g. UNESCO) and in arts policy. Students interested in research may proceed to MPhil/PhD in ethnomusicology or allied disciplines.
The MA Music in Development programme involves taking three courses and writing a 11,000-word dissertation. 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.
Course Detail: The four formal elements of the MA Music in Development programme are:
- The full unit core course Music in Development: Taught as a weekly two-hour lecture with additional tutorials. Part-time students must take this in their first year.
- The Dissertation in Music: A special study 11,000 words in length on a topic agreed with the candidate's supervisor. Part-time students normally take this in their final year.
Teaching & Learning
The aim of the programme is to develop:
1. critical understanding of music as a culturally embedded system that has wide-ranging application as a communication tool and process in a variety of development contexts;
2. a critical understanding of relevant theories in Ethnomusicology and allied disciplines, such as Development Studies and Anthropology;
3. a critical understanding of participatory research methodologies and applications;
4. the development of workshop modelling and management skills aimed at linking musical performances and meanings to social action and advocacy work; and
5. a critical knowledge of the musical practices, meanings and performance contexts from select regions of the world.
The programme is designed to prepare students for entry into a range of professional sectors, namely International Development, Social Music Therapies, Cultural Research and Policy, Sound and Audio-Visual Archiving, Media for Development, and documentation and research for the UNESCO Intangible Heritage Programme.
An MA in Music in Development from SOAS gives students greater intercultural awareness 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.