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Explore how music is created, disseminated and received. This course draws on a range of methodologies and disciplines.

Course description

  • Benefit from a thriving international centre for Musicology
  • Research seminars featuring world leaders in musicology and major international conferences in the field.
  • Develop the skills required for careers such as artistic direction, journalism, working with orchestras or opera houses, librarianship or academia.
  • An ideal grounding for further research in musicology at doctoral level

At Sheffield, we offer expertise in areas including Mozart, Renaissance music, music and visual culture, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century style, aesthetics and sources, the concerto genre and the Broadway musical – a rich assortment that represents the flexibility of the discipline. The musicological study of music can include themes such as gender, philosophy, culture and aesthetics, and may involve an examination of history, composition, performance and reception. Musicology engages with how music is created, disseminated and received, via a range of methodologies and often through interaction with other disciplines.

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Core Modules

(150 credits total)

Research Techniques introduces a range of music-related research techniques including defining and designing a research topic, collecting and analysing data, access to unusual research materials from libraries or internet sites, compiling and laying out literature reviews and empirical studies, becoming acquainted with basics of music processing. The unit is delivered via the Department’s Graduate Study Days, which musicology students will attend alongside students from other disciplines in the Department.

Critical Musicology acts as an introduction to key trends and figures in musicology from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. You will learn techniques and skills related to the literature in the field, and will employ them in an essay on a topic of your own choice.

Topics in Musicology gives you the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge in a focused area of musicology. You will explore the literature related to a specific topic in depth, and will write an essay that responds to the current state of the literature in this area.

Taking advantage of the department’s distinctive interdisciplinary research environment, this module introduces key concepts and debates within composition, ethnomusicology, musicology and performance through discursive critical engagement with key texts in a reading group context. Discussing core topics in the cultural, social and aesthetic study of music in a friendly but rigorous setting, students will learn about the history and morphology of music studies, and gain skills in the critical analysis of academic literature.

The Dissertation module gives you the opportunity to design and complete an extended piece of independent research in musicology. Your project could take the form of a written dissertation, a critical edition with commentary, or another closely equivalent format. There is an emphasis on originality, and the module is heavily weighted in anticipation of the especially intensive effort required in achieving this pre-doctoral standard (for example, through archival research). You will be supported through group seminars in which key techniques will be explored; you will then undertake the research under the guidance of a supervisor in tutorial format.

Optional Modules

(Students will take 30 credits from this group)


Teaching is through seminars, reading group, graduate study days and individual tutorials.


Assessment is through essays, short presentations and a dissertation.

How to Apply:

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It is a quick and easy process.

Visit the MA Musicology page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!





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Recipient: University of Sheffield

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