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MA/PGCert Music Psychology in Education, Performance and Wellbeing (Distant Learning)

Course content

On this course you'll apply psychological research to musical experiences and professions. We'll give you training in the research methods used by psychologists.

Course description

  • Includes summer residential and optional one day study events
  • Work with widely published recognised experts in the field of Psychology of Music
  • Develop skills in writing, literature exploration and evaluation
  • Training in Psychology of Music research methods
  • Access to online virtual learning environment for study materials, and tutors via phone and email
  • Fit your studies flexibly around full-time work

Music Psychology in Education, Performance and Wellbeing allows you to develop an in-depth as well as broad understanding of psychology of music and its application to diverse everyday musical contexts. The first year is dedicated to three broad areas of research: Musical Development, Psychology of Performance, and Researching Music in Everyday Life and Wellbeing. The second year offers training in Psychological Research Methods, which is followed by dissertation research on an individually chosen research project in which you use music psychological theory and methods to investigate a self-defined research question. You will benefit from newly-written online materials, and from the department´s extensive resources of books and journals in music education. You will be assigned a personal tutor and dissertation supervisor who will support your learning throughout the course.

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Students taking the MA programme will take all of the modules listed below.

Year One

(90 credits total)

MUS6080: Musical Development helps you develop an understanding of the psychological and biological processes that affect musical development in the first fourteen years of life. Emphasis is also placed on applying this understanding to music teaching and learning contexts, evaluating existing research and developmental themes.

MUS6090: The Psychology of Performance provides an understanding of the psychological processes involved in playing music, exploring the existing research literature and methodology. Students explore how this understanding can be applied to the experience of listening to and performing music.

This module considers the applications of psychological research to everyday musical behaviour and events. Topics covered include emotional responses to music; listening in the home, car and workplace; music in commercial and public settings; musical participation; music therapy and special education. You are encouraged to analyse your own everyday experiences of music in relation to the psychology of music literature, and to consider the methodological and ethical challenges of researching in real world settings.

Year Two

(90 credits total)

This module focuses on the development of critical reading skills, through advanced training in literature searching, reading and reviewing, and on the development of research skills necessary for the dissertation. You will discuss a range of journal articles in music education, and be supported in critiquing the research approaches, writing style and contribution of the work. An introduction to qualitative and quantitative research skills will further help you to reflect on methodological aspects of empirical studies and prepare for dissertation work.

Your dissertation allows you to investigate a research question in the psychology of music, which may be empirical or theoretical. You are required to submit a dissertation which shows an awareness of established literature in the field, of appropriate data collection and analysis, and of interpretation of results or theories.

Students taking the PG Certificate will take 60 credits from the modules listed below

Year One

(60 credits total)


  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • World music performance workshops
  • Email tutorials with supporting course texts and guidance notes


Assessments take a variety of forms such as:

  • Reports and essays
  • Fieldnotes and recordings
  • Final dissertation or folio

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/PGCert Music Psychology in Education, Performance and Wellbeing (Distant Learning) page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!






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Recipient: University of Sheffield

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