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Course content

Who is it for?

Students interested in extending their knowledge and developing critical and research skills in the broad area of music studies. The course provides a rigorous training relevant to a range of professional careers, including further study at doctoral level.

We welcome students from all over the world and from a range of backgrounds.


Combining academic rigour with a flexible course structure, the MA Music offers a small number of core modules combined with a range of options. Students are able to focus essays and project work on areas of individual interest.

The course introduces students to a range of current issues and debates in the broad field of music studies and provides a rich creative environment in which to develop critical approaches to musical practice and study. Students engage with a diverse range of repertoires, including western art music art and popular music, world music, contemporary music and electronic music, and are encouraged to explore the complex interrelationships between music and other subjects and between theory and creative practice. The course also provides training in fundamental research skills.

We have an outstanding reputation for dynamic, inspiring and rigorous postgraduate education and offer exceptional support to our students.

Our students come from all over the world and benefit from our location in the heart of London, one of the world’s greatest cultural hubs.


The professional work placement is an elective module giving you the opportunity to work in the cultural sector to apply the skills you have gained from the programme so far.

When it comes to the organisation, it is totally up to you. Previous students have gained experience with the Southbank Centre, The British Library, IMG Artists, LIFT, Arts Council England and the British Film Institute.

Academic facilities

Music students can take advantage of our advanced recording and composition studios, a professional performance space, computer laboratories, rehearsal rooms, practice rooms and world music instruments.

Our composition studios include three surround (8.1/ 5.1) studios, one of which is dedicated to film and live electronics work, and three stereo composition studios. All of the studios are equipped for sound editing, processing and mixing. As well as general software such as Logic, Sibelius and Pro Tools, these studios are equipped with Native Instruments Komplete.

The recording studio is equipped to deliver multitrack recording and mixing to a professional standard.

As well as the excellent library facilities at City and close by, such as the British Library, as part of the University of London you can also become a member of Senate House Library for free with your student ID card.

Teaching and learning

Teaching is through lectures, small group seminars and one-to-one tutorials in which students receive supervision from world-leading researchers.

In addition, we arrange off-site visits, such as to the British Library or to relevant conferences. Project work also often involves engaging with external organisations or local communities.


We use a range of assessment types, including extended projects, portfolio submissions and written examinations. Assesment will depend on the particular modules chosen by students

We have a vibrant postgraduate community and there are plenty of opportunities for involvement in our many ensembles. We host a regular concert series and an annual summer music festival. In addition, there are regular workshops, visiting speakers and postgraduate research seminars, and we also host occasional conferences.

In addition to our many ensmbles at City, MA students are also eligible to audition for the University of London Symphony Orchestra


MA Music students take two core modules (total 60 credits), two or three elective modules (total 30 or 60 credits), and also produce a 12-15,000 (60 credit) or 15-20,000 (90 credit) word dissertation.

A typical 30 credit taught module involves two hours of lectures/seminars per week over a 10-week teaching term, plus a total of one hour tutorial supervision over the course of the module (usually two half hour meetings).

In addition, the MA involves a significant amount of self-directed study, including preparation between classes, and researching and writing projects, equivalent to about 18 hours per week over a 15 week period (from the start of teaching to the final assessment).

Core modules

Students take two core modules in term one, followed by elective modules in term two (for part-time students the modules are spread over two years).

  • Critical Readings in Musicology (30 credits)
  • Researching Music in Contemporary Culture (30 credits)

Elective modules

  • Music Special Project (30 credits)
  • Interdisciplinarity and Collaborative Process (30 credits)
  • Urban Ethnomusicology (30 credits)
  • Historical Musicology (30 credits)

Plus a range of elective modules in the Departments of Sociology and International Politics:

  • Professional Placement (15 credits)
  • Audiences and Marketing (15 credits)
  • Digital cultures (15 credits)
  • Culture (15 credits)
  • Cultural Policy (15 credits)
  • Public Culture: the Politics of Participation (15 credits)
  • Global Cultural Industries, Ethics and Social Responsibility (15 credits)
  • Celebrity (15 credits)
  • Global Ethics: Principles, Power and Politics (30 credits)

(NB: Elective module choices are subject to availability and timetabling constraints).


The MA culminates in a 12-15,000 (60 credits) or 15-20,000 (90 credits) dissertation, running through the spring and summer terms, which students complete by the end of August.

Examples of previous dissertation projects include:

  • ‘Hybridity, Afro-Modernism and Double Consciousness in the Music of Kanye West’
  • ‘Computer Music and Post-Digital Aesthetics’
  • 'The Rise of Cross-Dressing and Male Impersonation in the Music Halls of Victorian London'
  • 'Searching for Satori: Psychedelia in the Music of Bauhaus'

Career prospects

The MA Music has excellent employment statistics. Students  have gone on to teach, compose and perform in a wide variety of settings and are also employed in areas such as music publishing, broadcasting, music management, arts administration and further musical study at MPhil or PhD level. Alumni are currently working in high-profile roles, including in organisations such as the Southbank Centre and the Halle Orchestra.

Visit the Music (MA) page on the City, University of London website for more details!





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