Masters degrees in Musicology offer advanced study of different forms of musical art, their methods and their functions within society.
Taught MA and MMus degrees are typical for the field, though research-based MRes and MPhil programmes may be available at some institutions. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, such as Music or Art History.
Focussing more on music in an academic than a vocational sense, a Masters in Musicology encourages you to explore the sociocultural and sociohistorical contexts surrounding musical art forms.
Specialisations include Historical Musicology, Ethnomusicology, Cognitive Musicology and Systematic Musicology. You therefore have the opportunity to study a range of genres from multiple cultures globally, across different historical periods.
Musicology may be applied to many industries due to its multidisciplinary nature. This might include music teaching or even music therapy. A good understanding of Musicology is also valuable to industries such as Film and TV, as well as the arts including Theatre and Performance.
Other careers may include further research, for which a Masters in Musicology provides a suitable step towards PhD study.
Our MMus programme is distinctive in its range of musicological, compositional and performance-based elements.
You will benefit from the diversity of our research strengths, numerous ensemble performance opportunities and expertise in a range of musical fields, including contemporary music for the concert hall, popular music, film music, opera, acoustic, electronic and computer-generated music.
The Musicology pathway of the MMus Music programme is designed to accommodate a flexible approach that reflects staff research expertise, students’ own specialisations and the increasingly polyglot nature of the discipline.
Art and popular music are both catered for within the pathway, drawing on the expertise of staff across these areas.
You will take two compulsory research training modules followed by a combination of compulsory specialism-related modules and optional modules. You may then choose to undertake a dissertation of either 60 or 90 credits.
The programme provides ideal preparation for future research work at PhD level.
This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time students must study at least two taught technical modules per academic year.
Example module listing
The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
The School welcomes applications from students who wish to undertake one module of study from the Masters programme.
Potential applicants may make an appointment for an informal interview with the Programme Director if practicable. All applicants will be asked either to submit a sample of written work, a DVD of their performance, or samples of their compositional work, or to sit an audition depending on their chosen specialism.
Our work achieves wide international circulation, both through established scholarly channels and, distinctively, through broadcast media (such as BBC TV, Channel 4, BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4, and National Public Radio in the USA). School staff are much in demand for pre-concert talks at venues such as London’s South Bank and Barbican centres.
The research environment at Surrey is sustained by open discussion and debate, and through the regular airing of work-in- progress. Our work is strengthened by the ready input of our peers and research students at various stages allowing collective engagement to foster innovation.
The MMus (Musicology) programme aims to provide students with a high quality education in the wide range of theoretical perspectives on and methodological approaches to present day musical study.
It aims to provide students with the necessary skills, techniques and methodologies to work at an advanced level with a critical awareness of the discipline.
The programme aims to reflect current developments within the theory and practice of musicology and, in so doing, to educate students so that they may work confidently and constructively within the musicological culture of the present. The programme aims to offer the necessary preparation for students wishing to undertake doctoral level study in practice-based areas.
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:
Knowledge and understanding
Intellectual / cognitive skills
Professional practical skills
Key / transferable skills
We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.
This flexible pathway provides a solid masters-level foundation in musicology. With a strong focus on theory, methodology and current debates in the discipline, together with appropriate research techniques and presentational styles, it offers excellent preparation for doctoral study and also for applied work. The programme of study consists of four taught course units (each 30 credits) plus a dissertation or critical edition (60 credits). The combination of core and optional course units allows each student to plot a path that best matches his or her special interests and aspirations. Together, the taught units encompass a wide range of topics and approaches - from musicology as cultural history, through musicology and the body, source studies and performance practice, to postcolonial theory and postmodernism. Seminars allow for close collaboration between lecturers and students, with ample opportunity for students to present their own work and receive individual feedback. Discussion and debate forms an important part of most course units.
All students on the MusM Music programme take Advanced Music Studies: Skills and Methodologies as their core unit. Students on the Musicology pathway also take Case Studies in Musicology: Texts and Histories . Optional course units normally include Contemporary Music Studies ; Historical and Editorial Skills ; Studying World Music Cultures: Themes and Debates : Historical or Contemporary Performance(subject to audition); Advanced Orchestration ; and Ethno/Musicology in Action: Fieldwork and Ethnography . A maximum of 30 credits may be chosen from another MA programme in the arts or social sciences (subject to availability and approval by the course tutor): possible options include From Papyrus to Print: The History of the Book; Perspectives on Medieval and Renaissance Studies ; andGender, Sexuality and the Bod y.
SALC Placement offers students the opportunity to spend a minimum of 20 days over a period of up to 12 weeks with an arts and cultural organisation, business or service provider. Placements will be established in Semester 1 to take place early in semester 2; they will be supervised by a work-based mentor and overseen by an academic staff member. The placement may take the form of an investigation of a specific business idea, development strategy or management proposition to resolve a problem or particular issue, and will result in a placement report, proposal or essay.
This programme aims to:
Most taught course units are delivered via weekly seminars and/or tutorials. Full-time students take two 30-credit course units per semester; part-time students take one. The dissertation or critical edition is supported by one-to-one supervision and is submitted at the beginning of September. (Part-time students may submit in either September or December following their second year of study.)
Seminars feature a range of presentation formats and activities, including presentations by course tutors, student presentations, discussion and debate based on prepared reading or coursework tasks, and workshop-style activities. Members of the academic staff are also available for individual consultations during designated office hours.
Alongside their taught units, students have access to a range of non-assessed seminars, workshops and training sessions offered by the Graduate School of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures. All postgraduate students are expected to undertake their own programme of self-directed learning and skills acquisition. This may also involve wider reading, language work, computer training and attendance at research seminars in other parts of the university.
There are no formal examinations. Taught course units are assessed by coursework essays or other tasks, normally submitted at the end of each semester (January and May). The precise nature of the assessment varies according to what is appropriate to the course unit in question. In most cases, a choice of questions or topics is offered. All taught units must be satisfactorily completed. The dissertation or critical edition (12,000-15,000 words or equivalent) is based on independent research into a topic agreed in consultation with the supervisor. A Research Outline needs to be presented and approved (usually in February) before students proceed with their dissertation. All coursework is double-marked internally and moderated by the External Examiner. Recitals are heard by at least two internal examiners.
Graduates of this programme have pursued successful careers in musical and non-musical fields. Some continue to further study via a PhD before securing an academic position. Some go on to teach in schools or further education, both in the UK and overseas. Other areas of work for which advanced musical training has been directly relevant include arts management and the culture industries, music publishing, music journalism, librarianship, music therapy and performance. Careers outside of music have included accountancy, law, social work and human resources. One of our graduates writes of how the skills she honed at Manchester helped prepare her for her first job as an Editorial Assistant at Oxford University Press: `I use my written/essay skills in text editing (prefaces, composer notes, biographies etc.) and in preparing sales copy; analytical skills are continually employed during the editing process; the discipline of editing and proofing your own work is as important in my job as it was in my studies; the research skills that I developed during my time at Manchester have been useful in source research and in checking the factual accuracy of texts; and general skills such as planning and time management have been helpful preparation for the world of work.'
Through its focus on musical infrastructure, Utrecht University's Master's programme Applied Musicology will equip you with the specific knowledge and skills required to operate as a musicologist within the international musical industry. The programme utilizes reflective training in both current and innovative approaches in musicology, through which you will learn to apply academic musicological skills to the day-to-day challenges in a musical life.
Our Master's programme in Applied Musicology was designed in direct dialogue with top institutions within the musical infrastructure in the Netherlands and beyond; it does not discriminate between classical and popular music. The curriculum builds on knowledge and skills gained through Bachelor's programme in Musicology, with emphasis on both historical musicology and the relation of music with other media.
As a student, you will receive intensive mentoring while developing research and reflective skills relevant to questions in contemporary music production, programming, financing and participation. You will acquire additional relevant skills (for example journalistic writing skills) through classroom labs as well as coaching by professors and professionals in the field.
This Master's programme prepares you for the cultural professional field. You will have developed skills which are required in your future career. It gives you opportunities in both the cultural field and in careers that require an expertise in the field of applied musicology. Read more about possible career prospects.
Music is a vital form of cultural expression that shapes and is shaped by society around it. This programme allows you to study the critical theories and perspectives that have influenced the way we study music – how it is composed and performed as well as the role it plays in different communities.
Core modules will allow you to explore issues in musicology such as race, class, gender, sexuality, popular music and mass culture, as well as how music has been received and interpreted and how musical ‘canons’ are formed. You’ll also develop your understanding of research methods in musicology, and have the chance to gain knowledge of aesthetic theory or editing and archival studies, allowing you to balance critical and applied forms of musicology.
In addition, you’ll choose from optional modules from across the School of Music allowing you to focus on topics that interest you, from performance or electronic and computer music to composition and psychology of music.
We have a variety of excellent facilities to support your learning, including rehearsal, performance and practice spaces, a lab for studying the psychology of music and studios for sound recording, software development and computer music composition. The Special Collections housed in our beautiful Brotherton Library contain significant collections of music manuscripts, rare printed music and letters from composers and critics to help inform your work.
We also have good working relationships with a range of prestigious arts organisations: we host BBC Radio 3 concerts, Leeds Lieder and the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, as well as enjoying a close partnership with Opera North and many others in a city with a thriving music and cultural scene.
You’ll study core modules that develop your understanding of both critical and applied forms of musicology. One of these will allow you to explore issues and topics that have emerged in the past few decades – questions of race, gender, politics, deconstruction and more. You’ll also choose one or two from a cluster of optional modules, giving you an insight into editing and archival studies or introducing you to aesthetic theory.
In addition, you’ll have the chance to pursue another area of musical interest when you select from a range of optional modules. Whether you’re interested in computer music or psychology of music, or you want to continue to improve your performance or composition skills, you can pick one module allowing you to gain specialist knowledge in a field outside of musicology.
Throughout the year you’ll study a core module that develops your knowledge of research methods in music and musicology, laying the foundations for the rest of your studies. You’ll also be able to put the research skills you gain into practice if you choose to do a dissertation by the end of the programme – an independently researched project on a topic of your choice. Alternatively, you can complete a major editorial project, producing an extended edition of professional standard based on original musical sources.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
We use a range of teaching and learning methods including seminars and tutorials, as well as vocal/instrumental lessons with our expert tutors. We’re also making more and more use of online learning. However, private study is also integral to this programme, allowing you to pursue your interests more closely and develop research and critical skills.
To help you build diverse skills, we also assess you using different methods depending on the modules you choose. These could include presentations, essays, literature reviews, recitals and performances or project work; however, optional modules may also use alternative methods such as recitals and composition portfolios.
This programme will give you in-depth subject knowledge, as well as specialist knowledge and skills in a different aspect of music studies to broaden your understanding. It will also allow you to gain key research, critical and communication skills that are in demand in a wide range of industries and sectors.
Graduates from the programme move on to a variety of careers. Recent graduates have entered areas such as arts management, librarianship, recruitment, and freelance teaching and performance. Many graduates go on to further study at PhD level in the UK and USA.
We also offer additional support as you develop your career plans: the School of Music boasts a unique Alumni Mentoring Network, where students can be supported by past students as they start to plan their next steps.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
The MA in Music (Historical Musicology) is designed to help musicians of all kinds to work with original sources, to read and edit documents, and to embark upon their own research.
The programme encourages an awareness of, and engagement with, the most recent critical theories of music. It's designed to provide preparation for those who wish to be involved in teaching, editorial work, journalistic criticism, lecturing, research at MPhil/PhD level, broadcasting, librarianship or historically aware performance.
The core modules provide systematic introductions to:
The options either focus upon the conceptual and critical fields within which musicologists operate or provide access to a range of repertories and musical cultures.
The skills learnt in your coursework will culminate in the methods and approaches demonstrated in your dissertation.
Find out more about the MA in Music.
You choose two modules from a selection that currently includes:
You'll develop investigation and evaluation skills, intellectual skills in music and specific research skills.
The programme is designed to provide preparation for those who wish to be involved in teaching, editorial work, journalistic criticism, lecturing, research at MPhil/PhD level, broadcasting, librarianship, or historically aware performance.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
Our Research Master’s in Musicology will train you in advanced research while giving you academic insight into the theoretical and artistic principles underpinning music across history and cultures. You will also investigate the contextual circumstances influencing the production, distribution, and reception of music.
The Musicology programme at Utrecht University focuses on Western music from the Middle Ages to the present, the impact of media on the reception and conceptualisation of music, and digital musicology. Interdisciplinary work is central to the programme, and there are particularly strong links with Medieval and Renaissance Studies, New Media & Digital Culture, Gender Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Computational Humanities, as well as Game Research, the focus area Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights, and the strategic theme Institutions. This programme aims to innovate, while at the same time retaining its links to the traditional musicological research fostered at the University over the past 85 years.
Our current research focuses on late medieval music from the 13th to the early 15th centuries, Renaissance Franco-Flemish polyphony, music and migration, Baroque opera, Dutch music since the 17th century, music and its epistemologies from the late 18th century to the present, 20th-and 21st-century art and popular music, the complex relationship between music and politics (in particular, during the 19th, 20th and 21st century), the interaction between music and media (in particular, film and digital media, but also the materiality and semiotics of notations), and the impact of digital research tools on musicology. This research is firmly imbedded within the taught components of this programme, which are further enhanced by guest lectures and master classes led by international experts.
This programme will give you the specialist knowledge, insight and skills necessary to pursue further study at PhD level or a career as a researcher. Many alumni pursue academic careers in international musicological research. Read more about possible career prospects.
The Musicology Masters at Glasgow presents a broad, multi-dimensional approach to Music as a key component of numerous contemporary cultural practices. Building on a thorough grounding in the methodological roots, you’ll be able to specialise in professional fields such as Sound and Music for Screen Media, Historically Informed Performance Practice, Popular Music Studies, Sonic Arts, and Creative Practice Research. A team of world-leading researchers collaborate to provide an up-to-date, interdisciplinary exploration of historiographical, analytical, sociological, and critical approaches, opening opportunities for reflection on a broad range of musical traditions, performing styles and recording media.
You’ll also write a dissertation and have the chance to take a work placement in a music or arts organisation.
This programme prepares students for careers in the music and creative industries as well as related fields, such as media and broadcasting. Additionally, this programme provides the necessary foundation for pursuing further research in musicology in the form of a PhD.
The Critical Musicology pathway aims to equip you with core historical and analytical skills as well as enabling you to operate in a field that is broadly interdisciplinary.
At the heart of this pathway is the module Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art. This is a historically oriented module in aesthetics, whose raison d’être lies in the conviction that, if musicologists are truly to benefit from reading contemporary theory, they first need a solid grounding in the philosophical tradition from which theory's most significant writers stem. The module ranges from Kant and Hegel to postmodernism, taking in the work of such hugely influential figures as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Adorno.
This pathway is led by Ben Earle.
Ben’s theoretical interests are mainly in the Frankfurt School tradition, especially Adorno and Jameson. Relevant publications include a monograph, Luigi Dallapiccola and Musical Modernism in Fascist Italy (Cambridge, 2013), and articles in Music & Letters (2003), Radical Musicology (2007), Matthew Riley (ed.), British Music and Modernism, 1895–1960 (2010), Music Analysis (2015) and the Journal of the Royal Musical Association (2016).
You will study two core modules:
You will also choose two optional modules from a range which typically includes:
Full descriptions are available below.
Modules are typically assessed by written assignment, and some also require a presentation or examination. You will also complete a 15,000-word musicology dissertation.
Your learning will be enhanced by our extensive facilities, including the Bramall Music Building.
Support with academic writing
As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.
International students can access support for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).
Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.
The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.
You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.
You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.
Postgraduate employability: Music
Birmingham's Music postgraduates work in a wide range of careers within and beyond the music world. A postgraduate degree in Music develops a broad base of skills including general skills such as communication, problem solving and research, and also specific skills developed by practice and performance such as self-management, team work and presentation.
Over the past four years, 91% of Music postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Whilst some graduates pursue music-related careers, or go on to teaching and lecturing roles, others choose to use their transferable skills to follow career paths in fields including finance and the public sector.
We offer a broad-based MMus programme with three pathways: musicology, performance and composition. All three pathways can be used as professional training for themselves, or as preparation for PhD study. Students in our MMus programme benefit from intensive one-to-one instruction with world-leading experts in music history, cultural studies of music, performance studies and analysis; internationally noted performers with active solo and ensemble careers; and prominent composers of contemporary art music, electronic music, media music (including film, television and video game music) and jazz.
Do you want to know how great film scores were composed? Are you interested in the ideas behind musical performances? Expand your knowledge of the components and aspects of music with the MMus Music (Performance, Composition and Musicology) at the University of Southampton and enhance your musical talents. This broad MMus programme will teach you the elements of musical performance, as well as the different genres of music. Gaining this experience across a variety of categories will prepare you for a successful career in the music industry.
The MMus programme in music provides a flexible course of study. Its goal is a professional research project, recital or composition portfolio. Tutors work with each student from the outset of the course to form a portfolio relevant to the student's specific professional aims, whether further research at doctoral level, a career in the music industry or the wider cultural sector, or work as a teacher or free-lance musician. We recognise that music has increasingly become a 'portfolio career' and aim to provide our MMus students with a platform for success in whatever area of music their aspirations lie. Thus the broad modular structure of our programme allows for cross-over between the pathways.