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Ethnomusicology - MA

Course Description

Join one of the UK’s leading learning environments for the study of music, combining world-leading research, exceptional teaching and a vibrant musical community in the heart of global London.

Who is it for?

Students interested in extending their knowledge and developing critical and research skills in ethnomusicology.

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 Ethnomusicology introduces students to new ways of thinking about music in its cultural contexts, with a particular focus on ethnographic work in urban settings.

Students consider current issues and debates in ethnomusicology and explore the complex interrelationships between music and other subjects, and between theory and creative practice. The course provides a rich creative environment in which to develop critical approaches to musical practices. The MA offers a range of options, with students able to focus project work on areas of individual interest. The course also provides training in fundamental research skills.

We have an outstanding reputation for dynamic, inspring and rigorous postgraduate eduation 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.


We are offering one full fee-waiver scholarship for entry to any of our MA pathways in September 2017.

The Robert Anderson Scholarship provides a full-fee waiver at UK/EU rates. International students are also eligible to apply and if successful will have the equivalent UK/EU fee amount deducted from the international fee. The deadline for applications is Friday 5th May 2017.

In addition to your main application, scholarship applications should include:
-A CV indicating your studies and achievements to date.
-A statement indicating why you feel you are particularly deserving of such an award and outlining the contribution you will make to the Music Department.

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 involves engaging with external organisations, including local communities.

We use a range of assessment types, including extended projects, portfolio submissions and written examinations. Assessment 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, including Javanese and Balinese gamelans, Middle Eastern ensemble and Latin ensemble.

We host a regular concert series and an annual summer music festival. In addition, there are regular workshops, visiting speakers and research seminars, and we also host occasional conferences.


MA Ethnomusicology students take two core modules (total 60 credits), two or three elective modules (total 30 or 60 credits), and also produce a final Ethnomusicology Major Project (60 or 90 credits).

A typical 30 credit taught module involves two hours of lectures/seminars per week over a ten-week teaching term, plus a total of one-hour tutorial supervision over the course of the module (usually two thirty minute 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 fifteen-week period (from the start of teaching to the final assessment).

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

Core modules
-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)
-Development in Communications Policy (30 credits)
-Political Communication (30 credits)
-Human Rights and the Transformation of World Politics (30 credits)
-International Organisations in Global Politics (15 credits)
-Theories of International Politics (30 credits)
-Political Islam in Global Politics (15 credits)
-The Politics of Forced Migration (15 credits)
-Global Governance (15 credits)
-International Politics of the Middle East (15 credits)
-Development and World Politics (15 credits)

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

The MA culminates in a 60 or 90 credit Ethnomusicology Major Project, an extended independent project on an ethnomusicological topic running through the spring and summer terms, which students complete by the end of August. All projects will include an ethnographic component and can take the form of a 12-15,000 (60 credit) or 15-20,000 (90 credit) word dissertation, an ethnographic film and accompanying written commentary, or a lecture-recital and accompanying written commentary.

Career prospects

Our MA programmes have 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.

Examples include:
-Justine Fancy, PR Manager at MAMA & Company, live music company.
-Rachel Swindells, Gamelan & Community Projects Officer, Halle Orchestra.
-Meliz Serman, Head of Music, Davenport Foundation School.
-Javier Alvarez, International Award-Winning Composer.

Visit the Ethnomusicology - MA page on the City, University of London website for more details!

All Available Videos:

Student Profiles

School of Arts & Social Sciences Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme - No. of awards TBC

The School of Arts and Social Sciences is delighted to offer a number of scholarships for postgraduate students. The scholarships are worth £2,000 towards tuition fees awarded on the basis of academic merit and applicants' personal statements.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Worth up to £2,000


In order to be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must:
- be a self-funded student and not in receipt of any other scholarships;
- be a full or part-time student;

Application Procedure

Applicants who meet our entry requirements will be automatically considered for a non-means tested scholarship as part of the application process.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally hold (or expect to gain) an upper second class honours degree. Whilst most students come with a first degree in music, we do consider applicants with a good honours degree in cognate subjects in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

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