MA World Music Studies (Distance Learning)

Department of Music, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

We have expertise in everything from musicology and ethnomusicology to performance, composition and music management.

You'll work alongside professional musicians and researchers with visits and masterclasses from guest performers and teachers.

About the course


World Music Studies is intended for musicians, educators and enthusiasts who would like to know more about the music of the world and the academic discipline that studies it, ethnomusicology.

We interpret ‘world music studies’ quite literally as encompassing, in principle, the study of any and all musical activity in the world: Western as well as exotic, popular as well as classical, amateur as well as professional. This study is pursued through practical methods such as fieldwork and direct participation in the music studied as well as library research and theoretical interpretation.

Students gain both a deeper knowledge of the world’s musics and a set of skills for discovering and communicating new knowledge about music.

The course is taught by academics and musicians at the forefront of their specialist fields, including Fay Hield, Simon Keegan-Phipps and Andrew Killick.

Course content

Modules on department website

Distance learning and residentials

  • Distance learning makes this course accessible to students anywhere in the world and to those wishing to study part-time
  • Intensive residential weeks allow students to participate in lectures, practical workshops, individual tutorials and field trips
  • Online support is provided through individual e-tutorials, group discussion forums and online study materials
  • Open to applicants without a first degree in Music who have appropriate musical experience


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


Assessments take a variety of forms such as reports and essays. They are usually individual assessments, even if they concern the processes and outcomes of group work.

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Playing instrument

Key facts

Course duration

2 years part-time by distance learning

Entry requirements

You'll need a 2:1 in music or a combined degree with a substantial music component. Relevant practical experience is also considered.

English language requirements

Overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Entry requirements for international students

Fees and funding

Fee information for this course is available on the department website.

University and faculty funding is available each year. The closing date for applications is mid-January. The department has a small number of tuition studentships available. The closing date for these is the end of April. You can also apply for a small grant to support your postgraduate research project.

Financial information for postgraduate taught courses

Funding information on the Department of Music website

About us

Music at Sheffield attracts world-leading academics and musicians working in a wide range of specialist fields. This is reflected in the diversity of the MA programmes we offer, both onsite and by distance learning. Our courses are taught by experts and backed by world-class research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) 84 per cent of our work was rated internationally excellent or world-leading.

We are influential in composition, ethnomusicology, musicology, performance, music technology, music management and psychology of music. Our MA programmes allow students to take advantage of the department's distinctive interdisciplinary research environment and to be part of a strong postgraduate community by taking modules from other specialist areas.

Our three research centres, Music, Mind, Machine, Sheffield Performer and Audience Research Centre, and Music & Wellbeing provide a hub for research collaborations in music psychology and audience research.

Your career

Many of our graduates work in education. Others are performers in various popular genres, in the UK and abroad. Some work in recording studios. Employers include universities, colleges, concert agencies and music promoters.

Dr Kathleen Van Buren

My research interests include African music and dance (especially from Kenya and Cameroon), the efficacy of music and musicians in promoting social change, applied ethnomusicology and medical ethnomusicology. Much of my work involves examining ways in which music can be used for community education to address issues such as HIV/AIDS and children’s rights.

Dr Kathleen Van Buren

Apply now

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

Postgraduate Online Application Form

Any questions?

If you'd like to know more about any aspect of our courses, contact us:

T: +44 (0)114 222 0461