MA Musicology


One year (full-time) or two years (part-time).


The teaching component of the programme is based on Autumn and Spring semesters. Over the summer you will complete your Dissertation module in consultation with an academic supervisor.


This programme is offered as a MA (180 credits).


Teaching is delivered through seminars, individual tutorials and lectures. Assessment takes 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. For further information, please visit the online prospectus.

This is the module outline for 2018/19 Entry and is subject to change for 2019/20

Core Modules

(150 credits total)

  • MUS6000: Research Techniques (15 credits)
    Research Techniques introduces a range of music-related research techniques including defining and designing a research topic, collecting and analysing data, access to unusual research materials from libraries or internet sites, compiling and laying out literature reviews and empirical studies, becoming acquainted with basics of music processing. The unit is delivered via the Department’s Graduate Study Days, which musicology students will attend alongside students from other disciplines in the Department.
  • MUS6029: Critical Musicology (30 credits)
    Critical Musicology acts as an introduction to key trends and figures in musicology from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. You will learn techniques and skills related to the literature in the field, and will employ them in an essay on a topic of your own choice.
  • MUS6032: Topics in Musicology (30 credits)
    Topics in Musicology gives you the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge in a focused area of musicology. You will explore the literature related to a specific topic in depth, and will write an essay that responds to the current state of the literature in this area.
  • MUS666: Interdisciplinary Music Studies (15 credits)
    Taking advantage of the department’s distinctive interdisciplinary research environment, this module introduces key concepts and debates within composition, ethnomusicology, musicology and performance through discursive critical engagement with key texts in a reading group context. Discussing core topics in the cultural, social and aesthetic study of music in a friendly but rigorous setting, students will learn about the history and morphology of music studies, and gain skills in the critical analysis of academic literature.
  • MUS626: Dissertation in Musicology (60 credits)
    The Dissertation module gives you the opportunity to design and complete an extended piece of independent research in musicology. Your project could take the form of a written dissertation, a critical edition with commentary, or another closely equivalent format. There is an emphasis on originality, and the module is heavily weighted in anticipation of the especially intensive effort required in achieving this pre-doctoral standard (for example, through archival research). You will be supported through group seminars in which key techniques will be explored; you will then undertake the research under the guidance of a supervisor in tutorial format.


Optional Modules

(Students will take 30 credits from this group)

  • MUS615: Topics in Music Psychology (30 credits)
    Topics in Music Psychology provides an introduction to the core topics in the psychology of music, including psychoacoustics and perception, cognition of musical structure, emotion and meaning in music, development psychology of music, psychological approaches to performance, and social and applied music psychology, including music therapy and music education.
  • MUS617: Selected Topics in Music Psychology (15 credits)
    Topics in Music Psychology provides an introduction to the core topics in the psychology of music, including psychoacoustics and perception, cognition of musical structure, emotion and meaning in music, development psychology of music, psychological approaches to performance, and social and applied music psychology, including music therapy and music education.
  • MUS618: Qualitative Data Collection (15 credits)
    Qualitative Data Collection provides a research training in qualitative research data collection relevant to the study of musical behaviour. The module consists of teaching and learning of qualitative research design techniques, including ethical consideration and evaluation of methods through pilot studies and critique of existing research. The module is assessed through a portfolio of qualitative data collection tools, including questionnaires and interview schedules, which the student has designed, piloted and evaluated.
  • MUS633: Performing World Music (30 credits)
    Performing World Music provides an opportunity to integrate musical practice into the MA in Ethnomusicology. The unit will focus on the music of one tradition hitherto unfamiliar to the class in question, requiring them to learn vocal or instrumental performance in that style. You will back up your practice-based understanding of a world music tradition with a learning diary and theoretical knowledge derived from the ethnomusicological literature. Your learning will lead to a performance examination with an oral component dealing with historical, organological or cultural aspects of the same musical tradition.
  • MUS635: Special Study in Performance (30 credits)
    Special Study in Performance will introduce students to a specialist area of study in performance studies, such as historical performance practice. By engaging in written research and in practical demonstration, students will be introduced to performance as a research-informed discipline. The module will include a mixture of lecture-based demonstrations and workshop-led learning, and will culminate in a small topic of the student's own choice, related to the general theme of the module.
  • MUS636: Strategic Planning for Music Business Clients (15 credits)
    Strategic planning for music business clients is practice based as students learn the skills necessary to work in the real world of music management. Students will research an issue faced by a professional music client, drawing conclusions from their research and providing recommendations on how to move forward.
  • MUS637: Staging Music in Theory and Practice (15 credits)
    Staging Music in Theory and Practice is practice based as students develop and run a one day music related event within the local community. There will be theoretical input at the start of the course on the nature and impacts of, and planning for, art oriented festivals and events including marketing and the practical application of legal and health and safety principles.
  • MUS639: Communicating about music and music research (15 credits)
    This exciting new module is delivered in collaboration with the English Language Teaching Centre, and is directed at all students who wish to work on English communication skills - written and oral, in order to reach a variety of audiences interested in music and music research. Assessments for this module provide opportunities to improve academic writing skills, which can benefit performance in other modules. They also offer the opportunity to engage with a broad spectrum of written and oral communication, useful for academic and professional contexts.
  • MUS627: Collaborative Project (Composition MA) (30 credits)
    This module aims to facilitate student-led collaborative projects. Collaborations may be with a performer or ensemble from within or outside the Department of Music, or a practitioner from another artistic discipline, including visual arts, writing, choreography, film-making, etc., who may be from within or outside the University. You will be guided in the planning and execution of your project and will report and reflect on the process throughout the module. Work generated through the collaboration will be presented at the end of the module in a performance, installation, or other format as appropriate.


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is current and relevant. Individual modules may be updated or withdrawn in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, curriculum review, staff availability, and variations in student numbers. In the event of a material change the University will inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.