MA World Music Studies (distance learning)


Two years (part-time).  The next intake will be in 2019.

The course starts on 19 August 2019 with a residential in Sheffield.


The teaching component of the programme is based on Autumn and Spring semesters. Over the summer following the spring semester in year two you will complete your dissertation in consultation with an academic supervisor.


Residentials are an essential part of the course. Students come to Sheffield at the end of August for a week of intensive teaching and discussion. Lectures are given by the course staff and by visiting speakers, and students participate in discussion groups, practical workshops, field trips and tutorials. Residentials also serve an important social purpose in allowing students to get to know each other and to discuss ideas.

Residential dates

2019: August 19 - 23

2020: August 24 - 28

Accommodation in Sheffield is available at competitive rates.


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

Teaching and Assessment

Distance learning means most of the teaching is done through online course materials and readings supported by email, phone or Skype tutorials. You will need to attend the University for one residential each year. 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. For further information, visit the online prospectus.

2019-20 Year One Autumn Semester

(45 credits total)

  • MUS6002: Research Skills (15 credits)
    MUS6002: Research Skills provides essential research and study skills necessary for successful completion of the MA in World Music Studies as a whole (bibliographic skills and accessing web resources; editing and revision skills; style sheets; music processing; note-taking and essay planning). It begins at the residential with practical instruction in lectures, seminars and demonstration in several skills, covering both effective music research and efficient distance learning. A series of e-tutorials accompanied by skill-based work-sheets follows on from the work done at the residential.
  • MUS6003: Music of the World (30 credits)
    MUS6003: Music of the World provides a foundation in the study of music from each continent. The module begins at the residential, which includes practical workshops in several musical studies, lectures and seminars, plus a series of e-tutorials. The remainder of the unit is taught through listening and reading-based self-study.


2019-20 Year One Spring Semester

(45 credits total)

  • MUS6005: Case Studies in Ethnomusicology (15 credits)
    This module focuses on analysis of selected key texts in ethnomusicology. Examples of these include: How Musical is Man? (Blacking), Sardinian Chronicles (Lortat-Jacob), Soul of Mbira (Berliner). Lectures during the residential will introduce the history of ethnomusicology as a discipline. Study of the three books will be supported by guidance sheets keyed to each chapter and e-tutorials.
  • MUS6004: Approaches to Fieldwork (30 credits)
    Introduction to designing an independent field project consisting of supervised fieldwork exercises (held in Sheffield during the residential) and subsequent self-study (supported by e-tutorials) and a programme of assisted readings. Instruction will cover project design, participant observation methodology, ethical issues and use of recording technology.


2020-21 Year Two Autumn Semester

(30 credits total)

  • MUS6038: Teaching and Transmission (30 credits)
    This module enables students to explore, from a global perspective, issues relating to the ways in which music is taught and learned. Lectures during the second residential provide intellectual frameworks for the wide range of possible topics that this broad category of musical behaviour encompasses (e.g. formal education in vernacular musics; the impacts of oral/written transmissive media; teaching world music(s) in the classroom, etc.). After the residential, the student selects one topic for independent study and undertakes research supported by guided reading, online discussion and e-tutorials. A variety of assessment formats are provided for each project, with students selecting either an essay, folio with commentary or sample radio programme/podcast.


2020-21 Year Two Spring Semester

(60 credits total)

  • MUS6007: Dissertation  (60 credits)
    The dissertation provides the final element in the MA in World Music Studies. It comprises a library or fieldwork-based dissertation or folio requiring original investigation and research by the student on a topic within the area of world music approved by the unit tutor. Original field materials may be submitted as appendices to the dissertation.