2020 start

Music Performance Studies

Department of Music, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Develop as a performer with stylistic awareness and an understanding of how to prepare for the concert platform.
A postgraduate student playing the piano

Course description

This unique course combines traditional areas of study, such as history and theory, with newer disciplines including music psychology and ethnomusicology.

Through workshops, masterclasses and intensive one-to-one lessons with specialist tutors, you’ll hone your skills as both a solo and ensemble performer. Your course will culminate with a recital.

We’ll help you develop your critical thinking along with your practical skills. You’ll develop your understanding of performance as a research-informed discipline, and you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with other performance and composition students on creative projects.

There are lots of opportunities to gain performance experience, for example through our concert series, orchestras and ensembles, and numerous external venues. We have a reputation for research of international quality and play an important role in Sheffield’s thriving cultural life, promoting over 60 concerts a year as well as productions of opera in the University’s theatre. We also have close links with Music in the Round, which brings some of the world’s finest musicians to Sheffield.

Many of our graduates have gone into the music profession. While a large number are performing and teaching, others have stayed to continue their studies at PhD level, or taken up offers to study at leading music conservatoires.

You'll need to provide a portfolio with your application.


Explore core and optional modules

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Individual instrumental or vocal tuition, seminars and individual tutorials.

Learn more about your supervisors:


You will be assessed by presentations, coursework, and a recital at the end of the course.


  • 1 year full-time
  • 2 years part-time
Group of postgraduate music students with harp

Studying a performance-based masters in a university where there are experts in other areas is a great opportunity. Being able to address my performance with new perspectives as a result of cross-specialisation input has brought new ideas and freshness to my own approach as a musician.

Alison York
MA Music Performance Studies

Entry requirements

You'll need a 2:1 in music or a combined degree with a substantial music component.

Degrees in other related subjects may be acceptable depending on your background.

Provide a portfolio with your application

When you apply you'll need to provide a portfolio in the form of a video. It must include two contrasting pieces of different styles and eras that demonstrate your expressive and technical flexibility. Classical singers should choose works in two different languages. Musicians performing in a popular style can choose works from the same era but they should show sufficient contrast. The portfolio should be approximately 20 minutes.

To submit your portfolio, you should do one of the following:

  • upload your video recordings with your postgraduate online application
  • provide an online link to your performance portfolio in your postgraduate online application
  • send a DVD by post addressed to: Music Admissions, MA Music Performance Studies, University of Sheffield, Department of Music, Jessop Building, 34 Leavygreave Road, Sheffield S3 7RD

English language requirements

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

Entry requirements for international students

Fees and funding

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.

Funding information on the Department of Music website

Financial information for postgraduate taught courses

My research unit studies the many roles of music in our wellbeing, in life circumstances that are both everyday (music practice, language learning, sleep) and extraordinary (living with dementia, hospital treatment). With my international collaborators I also work on the psychology of music memory and the evaluation of music performance.

Dr Victoria Williamson
Department of Music


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

Apply now


+44 114 222 0495

The course information set out here may change before you begin, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the start date.