2021 start

Music Psychology in Education, Performance and Wellbeing (Distance Learning)

Department of Music, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

On this distance learning course, you'll apply psychological research to musical experiences and professions. We'll give you training in the research methods used by psychologists.
Music students

Course description

Drawing students from all over the world, this course focuses on the application of psychological research to musical experiences and professions, and attracts graduate musicians who work in the fields of music education, performance and therapy, or teaching. We provide you with training in the research methods used by psychologists, together with the conceptual framework within which these methods can help to inform and explore musical expertise and understanding.

The first year is dedicated to three broad areas of research: Musical Development, Psychology of Performance, and Researching Music in Everyday Life and Wellbeing. The second year offers training in Psychological Research Methods, which is followed by dissertation research on an individually chosen research project in which you use music psychological theory and methods to investigate a self-defined research question.

You will also benefit from research informed online materials, and from the department’s extensive collection of electronic books and journals in music education. You will be assigned a personal tutor and dissertation supervisor who will support your learning throughout the course.



*MA Psychology for Musicians has been renamed as MA Music Psychology in Education, Performance and Wellbeing.


First year:

Musical Development

To develop an understanding of the psychological and biological processes that affect musical development in the first fourteen years of life. To apply this understanding to music teaching and learning contexts, evaluating existing research and developmental themes.

30 credits
Psychology of Performance

To develop an understanding of the psychological processes involved in playing music, exploring the existing research literature and methodology. To explore how this understanding can be applied to the experience of listening to and performing music.

30 credits
Researching Music in Everyday Life and Wellbeing

This module considers the applications of psychological research to everyday musical behaviour and events. Topics covered include emotional responses to music; listening in the home, car and workplace; music in commercial and public settings; musical participation; music therapy and special education. Students are encouraged to analyse their own everyday experiences of music in relation to the psychology of music literature, and to consider the methodological and ethical challenges of researching in real world settings.

30 credits

Second year:

Psychological Research Methods

The aim of this module is for students to consider in-depth a chosen topic within Psychology of Music and the research methods that are used to develop knowledge and understanding in that area. Students will work with a peer to develop a review of research literature, producing a joint literature review and a joint methods review. This is complemented by a written individual reflection on the skills developed within the module, including a reflection on working as part of a team. The work is supported through lectures and online material on quantitative and qualitative research techniques, and through seminars, exercises and online material that help produce a literature and methods review.

30 credits
Dissertation in Music Psychology

This module allows students to investigate a research question in music education, which may be empirical or theoretical. Students are required to submit a dissertation of around 16,000 words, which shows an awareness of established literature in the field, of appropriate data collection and analysis, and of interpretation of results or theories. Supporting materials and the opportunity for peer discussion will be provided through WebCT, along with individual guidance from a member of the course staff.

60 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.


Distance learning means that most of the teaching is done through the University online portals where you can access course materials, library materials, and class discussion boards.

You will also be supported by email and online tutorials. 

Annual residentials

Annual residentials are an important part of the course. By attending these residentials, you'll have the chance to meet your tutors and peers. The residentials include introductory sessions on systems, lecture topics, seminars, world music performance workshops and tutorials. 

The residential will take place online for 2021. For the second-year residential we hope to offer both an online and onsite option for students. They will take place on the following dates:

  • Monday 23 August – Thursday 26 August 2021
  • Monday 22 August – Thursday 25 August 2022  

Your supervisors

Learn more about your supervisors:


Assessments take a variety of forms such as reports and essays.


  • 2 years part-time by distance learning

Entry requirements

2:1 undergraduate degree. If your undergraduate degree is not in music, you’ll need to provide evidence of substantial engagement with music.

We also recognise the value of experience, and may accept applications from people who have not been awarded a 2:1 and have been in professional practice, or who bring other qualifications or relevant academic experience to their studies.

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

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Fees and funding

University funding and scholarships opportunities are available each year. Please check the department funding webpages for music specific scholarships. Department scholarships details are released in the January prior to the start of your course.

Funding information on the Department of Music website


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

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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