This programme offers a variety of stimulating and contemporary academic pathways with a range of theoretical and practice-based modules.

The MA in Music programme introduces you to the fundamental principles of research in music. It provides a unique and creative approach to musicology, valuing intellectual curiosity and musical diversity.

Awards available are:

  • MA in Music (Contemporary Music Studies)
  • MA in Music (Ethnomusicology)
  • MA in Music (Historical Musicology)
  • MA in Music (Popular Music Research)
  • MA in Music (General)

The Masters designed with careful consideration of the opportunities, challenges and intellectual demands presented by careers in music, such as journalism, teaching, broadcasting, librarianship, historically informed performance, contemporary composition, and arts administration.

The programme addresses the challenges of an evolving subject. It encompasses many repertoires of music, offering pathways that reference Western art music and popular music, the music of other cultures, sound art, contemporary music and electronic music.

  • You develop systematic, critical and creative approaches to study and research, exploring musical practice and discourse in historical, social and cultural contexts,
  • You investigate research ideas and methods in contemporary musicology, to develop an independent and original approach to current questions and debates,
  • You explore the complex interrelationships between music and other subjects, between theory and practice, and between performance and structural interpretation.

The programme helps you understand and evaluate current trends and traditions, and appreciate how we, like others before us, reflect the time, place and attitudes of the milieu within which we work.

Modules & structure


Each Masters degree is awarded after the accumulation of 180 credits. You take

  • Core module(s) (30 credits each)
  • Optional modules (30 credits each)
  • Dissertation or Major Project (60 credits)

The topic of your dissertation or project relates closely to the programme outcomes of your pathway and its core modules and is agreed with your pathway leader.

The options provide you with a choice of modules relevant to your chosen pathway. We will offer advice at interview and/or enrolment about your options. Please note that the availability of options may depend upon the department timetable.

Core modules

  • Critical Musicology and Popular Music 30 credits
  • Sources and Resources 30 credits
  • Contemporary Ethnomusicology 30 credits
  • Contemporary Music: Practices and Debates 30 credits

Option modules

  • Working with Original Musical Documents 30 credits
  • Philosophies of Music 30 credits
  • New Directions in Popular Music Research 30 credits
  • Interpretation, Meaning and Performance 30 credits
  • Ethnographic Film and Music Research 30 credits
  • Performance as Research 30 credits
  • Popular Music and its Critics 30 credits
  • Sound Agendas 30 credits
  • Contemporary Music: Practices and Debates 30 credits
  • Critical Musicology and Popular Music 30 credits
  • Sources and Resources 30 credits
  • Contemporary Ethnomusicology 30 credits


  • MA in Music Dissertation 60 credits

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Skills & careers


You'll develop:

  • investigation and evaluation skills
  • intellectual skills in music
  • specific research skills


The programme is designed with careful consideration of the opportunities, challenges and intellectual demands presented by careers in music, such as:

  • journalism
  • teaching
  • broadcasting
  • librarianship
  • historically informed performance
  • contemporary composition
  • arts administration

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in Music or an equivalent subject.

Your qualification should comprise a substantial academic element relevant to the selected MA pathway and option choices. For the generic MA in Music award, you should write a detailed proposal explaining the rationale for your option course choices and how these provide a coherent programme of study leading to a dissertation. A detailed transcript of your degree is preferred.

Equivalent qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements

If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing.

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments,
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference,
  • A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF or completed online,
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory).

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Selection process

You will normally be required to attend an interview, and you may be asked to submit examples of your written work in advance (such as an essay of at least 1,500 words on a relevant topic).

Program taught in:

See 24 more programs offered by Goldsmiths, University of London »

This course is Campus based
Start Date
1 - 2 years
6,780 GBP
Programme fee 2018-2019: Home/EU - £6780; ; International - £15340
By locations
By date
Start Date
End Date
Application deadline
Application deadline
End Date