MusM Music (Musicology)

Year of entry: 2024


Degree awarded
Master of Music (MusM)
1 year
Entry requirements

We expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in Musicology/music theory or analysis.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning
MusM Y Y N N

Course overview

  • Enjoy a strong focus on theory, methodology and current debates in musicology.
  • Develop advanced research skills and presentational techniques suitable for doctoral study or applied work.
  • Study in a city that is home to more professional music-making than any UK city outside of London, with three professional orchestras and internationally recognised institutions such as the BBC and Opera North.
  • Study at a Top 5 UK University for Music (Complete University Guide 2023).

Open days

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our open days .


Fees for entry in 2024 have not yet been set. For reference, the fees for the academic year beginning September 2023 were as follows:

  • MusM (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £11,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £24,000
  • MusM (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £5,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £12,000

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of School awards and Subject-specific bursaries (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the School's funding page  where you can also find details of the Government Postgraduate Loan Scheme.

See also the University's postgraduate funding database  to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities.

For University of Manchester graduates, the Manchester Alumni Bursary offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a First within the last three years and are progressing to a postgraduate taught master's course.

The Manchester Master's Bursary is a University-wide scheme that offers 100 bursaries worth £4,000 in funding for students from underrepresented groups.

Contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
PG Taught Admissions

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in Musicology/music theory or analysis.

English language

An overall grade of IELTS 7.0 with 7.0 in writing and no skill below 6.5 is required or 100+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 25 and no skill below 22.

If you have obtained a different qualification, please check our  English language requirements  to ensure that it is accepted and equivalent to the above requirements.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Relevant work experience

We do not require work experience as a condition of entry. Any work experience relevant to the programme may, however, be taken into consideration when we review your application.

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

Along with a personal statment in the application form, you must also upload an academic-standard writing sample at the end of the application form (under the CV/Resume option).

How your application is considered

IMPORTANT: Please note that we will only be considering applications where the English language requirement for at least entry onto our pre-sessional English course has already been met.

Minimum requirement for consideration oto a pre-sessional course is IELTS 6.5 with no component below 6.

The Programme Director will assess each application on academic merit and relevance to the course, and the personal statement and attached academic-standard writing sample.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

The University will take into account the academic standing of a candidate's University, as advised by our international office using published world and country rankings.

Course details

Course description

Our MusM Music (Musicology) course offers an engaging and rigorous master's-level foundation in musicology. With a strong focus on theory, methodology and current debates in the discipline, together with appropriate research techniques and presentational styles, it offers excellent preparation for doctoral study and also for a wide range of careers.

You will be able to choose units and a dissertation/critical edition topic that best matches your special interests and aspirations. Together, the taught units encompass a wide range of topics and approaches - from musicology as cultural history, through musicology and the body, source studies and performance practice, to postcolonial theory and ecomusicology.

Seminars allow for close collaboration between lecturers and students, with ample opportunity for you to present your own work and receive individual feedback. Discussion and debate forms an important part of most course units.

You can also choose to take a placement unit where you will spend a minimum of 20 days over a period of up to 12 weeks with an arts and cultural organisation, business or service provider to gain valuable workplace experience.


We aim to: 

  • build on undergraduate studies of music history, aesthetics, analysis and performance by introducing you to a wide range of advanced musicological methodologies, theories, discourses and practices;
  • enable you to refine and develop your individual skills, talents and interests;
  • prepare you for a career, either inside or outside music, where critical judgement and developed powers of communication are needed;
  • foster the skills in critical thinking, argumentation, and effective written and oral communication necessary for further postgraduate study;
  • enable you to gain an expert and detailed knowledge of a specialist topic, and to formulate ideas that can later be pursued within further research programmes.

Special features

Music in Manchester

Manchester is home to more professional music-making than any UK city outside of London. There are three professional orchestras, as well as internationally recognised institutions such as the BBC, Bridgewater Hall, Opera North and The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM).


Staging over one hundred live music events each year, the Music department is unique in its combination of academic excellence and conservatoire levels of performance. Watch examples of our previous performances by visiting the Music department YouTube channel .

Teaching and learning

Most taught course units are delivered via weekly seminars and/or tutorials. Full-time students take two 30-credit course units per semester; part-time students take one.

The dissertation or critical edition is supported by one-to-one supervision and is submitted at the beginning of September. Part-time students may submit in either September or December following their second year of study.

Seminars feature a range of presentation formats and activities, including presentations by course tutors, student presentations, discussion and debate based on prepared reading or coursework tasks, and workshop-style activities.

Members of the academic staff are also available for individual consultations during designated office hours.

Alongside your taught units, you will have access to a range of non-assessed seminars, workshops and training sessions offered by the Graduate School.

All postgraduate students are expected to undertake their own programme of self-directed learning and skills acquisition. This may also involve wider reading, language work, computer training and attendance at research seminars in other parts of the University.

Coursework and assessment

There are no formal examinations. Taught course units are assessed by coursework essays or other tasks, normally submitted at the end of each semester (January and May).

The precise nature of the assessment varies according to what is appropriate to the course unit in question. In most cases, a choice of questions or topics is offered. All taught units must be satisfactorily completed.

The dissertation or critical edition (12,000-15,000 words or equivalent) is based on independent research into a topic agreed in consultation with the supervisor. A Research Outline needs to be presented and approved (usually in February) before you proceed with the dissertation.

Course unit details

You will undertake units totalling 180 credits. Core and optional units combine to make 120 credits, with the remaining 60 credits allocated to a dissertation or critical edition.

The dissertation or critical edition offers the opportunity to work with world-leading experts in a range of specialist areas. Students are able to pick their own topic, subject to initial approval and the availability of a suitable supervisor; this may be informed by topics and approaches encountered in the course of the Semester 1 taught units.

Recent titles include: 

  • Hip-Hop and migrant communities in contemporary Britain
  • Absent from the Present: Pastoral Temporalities in the Early Music of Harrison Birtwistle
  • Historical Authenticity and Film Music in Period Film Adaptations of Jane Austen Novels from the 2000s
  • Basque Elements in the Music of Gabriel Pierné
  • Impact of the Good Friday Agreement on Popular Music in Northern Ireland

All students take Advanced Music Studies: Skills and Methodologies and Case Studies in Musicology: Texts and Histories. A range of optional units are available (see the course unit list below). A maximum of 30 credits may be chosen from another MA course in the arts or social sciences (subject to availability and approval by the course tutor). 

Possible options include From Papyrus to Print: The History of the Book; Perspectives on Medieval and Renaissance Studies; and Gender, Sexuality and the Body.

Students are also expected to attend the Music Research Fora on Thursday afternoons to enrich their studies. These sessions explore current trends, approaches, and issues in musicological and ethnomusicological research with presentations from a variety of invited scholars, professional musicians and composers.

If you choose to take the placement unit, placements will be established in Semester 1 to take place early in Semester 2 and will be supervised by a work-based mentor and overseen by an academic staff member.

You will spend a minimum of 20 days over a period of up to 12 weeks with an arts and cultural organisation, business or service provider. The placement may take the form of an investigation of a specific business idea, development strategy or management proposition to resolve a problem or particular issue, and will result in a placement report, proposal or essay.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Dissertation or Critical Edition MUSC40110 60 Mandatory
Advanced Music Studies: Issues and Approaches MUSC60051 15 Mandatory
Advanced Music Studies: Research Skills in the Digital Age MUSC60061 15 Mandatory
Music Criticism in Theory and Practice MUSC60112 15 Mandatory
Popular Music and Identity LALC61052 15 Optional
Contemporary Music Studies MUSC40061 30 Optional
Historical or Contemporary Performance MUSC40072 30 Optional
Advanced Analysis MUSC60011 15 Optional
Studying World Music Cultures: Themes and Debates MUSC60021 30 Optional
Ethno/Musicology in Action: Fieldwork and Ethnography MUSC60032 30 Optional
Advanced Orchestration MUSC60042 30 Optional
Historical and Editorial Skills MUSC60091 30 Optional
Professional and Pedagogical Skills MUSC60402 30 Optional
Aesthetics MUSC60502 15 Optional
Business Strategies for Arts, Culture and Creative Industries SALC60072 30 Optional
Creating a Sustainable World: Interdisciplinary Applications of the Sustainable Development Goals UCIL60312 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 16 course units


You will have access to a wide range of study facilities and cultural assets at Manchester.

The Martin Harris Centre offers students an exceptional home equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.

Alongside teaching rooms and practice rooms, the building houses the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall (capacity 350, with a stage large enough to accommodate a full symphony orchestra), the John Thaw Studio Theatre, the Lenagan Library and a postgraduate suite consisting of a common room and computer room.

The Lenagan Library is a small reference library housed in the Martin Harris Centre that includes major scores, reference tools and a large collection of recordings, together with listening rooms and a spacious work area.

The Henry Watson Library is located in Manchester's Central Library and is renowned for its Handel and Vivaldi manuscripts, and the library of the nearby Royal Northern College of Music.

Find out more about our facilities .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:


Career opportunities

Our graduates have pursued successful careers in musical and non-musical fields. Some continue to further study via a PhD before securing an academic position. Some go on to teach in schools or further education, both in the UK and overseas.

Other areas of work for which advanced musical training has been directly relevant include arts management and the culture industries, producing, music publishing, music, journalism, librarianship, music therapy and performance.

Careers outside of music have included accountancy, law, social work and human resources.

Some graduates have gone on to work for companies that include The Old Vic, NHS, Orchestras Live, and the BBC.

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help boost your employability .