Master of Music (MMus)

On this page you will find:


The MMus is a research Masters and can be studied over 12 months full time or over 24 months part time. This is, we must stress, a research programme, although there are some modules that are taught by lectures and seminars.

Although the MMus provides an excellent foundation for students going on to a PhD, it is also a valuable qualification in its own right and, for some students, may be regarded as adding a further dimension to their undergraduate degree, in a 3+1 model. Indeed, as the standard three-year undergraduate degree becomes ever more ubiquitous in the UK, more and more students are treating masters degrees as a way of adding value to their first degree. This practice is also in line with the so-called Bologna Accord.

It is a programme that can be taken in creative musical practice, in musicology, or a combination of the two, covering one or more of the following areas:

Creative practice

  • composition
  • performance
  • studio-based work
  • improvisation
  • mixed-media


  • critical and cultural musicology
  • ethnomusicology
  • folk music studies
  • analysis
  • popular music studies
  • music history

The styles or repertories covered during your study can range across the full spectrum of early, classical, avant-garde, folk, popular and world music genres.

Creative Practice on the MMus

If you are looking for a programme in creative practice, the major focus of this programme can be on creative project work by opting to take the Elective Projects in creative practice and also by choosing the Major Creative Project (see below). It can be seen equally well as a foundation for the PhD or as a self-standing qualification in creative practice. It can also be seen as the culmination of a first degree focused on creative musical practice. It is possible to choose modules in such a way that you specialise in composition, performance or studio-based work; alternatively, you can mix between these areas. You can also include more theoretical or musicological modules if you wish.

  • To read more about composition at ICMuS, click here.
  • To read more about performance at ICMuS, click here.

[return to top]

Musicology on the MMus

If you are looking for a programme in musicology, the major focus of your study can be on any aspect of musicology (music history, cultural and theoretical musicology, analysis, ethnomusicology, folk and traditional music, popular music studies and so on). Just choose the right topics for your Elective Projects (see below). Your masters programme can be seen as both preparation for research in musicology at PhD level, or a freestanding higher academic qualification. It can also be seen as the culmination of a first degree focused on music and musicology. It is possible to choose modules in such a way that you specialise in one area of musicology; alternatively, you can design a broader curriculum. You can also include more practical modules if you wish.

  • To read more about musicology at ICMuS, click here.

[return to top]

Course Structure

As the MMus is a research degree, at least 80 credits of your 180 credit programme comprises independent, research-focused study (supervised by one or more members of staff with appropriate expertise). Your research may be based in practice (e.g. performance, composition, improvisation) or in musicology (e.g. historical, critical, ethnomusicological, theoretical and analytical studies) or in a blend of the two.

The programme structure is

MUS8165 Music Research Training (40 credits).{Compulsory for all students. Part-time students must take this module in year 1}

All students take 3 Elective Projects

MUS8160 Elective Project 1 (20 credits)

MUS8161 Elective Project 2 (20 credits)

MUS8162 Elective Project 3 (20 credits)

Students may then choose between either

MUS8264 Major Creative Project (80 credits)


MUS8202 Dissertation (80 credits)

About the Elective Projects

On the MMus we offer a uniquely flexible way of structuring your work around elective projects. You take three of these in any areas of study related to any area of specialism of members of staff in ICMuS.

For projects in creative practice, there are no set restrictions as to the medium or the means employed. Students are encouraged to explore and embrace new, even prototypical/experimental means of dissemination – emphasis is placed on the cultural viability of a project and having a clear idea of what it is trying to achieve and/or who (in terms of audience) it is intended for. See here to get an idea of the range of topics available in performance, and here to get a sense of topics available in composition and other forms of creative practice.

Performance is taught by a combination of workshops and one-to-one tuition with one or more of ICMuS's specialist tutors, who are all top-level professional musicians, working in a wide spectrum of genres from classical to jazz to folk and traditional, North Indian music, and many kinds of popular music.

For projects in musicology we offer a list of topics that is regularly updated to reflect the research expertise of our members of staff. Teaching for these topics is in small groups and tutorials. Some topics are taught by a team of ICMuS staff, others are taught solely by the topic leader. Topics on offer in 2014/15 include {topic leaders in brackets}:

World Music in Practice for Postgraduates (Professor David Clarke and Dr Nanette de Jong)

Advanced Studies in Ethnomusicology (Dr Goffredo Plastino)

Urban Musicologies (Dr Nanette de Jong)

Debates in the Philosophy and Theory of Music (Dr Paul Attinello)

Early Music in Practice for Postgraduates (Dr Jamie Savan and Dr Magnus Williamson)

Notation and Editing (Dr Magnus Williamson)

Studying Popular Musics (Dr Goffredo Plastino)

Case Studies in Historical Musicology (Dr Kirsten Gibson)

Improvisation of Means & Materials as Critical Practice (Dr Will Edmondes)

[return to top]

Entry Requirements

Normally a 2:1 Honours degree or higher in music or other arts or humanities subjects, or an international equivalent. However, we may take other qualifications and other experience into account. For international students, if your first language is not English we require IELTS 6.5 with 6.5 in writing, or equivalent. If you need extra tuition to meet English language requirements the University provides a Pre-Sessional Intensive English programme

Performers need to have a degree level qualification or be of an equivalent standard. Audition is by recording, or in person.

Please note that the MMus is a Research Masters' degree. You must include with your application a personal statement that clearly expresses your proposed project as research.

We consider all applications on merit. In any case, we advise that you approach a member of staff either by phone or email to discuss your application.

[return to top]