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. 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: just choose the appropriate modules (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.

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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 modules (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.

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Although the MMus provides an excellent foundation for students going on to a research degree, 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.

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About the Elective Projects

On the MMus we offer a uniquely flexible way of structuring your work around elective projects. You can take up to 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.

For projects in musicology, there is no restriction on the topic or field of study, other than the limitations of staff expertise to supervise the topic.

Most teaching of these projects will be in fortnightly tutorials and in small groups. Topics include advanced music analysis, advanced topics in critical and theoretical musicology, the common practice, music history 1200-1900, folk and traditional musics, popular music, medieval and renaissance music. In Cretaive practice you can take topics in Notated composition, Studio-based composition, Contemporary jazz, Electro-acoustic composition and work with live electronics, Folk and Traditional Musics of Britain and Ireland
Folk and Traditional Musics of Europe, Improvisation (in Jazz, popular music, non-Western musics and European avant-garde traditions) , Indian Music , Post-vernacular musics , The performance of early music (late medieval and early modern)

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Course Structure

Modules below marked with an asterisk are formally taught classroom-based modules (lectures and seminars). All other modules are taught by a combination of workshops and tutorials. Performance is taught by a combination of workshops and 1-on-1 lessons. Click here to access our current list of instrumental and vocal tutors. Remember that the MMus is, primarily, a research degree.

Compulsory Modules (total 100 credits):

Research Training (40 credits) *

Creative Project (performance, composition, studio-based work) (60 credits)


Dissertation (60 credits)

Elective Modules (maximum 80 credits):

Dissertation (if not taken above) (60 credits)

Elective Projects (1, 2 and 3, 20 credits each) see here for more

Urban Musicology (20 credits) *

Studying Popular Music (20 credits) *

Popular Music and the Politics of Authenticity (20 credits) * (not available for 2012-13)

Modules from other masters programmes at Newcastle university (subject to approval)

Students of performance also receive 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.

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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.

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.

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