MLitt in Music

Title page for a book of pieces for the vihuela, "Silva de Sirenas" published in 1547 by Enríquez de ValderrábanoThe MLitt requires 12 months' full-time or 24 months' part-time study and is primarily designed as a foundation for the PhD. It is a modular research programme, which means that the programme is made up of discrete parts, each of which carries a credit value making up a total of 180 credits for the whole degree; the degree can be taken in musicology or music education and incorporates a research training component (20 credits), a course component which is tailored to suit your interests (80 credits) and a dissertation (80 credits). The course component can be made up of up to three research assignments, adding up to the full 80 credits. This can be split as follows: 20+20+40 or 20+30+30 or, under certain circumstances, 40+40. The modular nature of the programme means that you put together a series of assignments that prepare you for the dissertation. Each assignment is assigned a supervisor and you would normally complete all assignments by the end of semester 2 in time to spend your summer writing up your dissertation.

The MLitt is designed primarily with scholarly types of research in mind, but can also accommodate some practical components where appropriate (for example, performance in the context of performance practice research or applied research in music education).

ICMuS staff have research expertise in, and are keen to supervise research students in, these areas: historical musicology (medieval, early modern, nineteenth- and twentieth-century musics), music and cultural theory and philosophy, ethnomusicology and world musics, popular music studies, music analysis, music education, folk music (Ireland and Britain), music and gender.

  • For more information about the areas in which staff at ICMuS undertake research, click here.

Although the MLitt 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.

How to apply

Applications for the MLitt can be made at any time but we would advise you to contact the Secretary for Postgraduate Studies in Music ( before submitting a formal application (see here for the timetable for submitting an application for AHRC funding). We can then discuss the feasibility of your proposal and indicate whether we are able to support you academically. We would then be able to indicate whether there is any specific information or documentation that we require. If we are interested in your proposal and feel it can be supported academically we will ask you to submit a formal application. You should normally have a good honours degree in a subject relevant to your research proposal and it is advisable to discuss your proposed subject with us before beginning the application process. If, however, you need to submit your application quickly (if you want to apply for AHRC funding, for example), please follow the instructions given below and inform the postgraduate secretary once you have done this.

Applicants for AHRC funding should apply through the university's online portal. Remember that this application will be the one we use to determine whether or not to forward you for consideration for funding, an therefore needs to be well-argued, well-written and clear.

When submitting the formal application to the University, you are asked to submit with your application research proposal of maximum 1,000 words, if applying to the AHRC, or 1,000-2,000 words if not applying to the AHRC. There is no strict template of the structure for this. However, it is recommended that applicants include the following details:

  • a provisional title;
  • a well thought through 'research question' that the research will aim to answer in your final dissertation;
  • a list of research assignment topics you wish to cover during your MLitt.

International applicants who have not done a masters or equivalent in an English speaking institution will be assessed individually using samples of their writing and an interview.

The fastest way to apply is via our online application system.

  • AHRC-funded scholarships: see here for more.