W3K707 Music MA Postgraduate Taught 2018
The flexible modular structure of our taught MA programme allows you to focus on a chosen area of specialism but simultaneously facilitates exploration of a wide range of research areas relating to music. It will provide an excellent foundation for undertaking postgraduate research at doctoral level, but will also benefit the professional development of musicians intending to pursue careers in teaching, arts administration, broadcasting, and other domains.
Students on the taught MA programme join a vibrant international postgraduate community and study with scholars, composers, and performers who have achieved international recognition in their fields. The Music Department was ranked #1 in The Sunday Times University League Table 2016, and was in the top three music departments in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 and the Complete University Guide 2017.
The MA Music programme supports study of the following areas of specialism:
- Composition (acoustic and electronic)
In addition, other options typically available have included:
- British Music
- Indian Music
- Music, Mind, and Culture
- World Music Analysis
- Audiovisual Documentation and Analysis
You will choose modules from sections A, B, C, and D below:
A. Major project, weighted at 60 credits (a dissertation, a public recital, or a portfolio of compositions/orchestrations and arrangements – depending on your chosen area of specialism)
B. A 30-credit module linked to your chosen area of specialism
C. Two compulsory core 30-credit modules embedding research training and engaging with major intellectual issues attendant on all subject areas
D. An additional 30 credits of Music undergraduate modules/selected undergraduate OR postgraduate modules offered by another department OR another related specialism-specific module from list B, subject to approval of the Board of Studies in Music.
Example: MA with specialism in Musicology
A. A 12,000-word dissertation on a musicological topic weighted at 60 credits
B. 30-credit module ‘Contemporary Musicology’
C. Compulsory core 30-credit modules, ‘Core Research Seminars’ and ‘Research Methods and Resources’
D. 30 credits of Music undergraduate modules/selected undergraduate OR postgraduate modules offered by another department OR another related specialism-specific module from list B
- Research Methods and Resources
- Core Research Seminars
the following specialism-specific modules will be offered every year:
- Contemporary Musicology
- Ethnomusicology in Practice and Theory
- Compositional Techniques
- Music Performance
Optional modules in previous years have included:
- British Music
- Music Analysis
- Practice and Theory of Choral Conducting
- Electronic Music
- Orchestration and Arranging
- Indian Music
- World Music Analysis
- Music, Mind, and Culture
- Audiovisual Documentation and Analysis.
To view our short film on this programme click here
To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.
Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.
Course Learning and Teaching
The programme is delivered through a mixture of seminars, practical sessions and one-to-one supervision. Seminars provide opportunities for you to discuss and debate particular issues, and to present your own original work, informed by the knowledge that you have gained through independent study outside the programme’s formal contact hours. Practical sessions in areas such as studio or field recording techniques help to prepare you for your own independent work. All students must undertake an independent project (dissertation, composition portfolio, or performance), which is developed with the help of one-to-one expert supervision. Finally, optional modules can be drawn from the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of Music or of other departments –these free-choice modules may involve other forms of staff-student contact, depending on the subject area. The Department actively promotes interdisciplinary approaches to the study of music and you are encouraged to engage with other disciplines in the humanities and sciences.
The contact hours experienced by each individual student will vary considerably, given a high degree of flexibility in the programme. You will typically attend between 2 and 4 hours of seminars per week in term time, as well as additional practical sessions as appropriate. Individual supervision of dissertations, performance projects and composition portfolios amounts to an average of 6 hours spread over the second and third terms.
Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to attend research seminars, both student-led and those involving staff or guest academic speakers (typically 1-2 hrs each week). You must also undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and assessments, to broaden your subject knowledge and to prepare your dissertations or portfolios. You are encouraged, as an integral part of your studies, to take advantage of other opportunities including participating in performance opportunities (including staff-led ensembles) and attending research and composition seminars, some of which are organised in conjunction with University research institutes.
There is a busy programme of musical performance, both within and outside the Music department, which complements your academic programme by providing opportunities both to listen to and to perform a wide variety of music. The many musical ensembles to which you can contribute includes both independent societies (including orchestras, choirs, opera and musical theatre as well as a Javanese gamelan) and department-run ensembles such as the New Music Ensemble and Korean percussion group.
Subject requirements, level and grade
2:1 (or equivalent) in an undergraduate Music degree.
Applicants wishing to take the composition modules Compositional Techniques (MUSI40430) and Composition Portfolio (MUSI42560) should be aware of the requirement to satisfy the following prerequisite:
- Applicants must hold a good Music degree (2:1 equivalent or above) with a Level 3 composition portfolio on transcript. Alternatively they must show comparable experience, through a portfolio of works that demonstrates clear skills and competence.
Applicants wishing to take the module Performance Project (MUSI42660) must satisfy the following prerequisite:
- An ABRSM Diploma in Music Performance (or equivalent) is required to be admitted to this module. Where no such document can be provided, a video recording of no less than 10 minutes has to be submitted that proves the candidate is of the required Diploma level.
English Language Requirements
IELTS 7.0 (with no element below 6.5) or equivalent scores in an alternative accepted English language test. Details of alternative accepted tests and the requirements for your subject and level of study can be found here. In some cases, English language proficiency can also be evidenced in other ways. You can find further information regarding this, here.
How to Apply
Full details of how to apply for a postgraduate programme at Durham University can be found here.
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Fees and Funding
Full Time Fees
|EU Student||£7,245.00 per year|
|Home Student||£7,245.00 per year|
|Island Student||£7,245.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£17,325.00 per year|
Part Time Fees
|EU Student||£4,000.00 per year|
|Home Student||£4,000.00 per year|
|Island Student||£4,000.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£9,600.00 per year|
Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and funding
Open days and visits
Pre-application open day
Overseas Visit Schedule
Postgraduate VisitsPGVI or
Department of Music
The Music Department’s vibrant postgraduate research environment attracts high-calibre applicants from all over the world. The quality and variety of the research undertaken by our students testifies to its intellectual vitality, as does the range of seminars and performance activities that the department supports.
The highly diverse composition of our postgraduate student body reflects the ethos of our research staff, all of whom are international in outlook and participate in international conferences and scholarly networks, being recognised leaders in their fields. The Department’s research staff offer a broad spectrum of supervisory expertise in musicology, music analysis, ethnomusicology, music psychology, performance, and acoustic and electroacoustic composition. We offer our students high levels of individual attention and personal support, and provide a student experience of exceptional high-quality.
In addition to fostering their intellectual growth as scholars and researchers, we assist their professional development by preparing them for the world of employment, providing opportunities for them to work as teaching and research assistants, to disseminate their research, and to participate in dedicated training courses. We offer both taught and research postgraduate programmes, and will be happy to offer advice on choosing the course that is best suited to your needs. Many of our postgraduate students choose to study full-time, but we also welcome part-time students. Whatever stage of your career you may be at, we endeavour to provide the necessary support to help you realise your professional aspirations.
Ranked joint 1st in the UK for Internationally Excellent and WorldLeading research impact and 4th for research intensity in REF 2014.