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Department of Music

Taught courses

Our taught MA offers a combination of assessed taught courses and supervision for a thesis or composition portfolio. This is an ideal option if you are exploring a new area of study, don't feel ready to define a research project before applying, or just fancy a varied pattern of study. We offer taught MA pathways in musicology, ethnomusicology and composition.
Entry requirement is normally a good honours degree in Music or a cognate subject, or its equivalent. For further information on courses and admissions, please contact us at

Find out how to apply!

MA (Musicology)
Durham University's Taught MA in Musicology draws from an internationally recognized group of academics based in the Department of Music: Professor Jeremy Dibble, Professor Tuomas Eerola, Professor Julian Horton, Dr Hector Sequera, Professor Bennett Zon, and Dr Patrick Zuk.
This one-year (two years part-time) programme will provide you with a deeper understanding of historical, cultural and theoretical issues in musicology, with a freedom to pursue any topic that interests you. Amongst its primary aims are to show how musicology draws together some of the most vital orientations in contemporary thought, and in so doing enhances the musical experience.
The Musicology programme will give you skills necessary for doctoral studies, which can also be applied in a broad range of other applications within the media, public sector, education, business and other fields.

MA (Ethnomusicology)
Durham University's Taught MA in Ethnomusicology combines a comprehensive grounding in ethnomusicological research methods with an opportunity to develop an original ethnographic project from an initial idea to a complete 20,000 word dissertation. Research methods taught include fieldwork, transcription and audiovisual documentation and analysis, in which Durham has a unique strength. Candidates are also introduced to a range of current research issues across both musicology and ethnomusicology, and have the opportunity to take an elective element which can include either two undergraduate courses or one master's level module from music or another are in the university (e.g. anthropology). Research interests of staff include South Asian classical, folk and popular traditions, Korean music, Islamic ritual music and music of the mediterranean; rhythm and metre; music, ritual and religion; the history of ethnomusicology and comparative musicology; popular music, world music and musical hybridity; and musical semiotics.
Ethnomusicologists at the Music Department include: Professor Martin Clayton, Dr Laura Leante, Dr Simon Mills, and Dr Simone Tarsitani.
The Ethnomusicology programme will give you skills that can be applied to further research (e.g. doctoral studies) as well as to a broad range of other applications within the media, education, public sector, NGOs and other fields.

MA (Composition)
Durham University's Taught Master's Programme (MA) in Composition is supervised by internationally renowned composers based in the Department of Music: Dr Nick Collins, Prof PD Manning, Dr Richard Rijnvos, and Dr Trevor Wishart.
This one-year (two years part-time) programme focuses on composition of contemporary music, advanced compositional skills and techniques (such as rhythmic, harmonic and formal issues, instrumentation, notation, etc.), aesthetics, analysis, socio-cultural relevance and other pertinent topics.
A selection of learning contexts will be explored, such as composition for film, music theatre, music for dance, composition using electroacoustic techniques and more. Students will be guided individually through various means of producing compositional studies, which will develop and exploit specific skills. The students can tailor aspects of the modules to their own compositional strengths, interests and learning needs.
The course also offers an opportunity for independent compositional research (portfolio), both as a major component of the chosen field at MA level and as possible preparation for further research at doctoral level. Students are enabled to develop a critical understanding of, and reflective approach to, the field of contemporary music, as the basis for the critical evaluation of their own compositional research.

For more information, download the Postgraduate Taught Handbook

Postgraduate Funding Opportunities


Postgraduate funding opportunities - find out more about scholarships available for postgraduate study.