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MA Community Music

Become a leader in collaborative and inclusive music making

Year of entry: 2024 (September)


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

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The MA in Community Music will enable you to develop creative music activities using appropriate leadership approaches to facilitate access for diverse client groups in varied social contexts. It will provide you with the skills and knowledge to devise and deliver participatory community projects and develop research skills based on critical practice, data handling and evaluation.

The course covers music in education, health, welfare and recreation and the ability to to move flexibly within these fields. This multifaceted approach is complemented by topics in arts administration and will prepare you to meet the demands and professional requirements of related employment and has proved attractive to recent graduates, mature students and international students.

Typical applicants may have an interest in the creative application of music in various participatory settings such as education, health, and personal or community-development but may not wish to train exclusively within one of these areas; they may be attracted to the growth in job opportunities in arts management, administration and consultancy; or they may wish to develop a portfolio career in a range of scholarly, professional and charitable settings. The programme aims to meet these needs and interests through its wide-ranging course structure that balances breadth of subjects with specialised research projects.

The best course that I've ever had was the MA Community Music - it has prepared me very well for my current arts administration career. It allowed me to explore music in many different ways such as education, special needs, music for the elderly and also gave me a great opportunity to carry out a placement.
Kitty, MA Community Music

Leading the way

York has long been a leader in the study of community music and this course was the first of its kind, meaning you'll have access to years of specialist experience.

Practical opportunities

You'll be encouraged to put your learning into practice with local and regional delivery partners, and via other forms of practical work.

Musical ensembles

From choral to orchestral, jazz and folk to improvised electronica, gospel to gamelan, almost every kind of music is performed by the School’s many ensembles.

Course content

The MA Community Music is based on a series of modules, seminars and a supervised independent study module.

You'll cover a range of topics relating to professional issues in community music.

In addition to the modules, we strongly encourage you to engage with local community music opportunities, participate in musical ensembles and attend weekly research seminars, performance classes and composition seminars relevant to your studies.




Core modules

Option modules

You will also study one option module. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information, please get in touch.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.

Research project

You'll begin work on the Independent Study Module with sufficient time to plan your fieldwork. You'll have the freedom to take on a project relevant to your own interests.

Recent Independent Study Modules have carried out research and analysis on community music activities at:

  • Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Education
  • Bradford Festival
  • Castaway Accessible Music Theatre
  • HM Prison New Hall
  • Music and the Deaf
  • Musical Connections residential care homes project
  • Park Grove Primary School
  • York District Hospital
  • Yorkshire Regiment Band

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Apply musical activity to a variety of formal and informal settings, including education, health, social care, the criminal justice system, youth work and play by effectively utilising knowledge of, and skills in organising, community based projects.
  • Facilitate different client and user groups to identify their recreational and educational interests in music, thereby helping them to realise their creative potential and enhance their wellbeing by employing effective interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Devise and manage practical outreach projects, implementing delivery strategies, identifying key issues and evaluating their effectiveness, outcomes and impacts.
  • Employ musical skills with versatility by drawing confidently on a knowledge of different creative disciplines including composition, instrumental and vocal performance, theatre and digital technology.                                                                             
  • Write with authority and flexibility to deliver texts in a range of styles and conventions including essays, evaluations and reports, project and lesson plans, business plans and funding applications, policy statements and risk assessments to demonstrate systematic depth and understanding of scholarly and vocational specialisms.
  • Apply relevant and current theories, policies and methodologies to their ongoing personal growth and development as practitioners and researchers through an ability to adopt a critical approach to their work.
  • Confidently identify opportunities for further research in future postgraduate study or within a workplace environment by utilising the research, presentation skills and fieldwork expertise developed during the programme and in the production of a dissertation.
  • Employ a range of job search and networking skills to enable pursuit of a portfolio career in their chosen specialism.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £10,590£23,900
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.
Part-time (3 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

Students on a Student Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.

  • UK (home) fees may increase in subsequent years (up to a maximum of 2%).
  • International fees may increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Funding opportunities

Subject-specific funding

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

The MA Community Music is based on a series of modules, seminars and a supervised independent study module.


We have a range of outstanding facilities, including the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall and dozens of teaching rooms and practice facilities. All spaces are designed to be flexible and are used for projects, seminars, ensemble rehearsals and recordings. 

Discover our facilities.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll also produce a substantial independent study module submission, eg a dissertation or practice-based project with extended critical commentary.

I now discover York music graduates wherever I go - it's a great network to be part of. It's also a place where the unexpected becomes normality, and that means that I barely bat an eyelid when an interesting request appears on my desk!
Rachel, MA Community Music

Careers and skills

Graduates of this course are highly placed in many of the UK arts institutions, with many employed at UK and overseas institutions. Others have taken advantage of the diverse portfolio of arts management and administration gained from this course, or gone on to qualify further as music therapists. You'll also be perfectly equipped to continue your studies to PhD level.

Career opportunities

  • Community Outreach Officer, University of Cambridge
  • Participation Producer, Southbank Centre, London
  • Education Manager, London Mozart Players
  • Director, Sound Out Cork
  • Music Tutor, HM Young Offenders' Institution, Wetherby
  • Arts Development Officer, City of Durham Council

Transferable skills

  • Time management
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Critical reflection
  • Presentation
  • Sophisticated writing skills
  • IT and technical skills
  • Communication

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent in Music or a related discipline. We will also consider your application if you have a 2:2 and significant relevant professional experience
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.0, minimum 5.5 in each component
Cambridge CEFR B2 First: 169, with no less than 162 in each component
Oxford ELLT 6, minimum of 5 in each component
Duolingo 105, minimum 95 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic 65 with a minimum of 60 in each component
KITE 426-458, with 396-425 in all other components
Skills for English B2: Pass with Merit overall, with Pass in each component
PTE Academic 55, minimum 51 in each component
TOEFL 79, minimum 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking and 17 in Writing
Trinity ISE III Pass in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you haven't met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation online. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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