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MA Musicology

Explore what underpins and informs musical practice.

Year of entry: 2023 (September)

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2023 (semester dates)

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Delve beneath the surface of music with this pathway, designed for students interested in the academic study of music.

Our Musicology (MA) programme combines music history with critical musicology, allowing you to deepen your knowledge of western art music in a critical and theoretically informed manner. By the time you graduate, you'll have the ability to evaluate complex ideas and to carry out independent research on musicological areas of interest. You will understand how your own work fits into the broader field of musicology, and will have the capacity to contribute to that field.

You're encouraged to attend the weekly Research Seminar series where invited speakers, staff members and PhD students give presentations about their latest work, giving you the opportunity to meet other postgraduate researchers. The School has a broad community of staff and students working in many different areas of music history and critical musicology.

2nd for Overall Satisfaction

for Music in the Russell Group. National Student Survey, 2022.

Outstanding facilities

You'll have access to our extensive library facilities including the dedicated John Paynter Music Library, a weekly concert series featuring internationally renowned artists and a twice-yearly postgraduate forum.

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

Over the year, you’ll study a series of core and option modules that will equip you to understand and engage critically to a high level with a range of music, by drawing upon knowledge and experience of music’s histories, its structures and its varied uses. In addition to these modules, we strongly encourage you to participate in musical ensembles and attend weekly research seminars, performance classes and contemporary music seminars relevant to your studies.

Modules

Core modules

  • Case Studies in Music History I
  • Critical Musicology: Theories and Approaches
  • Research Skills for Musicians
  • Case Studies in Music History II

Option modules

You'll also study one option module. Examples from previous years have included:

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.

Dissertation

Musicology Dissertation​

You will independently research and write an 8,000-12,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice, chosen in consultation with your supervisor.

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:

  • Research independently and collaboratively with the sophistication, close attention to detail and creative flair developed through the advanced study of music at Masters level
  • Lead, or constructively contribute to, advanced-level musical activity, for example through critical thinking, analysing, editing, writing and digital literacy at a professional level
  • Apply the musical and transferable skills gained throughout the programme with confidence and aptitude in a range of national and international professional contexts, for example teaching, management, academic work, and collaborative projects
  • Communicate at an advanced level on a range of issues relating to music, the arts, society and culture, using appropriate written and oral media
  • Plan and execute focused individual research projects through rigorous planning and the application of appropriate principles, theoretical knowledge, methodologies, and experience
  • Apply self-evaluative skills of reflective practice to inform current work and continuing professional development with creativity, imagination and initiative.
​This course has provided me with a secure understanding of many aspects of critical musicology while allowing me to develop my own academic voice. I was able to hone my research, writing, and presenting skills in the areas of musicology that interest me the most. The seminars are engaging and I found my assignments fascinating to research and rewarding to write.
Alice, MA Musicology

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2023/24

Students on a Student Visa (formerly Tier 4 Visa) are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

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 2023/24 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.

Work with the experts

Our teaching is research-led and delivered by academic staff who are experts in their fields.

A historic city

Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York has been voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.

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

​Your teaching will largely take the form of weekly pathway seminars and regular one-to-one tutorials.

You will have regular meetings with your supervisor, who will advise you and help develop your ideas as you progress through your studies.

We encourage you to get involved with our lively community, from our ensembles to our weekly seminars, performance classes and research seminars.

Facilities

​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.

John Paynter Music Library

The John Paynter Music Library is an elegant facility, located within the University's JB Morrell Library, and houses the main music collections. It is also equipped with digital pianos and media replay equipment. Both the physical collection and an extensive range of electronic resources are searchable through the library website (YorSearch).

Sound resources

The University Library houses an extensive collection of CDs and DVDs, which are available for listening and research. There are also archival recordings available for student use in the University of York Sound Archives.

The Document Supply Centre of the British Library is located in Boston Spa, near to York, and a bus provides transportation from the library to there once a week during term-time.

Teaching location

You will be based in the School of Arts & Creative Technologies on Campus West. Almost all of your teaching will take place within the School.

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 produce a number of assessment submissions which will take the form of written essays and presentations. You will also have the opportunity to undertake in depth research in an area of your choice for the final dissertation module.

Careers and skills

By the end of the programme, you will have gained a deep understanding of representative areas of western art music history. You will have enhanced your writing and critical thinking skills, and will be able to communicate your knowledge effectively; skills that are sought after in a wide range of careers. Your research skills will also leave you well prepared for PhD study and beyond.

Career opportunities

  • Music producer
  • Music therapist
  • Secondary school music teacher
  • Sound designer
  • University teacher
  • Sound technician, broadcasting/film/video

Transferable skills

  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Critical reflection
  • Presentation
  • Sophisticated writing skills
  • Research management

Entry requirements

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

Additional requirements

You will need to submit a sample of your creative work with your application. Please see our guidance on submitting creative work.

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) 6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, minimum 169 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in all other components
LanguageCert SELT B2 with 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator: Pass with 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic/PTE Academic Online 61, minimum 55 in each component
TOEFL 87, minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all requirements

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not 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.

Applying

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

You will need to demonstrate essay writing ability by submitting a sample academic essay with referencing on a music-related subject of your choice.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

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School of Arts and Creative Technologies

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