Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications

School of Music

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MA Critical and Applied Musicology

Music is a vital form of cultural expression that shapes and is shaped by society around it. This programme allows you to study the critical theories and perspectives that have influenced the way we study music – how it is composed and performed as well as the role it plays in different communities.

Core modules will allow you to explore issues in musicology such as race, class, gender, sexuality, popular music and mass culture, as well as how music has been received and interpreted and how musical ‘canons’ are formed. You’ll also develop your understanding of research methods in musicology, and have the chance to gain knowledge of aesthetic theory or editing and archival studies, allowing you to balance critical and applied forms of musicology.

In addition, you’ll choose from optional modules from across the School of Music allowing you to focus on topics that interest you, from performance or electronic and computer music to composition and psychology of music.

We have a variety of excellent facilities to support your learning, including rehearsal, performance and practice spaces, a lab for studying the psychology of music and studios for sound recording, software development and computer music composition. The Special Collections housed in our beautiful Brotherton Library contain significant collections of music manuscripts, rare printed music and letters from composers and critics to help inform your work.

We also have good working relationships with a range of prestigious arts organisations: we host BBC Radio 3 concerts, Leeds Lieder and the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, as well as enjoying a close partnership with Opera North and many others in a city with a thriving music and cultural scene.

Take a virtual tour of the School of Music.


You’ll study core modules that develop your understanding of both critical and applied forms of musicology. One of these will allow you to explore issues and topics that have emerged in the past few decades – questions of race, gender, politics, deconstruction and more. You’ll also choose one or two from a cluster of optional modules, giving you an insight into editing and archival studies or introducing you to aesthetic theory.

In addition, you’ll have the chance to pursue another area of musical interest when you select from a range of optional modules. Whether you’re interested in computer music or psychology of music, or you want to continue to improve your performance or composition skills, you can pick one module allowing you to gain specialist knowledge in a field outside of musicology.

Throughout the year you’ll study a core module that develops your knowledge of research methods in music and musicology, laying the foundations for the rest of your studies. You’ll also be able to put the research skills you gain into practice if you choose to do a dissertation by the end of the programme – an independently researched project on a topic of your choice. Alternatively, you can complete a major editorial project, producing an extended edition of professional standard based on original musical sources.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Professional Studies 30 credits
  • Issues in Critical Musicology 30 credits

Optional modules

  • Individual Project 30 credits
  • Short Dissertation 30 credits
  • Composition Studies 30 credits
  • Instrumental or Vocal Recital 30 credits
  • Concerto/Song-Cycle/Extended Work 30 credits
  • Applied Performance Studies 30 credits
  • Editing and Archival Studies 30 credits
  • Short Editorial Project 30 credits
  • Aesthetic Theory 30 credits
  • Computer Music Practice 30 credits
  • Computer Music Contexts 30 credits
  • Case Studies in the Applied Psychology of Music 30 credits

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching and learning methods including seminars and tutorials, as well as vocal/instrumental lessons with our expert tutors. We’re also making more and more use of online learning. However, private study is also integral to this programme, allowing you to pursue your interests more closely and develop research and critical skills.

Assessment

To help you build diverse skills, we also assess you using different methods depending on the modules you choose. These could include presentations, essays, literature reviews, recitals and performances or project work; however, optional modules may also use alternative methods such as recitals and composition portfolios.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in music.

International qualifications

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of Music admissions team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

If English is not your first language, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course before you begin your studies. This can help if you:

  • don't meet the English language requirements for your course or
  • want to improve your understanding of academic language and practices in your area of study.

Our pre-sessional courses are designed with a progression route to the degree programme and are tailored to the subject area. For information and entry requirements, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

How to apply

Application deadline

We will consider applications from 1 October – 1 September.

However, we recommend you apply as early as possible, especially if you are planning to apply for external funding. You will usually be expected to have an offer of a place on a programme before you apply for funding. You may also need to leave time to make arrangements such as visa applications or relocating to Leeds.

This link takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.
 
If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Documents and information you need

Your degree certificate and transcript, or a partial transcript if you’re still studying.

Two academic references.

A copy (or draft) of an undergraduate dissertation, or an essay in English of around 2,000 words.

If English is not your first language, you’ll need to provide evidence of your English language qualification. If you want to take performance as your optional module, we need to see evidence of your performance standard. You can either audition in person or submit a recording on DVD, or a link to a video of your performance online. If you want to take a module in composition, please submit a recent composition (if score, no larger than A4) and recordings if you have them. These can include links to websites, Dropbox, Soundcloud, or similar.

Applicants may be asked to provide a second example of their writing, to provide a fuller assessment of their potential.


Admissions policy

School of Music Taught Postgraduate Admissions Policy

Fees

UK/EU: £6,750 (total)

International: £16,250 (total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.


Career opportunities

This programme will give you in-depth subject knowledge, as well as specialist knowledge and skills in a different aspect of music studies to broaden your understanding. It will also allow you to gain key research, critical and communication skills that are in demand in a wide range of industries and sectors.

Graduates from the programme move on to a variety of careers. Recent graduates have entered areas such as arts management, librarianship, recruitment, and freelance teaching and performance. Many graduates go on to further study at PhD level in the UK and USA.

We also offer additional support as you develop your career plans: the School of Music boasts a unique Alumni Mentoring Network, where students can be supported by past students as they start to plan their next steps.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.


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