Music MA


Fact file

MA Music
One year full-time or two years part-time
Entry requirements
2:1 in Music or related subject
Other requirements
Applicants who intend to specialise in composition must submit a portfolio of two compositions with their application. At least one of the two compositions must be a paper composition. One of these works may be an electroacoustic composition. There are no specific requirements regarding duration, instrumentation or style of the works. Applicants who intend to specialise in performance must submit an unedited recording of a solo performance lasting approximately 20-30 minutes. Please make sure to specify your chosen pathway in your personal statement.
7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
University Park
Tuition fees
You can find fee information on our fees table.


Our masters course has recently been enhanced to create one of the most flexible, contemporary and distinctive courses in the UK.
Read full overview

Our masters course has recently been enhanced to create one of the most flexible, contemporary and distinctive courses in the UK. It provides a solid foundation for those intending to proceed to doctoral research. It also offers a stimulating and exciting experience for those wishing to further their skills and to enhance their career opportunities by taking a prestigious higher degree. A bespoke course can be built around your specific interests, or around the variety of topics on offer, and it may include a module from a different department. Possible areas of specialisation include musicology, composition, performance and studio production. The MA can be taken full-time over one year or part-time over two years, starting in September.

Key facts:

  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 49% of our publications were judged world-leading, with the remainder judged internationally excellent and internationally recognised. 100% of our impact and environment submissions were judged world-leading and internationally excellent, a result that places us 7th out of 56 UK music departments.
  • The department has excellent practical and technical facilities including an on-site music library, a dedicated postgraduate study room with individual work places, an iMac suite, a recording studio, practice rooms, an orchestral-size rehearsal hall.
  • We regularly host major academic conferences and professional concerts, and organise a regular series of music colloquia featuring distinguished guest speakers.

Course details

The MA provides a flexible programme of advanced training for those who wish to enhance their professional skills and career prospects by taking a prestigious higher degree, and also for those who wish to prepare for doctoral research. A postgraduate degree is the ideal opportunity to explore topics that interest you in greater depth, with the help of world-leading scholars and practitioners in the field supported by excellent resources and facilities.

The formal programme of study (180 credits in total) comprises four 30-credit modules plus a final 60-credit summer project. Pathways are available in musicology, composition, performance and studio production. All students take two core modules, which provide training in an array of generic and subject-specific skills and an introduction to some key debates in the discipline. Electives are available in the Department’s primary research areas of Contemporary Music, Music on Stage and Screen, Ethnomusicology/Cultural Study of Music and Performance and History. Students may also take a module in another department, or a Professional Development Module offered by the Faculty of Arts.

In the summer semester, the focus is on writing a substantial dissertation, creating a composition portfolio, or preparing a professional performance recital.

Formal tuition is supplemented by a range of other provision offered by the department and the University. Fortnightly music colloquia form the cornerstone of the department’s research culture, involving internationally renowned guest speakers. The department hosts an annual Postgraduate Study Day, giving students an opportunity to deliver papers on their research. There is also a schedule of more informal events organised by students and staff including a reading group and a forum, one-off study days and conferences, and a lively schedule of performance and composition activities.

The MA in Music can be completed on a full-time basis over one year or part-time over two years. 


Provisional MA curriculum 2016/17
Research Techniques* (30 credits) – core module for all students

Specialised Studies I (30 credits) – project devised with a supervisor in one of our four areas: 

  • Contemporary Music
  • Music on Stage and Screen
  • Ethnomusicology/Cultural Study of Music
  • Performance and History
Module(s) in another department (30 credits)

Dissertation, Composition, Performance and Studio Recording Pathways* (30 credits) – core module for all students, choose one topic:

  • Theoretical Approaches (dissertation pathway)
  • Composition Techniques
  • Performance Practice
  • Studio Techniques

Specialised Studies II (30 credits) – a project devised with a supervisor in one of our four areas:

  • Contemporary Music
  • Music on Stage and Screen
  • Ethnomusicology/Cultural Study of Music
  • Performance and History
Module(s) in another department (30 credits)

Special Project* (60 credits) – choose one:

  • Dissertation
  • Performance Recital
  • Performance Recital and Project
  • Composition Portfolio
  • Studio Project

Taught by individual supervision/tuition.


* Denotes compulsory modules. In addition to these you should choose further modules amounting to a total of 60 credits. The Course Regulations stipulate the following restrictions:

  • A maximum of 30 credits may be taken from departments other than Music
  • A maximum of 75 credits may be taken in any one semester

Full-time: 60 credits should be taken in each semester; a maximum of one module in another department and one undergraduate module may be taken across the year.

Part-time: 30 credits should be taken in each autumn and spring semester, and the 60-credit special project should be taken in the final summer semester; a maximum of one module in another department and one undergraduate module may be taken across the two years.

New: masters-level professional development modules for arts and humanities students

For more details on our modules, please see the Module Catalogue.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



UK/EU Students

Competitive scholarships available include:

  • MA Scholarships
  • PhD Scholarships
  • Department MA Studentships
  • School Overseas Research Scholarship

This is by no means a complete list. For up-to-date information and application forms on these and other funding opportunities, please visit the Department's funding section.

The University’s International Office has a wide range of scholarship opportunities for students on EU fee status, including a fee reduction for alumni, and EU and Accession State Scholarships.

The University Graduate School operates funding schemes of its own to help support current postgraduate research.

For a detailed list of external funding schemes, please visit the School of Humanities funding page.

International and EU students

The University of Nottingham offers a range of masters scholarships for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study.

Applicants must receive an offer of study before applying for our scholarships. Please note the closing dates of any scholarships you are interested in and make sure you submit your masters course application in good time so that you have the opportunity to apply for them.

The International Office also provides information and advice for international and EU students on financing your degree, living costs, external sources of funding and working during your studies.

Find out more on our scholarships, fees and finance webpages for international applicants.



A postgraduate degree is highly valued by employers. It is a guarantee of advanced skills in communication, organising resources, assembling substantial projects, and independent thinking. Increasingly, an MA from a respected university gives an edge to those seeking to enter business or other professions. An MA in Music from the University of Nottingham also provides rigorous training for doctoral study, and is highly regarded within the scholarly community.

Average starting salary and career progression

Owing to our reputation for excellence, over 95% of postgraduates from the Faculty of Arts entered employment, voluntary work or further study during the first six months after graduation in 2015. The average starting salary was £20,250 with the highest being £33,000.*

*Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.  

Career prospects and employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

* The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research.

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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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