Music MA


Fact file

Qualification name:Music
Duration:One year full-time or two years part-time
Entry requirements:2:1 in Music or related subject
Including:Degree subjects should be relevant to course applied for
IELTS:7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
Start date:September
Campus:University Park

Course 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.


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. Applications for 2016 entry scholarships will open in late 2015. 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

According to independent research, Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and more than 2,000 employers approach the University every year with a view to recruiting our students. Consequently – and owing to our reputation for excellence – more than 94% of postgraduates from the Faculty of Arts enter employment, voluntary work or further study during the first six months after graduation**.

* The Graduate Market in 2013, 2014 and 2015, High Fliers Research.

** Data is taken from known destinations of the 2013/14 leaving cohort of Nottingham home/EU postgraduates who studied full-time.


Career Prospects and Employability

The acquisition of a masters degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from  careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential. Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.

Make an enquiry


Postgraduate Admissions
Department of Music
University of Nottingham
University Park
t:   +44 (0)115 951 3609
Arts videos

Arts videos


The Enquiry Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
f: +44 (0) 115 951 5812
w: Frequently asked questions
Make an enquiry