Music MRes

MRes Music
This unique course offers flexible options for you to develop advanced skills at postgraduate level.

Fact file

MRes Music
1 year full-time; 2 years part-time
Entry requirements

2:1 in music or a related subject

Composition:  Plus a portfolio of two compositions – at least one must be notated and one can be electroacoustic

Performance: Plus 20–30 minutes of contrasting repertoire, submitted as a recent unedited video performance (online link or DVD sent by post)

Music technology: Plus a portfolio of audio recordings lasting between 40–60 minutes, either on CD or as uncompressed 24-bit audio via a download link (unless otherwise agreed)

Musicology: Plus a brief research proposal, containing a proposed title, aims, objectives, methods, summary of content and outline bibliography

6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
University Park
Other requirements




MRes Music is a unique course with flexible options for students wishing to develop advanced skills at a postgraduate level.

The following pathways are available, and you are able to design your own bespoke combination:

  • Composition (acoustic or digital)
  • Performance
  • Music Technology
  • Musicology

Designed to help you reach a professional level of competence, this degree provides rigorous and focused preparation for those intending to proceed to doctoral research, including our PhD programmes in musicology, composition and musical performance. 

Course content

The course comprises 180 credits worth of study split as follows:

Special Project - 120 credits

This can comprise one of the following:

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

The Special Project is taught by individual supervision/tuition.

Specialised Studies courses x2 - 20 credits each

These can be completed by following a seminar or through individual supervision. They are 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

Compulsory research methods training course - 20 credits

Course fees

See our postgraduate course fees page

Course structure

MRes Music can be completed on either full-time basis over one year or part-time over two years. 

Full-time structure

Autumn term
  • Research methods training
  • Specialised Studies 1
Spring term
  • Specialised Studies 2
  • Special Project

Part-time structure

Autumn term, Year one
  • Research methods training
Spring term, Year one
  • Specialised Studies 1
Autumn term, Year two
  • Specialised Studies 2
Spring and Summer terms, Year two
  • Special Project


Key facts

  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 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



The Department of Music, part of the School of Humanities, is housed in modern, purpose-built accommodation adjacent to the Nottingham Lakeside Arts. The excellent practical and technical facilities include:

  • a well-stocked, on-site library with listening area, multimedia facilities and audio-visual archive
  • a studio with first-rate equipment for electronic composition and sound recording
  • a PC lab giving access to word-processing and music-notation software
  • a dedicated postgraduate study room with networked PCs
  • practice rooms with new pianos

The Djanogly Recital Hall has recently been acclaimed as one of the country's top 10 venues for chamber music, where performances of all kinds take place, including a regular series of professional concerts, public recitals by students, and concerts including student compositions. Adjacent is a large purpose-built rehearsal hall.

Students also have numerous performance opportunities.


Research support


We have a lively research culture within the department that complements and extends the university-wide support.

Nottingham Forum for Artistic Research (NottFAR)

Features top new music performers and regular research seminars that allow you to broaden your knowledge of the subject and gain a better sense of how research develops as part of an interactive process.

Centre for Music on Stage and Screen

Promotes the interaction of history, theory and practice in the study of opera, ballet, melodrama, film, video and other multi-media performance genres. It encourages multi-disciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration through a developing programme of academic and practical research activities. 

Colloquia and conferences

Offer students and members of the public the chance to hear academics from the department, as well as visiting scholars.

Arts Graduate Centre

A dedicated space for postgraduate students and research staff that offers a wide range of support, including training and careers sessions, as well as social events. 

Student Services

Provide general student support across areas such as welfare, finances, visas and immigration and careers.


Find a supervisor


We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area.

Music academics and research areas


Fees and funding


There is a wide range of funding available including scholarships, bursaries and loans. The funding available depends on many factors such as:

  • subject
  • award level
  • where you live
  • income

Funding for Department of Music and School of Humanities postgraduate students only

General UK and EU postgraduate student funding opportunities

General international postgraduate student funding opportunities




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.

Careers information for music students

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 96% of postgraduates from the School of Humanities who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,370 with the highest being £30,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of 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.

Sarah Hibberd, supervisor, Department of Music

Get in touch

 +44 (0)115 951 5559

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.

Student Recruitment Enquiries Centre

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

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