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MA or PGDip or PGCert

Key facts

Start dates

September 2022 / September 2023



Course length

Full time: MA:12 months, PGDip: 8months, PGCert: 4 months

Part time: MA: 24 months, PGDip: 3 semesters, PGCert: 2 semesters


School of Arts


Our MA in Music offers advanced training in either musicology or composition. The modular structure allows you to pursue a broad generalist programme or to specialise in a particular area of your choice.

Within the field of musicology, you can direct your studies towards one or several of the following:

  • music in nineteenth-century culture
  • opera studies
  • popular music studies
  • film music.

The composition pathway provides a practice-based contemporary composition curriculum. It encourages you to push the boundaries of your practice and develop a voice as an engaged and creative composer.

This course is unusual in combining a rigorous academic education with the opportunity to acquire vocational skills through our innovative Professional Experience module. You take up work placements with a wide range of external arts organisations. Or undertake a project with one of our specialist research units. This gives you rich opportunities for career development and can pave the way for further study at PhD level.

Student making notes on a music book

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

  • For UK students, a good honours degree, minimum 2:1  (not necessarily in Music)
  • For EU/International students, a qualification equivalent to a good honours degree

If you do not meet the standard entry requirement it may be possible to consider your application based on evidence of other relevant personal and professional experience, the support of your referees and examples of written work.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, then an English language level of IELTS 6.5 is required with 6.0 in each component

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2022 / 23
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase each year.

Financial support and scholarships

Faculty Taught Masters Scholarships are usually available for this course. For further information, please visit our page about sources of funding for postgraduate students.

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements

Learning and assessment

MA students must complete:

  • two compulsory modules
  • a dissertation or major project
  • two elective modules from your chosen pathway.

PGDip students must complete two compulsory modules.

Female student playing acoustic guitar

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip and PGCert awards your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Research Skills and Applied Research (30 credits)

This module provides a grounding in the skills and methodologies required for studying music at postgraduate level and in the practical application of research skills in the workplace. The seminars fall into three categories. Some develop generic and subject-specific masters-level research skills. Other sessions develop your awareness of recent critical debates within musical scholarship. Finally, further sessions provide training in the practical application of research skills and the promotion of your research to a range of audiences via broadcasting, journalism, programme notes, websites and social media. 

While the module develops skills and knowledge applicable to entry into any professional work environment associated with music, the module also provides the requisite training to continue to a PhD in music and a vocational session is provided on entering the academic profession.

Optional modules

Composition Pathway

Approaches to Experimental Composition and Sound Arts:
This module provides you with an opportunity to enhance your understanding of contemporary practices in experimental composition and sound arts whilst introducing you to listening strategies that will enable you to engage critically with the sounding world. 

Electroacoustic and Live Electronic Composition:
This module gives you the opportunity to focus on electroacoustic composition and live electronic composition, including interactive computer music. You will enhance your technical and analytical skills, building upon previous experience of composition. You will develop a body of research that might include recordings, software patches and installations - and reflect upon this through seminar feedback sessions. 

Musicology pathway

Students taking the Musicology pathway take Advanced Musicology 1 in Semester 1, which aims to enable you to develop an in-depth understanding of current developments in musicology, either in the field of nineteenth-century music studies or film music studies. You would then take Musicology 2 in Semester 2, which focuses on either the field of popular music studies or opera studies. On this module you will review a performance: either a gig or an opera. Students taking Musicology 1 and 2 need to decide from the start which fields they would like to include. For example, possible combinations are: nineteenth-century music and opera, film music and opera, nineteenth century music and popular music or film music and popular music.

Independent study or work experience

Compulsory modules

Professional Experience (30 credits)

The Professional Experience module prepares you for a future career in one of three ways: through work experience in a sector of the music industry relevant to your academic and career interests, through a placement with one of our research units, or through focused independent research relevant to further study at doctoral level. 

Typical work experience might consist of undertaking a placement with a broadcasting company, an arts-related museum, a concert organisation or opera house, or teaching in a school. Students undertaking an independent research project might choose to develop and practice new research skills (e.g. editing, archival work, language skills, digital humanities) or explore a new research or composition interest separate from their dissertation. 

Students undertake an associated work-based project, with outcomes agreed beforehand between student, module leader and a partner institution if applicable.

Final project

Compulsory modules

Dissertation / Major Project (60 credits)

This module offers you the opportunity to develop an extended independent research project at the end of the course. This enables you to deploy skills, knowledge and understanding gained during the course in producing a substantial piece of written work, or practice-based outputs. 

This can be a critical examination, through independent study and extended written work of an appropriate musicological topic, theme or issue. Recent topics have been as varied as music and gender in Disney films, the institutional failure of nineteenth-century English opera, and Japanese musical responses to the Tohoku earthquake. Alternatively, a portfolio of practice-based work is also acceptable, presented and documented as appropriate to feature an agreed combination of compositions, installations, site based work, live electronic applications.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

Teaching methods include:

  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • skills-based workshops.

If you take a work placement, you will receive mentoring and formative feedback from an individual at the placement organisation.

During your time here you will engage in lively discussions and original research. We will broaden your knowledge of musical repertoire and give you an in-depth understanding of:

  • recent critical debates
  • scholarship
  • practice in your chosen field.

One of the most striking features of the Music Department is the breadth of subject expertise. All staff members are actively engaged in research and have published work in top journals with highly respected publishers.

You’ll have an opportunity to work closely with staff members on your course modules and also through our specialist research units in popular music, opera and sonic art. Membership of these units allows you to attend conferences, workshops and talks by visiting speakers that will complement your formal studies.

Field trips

The Approaches to Opera module includes attendance at a live opera performance. The cost of attendance is included in tuition fees.


Assessment methods used on this course

Assessment methods include:

  • essays
  • student presentations
  • literature reviews
  • concert or gig reviews.

You will have the opportunity to complete professional projects arising from work placements, dissertations and compositions. This will be through using:

  • scores
  • recordings
  • software patches or live electronics,
  • performances
  • ‚Äčinstallations.


Music is an area of particular research strength within the University. 60% of Brookes' impact case studies, which describe the reception of our research among wider, non-academic audiences, have been classified as 4* (world leading).

Departmental research interests in music at Oxford Brookes range from music in sixteenth-century nunneries to Radiohead, and from nineteenth- and twentieth-century opera to the sonic archaeology of urban sites.

We have particular strengths in popular music, opera and composition, and a research unit in each area:

Students may also have the opportunity to join cross-faculty, interdisciplinary research clusters.

You can contribute to the research units' activities, by participating in listening groups and helping to organise study days and conferences. Student composers have an opportunity to showcase their work through the annual Audiograft festival.

After you graduate

Career prospects

Having an MA will make you stand out from the crowd, whether you are joining the course straight after graduating from undergraduate study or returning to study after a break of several years. 

Our MA will provide you with the skills and knowledge to embark upon a career in music or to improve your current position. The transferable skills you acquire through studying for an MA in Music can also lead to careers in many other sectors, including management, law, journalism, media and the heritage industry.

Career destinations of our recent graduates include:

  • professional composition
  • performance
  • sound engineering
  • arts administration
  • HE administration
  • teaching (secondary and FE)
  • retail management
  • youth work.

Our programme provides the necessary research training for doctoral work and many MA students continue on into further research and pursue careers in academia. Our students have an excellent success rate in securing funded PhD places. 

Programme Changes:

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

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