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MMus in Popular Music

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department
    Music

Course overview

This MMus builds on our international reputation in the popular music field, as seen in the success of our BMus graduates.

The programme offers you the opportunity to reflect critically upon your own creative practice – whether that consists of performance, songwriting, arranging, production, or collaboration – and to integrate theoretical perspectives from contemporary popular music studies.

You’ll also be able to extend your own practice through options in sonic and studio art, advanced music technology, exploration in audiovisual media, and ethnomusicology.

The MMus in Popular Music is intended for music creators who integrate these elements in the compositional, recording and performance work.

You’ll acquire graduate-level training in creative practice and subject-specific skills that could set you up for a career as a composer-performer or studio practitioner/producer, as well as other employment within the popular music sector.

This programme is distinguished by:

  • Quality
    We have an international reputation and proven leadership in the field, evidenced in the success of our BMus Popular Music alumni

  • Innovation
    The unique combination of theory and practice allows for forward-thinking, innovative practice-as-research through popular music

  • Industry links
    You can benefit from our proximity to central London, our links with music industry professionals, and our record label, NX Records, run in collaboration with Matthew Herbert and Accidental Records.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Department of Music

Modules & structure

Core modules

Module title Credits
  Critical Musicology and Popular Music 30 credits
  Popular Music Composition 30 credits
  Popular Music Project 60 credits

Elective modules

You choose two modules from a list that currently includes: 

Module title Credits
  Composition and Moving Image Media 30 credits
  Ethnographic Film and Music Research 30 credits
  Interactive and Generative Music 30 credits
  Interpretation, Meaning and Performance 30 credits
  Music Management 30 credits
  Performance as Research 30 credits
  Popular Music and its Critics 30 credits
  Studio Practice 30 credits
  Popular Music Project 60 credits

Download the programme specification, relating to the 2017-18 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Department

Music at Goldsmiths is ranked: 12th in the UK for the quality of our research* 22nd in the world for performing arts**

Music

From opera to electronica, and from Errollyn Wallen to James Blake, music studies at Goldsmiths are unique and different. Firmly rooted in the 21st century, our programmes entwine academic with practice-based study, and historical with contemporary repertories.

Performance opportunities

We’re committed to high quality, ambitious and innovative performance, and we have a wide range of ensembles that you can join, including:

  • Goldsmiths Sinfonia
  • Chamber Choir
  • Contemporary Music Ensemble
  • Lunchtime and evening recitals
  • Music Collective
  • Studio Laptop Ensemble
  • Goldsmiths Vocal Ensemble
  • Plus student-led ensembles: Chamber Orchestra, New Music Ensemble, Big Band and Film Orchestra
  • Goldsmiths Gamelan Group

These culminate in our end-of-year degree show and public music festival PureGold, which in recent years has launched at London’s Southbank Centre.

Facilities

We have excellent rehearsal and performance facilities including:

  • Goldsmiths Music Studios
  • Electronic Music Studio
  • Sonics Interactive Multimedia Laboratory
  • Council Chamber (with its Steinway Model D)
  • Two suites of practice rooms

Find out more about the Department of Music.

*Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
**QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017

Skills & careers

Employability and cultural entrepreneurship is in our DNA

Graduates may progress to be composer-performers, studio practitioners/producers and music industry employees within the popular music sector. Older students who have returned to advance their knowledge and practice base will be better positioned in the job market. 

We are also able to offer a series of employability/placement/internship style opportunities to include:

  • the Music Professional Practice scheme - a departmental scheme supporting final year undergraduate and MMus/MA students with employability concerns
  • Music Management Course - specifically assesses students on cultural entrepreneurship and their own real world music projects
  • NX records - the departmental record label in association with Matthew Herbert and Accidental Records
  • PureGold festival - the annual departmental festival launched at the Southbank centre
  • Simon Says - showcase events in collaboration with Goldsmiths Students' Union
  • Goldsmiths Vocal Ensemble - recent performances at Glastonbury, the Southbank Centre and Shepherds Bush Empire

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in Music or a relevant/related subject. Your qualification should comprise a substantial practical/creative element relevant to the pathway. A detailed transcript of your degree is preferred. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
  • A short portfolio that provides selected examples of your recent creative work (eg musical scores, CD, DVD, as appropriate); these examples should be relevant to the focus of the pathway

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

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