MSc in Music, Mind & Brain

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

Course overview

This unique programme combines music psychology with neuroscience, focusing on both the biological and cognitive aspects of musical behaviour.

The MSc in Music, Mind and Brain (MMB) is highly interdisciplinary and draws on expertise from leading figures in the field, in areas ranging from music cognition, cognitive neuroscience, computational modelling, music education and music therapy.

As a student on the MSc, you will learn about topics in music psychology (from perception to cognition) and the cognitive neuroscience of music, and will acquire all the necessary skills to pursue your own high-quality research.

The programme benefits from good links with institutions such as the Institute of Education, the Royal College of Music, and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

Teaching staff

Programme director Dr Daniel Müllensiefen and deputy directors Prof Lauren Stewart and Dr Maria Herrojo-Ruiz are joined by an expert teaching faculty, all of whom have international profiles within the fields of music psychology and/or the neuroscience of music.

Our Eminent Invited Speaker Series brings world-leading researchers to Goldsmiths to present their latest research to our students.

What kind of project can I do?

We offer a range of research projects, drawing on a variety of approaches: behavioural, computational, neuroscientific. Students are also invited to propose a project of their own choice, providing appropriate supervision can be offered.

If a student has a contact with an external supervisor, it may be possible to arrange for project supervision outside Goldsmiths with the involvement of a faculty member as co-supervisor. Examples of previous projects include:

  • Exploring Absolute Pitch in Children and Young People with Visual Impairment
  • An fMRI Study Investigating how Music Impacts on the Perception of Emotion
  • The Influence of Native Language on Rhythmic Grouping
  • Neural Correlates of Melodic Expectancy

Further information

This journal article from Psychomusicology outlines the focus and contents of the programme.

Keep up to date with our research via our facebook page.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Val West

Modules & structure

Core courses

Module title Credits
  Music Perception 30 credits
  Cognitive Neuroscience of Music 30 credits
  Foundations of Neuroscience 15 credits
  Statistics and Experimental Design 15 credits

Research Skills (15 credits)
This module provides you with the core skills needed to become a successful researcher. This is achieved via two complementary strands; the first strand covers fundamental research skills: seminars on bibliographic searching, essay writing, research report writing, oral presentation skills and career planning and lab sessions in which students conduct, analyse and write up an experiment from the field of music psychology. The second strand exposes students to cutting edge research in the field of music cognition and neuroscience via the Eminent Speaker Series and involves the opportunity to produce a collaborative report from the series for the Music, Mind and brain blog.

Research Project (60 credits)
This module provides you with the chance to design and pursue a substantial, independent research project on a topic of their choosing, with expert input from a nominated supervisor. You will be offered a selection of possible projects but are also encouraged to generate their own ideas. External supervision may also possible, in cases where students have links to outside institutions. As well as producing a written dissertation, you will have take produce and present a poster of your work to classmates and teachers from the programme.


Written examinations; written coursework (essays); oral presentations; research dissertation.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

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


Psychology at Goldsmiths is ranked joint 3rd in the UK
for the quality of our research**


How does music affect mood?
Why do some people believe in the paranormal?
How do people with autism think?

In the Department of Psychology we try and investigate questions like this, conducting research that’s relevant to a range of sectors and industries – from advertising to education, and from banking to the public sector.

You’ll be taught by experts in the field, who are carrying out research that’s world class. And you’ll learn in a department with excellent specialist and general-purpose research laboratories, including:

  • EEG and brain stimulation labs for neuroscience research
  • a visual perception and attention laboratory equipped with state-of-the-art eye tracking systems
  • an infant lab
  • in-house technical support staff

Find out more about the Department of Psychology

**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings


Teaching staff on the programme

Dr Daniel Müllensiefen, Director of the MSc in Music, Mind and Brain programme
Research interests: Musical Memory, Similarity Perception, Computational Modelling

Dr Maria Herrojo-Ruiz, Co-director of the MSc in Music, Mind and Brain programme 
Research interests: Sensorimotor learning and motor control, Neuroimaging, Neurological disorders

Professor Lauren Stewart, Co-director of the MSc in Music, Mind and Brain programme
Research interests: Congenital Amusia, Learning and Expertise, Neuroimaging

Professor Pam Heaton, Professor of Psychology

Research interests: Musical cognition, abnormal development, autism, savants

Professor Joydeep Bhattacharya, Professor of Psychology
Research interests: Neuronal Synchrony and Cross-Modality of Music Perception, EEG

Rory Allen, Associate Lecturer
Research interests: Music, emotions and autism, quantitative techniques 

Eminent invited speakers (since 2008)

  • Dr Joyce Chen, Deptartment of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford
  • Professor Stephen Clift, Professor of Health Education, Research Director of the Sidney de Haan Research Centre, Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Professor Annabel  J. Cohen, Director of the Auditory Perception & Music Cognition Research & Training Laboratory, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada
  • Professor Ian Cross, Director of the Centre for Music and Science, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Simon Durrant, Research Associate, Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Unit, Manchester University
  • Jamie Forth, Research Fellow, Department of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Robert Fulford, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester
  • Dr Shinichi Furuya, Institute for Music Physiology and Musicians´ Medicine, Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media
  • Dr Bruno Gingras, Research Fellow, Department of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Dr Jessica Grahn, Research Fellow, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Alinka Greasley, Lecturer in Music, University of Leeds
  • Dr Mick Grierson, Lecturer, department of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Dr Manon Grube, Research Associate, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
  • Professor Andrea R Halpern, Professor of Psychology, Bucknell University, USA
  • Professor David Hargreaves, Professor of Education, University of Roehampton
  • Professor David Huron: Professor of Music and Head of the Cognitive and Systematic Musicology Lab, University of Ohio, USA
  • Dr Stefan Koelsch, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Sussex
  • Dr Alexandra Lamont, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, Keele University
  • Professor Raymond MacDonald, Professor of Music Psychology, Glasgow Caledonion Institute
  • Dr Karen Mattock, Department of Psychology, Lancaster University
  • Dr Matthias Mauch, Royal Academy Research Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London
  • Dr Josh McDermott - Research Associate, Center for Neural Science & Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York University.
  • Prof Steven Mithen, Professor of Archeology, University of Reading
  • Dr Iain Morley, Lecturer in Palaeoanthropology and Human Sciences, and a Fellow of St Hugh's College
  • Professor Adam Ockelford, Professor of Education, Roehampton University
  • Rohani Omar, Clinical Research Fellow at the Dementia Research Centre, Queen Square
  • Professor Larry Parsons, Professor of Psychology, University of Sheffield
  • Michelle Phillips, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Helen Prior, Music Department, Kings's College London
  • Dr Katrin Schulze, Research Fellow, Institute of Child Health, University College, London
  • Professor John Sloboda, Emeritus Professor, School of Psychology, University of Keele
  • Dr Neta Spiro, Lecturer, Centre for Music and Science, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Renee Timmers, Lecturer in Music Psychology, University of Sheffield
  • Dr Martine Turgeon, Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Lancaster University
  • Dr Peter Vuust, Assistant Professor, Aarhus University and Royal Academy of Music
  • Professor Aaron Williamon, Centre for Performance Science, Royal College of Music, London

Guest lecturers (since 2008)

  • Dori Berger, Music Therapist
  • Toni Brennan, Visting Tutor, Department of Psychology, University of East London
  • Dr Gianna Cochini, Lecturer in Neuropsychology, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Dr Bruno Gingras, Research Fellow, Department of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Professor John Gruzelier, Profesorial Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Dr Elisabeth Hill, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Dr Alice Jones, Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Mats Küssner, Music Department, King's College, University of London
  • Joseph Leach, Research Assistant, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Dr Chris Lee, Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Dr Wendy Magee, International Fellow in Music Therapy, Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability, London
  • Manuela Marin, Research Associate, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Dr Marcus Pearce, Research Fellow, Department of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Dr Karin Rosenkranz, Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy, Institue of Neurology, University College, London
  • Professor Joseph Sanders, Professor of Oboe, Guildhall School of Music
  • Dr Mirjam James Schlemmer, Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice
  • Dr Jose van Velzen, Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Dr Jason Warren, Institute of Neurology, National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery
  • Professor Graham Welch, Chair of Music Education, Institute of Education, University of London
  • Professor Aaron Williamson, Centre for Performance Science, Royal College of Music, London


Staff research

You can keep up to date with our latest research on our facebook page.

Student research projects

The following projects, conducted by past students on the MMB programme, exemplify the range of approaches and questions that can be addressed in the final year project.

  • Reliability and Validity of Gold-MSI, and links between Musicality and Intelligence - Amit Avron
  • Does musical excellence make you sexier? An investigation into the sexual selection hypothesis in relation to music - Kathryn Casey
  • Can music be used functionally to promote creativity and analytical thinking within an office environment: An investigation in to the role of physiological arousal and working memory - Christopher Coupe
  • Atypical processing of pitch: A behavioural and electrophysiological exploration of the effects of autism traits and musical training - Lauren Hadley
  • Exploring the Levitin Effect: Evidence for Absolute Pitch Abilities in the General Population - Kelly Jakubowski
  • Spatial perception in real-life acoustics: A study of perceptual auditory information of reverberation and its effect in space perception in Musicians and Non Musicians - Neo Kaplanis
  • Sensorimotor synchronization of non-nutritive sucking to an auditory tempo in term infants - Trina Liew
  • Neural Correlates of Melodic Expectation in Musicians and Non-musicians - Ruth Reveal
  • Investigating a causal role of the supramarginal gyrus for pitch memory using transcranial direct current stimulation - Nora Schaal
  • Strategies For What Affects Musical Working Memory: Articulatory Suppression and Memory for Tonal Material - Lindsey Thompson

Suggested reading

Acquainting yourself with some of the recommended reading below will equip you well for the interview and for the course in general.

We recommend that you familiarise yourself with some of the music cognition literature and concepts in scientific research before starting the course in September.


Some general advice about suitable background knowledge for a postgraduate programme in music psychology can be found on Dr Victoria Williamson's Music Psychology website.

Music Cognition

Foundations of Neuroscience

Experimental Design and Statistics

Skills & careers


The programme will appeal to you if you are interested in pursuing doctoral research in this area or if you are already a music professional wishing to approach music scientifically. 

Graduates from the Music, Mind and Brain programme have gone on to work in one of the following areas:

  • Academia: Either pursuing a PhD, working in research position or engaged with university-level teaching
  • Music and media industry
  • Music practitioner or performer
  • Music teacher

Other careers that would be informed by this programme include music therapy, neuro-rehabilitation, music consultancy and music and adverstising.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths



"Discovering the existence of the Music, Mind and Brain programme reframed my whole perspective"

"I developed a love of music at an early age, and by the time I began to think about career ambitions and university education, I had developed a very strong interest and affinity for psychology. Discovering the existence of the Music, Mind and Brain programme reframed my whole perspective and made it possible for me to plunge into a discipline which incorporates the intersection of these two domains.

The instructors are dedicated to passing on to the students the maximum amount of quality knowledge within the framework of the varied and always interesting lectures. Our skills and critical discernment are continuously honed by regularly reviewing professional articles. This and other tasks on the programme provide the basis for developing our academic writing abilities. The atmosphere in which the programme is grounded and conducted is inspiring for students, especially for those like me who are wed to both music and science."


"The experience I am currently having in London studying on the course has been nothing short of excellent."

Coming from a background as a classically trained musician, I moved from living in the American Midwest to London to pursue more intellectual inclinations. I am currently pursing a Masters of Science in the Music, Mind and Brain (MMB) program with help from the Goldsmiths International Postgraduate Scholarship. The privilege of being granted an opportunity to study in London on such a generous scholarship has really opened up many possibilities that may not have been realized without it. I am able to take full advantage of everything my course, Goldsmiths, and London has to offer from lectures on neuropsychology, to opportunities to continue to play trumpet, to visit the neighboring countries. The experience I am currently having in London studying on the MMB course has been nothing short of excellent in preparing me for a career as an aspiring cognitive musicologist! (And whatever else I do along the way.)  


“My time at Goldsmiths was an extremely valuable experience, whether considering career development, friendships, or the personal development associated with living abroad."

"As a musician with a growing passion for neuroscience, the unique MSc programme in Music, Mind and Brain was a perfect fit for my interests, experience, and career trajectory. The opportunities to apply my interdisciplinary knowledge, gain hands-on experience with various technical and theoretical research perspectives, and to meet renowned scientists in my new field have been invaluable. These opportunities led directly to my current position as a PhD candidate in Neuroscience, studying how the brain processes musical rhythm and beat.

Beyond specific programme courses and research opportunities, the personal and professional relationships I made are a highlight of my time at Goldsmiths. I met many leading researchers in my field who came to Goldsmiths as guest speakers, and gained close friends within in my programme and beyond. Having a group of friends – with impressive international representation – working in my own interdisciplinary field has already proven a source of opportunity and fun.

Not least, living in London provided unique scientific, academic, and cultural opportunities that I would not have had elsewhere. I was able to engage with the rich academic context in London and the UK broadly, with opportunities to participate in conferences, workshops, and hands-on research at other institutions. Beyond Goldsmiths, education, and career orientation, London is an endlessly fun and vibrant city, and a year spent there is an opportunity not to be missed!"


"I was impressed with Goldsmiths’ commitment to offering innovative, interdisciplinary courses."

"Originally from Dayton, Ohio, I graduated in May 2012 with a degree in Neuroscience and Music from Agnes Scott College, a small women’s college in Atlanta, Georgia. Whilst studying there, I had the opportunity to work as a summer research assistant for Annabel Cohen at the University of Prince Edward Island. Dr Cohen is a mainstay in the field of music cognition, and she introduced me to the MSc in Music, Mind and Brain at Goldsmiths. In getting to know other postgrads and what they were studying, I was impressed with Goldsmiths’ commitment to offering innovative, interdisciplinary courses.

Goldsmiths offered the perfect combination for me: a chance to experience life in London while gaining a degree in a discipline I’m passionate about, supervised by some of the best researchers in the field. Another reason I chose to attend Goldsmiths was the International Postgraduate Scholarship I was offered. When applying for funding, the lack of postgraduate scholarships for international students surprised me, but I discovered that Goldsmiths offered a number of international scholarships. My postgraduate bursary has helped make my experience at Goldsmiths possible, and I was honoured to have received the award."


"Goldsmiths is a fantastic interdisciplinary environment."

"The department was keen to promote their work and get involved in big projects, and as a result we were able to team up with BBC 6Music for my online research project into 'earworms'. We really worked as a team within the department to gather as many participants as possible, which allowed me to gain experience in handling large scale data collection far beyond anything I had expected.

Consistent support and commitment from my supervisors allowed me to develop the research skills that now serve me well as a practicing research psychologist, and the opportunity to study a very specific topic that I was fascinated by ensured that I had a great time as well!"

Entry requirements

The MSc in Music, Mind and Brain is a truly interdisciplinary programme that attracts students from diverse backgrounds who want to complement their knowledge on music research, neuroscience or cognitive psychology. As a general rule, you should have a good background in at least one of these areas and preferably have already carried out a piece of empirical research.

You should either have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in Psychology OR a background in music plus demonstrable knowledge and/or experience of empirical research. 

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 minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

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
  • 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)

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. The deadline for receiving applications is 1 February. All applications received by this date will be considered. If the maximum number of places is not reached following this, a second deadline of 1 July will be used. We cannot guarantee that there will be places remaining beyond the 1 February deadline so application by the first deadline is advised.

If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application by the deadline they've specified. 

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

Selection process 

Candidates will be interviewed in person or by telephone to establish suitability for the MSc. Because the programme is highly interdisciplinary, we appreciate that some candidates may not have a strong background in all the key areas (psychology, neuroscience, research methods). However, we expect all applicants to be familiar with some of the music psychology literature and concepts in empirical research.


Due to the popularity of this course, a deposit of £450 needs to paid to secure any offer made after applying for the programme. The deposit will be credited against tuition fees at enrolment.

Find out more about applying.

Fees & funding

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.

Find out more about tuition fees.

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