Course information

Department

Music

Length

1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

The MA Music (Contemporary Music Studies) examines aspects of methodology, repertoire studies and cultural theory within a wide-ranging programme of investigation into the role of contemporary music in the society for which it is created.

You'll explore the key methodologies appropriate for scholarly study of the music of the present and recent past, such as oral history and contrasting approaches to musical ‘close reading’.

Musical repertoires, and notions of repertoire, are examined, and you are encouraged to ask such questions as whether the boundaries often considered to exist between, for example, ‘contemporary concert music’ and ‘popular music’ are still meaningful for practitioners, listeners and scholars today.

Various approaches to cultural theory are viewed in the light of what they might bring to the study of contemporary music of different kinds.

The understandings developed in your coursework culminate in the methods and approaches demonstrated in your dissertation.

This gives you the opportunity to address particular challenges of studying and writing about the music of our time arising from your own musical and theoretical enthusiasms.

The programme appeals to a wide range of students concerned to develop their understanding of today's music and keen to harness this to relevant intellectual skills.

While designed as an open-ended programme of study that can subsequently be applied in many ways within, and outside, the musical profession, it will be of special value to those preparing for further postgraduate research, and those considering careers in teaching, journalism, arts administration or the culture industries.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Keith Potter

What you'll study

Core modules

You take the following core modules:

Module title Credits
  Advanced Music Studies 30 credits
  Contemporary Music: Practices and Debates 30 credits

Option modules

You choose two modules from a selection that currently includes:

Module title Credits
  Analysing Contemporary Music: From Serialism to Spectral Noise 30 credits
  Compositional Techniques 30 credits
  Contemporary Ethnomusicology 30 credits
  Critical Musicology and Popular Music 30 credits
  Ethnographic Film and Music Research 30 credits
  Music Management 30 credits
  New Directions in Popular Music Research 30 credits
  Performance as Research (Ethnomusicology) 30 credits
  Popular Music and its Critics 30 credits
  Research through Musical Performance 30 credits
  Sound Agendas 30 credits
  Sources and Resources in the Digital Age 30 credits
  Philosophies of Music 30 credits

Dissertation

Module title Credits
  MA Music Dissertation 60 credits

Download the programme specification, for the 2019-20 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.

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in Music or an equivalent subject. 

Your qualification should comprise a substantial academic element relevant to the selected MA pathway and option choices. For the generic MA Music award you should write a detailed proposal explaining the rationale for your option course choices and how these provide a coherent programme of study leading to dissertation. A detailed transcript of your degree is preferred.

International qualifications

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

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2019/20 academic year.

  • Home/EU - full-time: £6990
  • Home/EU - part-time: £3495
  • International - full-time: £15810

Additional scholarships and funding is available specifically for Music department postgraduate students.

Please note that EU fees are being fixed at the above rate for 2019 entry. The fee level will be fixed for the duration of your programme.

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

If you're an international student interested in studying part-time, please contact our Admissions Team to find out if you're eligible.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional scholarships and funding is available specifically for Music department postgraduate students.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

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)

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.

Selection process

You will normally be required to attend an interview, and you may be asked to submit examples of your written work in advance (such as an essay of at least 1,500 words on a relevant topic).

Find out more about applying.

Staff

Careers

Skills

You'll develop:

  • investigation and evaluation skills
  • intellectual skills in music
  • specific research skills

Careers

The programme is designed with careful consideration of the opportunities, challenges and intellectual demands presented by careers in music, such as:

  • journalism
  • teaching
  • broadcasting
  • librarianship
  • historically informed performance
  • contemporary composition
  • arts administration

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Similar programmes

MA Arts Administration & Cultural Policy: Music Pathway

This programme builds on London's position as one of the most important musical centres in the world, with a diverse range of concert halls, theatres, cultural institutions and arts events that reflect its cosmopolitan and multicultural society.

MA Music

The MA Music advances your exploration of today’s music in all its complexity. From a range of stimulating pathways, you choose one that best suits your interests. Modules are shared across pathways, and are rooted in academic and practice-based research.  

MA Music (Ethnomusicology)

The MA Music (Ethnomusicology) introduces a range of methodologies in relation to the study of music in its cultural contexts.

MA Music (General)

This MA allows you to build an individual, 'tailor-made' programme of study, which incorporates the intellectual concerns, skills and understandings that lead to a clearly focused research dissertation. 

Related content links