The MA Music (Popular Music Research) engages with scholarly debates and public controversies around popular music, while examining and developing both traditional and innovative ways of researching popular music.
The Masters provides a grounding in the development of popular music research as a subfield of musicology, and encourages critical thinking about:
- musical texts, artefacts and ecologies
- audiences, reception and questions of interpretation
- creativity, industries and production
- repertoires broad in historical range and geographical scope
The course addresses contemporary issues of significance to academics, musicians, industries and organisations involved with popular music.
You'll develop research skills, critical thinking and rigorous methodological expertise with a range of applications both within the academy (at doctoral level) and outside (in music-related industries, marketing, arts management, museums and archives, the sciences).
Although a knowledge of and passion for popular music is vital, it is not essential that your first degree is in music or popular music.
We welcome applicants from a wide range of disciplines: the course is designed to be of benefit not only to those wishing to continue their research at doctoral level, but also those wishing to reflect on their experiences as musicians, listeners, or media and arts industry professionals.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Professor Keith Negus.
What you'll study
For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the Programme Changes page
You take the following compulsory modules:
|Critical Musicology and Popular Music||30 credits|
|Popular Music and its Critics||30 credits|
You choose two modules from a selection that currently includes:
|Advanced Music Studies||30 credits|
|Contemporary Ethnomusicology||30 credits|
|Contemporary Music: Practices and Debates||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|
|Research through Musical Performance||30 credits|
|Sound Agendas||30 credits|
|Philosophies of Music||30 credits|
|MA Music Dissertation||60 credits|
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard.
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.
Students who have completed up to 90 credits (not including final 60-credit projects or dissertations) of a comparable degree at another university can apply for recognition of prior learning status as part of their application for a place on the programme, where such credits are carried forward into your study at Goldsmiths.
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 2021/2022 academic year.
- Home - full-time: £8370
- Home - part-time: £4185
- International - full-time: £17760
It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Tier 4 student visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.
If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.
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.
Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.
Home/EU students applying for this programme in 2019/2020 may be eligible for funding under the BAME Music Scholar's Fee Waiver (MA/MMus).
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
- A 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.
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.
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.