This unique MA will enhance your critical understanding of the musical theatre as a popular entertainment genre.
It will help you to sharpen your practical skills as a creative artist. On a practical level, it will assist you in working as a freelance writer, composer or producer of musical theatre.
The MA focuses on the dramaturgy of the musical as a key factor in the future development of the genre.
Expert professionals are regularly employed as visiting tutors, to maintain direct links with the industry.
You follow one of the two pathways as either:
- writer or composer
You undertake an analytic case study of a musical or production, a placement project and dissertation (producers), and a creative project involving either book and lyrics or music for a short original musical (writers and composers). Producers share some classes with students on the MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Department of Theatre and Performance Secretary
What you'll study
You undertake an analytic case study of a musical or production, a placement project and dissertation (producers), and a creative project involving either book and lyrics or music for a short original musical (writers and composers). Producers share some classes with the MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy.
You elect to follow one of two pathways on the programme – Producers, or Writers and Composers. In each case, the programme involves five separate modules:
1. Genre study – autumn and spring terms, both pathways
This module runs for 20 weeks. It begins in autumn with an historical survey of the development of the American musical, from ‘Showboat’ (1927) to ‘Sweeney Todd’ (1979). It continues in the spring term with a look at new forms of musical theatre that have resulted from the fragmentation of the classic tradition of ‘book’ musicals, with the innovation of the ‘concept’ musical, the impact of rock musicals, the ‘invasion’ of Broadway by the British ‘megamusical’ and the subsequent globalisation of the market by Cameron Macintosh and Disney.
2. Case study – autumn and spring terms, both pathways
This module involves a 15-week introduction to the different structural components (book, music, lyrics, choreography, scenography) and industrial factors (producers, marketing, technology, economics)
determining the production of musicals today. The module is taught by a range of professional and academic experts with a variety of different perspectives on the subject.
3. Shared complementary/contextual module 1 – autumn term
Students choose one of these modules:
4. Shared complementary/contextual module 2 - ‘Musical Theatre and Society’
5. Creative project/dissertation – spring and summer terms, both pathways
Genre study is assessed by two 3,000-word essays; the case study is assessed by means of a 4,000-word essay. The nature and form of creative projects, dissertations and research/placement projects are agreed with the Module Convenor during the programme.
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 in a relevant/related subject.
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.
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 of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing 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
Find out more about tuition fees.
The Department of Theatre and Performance provides students with budgets for all practice-based exercises, which students manage as part of their learning. Students also receive free printed readers for most lecture seminar classes. On this basis, there is no essential additional cost to students on our programmes.
You may be eligible to apply for funding from the AHRC.
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
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.
Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.
Find out more about applying.
You will develop a critical understanding of the collaborative processes involved in the creation of musical theatre in the UK and USA.
Composers and librettists/lyricists will achieve an enhanced ability to engage with the integration of dramaturgical and musical components of musical theatre writing, and a comprehension of the various factors involved in working within the industry.
Producers will acquire an overall perspective on the industrial and organisational factors involved in musical theatre production, including methods of theatre marketing, systems of arts funding and policy, and a working knowledge of the strategies involved in producing a small-scale musical.
Producers will also develop skills of leadership and teamwork and the ability to develop and critique their own approaches to working in musical theatre production.
Typical careers for graduates of this MA include:
- musical theatre composer
- marketing manager
- production assistant
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.