For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of this programme are delivered. Find out more
The MMus Popular Music builds upon our international reputation in the popular music field established by our ground-breaking undergraduate degree.
The Popular Music pathway is designed for music artists who are seeking to deepen their creative practice. We are songwriters and composers, producers and performers, engaged in making work that has relevance to real music scenes.
The programme centres the creative artist in a stimulating and supportive environment where critical enquiry, testing of songs/compositions/performance and experimentation in practice lead to a portfolio of new work.
The development of industry-relevant skills and key cultural-theoretical understandings is led by the needs of our own projects and foundational knowledge. Typically, students make records, explore performance and production methodologies, present shows, write and release new sets of songs/works. The programme offers the opportunity to extend the boundaries of artistry and critically reflect upon our own creativity in music.
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.
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 jobs in the popular music sector.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Caroline Kennedy.
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 module:
|Popular Music Composition||30 credits|
You also choose one of the following compulsory modules:
|Critical Musicology and Popular Music||30 credits|
|Popular Music and its Critics||30 credits|
You choose two modules from a list of options that currently includes:
|Audiovisual Composition||30 credits|
|Composition and Moving Image Media||30 credits|
|Critical Musicology and Popular Music||30 credits|
|Ethnographic Film and Music Research||30 credits|
|Interactive and Generative Music||30 credits|
|Music Management||30 credits|
|Performance as Research (Ethnomusicology)||30 credits|
|Popular Music and its Critics||30 credits|
|Studio Practice||30 credits|
|Advanced Strategies in Creative Music Production||30 credits|
|Philosophies of Music||30 credits|
You also complete the following project:
|Popular Music Project||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 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.
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: £10870
- Home - part-time: £5435
- International - full-time: £19660
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:
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF. Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement
- A portfolio that provides selected examples of your recent original creative work (audio, video or other formats as appropriate, 4-6 separate pieces) relevant to the focus of the pathway. Work should be provided as links to streamable content (on English Language sites), plus a brief commentary/contextualisation of materials (including authorship), uploaded as a Word or PDF document.
- 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.
- 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.
Find out more about applying.
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.
Goldsmiths Students make music with EMI
EMI Production Music has published an album of music for film, TV and other media composed by Goldsmiths, University of London students.
Goldsmiths: Sounds One is a compilation album of 18 tracks composed by 15 students and recent graduates from Department of Music postgraduate programmes, including MMus Popular Music, MMus Creative Practice and MMus Composition.
This album is the brainchild of Paul Sandell, EMIPM Content and Distribution Manager, and is co-produced by James Ewers, Associate Music Lecturer, and Ian Gardiner, Senior Lecturer and convenor for MMus module Composition and Moving Image Media.
The students and graduates are Pete Wilson, Ged Flood, Matt Kirk, Aleksandra Wozniak, Sydney Bull, Alexander Brown, Valeria Pozzo (aka Naonis Sounds), Robert Aitken, Lamis (Ell) Harper, Thomas Falle, Felix Morgan, Paul Reynolds, Jacob Cheetham, Duncan Silvey and Andrea Caruso.
The collection of tracks spans genres, including traditional piano and string-based classical styles (such as Naonis Sounds and Robert Aitken’s urgent Momentous), world-music tinged soundscapes (eg. Ged Flood and Matt Kirk’s Night Trip), modern ambient acoustic/electronic hybrid textures (Pete Wilson’s Gravitas) and synth and noise-heavy pieces (Jacob Cheetham’s Dronem).
Goldsmiths: Sounds One can be previewed on Soundcloud