Course information




1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Scholarship information

Funding available

Course overview

For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of this programme are delivered. Find out more

This MMus builds on our international reputation in the popular music field, as seen in the success of our BMus graduates.

The programme offers you the opportunity to reflect critically upon your own creative practice – whether that consists of performance, songwriting, arranging, production, or collaboration – and to integrate theoretical perspectives from contemporary popular music studies.

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.

The MMus Popular Music is intended for music creators who integrate these elements in the compositional, recording and performance work.

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 employment within the popular music sector.

This programme is distinguished by:

  • Quality
    We have an international reputation and proven leadership in the field, evidenced in the success of our BMus Popular Music alumni

  • Innovation
    The unique combination of theory and practice allows for forward-thinking, innovative practice-as-research through popular music

  • Industry links
    You can benefit from our proximity to central London, our links with music industry professionals, and our record label, NX Records, run in collaboration with Matthew Herbert and Accidental Records.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Caroline Kennedy.

What you'll study

Core modules

You take the following core module:

Module title Credits
  Popular Music Composition 30 credits

You also choose one of the following core modules:

Module title Credits
  Critical Musicology and Popular Music 30 credits
  Popular Music and its Critics 30 credits

Option modules

You choose two modules from a list of options that currently includes: 

Module title Credits
  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

Creative project

You also complete the following project:

Module title Credits
  Popular Music Project 60 credits

Download the programme specification. 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 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.

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

The fees for 2021 will be made available soon, but for reference these were the fees for 2020.

  • Home - full-time: £10450
  • Home - part-time: £5225
  • EU - full-time: £10450
  • EU - part-time: £5225
  • International - full-time: £18900

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.

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.

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.


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 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

Student work

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 MusicMMus 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

Picture of a group of Goldsmiths students


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