This programme will be available in 2021-22

Performance is a part of our everyday lives, and its role in the history of the visual arts and music is unique.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September or January
Location of Study

The MLitt in Performance Studies develops your practical skills and theoretical and historical knowledge of performance art, offering hands-on, real-life experience to prepare you for future study or work in the world of performance.

Performance continues to dominate in the visual arts, and its interdisciplinarity and openness lends itself to being utilised by artists in music, dance and theatre.

Our MLitt in performance studies offers the opportunity for you to develop your performance portfolio, from within the disciplines of either the visual arts or music while developing your fluency in the theory and history of performance.

This degree programme provides a solid foundation in contemporary music, art and theory, and practice.

What You'll Study

Semester 1

Semester 1

Compulsory Courses
  • Performance Histories
Optional Courses
  • Special study (research or practical project) (may only be taken once during a degree programme)
  • Work-based placement (may only be taken once during a degree programme)
  • Research Methods in Film and Visual Culture
  • Public Engagement
  • Sonic Arts option
Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses
  • Performance Contexts
  • Performance Practices
Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses
  • Dissertation in Performance Studies (60 credits)

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

The programme is delivered by means of seminars and workshops that are tutor- and student-led as appropriate. Students will complete independent and group work, and lead their own projects with the guidance and support of the course tutors. Assessment methods include essays, portfolios, practical projects and other coursework.

Assessment Methods

Assessment methods include essays, reflections, critiques, and practical work such as portfolios, and video and film documentation of work.

The MLitt also requires a 12,000-word dissertation (which can also include practical components), while the PG diploma and PG certificate consist of coursework alone.

Why Study Performance Studies?

  • It is unique in its combining of theory and practice, from the disciplines of visual culture and music, to develop your command of the language of contemporary performance
  • Study with leading performance practitioners and theorists
  • Opportunities to develop a portfolio of performance work
  • Opportunities to develop a strong command of the history, theory and criticism of performance art
  • Two core courses provide a strong foundation in theoretical and practical skills, paving the way for further postgraduate study or a career in the arts
  • Optional modules offer the possibility to focus further on either music or visual culture strands, as well as public engagement with the arts
  • The programme will be of interest to you if you have a background in Visual Arts, Music, Sonic Arts, Cultural Studies, Art Criticism and Art History. It will also be of interest to you if you have a professional background in the visual arts or music
  • Members of the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture play a leading role in several specialised research centres and arts groups at the University and in Aberdeen. The centres bring together groups of scholars from a range of academic disciplines, and foster links with other universities.
  • Tutors on the course have founded visual arts and music festivals, such as the VIEW Visual Arts and Culture Programme at the University of Aberdeen, and sonADA, the Sonic Arts Music Festival. They are also contributors to the SOUND Festival of new music and TIPA, This is Performance Art, along with other local festivals such as the May Festival, Spectra, the Festival of Light, the Being Human Festival, Explorathon and the Festival of Social Science. Students will also have the opportunity to contribute to these events
  • The city of Aberdeen offers a wide range of visual culture such as museums, art galleries and contemporary art centres, with notable and well known artists, live music covering all tastes, and theatre.
  • The School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture is at King's Campus, dating from 1495. The campus is a major tourist attraction and is part of 'Old Aberdeen,' providing spectacular examples of architecture, dating back to its inauguration to the present day

Entry Requirements


The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

Students are normally required to have a good 2.1 degree (or its equivalent) in a subject relevant to Visual Art, Visual Culture or Music, such as:

  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • English
  • Film Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Modern Languages
  • Sociology
  • Theatre Studies,


An undergraduate degree plus relevant professional experience in the arts and humanities industry

Please enter your country to view country-specific entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

To study for a Postgraduate Taught degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.5 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0


OVERALL - 90 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL - 176 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fee Information

Please refer to our InfoHub Tuition Fees page for fee information for this programme, or contact

Additional Fee Information

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.


Eligible self-funded international Masters students will receive the Aberdeen Global Scholarship. Visit our Funding Database to find out more and see our full range of scholarships.


In addition to providing research training to enable students to go on to pursue an academic career, this programme will also be of interest to those wishing to follow a career in performance art, music performance, arts education, or art criticism.

Career Opportunities

  • Art Critic
  • Artist
  • Arts Manager
  • Community Arts Work
  • Festival Organisation
  • Musician
  • Public Engagement

Develop your portfolio work

The MLitt in Performance Studies develops your practical skills and theoretical and historical knowledge of performance art.

Our Experts

Professor Amy Bryzgel

Professor Amy Bryzgel is the author of Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960, the first academic monograph to explore the history and development of performance art in the former communist countries of Eastern Europe.

Dr Suk-Jun Kim

Dr Suk-Jun Kim is an award-winning composer whose main output is electroacoustic music. He is the author of Humming, a book that offers an interdisciplinary perspective on this seemingly everyday activity.

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture
University of Aberdeen
King's College
AB24 3UB