Music, MMus or PgCert

Music, MMus or PgCert

Introduction

The MMus in Music capitalises on research strength within the department of music and is intended for composers (vocal, instrumental, or electronic), performers, sonic artists, musicologists, music education and community music practitioners with a specific interest in an area of musical study. Our MMus students can design their study by selecting one or two study concentrations from six paths: Community Music, Composition, Music Education, Musicology, Performance, and Sonic Arts. Applicants must confirm in their application which area(s) they wish to specialise in.

Study Information

Study Options

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MMus or PgCert
Duration
4 months, 9 months, 12 months or 24 months
Study Mode
Full Time or Part Time
Start Month
September or January
Location of Study
Aberdeen
Subject marketing image

At the centre of the MMus in Music is an extended project where the student can realise a large-scale project with support and supervision from specialist staff. The medium of the project will be determined by the student’s interests and research and our programme offers considerable flexibility in approach. This allows our students to build a significant portfolio of work that will work as a springboard toward their future careers whether it is in their chosen industry or in academia.

In addition to the extended project, our students take a mix of compulsory and optional courses. The MMus Programme Coordinator discusses options with individual students to ensure the best fit between available courses and student interests.

The aim of the programme is threefold:

  • To provide a natural development from undergraduate programmes, both within and outwith the University of Aberdeen, to postgraduate study in the university in the areas of composition, community music, musicology, music education, performance or sonic arts or any combination of these paths;
  • To help the students develop and explore options in their future careers in academia or in industry;
  • To continue to develop the research environment in the Department of Music.

The MMus in Music will also offer an opportunity for those who have already worked for a number of years after their undergraduate or postgraduate study and would like to return to hone their chosen skills at university as part of their continuing professional development (either on a full-time or part-time basis).

Available Programmes of Study

Music

Qualification Duration Learning Mode Study Mode Start Month Location  
MMus 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time September View

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

Full time route: Students will follow the programme as outlined below. Students may also take the 120 credit extended project option - semester 1 remains the same, they will undertake the 120 credit extended project option (MU50EP) in semesters 2 and 3, and will select one course from the mandatory OR optional courses in semester 2.

Part time route: PD5006 must be taken in Year 1 and MU5524 must be taken in Year 2. The following courses are compulsory and can be taken in either Year 1 or Year 2: MU5022 (Research Practices) and MU5523 (Research Communications). In addition, students must take one of the semester 1 optional courses, and one of the semester 2 optional courses. Part time students may also take the 120 credit extended project option, but it must be taken in year 2; in this case, either in year one or year two, they must take PD5506 and MU5022, plus either MU5523 or one of the electives from semester 2.


Compulsory Courses

PD5006: Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen

Research Practices (MU5022)

30 Credit Points

This course provides students with an opportunity to reflect on and develop their own research practices. Engaging with topics and methods relevant to all six of the MMus study paths (community music, composition, music education, musicology, performance, and sonic arts) the course will encourage students to engage with both novel and well-established approaches to music studies.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

Plus ONE elective from the list below:

Renaissance Counterpoint (MU5007)

30 Credit Points

This course is intended both for those interested in Renaissance music and for composition students who wish to explore the many possibilities of musical invention within a very controlled compositional environment. To acquire the basic tools of Renaissance composition, students progress through counterpoint exercises in two and three voices. Through more advanced exercises in motivic placement, canon, invertible counterpoint, and the fundamentals of improvised counterpoint, students learn to structure a complete composition, culminating in a motet for three voices. In addition, works are studied through analysis of compositions.

View detailed information about this course
Vocalstration (MU5008)

30 Credit Points

This course is designed to encourage composers and performers to engage with the ‘orchestrational’ aspects of composing for choir, with particular emphasis upon each section of the choir, its characteristics, compass and blend, and how each part relates to the whole; creating chords that utilise the choir fully, blending choral chords, voice-leading, structuring choral music; the joys and problems when composing for choir with accompaniment (piano, organ & orchestra) and arranging for the voice.

View detailed information about this course
Contemporary Issues in Aesthetics (MU5016)

30 Credit Points

This course will introduce students to the work of key contemporary texts in aesthetics relating to music and the other arts. Texts will be studied, discussed and related to one another. While selected texts will vary from year to year, readings will be taken from writers such as Adorno, Badiou, Benjamin, Barthes, Bloch, Boulez, Deleuze (and Guattari), Dahlhaus, Derrida, Dufrenne, Eco, Gadamer, Habermas, Heidegger, Husserl, Jameson, Jencks, Lachenmann, Lyotard, Nancy, Nietzsche, Rancière, Rihm, Sartre, Schoenberg, Serres, Sloterdijk, Spivak, Stockhausen, Vattimo, Wittgenstein, Zizek.

Examples of issues and questions that may be covered include the nature of modernity, post-modernity more idiosyncratic variable theorisations of recent aesthetic history; the nature and purpose of the contemporary artwork; the beautiful and the sublime; relationships between the arts; the materiality of contemporary art forms; musique informelle.

View detailed information about this course
Musicking (MU5017)

30 Credit Points

This course is based around Christopher Small’s book Musicking. Small proposes that ‘Music is not a thing at all but an activity, something that people do.’ From this basis the course will develop a detailed knowledge and understanding of the various ways in which Community Musicians engage with a broad range of community settings and participants in the activity of musicking. The course will look critically at selected Community Music case studies from the UK, Europe and the USA exploring varying pedagogical underpinnings for project design, initiation, delivery and evaluation.

View detailed information about this course
Current Issues in Music Education (MU5015)

30 Credit Points

In this course students will have an opportunity to engage with some current issues and practical challenges concerning music education. It will examine a variety of topical and sometimes contentious issues and practical challenges concerning, for example, equality, diversity and inclusion in music, the role and status of instrumental music and curriculum planning.

View detailed information about this course
Audience Development and Engagement Through Community Music (MU501Q)

30 Credit Points

This course looks specifically at the issues of Audience Development and Engagement in Community Settings, giving students the opportunity to work as a cohort to design, negotiate, implement and evaluate a Community Performance and/or Workshop based on a set stimulus.

This course covers aspects of business and entrepreneurship alongside the development of Community Music leadership skills and qualities.

This course is delivered in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen Museums and Special Collections team.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses
Research Communication (MU5523)

30 Credit Points

This course provides students with an applied understanding of research communication skills relevant to all six study paths (community music, composition, music education, musicology, performance, and sonic arts). Students will engage directly with current issues in music research, experiencing and critiquing different methods of written, recorded, and oral communication. The course is structured around the departmental Music Research Seminars, but students are also expected to attend other seminar and/or events relevant to their own research practice.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select ONE elective course from the list below:

MU5518: Advanced Sound Design for New Media

Words and Music (MU5503)

30 Credit Points

This course aims to explore the link between words and music and how composers set various texts through many and varied genres, including eastern music, western music and popular music, and nonsense texts. Intended primarily for composers, this course would also be of interest to singers, conductors and musicologists with an interest in text-setting. Word-painting, structural design and poetic understanding will all be explored.

View detailed information about this course
Equality, Equity and Social Justice Through Music (MU5526)

30 Credit Points

This course will empower students to engage proactively with the complex social and political concepts, theories and perspectives around equality, equity and social justice.

The first part of the course will develop a knowledge and understanding of the range of terminology, concepts, theories, and perspectives connected with this area of study, using the 2010 Equality Act as an overarching framework. This will be undertaken through the study of relevant academic literature and participatory activities.

The second part of the course will demonstrate how these concepts, theories and perspectives can be applied to the student’s understanding of their individual musical practice(s).

View detailed information about this course
Global Musical Modernism (MU551N)

30 Credit Points

From its inception in the late 19th/early 20th century, Western musical modernity has contained within itself elements of geographically diverse cultures. Paying close attention to decisive political shifts and the facts of colonialism, post-colonialism and decolonialism, students will study a range of modern music showing the importance of various Asian, African and Latin American music for Western musical modernity and how the traditions and practices of Western music have been embraced in turn in innovative ways in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses
Extended Project (MU5524)

60 Credit Points

This course enables students to be creative in developing their own independent and individual ideas through an extended research project in any one, or a combination of, the six MMus study paths (community music, composition, music education, musicology, performance, and sonic arts). Students will acquire a range of skills, techniques and understanding enabling them to become effective researchers in their chosen area(s). The exact nature of the project is the result of negotiation between supervisor (or supervisory team) and student, subject to the approval of the programme coordinator. 

View detailed information about this course

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £22,400
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home / RUK £10,600
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
MMus 12 months or 24 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January Aberdeen View

Programme Information

Semester 1

Semester 1

Full Time Route: Students will take the courses as listed here.

Part Time Route: This route will run over two years. Students can take up to 120 credit points per academic year and must complete 180 credits in total. PD5506 must be taken in year 1 and MU5524 must be taken in year 2. Students may take MU5523 in either year 1 or year 2


Compulsory Courses

PD5506: Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen

Research Communication (MU5523)

30 Credit Points

This course provides students with an applied understanding of research communication skills relevant to all six study paths (community music, composition, music education, musicology, performance, and sonic arts). Students will engage directly with current issues in music research, experiencing and critiquing different methods of written, recorded, and oral communication. The course is structured around the departmental Music Research Seminars, but students are also expected to attend other seminar and/or events relevant to their own research practice.

View detailed information about this course

Optional Courses

Select ONE elective from the list below:

MU5504 Contemporary European Opera (30 credit points)

MU5516 ASN & Community Music (30 credit points)

MU5518 Advanced Sound Design for New Media (30 credit points)

Words and Music (MU5503)

30 Credit Points

This course aims to explore the link between words and music and how composers set various texts through many and varied genres, including eastern music, western music and popular music, and nonsense texts. Intended primarily for composers, this course would also be of interest to singers, conductors and musicologists with an interest in text-setting. Word-painting, structural design and poetic understanding will all be explored.

View detailed information about this course
Semester 2

Semester 2

Compulsory Courses
Extended Project (MU5524)

60 Credit Points

This course enables students to be creative in developing their own independent and individual ideas through an extended research project in any one, or a combination of, the six MMus study paths (community music, composition, music education, musicology, performance, and sonic arts). Students will acquire a range of skills, techniques and understanding enabling them to become effective researchers in their chosen area(s). The exact nature of the project is the result of negotiation between supervisor (or supervisory team) and student, subject to the approval of the programme coordinator. 

View detailed information about this course
Semester 3

Semester 3

Compulsory Courses
Research Practices (MU5022)

30 Credit Points

This course provides students with an opportunity to reflect on and develop their own research practices. Engaging with topics and methods relevant to all six of the MMus study paths (community music, composition, music education, musicology, performance, and sonic arts) the course will encourage students to engage with both novel and well-established approaches to music studies.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select ONE elective from the list below:

MU5019 Space and Immersive Sound (30 credit points)

Renaissance Counterpoint (MU5007)

30 Credit Points

This course is intended both for those interested in Renaissance music and for composition students who wish to explore the many possibilities of musical invention within a very controlled compositional environment. To acquire the basic tools of Renaissance composition, students progress through counterpoint exercises in two and three voices. Through more advanced exercises in motivic placement, canon, invertible counterpoint, and the fundamentals of improvised counterpoint, students learn to structure a complete composition, culminating in a motet for three voices. In addition, works are studied through analysis of compositions.

View detailed information about this course
Vocalstration (MU5008)

30 Credit Points

This course is designed to encourage composers and performers to engage with the ‘orchestrational’ aspects of composing for choir, with particular emphasis upon each section of the choir, its characteristics, compass and blend, and how each part relates to the whole; creating chords that utilise the choir fully, blending choral chords, voice-leading, structuring choral music; the joys and problems when composing for choir with accompaniment (piano, organ & orchestra) and arranging for the voice.

View detailed information about this course
Contemporary Issues in Aesthetics (MU5016)

30 Credit Points

This course will introduce students to the work of key contemporary texts in aesthetics relating to music and the other arts. Texts will be studied, discussed and related to one another. While selected texts will vary from year to year, readings will be taken from writers such as Adorno, Badiou, Benjamin, Barthes, Bloch, Boulez, Deleuze (and Guattari), Dahlhaus, Derrida, Dufrenne, Eco, Gadamer, Habermas, Heidegger, Husserl, Jameson, Jencks, Lachenmann, Lyotard, Nancy, Nietzsche, Rancière, Rihm, Sartre, Schoenberg, Serres, Sloterdijk, Spivak, Stockhausen, Vattimo, Wittgenstein, Zizek.

Examples of issues and questions that may be covered include the nature of modernity, post-modernity more idiosyncratic variable theorisations of recent aesthetic history; the nature and purpose of the contemporary artwork; the beautiful and the sublime; relationships between the arts; the materiality of contemporary art forms; musique informelle.

View detailed information about this course
Musicking (MU5017)

30 Credit Points

This course is based around Christopher Small’s book Musicking. Small proposes that ‘Music is not a thing at all but an activity, something that people do.’ From this basis the course will develop a detailed knowledge and understanding of the various ways in which Community Musicians engage with a broad range of community settings and participants in the activity of musicking. The course will look critically at selected Community Music case studies from the UK, Europe and the USA exploring varying pedagogical underpinnings for project design, initiation, delivery and evaluation.

View detailed information about this course

Programme Fees

Fee information
Fee category Cost
EU / International students £22,400
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home / RUK £10,600
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
PgCert 4 months or 9 months On Campus Learning Full Time or Part Time January View

Programme Information

Stage 1

Stage 1

Compulsory Courses
Research Communication (MU5523)

30 Credit Points

This course provides students with an applied understanding of research communication skills relevant to all six study paths (community music, composition, music education, musicology, performance, and sonic arts). Students will engage directly with current issues in music research, experiencing and critiquing different methods of written, recorded, and oral communication. The course is structured around the departmental Music Research Seminars, but students are also expected to attend other seminar and/or events relevant to their own research practice.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select ONE from the following:

MU5504 - Contemporary European Opera (30 credit points)

MU5518 - Advanced Sound Design for New Media (30 credit points)

MU5516 - ASN & Community Music (30 credit points)

Words and Music (MU5503)

30 Credit Points

This course aims to explore the link between words and music and how composers set various texts through many and varied genres, including eastern music, western music and popular music, and nonsense texts. Intended primarily for composers, this course would also be of interest to singers, conductors and musicologists with an interest in text-setting. Word-painting, structural design and poetic understanding will all be explored.

View detailed information about this course

Programme Fees

Please refer to our InfoHub Tuition Fees page for fee information for this programme, or contact study@abdn.ac.uk.

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

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Assessment is by most appropriate mode for the subject area (e.g., essay, presentation, composition, performance, etc.) and we typically have more than one option within each course to cater to students on different study paths.

Why Study Music?

  • Expert tutorials and courses from specialists across the musical spectrum, including 30 hours of individual lessons for students on the performance study path.
  • A wide range of interesting and imaginative courses
  • Flexibility in tailoring the degree to your specialism
  • A vibrant research environment offered by the Department of Music and the University
  • Opportunities to join various ensembles, music societies, and research groups
  • Create a multi-channel (8.2.4) electroacoustic and sonic arts project at a state-of-the-art electroacoustic studio (Bennachie EA Studio) that offers ambisonic sound acquisition and production capability

Entry Requirements

Candidates must normally have a degree at 2(ii) or above, or equivalent qualification or proven experience in Music.

References are not required for applicants to apply. They are not usually required for a decision to be made but in certain cases, applicants may be asked to provide a single academic reference at the request of the academic selector.

An example of work relevant to the applicant’s study path is required with the application. Anyone applying for more than one study path should provide examples of work in both areas.

For performance, submit two contrasting songs/pieces totalling 7-15 minutes. By ‘contrasting’ we mean songs/pieces that showcase different aspects of the applicant’s musical and technical abilities. We will assess performers working in many genres and styles, e.g., musical theatre, pop vocals and/or classical, operatic singing. A list of our current visiting tutors for performance can be found on the Department of Music web pages. If you cannot see a tutor for your chosen study, please use the email address or Enquire Now button (above) to ask about possible tuition. Whilst we will try to accommodate specific genres/specialisms/instruments, this is not always possible. All performances submitted with applications should be recorded as if live, i.e., without significant editing. Applicants typically include a link to an online video at the end of their personal statement. The video does not need to be made to professional standards; the important thing is that it lets us assess the quality of the performance.

Details about applying for other study paths are in the box below.

Qualifications

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

For music education, submit one essay in English of approximately 2000 words. We prefer to see essays on educational topics, but we can assess essays on any topic related to music or education. coherent academic English and evidence of engagement with relevant scholarly literature (e.g., references to academic sources). Where applicants submit a music education essay, we hope to see evidence of a reflective approach to the topic, ideally engaging with recent debates in the field.

For composition, submit at least two contrasting notated compositions. By ‘contrasting’ we mean compositions that showcase different aspects of the applicant’s abilities. Since most composition tuition in the Department involves some form of notation in the tradition of Western art music, we must see the scores for the submitted compositions. If applicants also wish to provide audio or video files of their compositions, we will assess those, but only the notated scores are required. Applicants typically include (a link to) score files and a brief commentary (no more than 500 words) on the submitted work. We will assess composers working in many genres and styles; what we are looking for is evidence of creativity and experimentation as well as sufficient craft to thrive at master’s level.

For musicology, submit one essay in English of approximately 2000 words. We can assess essays on any topic related to music. The main things we are looking for are coherent academic English and evidence of engagement with relevant scholarly literature (e.g., references to academic sources). We hope to see evidence of a reflective approach to the topic, ideally engaging with recent debates in the field.

For sonic arts, submit at least two contrasting compositions that make good use of technology, which can include electronic music, soundscape composition, audio-visual composition & sound design and music for film and/or games. By 'contrasting' we mean compositions that showcase different aspects of the applicant's technical and creative abilities. Applicants typically include (a link to) audio files and a brief commentary (no more than 500 words) on the submitted work.

For community music, submit one essay in English of approximately 2000 words. We prefer to see essays on community music topics, but we can assess essays on any topic related to music or communities. The main things we are looking for are coherent academic English and evidence of engagement with relevant scholarly literature (e.g., references to academic sources). Where applicants submit a community music essay, we hope to see evidence of a reflective approach to the topic, ideally engaging with recent debates in the field.

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 - 6.0; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

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

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 62 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

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

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fee Information

Additional Fee Information

  • Fees for individual programmes can be viewed in the Programmes section above.
  • 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.

Funding Opportunities

The SFC Postgraduate tuition fee scholarship may be available for those classified as Home/EU fee status students for this programme. Visit the scholarship page for more information.

There is one other scholarships available through the University of Aberdeen Development Trust:

  • Carlaw-Ogston Master of Music Scholarship

Scholarships

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.

Careers

Students entering the MMus might have specific career aspirations from the start, i.e., composition or musicology, or they may want to use the programme as a route to further study (i.e., a PhD). We also welcome students wishing to generalise and simply learn more about their subject.

The courses are designed for in-depth work and to enable students to understand and experience a number of different aspects of music research and the music profession. The degree can also be used as an entry to other professions, as is the case with other postgraduate degrees, where subject specialism is not important.

Our Experts

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

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX