Best Schools for Master’s in Music in the UK

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Master’s in Music

A Master’s in Music in the UK provides students with a high-level postgraduate education in one of several pathways available to music scholars. Students may choose to specialise in areas such as performance, music theory or composition. Music programs are offered at many top schools throughout the UK. Generally, Master’s programs in Music strive to balance history and tradition with contemporary and experimental directions.

What Is a Master’s in Music?

A Master’s in Music is an advanced course of study that usually takes from one to two years to complete in the UK. Many programs offer a great degree of flexibility through part-time options that enable students to continue working.

Most Master’s programs offer several tracks for students to specialise in, depending on their proficiencies and interests. Some also require all students to take a few core courses, which usually consist of a comprehensive overview of the discipline with emphasis on important issues and debates. Other coursework may consist of a balance of electives and requires training. The most common postgraduate Music disciplines consist of:

  • Performance
  • Musicology / Music Theory
  • Composition
  • Studio Production

Depending on what your chosen discipline is, your final project may consist of a heavily researched dissertation, a professional recital or a composition portfolio. Students who will be submitting a dissertation may be required to take a course in research techniques.

Musicology students can expect to take many research-intense courses, including music history, cultural study of music, current theory, music and technology and contemporary issues in music. Those who focus on performance, production or composition will take a mix of technique-honing seminars and practice courses. Many programs assign individual tutors or academic supervisors to assist students in formulating their academic path and reaching their goals.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Master’s in Music in the UK?

Many excellent schools in the UK offer Master’s in Music programs with a high level of instruction by recognized experts. Continuing your musical education by pursuing this advanced course of study allows you to raise your performance technique to a higher level. Performing, composing and production students gain exposure to high-level techniques in their respective crafts, while acquiring a grounding in the underlying history and theory. Musicology students benefit from a research-intense environment and access to important materials. They also have the opportunity of interacting with top theoretical thinkers and engaging in critical dialogue with history and contemporary issues in music.

In addition to formal instruction, many UK programs offer several types of education-enhancing activities. These may include guest speakers, conferences and opportunities for students to present research, performances or compositions.

Earning a Master’s in Music from a UK school is a great way for both UK and international students to hone their skills and interact with leading musicians, composers and theoreticians. It also allows students to focus on specific areas in musical knowledge such as ethnomusicology or the use of music in film.

What Kind of Career Can You Expect With a Master’s in Music?

A Master’s in Music is an important enhancement to any musical career. Employers understand that an advanced degree in music means not just high-level skills but also the ability to communicate, organise, think independently and complete substantial, complex projects. Careers for Master’s in Music degree holders may include many different types of employment. Those seeking a traditional performance career may choose one of the following professions:

  • Orchestra musician
  • Conductor
  • Soloist
  • Vocal performer
  • Composer
  • Choral director
  • Film scorer

Other graduates may be interested in production or technology oriented careers, which may include:

  • Audio producer
  • Digital aggregator
  • Audio engineer
  • Synthesis specialist
  • Instrument designer
  • Music editing engineer
  • Instrument builder and repairer
  • Recording producer
  • Sound designer

Graduates who have specialised in theory, or who simply wish to pursue a less performance-focused career may pursue employment in music-related fields, including:

  • Band promoter
  • Talent scout
  • Radio programming director
  • Orchestra personnel manager
  • Music publisher
  • Music curator
  • Music critic

A Master’s in Music can also be valuable for someone who wishes to obtain an instructor position, especially at an advanced college level. Some graduates who pursued the music theory track may wish to continue their studies and obtain a PhD in music theory.

University of Birmingham

Birmingham, United Kingdom

  • 75SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 17,061Average Tuition
  • 70%Acceptance Rate

The University of Birmingham is located in the heart of England with campuses in the Edgbaston and Selly Oak areas of the city of Birmingham. Birmingham University offers over 350 different courses in its undergraduate program; 400 postgraduate taught courses; 140 research courses and 450 PhD opportunities....

University of Gloucestershire

Cheltenham, United Kingdom

  • 105SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 17,415Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

University of Gloucestershire (Gloucestershire) has multiple campuses across Gloucestershire and Cheltenham, United Kingdom. Students at Gloucestershire are offered a wide range of master’s degree programs through its 8 academic schools, including: School of Art and Design; School of Liberal and Performing Arts; School of Natural and Social Sciences; and the School of Media....

University of Chester

Chester, United Kingdom

  • 118SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 14,563Average Tuition
  • 65%Acceptance Rate

The University of Chester is one of the oldest universities in the UK. Founded in 1839, it is a public university situated in Chester, England. The University has dedicated faculties, through which it delivers master’s degree programs to local and international students. ...

Bath Spa University

Bath, United Kingdom

  • 124SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 16,869Average Tuition
  • 89%Acceptance Rate

Bath Spa University (Bath Spa) has campuses located in Newton Park and Sion Hill, Bath, United Kingdom. Bath Spa also has a campus located in the market town of Corsham. Bath Spa offers over a 100 master’s degree programs across its 4 academic schools, namely: Bath Business School; Bath School of Art and Design; College of Liberal Arts; and the Institute for Education....

York St John University

York, United Kingdom

  • 149SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 15,647Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

York St John University (York St John) is a public university located along Lord Mayor's Walk in York, England, UK. York St John offers a wide range of master's degree programs across its nine academic schools including: Art, Design and Computer Science; Education; Health Sciences; Humanities, Religion and Philosophy; and Sport....

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury, United Kingdom

  • 156SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 13,684Average Tuition
  • 100%Acceptance Rate

Canterbury Christ Church University focuses on educating people going into public service. It retains its status as a Church of England foundation. It is also known as England's "missionary university"....

Goldsmiths, University of London

London, United Kingdom

  • 253SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 21,019Average Tuition
  • 9.3%Acceptance Rate

Goldsmiths, University of London (Goldsmiths) is a public university located in New Cross, South East London, UK. Goldsmiths offers a wide range of master's degree programs across its academic faculties including: Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE); Confucius Institute for Dance and Performance; Media, Communications and Cultural Studies (MCCS); Institute of Management Studies (IMS); and Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies (STaCS)....

Bangor University

Bangor, United Kingdom

  • 329SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 19,574Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

Bangor University (Bangor) is located in Bangor, in coastal Wales, United Kingdom. Bangor offers over a 100 master’s degree courses through its 3 academic colleges, namely: the College of Arts, Humanities and Business; the College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering; and the College of Human Sciences....

University of Hull

Hull, United Kingdom

  • 381SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 19,377Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

The University of Hull (Hull) has a single-site campus located in Hull, United Kingdom. A wide range of master’s degree programs are offered at Hull through its 4 academic faculties, namely: Faculty of Health Sciences; Faculty of Business, Law and Politics; Faculty of Arts, Culture and Education; and the Faculty of Science and Engineering....

University of the West of Scotland

Hamilton, United Kingdom

  • 400SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 15,568Average Tuition
  • 23%Acceptance Rate

The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has 4 campuses across West Scotland, and a campus in London, United Kingdom. UWS offers over 60 master’s degree programs through its 5 academic schools, namely: School of Health and Life Sciences; School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences; School of Business and Enterprise; School of Media, Culture and Society; and the School of Education....