Music MA

We are a top 2 UK modern university for Music.
The Guardian University Guide 2023


This innovative new MA in Music puts your interests at the heart of your experience.

Building on the success of our undergraduate Music programmes, this exciting new MA Music aims to provide a supportive and encouraging environment in which to develop your practice.

We have flipped the traditional structure of a Masters, where taught modules are followed by a final project or dissertation, by enabling you to work on and develop your major project from the outset.

This programme is ideal for musicians, composers, producers and artists who want to develop their practice, and for scholars who wish to take an academic approach to their study. There is no requirement for undergraduate music study and we welcome practitioners and scholars from all disciplines.

Typical entry point to this course is in September. Please enquire for more information.

To ensure there is sufficient time to process your application, we encourage you to submit your application by 30th of June.

Student playing the piano in a music studio

Mode of Study:



1 year

Start date:


Course details

We believe that exploration and experimentation are central to the postgraduate experience. You will develop practices and ways of working that are at the intersection of practice, reflection and the transmission of ideas, findings and creative outputs.

This exciting new MA in music has been designed to foster and encourage: 
  • Exploration and experimentation
  • Criticality and reflection
  • Engagement with knowledge and practice

This programme will facilitate an individualised experience in which you will develop your practice, knowledge and understanding of your place in the world through the development of critical reflection abilities. You will be encouraged and supported as you develop a deep understanding of the context of your work/practice and the work of others in a scholarly/artistic context.

Five interrelated compulsory modules are specifically designed to allow students to achieve our programme aims which are to:
  • Engage creatively with your chosen field(s), challenging yourself to explore and innovate within your chosen area(s) of practice.
  • Develop and demonstrate your ability for critical and reflective thought and judgement.
  • Develop understanding(s) of research/practical methodologies and the use and application of method(s).
  • Explore/create a range of modes of artistic/scholarly communication.
  • Interrogate and respond to the context(s) in which your practice is articulated.

This programme spans three trimesters (September to August). 
Trimesters 1 and 2 are delivered through fortnightly lectures, seminars and workshops. 

Trimester 3 is mainly supervised independent study, but with two intensive weeks of contact with staff and peers, including our exciting MA conference day which gives you the opportunity to share and showcase work with staff and peers, to receive feedback and to engage in critique sessions.

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    How you’ll be taught

    This programme includes interactive lectures, workshops, tutorials, seminars and each module includes a great deal of independent study, supported by your supervisor(s).

    Our teaching staff have an enormous range of scholarly and professional experience, meaning that you will have a wide range of options available for project supervision.
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    Your assessments are mapped out across your programme and include formative activities to help develop your work. Assessments include a range of approaches such as essays, interactive poster/multimedia presentations, oral presentations and a PhD-style viva voce exam for the main project.
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    This programme is supported by state-of-the-art facilities, with three high-quality recording studios and a fully networked lab, running Logic, ProTools, Sibelius, Ableton Live, Max.

    We have two Avid Certified Instructors and ProTools experts on the staff. Our well-equipped practice rooms (with 24/7 access), teaching rooms, library and recital areas ensure that all your needs are met on campus.


Modules that you will study* as part of this course

Doing ( MUS11114 )

This module provides you with the opportunity to undertake a large-scale project in your chosen area of study. Your project may have a scholarly or a practice-led focus and you will be guided by a supervisor to develop your ideas, practice, and methods in a manner appropriate to your chosen field or area of study. This module runs across all three trimesters to allow for long-term, in-depth study/investigation and practice/development throughout the programme. The first trimester includes workshops and seminars designed to help you select, refine, and begin to develop a viable project. Contact in the second trimester is intended to support you in honing your research process and to further develop your use of the tools, methods, and processes that pertain to your specific project. You will be supported through these trimesters by seminars in which you will present on and discuss your work with staff and peers. You will also have individual tutorials in which you can bring specific questions to your assigned supervisor receive feedback on formative work. In the third trimester contact will take place during 2 intensive study weeks (weeks 4 and 9) in which you will have the opportunity to discuss and present your work in detail, and to receive feedback and support from staff and peers. You will also have the opportunity for more individual tutorials with your supervisor.

You will finish your project and submit it for consideration by the programme team. Your work will be critiqued and scrutinised by a panel of examiners from the programme team and the questions and queries that arise will form the basis of discussion in the viva voce exam. The viva voce exam forms the entirety of the summative assessment for this module.

Further information

Exploring ( MUS11115 )

The purpose of this module is to give you the opportunity to do work on a project that will challenge your current practices and which may involve completely experimental and exploratory methods. The idea is that, by engaging in unfamiliar practices and methods, you will develop different ways of working, encounter the works and practices of others, and this will benefit your development as practitioners, scholars, artists, and researchers.

Activity in this module is primarily student-led, and supported by seminars in which you will engage critically with staff and peers by providing and receiving constructive criticism, feedback, and support. When you have selected an area of research/practice you will be assigned a supervisor, from whom you will receive guidance and support throughout the module in the form of three 1:1 tutorials.

Further information

Methodologies ( MUS11118 )

This module will focus on the exploration, critique, and application of a range of methodologies that pertain to the chosen areas of investigation/practice of the student cohort. The purpose of this module is to get you to question the nature of your practice(s) and to conduct theoretical and practical critiques and analyses of a range of qualitative, quantitative, and practice-based/led methods appropriate to your scholarly/artistic work.

During this module, consideration will be given to epistemological and ontological issues in research (traditional and practice-based), philosophies of scholarly investigation, and approaches to the development of knowledge and creative work. Research ethics and integrity will also be a key focus.

Further information

Thinking About ( MUS11116 )

In this module, you will have the opportunity to develop ways in which you think about, contextualise, and critique your own work in your chosen practice field. You will discuss and critique various ways of thinking about music specific to a range of disciplines and fields in order to frame your understanding of your own practice and its location within the wider field and community of practice.
If you are currently engaged in practice-based research this module will be invaluable for demonstrating the research content of work where this is not immediately apparent from the artefact, but all students, including those adopting more traditional academic practices, will participate in an ongoing questioning and contextualisation of what you are doing and how you are doing it.

Further information

Transmitting ( MUS11117 )

This module provides you with the opportunity to discuss, explore, and engage in some of the various types of scholarly/artistic transmission associated with your chosen field. You will develop the skills and knowledge required to make and justify decisions about appropriate strategies of transmission for your work and to reflect on and critique your practice in a way that is appropriate for the field that your work is located in. You may wish to explore a range of transmission strategies for scholarly and artistic work, including public lectures, broadcast, innovative performance strategies, networked arts transmission, exhibition, for example.

Further information

* These are indicative only and reflect the course structure in the current academic year. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Dr Zack Moir

Zack Moir is programme lead for the MA Music, an Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Applied Music Research Centre. His primary research interests are in music education, popular music, composition/production, social justice, and networked performance.


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements for Music?

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at 2:2 or above in any discipline.

All applicants must also submit a portfolio with their application.

  • If you anticipate undertaking creative or practical work such as songwriting, composition, or production etc. as part of the MA programme, please also include examples of your work in this area. This can be links to publicly available work (e.g. YouTube, Spotify, Soundcloud) or to work stored on the cloud, for example.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient professional work experience within the industry.

Suitable candidates will be required to attend an interview with the Programme Leader and a portfolio may also be requested prior to interview.

Can I get admission into Music based on my working experience in this sector?

This course has academic entry requirements which are assessed alongside relevant work experience. Full details of any relevant work experience, including references should be submitted with your application and may be considered for entry where the minimum academic entry requirements are below those required.

Usually, unrelated work experience is not considered sufficient for entry without meeting the minimum academic entry requirements. Please contact us with your specific circumstances by submitting an enquiry form above and we will be happy to discuss your options.

Can I make an appointment with an advisor to discuss further about the admission process?

If you want to get more information on the admission process, please get in touch with the postgraduate admissions team by submitting an enquiry form above.

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test.  The English Language requirements for this programme are IELTS (Academic) with an overall score of 6.5 with no individual component score of less than 6.0. For guidance on the acceptability of other English Language tests please contact

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students From 2024/25 2025/26
Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £7,280 £tba
Overseas and EU £18,800 £tba
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
The University offers a 20% discount on Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes to its alumni. The discount applies to all full-time, part-time and online programmes. The discount can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount. For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.

Please note:

The discount for Edinburgh Napier alumni can only be applied to year one of a full-time Postgraduate degree, any additional years are exempt from the discount.

For part time Postgraduate degrees the discount will apply to years one, two and three only and any additional years will be exempt from the discount.

Please read our full T&C here


This programme has been designed to develop practical, scholarly, and critical skills, preparing students for a wide range of career opportunities. This programme is also the ideal springboard for doctoral study.

Potential opportunities include:
  • Doctoral study (research or practice-based)
  • Performance
  • Composition/Songwriting
  • Production
  • Audio Engineering
  • Musicology
  • Music Education
  • Arts Administration
  • Sound Design
  • Music Management or Promotion
Students working on computers using Music software