Taught course

Popular Music (Research, Production or Performance)

University of Kent · School of Music and Fine Art

Entry requirements

A first or 2.1 honours degree, usually in a relevant humanities subject. In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path but who may have relevant experience in the industry. These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Months of entry


Course content

Our taught and research programmes are exciting and innovative, offering you the opportunity to mix with composers, sound designers, film-makers, technologists, ethnomusicologists, theorists, visual artists and curators.

During your time with us, you become part of our specialist community, exchanging ideas and developing your own creative and intellectual interests, informed by expert academic staff within the School of Music and Fine Art.

All our MA programmes are designed to provide knowledge and skills in practice-based research, as well as giving you experience of current research practices in various areas of critical and analytical thinking. The MA in Popular Music (Research, Production or Performance) offers a high level of flexibility enabling you to choose a pathway that best suits your key interests.

Course structure

The programme is divided into two stages. Stage 1 comprises modules to a total of 120 credits and Stage 2 comprises a 60 credit dissertation module. Students must successfully complete each module in order to be awarded the specified number of credits for that module. One credit corresponds to approximately ten hours of 'learning time' (including all classes and all private study and research). Thus obtaining 180 credits in an academic year requires 1,800 hours of overall learning time.


The programme has three pathways: Research, Production or Performance. Students choose one of these pathways. The three pathways are distinguished in the four ways set out below:

A pathway will usually be reinforced by the choice of research area for the Dissertation module.

  1. Pathways are primarily distinguished by choices made in the Specialist Project module:
    Research: Musicological/Ethnomusicological study
    Production: Production portfolio
    Performance: Concert
  2. The recommended option modules for each pathway creates a further distinction between pathways:
    Research: Popular and World Music OR Collaborative Project
    Production: Cinema for the Ears OR Advanced Acoustics and Psychoacoustics
    Performance: Ensemble Performance OR Technology in Performance
  3. The recommended compulsory module choice creates a further distinction between pathways:
    Research: Critical and Historical Perspectives on Music
    Production: Advanced Audio Skills
    Performance: Advanced Audio Skills OR Critical and Historical Perspectives on Music

Programme Structure for Part-Time Students

In year 1, part-time students study for the Dissertation module and EITHER Critical and Historical Perspectives on Music OR Advanced Audio Skills. In year 2, part-time students study for the Specialist Project module and an option module.

Teaching and Assessment

Assessment is by a range of coursework, including individual projects, skills-based tasks, seminar presentations and written work.

Information for international students

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Fees and funding

Please visit our funding web pages for the most current information.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

School of Music and Fine Art
+44 (0) 1634 202966