MMus Music & Culture

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

Cutting-edge research with an Irish grounding and a world-wide reach lies at the heart of our taught Master's programme, which gives students the opportunity to work with scholars of international standing in the School’s core disciplines of ethnomusicology, historical musicology and composition. Foundation modules in these areas are followed by case studies based on the research specialisms of our staff. Irish musical culture features prominently in the programme, including case study modules on “Sounding Ireland Onscreen” and “Popular Music in Ireland,” yet the profile of the degree is by no means restricted to Irish topics.

Overall, the degree furnishes students with the core intellectual tools for pursuing musicological or practice-based (composition) research while also facilitating specialisation and encouraging independent scholarship. Students are part of a lively, collaborative research culture and engage regularly with visiting seminar speakers. Students often go on to doctoral study, when they are supported by faculty during the Masters to develop research ideas and funding proposals, yet also go on to a range of related careers in the arts and cultural heritage sector, media, teaching, and many other professions.

The UCD School of Music is one of the leading centres for graduate musical study in Ireland and a QS World Top 100 Performing Arts department.

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

The MMus Music and Culture degree will appeal to students who wish to prepare for further research in Music and to those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of historical musicology, ethnomusicology and composition. The programme aims to develop students’ analytical research skills, creative capacities and independent critical and reflective thinking and writing, within a supportive research-oriented environment.

We value ambition, dedication, and passion for music in all its forms: critical reflection on music, performance to the highest professional standards, and engagement with composition through writing music, analysis and reflection.
The programme gives students an opportunity to work with scholars of international standing in the School’s core disciplines of historical musicology, ethnomusicology and composition. In keeping with UCD’s aim of bringing the best of Ireland to the world and the best of the world to Ireland, a special focus lies on how the history and the present state of music and musicological discourse in Ireland relate to their international counterparts.

The degree emphasises progression from taught foundational modules, through focused case studies reflecting the School’s major research and creative strengths, to opportunities for independent research and composition. Teaching is in small seminars and requires intensive student preparation. The Graduate Colloquium enables students to present their own research (a twenty-minute paper) in a supportive peer environment. The programme culminates in the writing of either a research dissertation on a topic of the student’s choosing or a composition portfolio.

On completion of the programme the students should:

  • have developed a specialised understanding of the principal developments and trends within at least two of the core disciplines of historical musicology, ethnomusicology and composition, and be conversant with a wide range of methodological and interdisciplinary approaches;
  • have acquired an understanding of how Ireland's musical history and present state of musical and musicological discourses relate to those of other countries;
  • have developed, if taking composition options, a good command of a range of compositional techniques in different styles and genres;
  • be able to undertake independent research and deal confidently with the various forms of primary evidence available for research in musicology;
  • demonstrate critical understanding of diverse academic viewpoints;
  • be able to deliver oral presentations clearly and confidently, and engage constructively in group discussions;
  • be able to analyse primary and secondary evidence, place it in context, and assess its reliability;
  • demonstrate the ability to participate appropriately in an academic community;
  • have developed solid writing skills including the ability to engage in rigorous and original research-based work;
  • have developed a range of transferable skills and experience, including disciplined work methods, rigorous, and analytical and imaginative thinking, which would facilitate scholarly progression in music and musicology, but also within a wide range of professional contexts.

Many alumni of the MMus Degree have gone on to successful careers in arts administration, journalism, and teaching. Recent graduates have also gone on to pursue doctoral work in musicology and ethnomusicology at internationally-renowned institutions such as Cambridge University, King’s College London, and the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Our graduates occupy academic posts throughout Ireland and the UK (including Royal Holloway, Goldsmiths, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester) and further afield (including Queensland and Sydney); they also hold positions with the BBC and RTÉ (radio and television) and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

View All Modules Here

The core modules listed below are offered every year; some spring trimester option modules may vary from year-to-year.

Autumn Trimester (30 credits)

  • Foundations in Historical Musicology, 10 credits  (option)
  • Foundations in Ethnomusicology, 10 credits (option)
  • Foundations in Composition, 10 Credits (option)
  • Doing Research, 5 credits (core)
  • New Ideas in Musicology, 5 credits (core)

Spring Trimester (30 credits)

  • Popular Music Ethnography, 10 credits (option)
  • Post-Truth, Politics & Music, 5 credits (option)
  • Music & Philosophy, 10 credits (option)
  • Music Industries, 5 credits (option)
  • Death in Music, 5 credits (option)
  • Sounding Ireland Onscreen, 5 credits (option)
  • Popular Music in Ireland, 5 credits (option)
  • Advanced Music Theory, 5 credits (option)
  • Composition 1, 5 credits (option)
  • Composition 2, 5 credits (option)
  • Graduate Colloquium, 5 credits (core)

Summer Trimester  (30 credits)

  • Dissertation, 30 credits (option)
  • Composition Portfolio, 30 credits (option)

MMus Music & Culture (Z357) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 9100
nonEU    fee per year - € 22600

MMus Music & Culture (Z358) Part Time
EU          fee per year - € 4550
nonEU    fee per year - € 11300

***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

A Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor in a cognate area with a minimum 2.1 or an equivalent of a UCD GPA of 3.08 (NFQ Level 8) or equivalent.  Cognate areas include Music, Musicology, Ethnomusicology, Music Education and Performance Studies.  In some cases the School of Music will accept applicants from English, History, Sociology and Anthropology.  However, the School will first assess the applicant's ability to read musical notation and engage with Music Theory. Written sample work (1000-4000 words) and two positive academic references will be required.  Applicants whose first language is not English are also required to submit evidence of their English language proficiency.  It is expected that applicants will normally have reached an overall 7.0 in IELTS, with no individual band lower than 6.5, or equivalent.

These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes.

The following entry routes are available:

MMus Music & Culture FT (Z357)
1 Years
Full Time
MMus Music & Culture PT (Z358)
2 Years
Part Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised