MMus Master of Music

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A rigorously demanding course, the MMus degree offers an opportunity to develop your musicianship and academic skills to a very high level in a range of subject areas.

The course allows you to study a broad range of topics and disciplines in music and musicology, including practical disciplines in Performance, Composition/Creative Audio and Conducting, and research in areas such as Music Psychology, Music Education, Music Arts and Health, Historical Musicology and Contemporary Musicology.

The taught sessions mostly take place on one day of the week (usually Thursday), allowing you to continue with part­time work alongside your studies if you wish. A range of masterclasses and workshops with visiting artists, and a programme of research seminars, are offered throughout the year to enhance your learning.

The Master of Music course aims to produce graduates who are accomplished and confident musicians and/or musicologists, who are able to work at a professional level within their specialist fields of study and who are prepared for further study at PhD level.

The course will develop your technical, conceptual and critical skills which will allow you to engage with music and musicology in a sophisticated and insightful way.

The curriculum is designed to allow you to pursue specialist fields of study to an advanced level, including undertaking an extensive independent practical project or dissertation of your choosing, while developing a keen sense of context for those fields within the broader discipline of music.

The programme offers you the opportunity to enhance your musical, compositional, performance, analytical, critical and research skills. In addition, you will apply these skills to your individual areas of interest in specific optional modules in written and practical disciplines.

Within the course, you'll take modules to a total of 180 credits.

You'll choose from one of the following individual study areas (60 credits each):

  • Performance (solo instrumental or vocal performance with a specialism in classical music, jazz, or commercial music
  • Conducting
  • Composition/Creative Audio (e.g., acoustic composition, electroacoustic composition, popular song writing, sound art, music production)
  • Research Project in a chosen area of musicology (e.g., music psychology, music education, music and health, historical musicology, contemporary musicology)

You have four CORE modules to complete (4 x 20 credits):

  • Research Methods
  • Analysis
  • Contextual Studies
  • Criticism

And then you choose one each from the following pairs of OPTIONAL modules (2 x 20 credits):

  • Aesthetics OR Music Psychology, Health and Education
  • Performance Project OR Creative Project

Part­time students will complete two core modules in their first year (Research Methods and Contextual Studies) and two optional modules (one of Aesthetics or Music Psychology, Health and Education  and one of Performance Project or Creative project), as well as starting work in your individual study area. Then, in the second year, part­time students will complete the remaining two core modules (Analysis and Criticism) and complete the work for the individual study area.


The performance module is focused on your command of advanced instrumental or vocal technique. You will creatively and independently apply this through the development and presentation of musical performances of a professional standard. Your expertise will be informed by a critical awareness of stylistic approaches relevant to your instrument and genre of performance, and by a thorough knowledge of your specialist repertoire in its broader context. You will develop your approaches to audience engagement by communicating knowledge and skills relevant to your repertoire in the form of a final public recital and a portfolio of work reflecting on your professional skills.


This module aims to develop advanced conducting technique. You will apply this technique in individual tutorials and workshops with a range of ensembles suitable to your chosen style, including instrumental and vocal ensembles. You will develop your technical and rehearsal skills, working towards the development and presentation of ensemble performances at a professional standard. Your work will be informed by a thorough knowledge of your repertoire, its context, and the stylistic approaches taken by conductors. You will communicate knowledge and skills relevant to your repertoire in the form of a final public recital and a portfolio of work reflecting on your professional skills.

Composition/Creative Audio

The module aims to develop your practical, creative and technical skills in original composition and/or creative audio to a sophisticated level. You’ll develop a portfolio of substantial and innovative composition/ sound projects exploring ambitious techniques, whatever your chosen genre. In all cases the emphasis is upon developing creativity and individuality, while securing a high professional level of technical, presentational and, if relevant, notational or programming competence. You’ll also produce a portfolio of work reflecting on your professional skills.

Research Project

By undertaking a research project you will develop your research skills both deeply and broadly in one sub­ discipline of music studies. This may include, but may not be limited to: historical musicology; analysis; ethnomusicology; cultural study of music; music sociology; music aesthetics; music psychology; music, health and wellbeing; music education. Emphasis is placed on original thinking, planning and the professional implementation of strategies and methodologies. You will be assessed through an extended dissertation.

You'll also take these four 20­ credit CORE Modules, all of which are assessed through coursework, the majority of which you can tailor to your individual interests:

Research Methods

A practical and theoretical introduction to a range of research methodologies relating to the study of music in performance, composition, and musicology; together with an introduction to issues in empirical research. It will introduce various types of research tools, and will enable you to use the internet and other information technology as resources in musical research. Develop knowledge and understanding of performance and composition as a research technique, deal with specific topics for research in the study of recordings and acquire transferable skills in relation to researching and presenting academic work.

Contextual Studies

Contextual Studies offers you the opportunity to consider, present and discuss your specialist work in context. Relationships between performance, composition and related research areas will be articulated and explored as you draw explicit connections between your specialist area and the discipline as a whole. This module supports you in developing the ability to articulate and respond to critical debate among peers, in and beyond your specialist field.


This module develops your critical ability to study your area of specialism amid the range of approaches to the study of music in the present day. Your approach will be based in your independent study choice but will also take in a variety of approaches presented by your peers.


This module will equip you with the ability and methodological tools to analyse a range of music, and to interpret music in all of its forms. Examples will be selected from the specialisms of the students undertaking the programme.

And choose TWO of the following 20 credit options:


This module explores several of the most essential and contemporary problems of musical aesthetics, locating them principally in the context of contemporary research and practice in music and contemporary musical practice in performance and composition. It considers issues of musical meaning and interpretation in relation to Western art music, including the roles of subjectivity, identity and society. You'll become familiar with the work of several important authors in musical aesthetics and twentieth century continental philosophy and you will be able to apply these debates and positions to your own area of study. Assessment will be through coursework.

Music, Psychology, Health and Education

This module develops your awareness and application of methods and theories in areas of musicology that have an empirical aspect. This may include, but may not be limited to, music psychology, music and health and music education. These will be linked with the areas of study of the students undertaking the module. Assessment will be through coursework.

Performance Project

This module gives you the opportunity to develop creative approaches to performance in a range of professional settings. These may include, but may not be limited to, ensemble and choral rehearsals, accompaniment and historically informed performance. Performance related skills may include use of technology, style or genre-based performance practice, historical performance practice, accompaniment, ensemble communication, musical interpretation and historical interpretation. You will design and realise your project in consultation with your tutor. Assessment will be through a workshop and a final project.

Creative Project

Your creative project equips you with the skills to develop creative approaches in a range of professional settings. These may include, but may not be limited to, improvisation, group composition, ensemble work, music in the community, music in education and studio work. Creative approaches may include issues of leadership, collaboration, professionalism and responding to client briefs, along with multimedia and interdisciplinary approaches (for example, visual art, film, lighting design, writing and acting). You will design and realise your project in consultation with the tutor. Assessment will be through a workshop and a final project.

Graduates of the MMus course typically go on to a range of careers which have included portfolio careers in music, performance and composition, working in a professional studio, music education and music research at PhD level.

Your specialist field of study will be tackled primarily through independent learning, supported by either tutorials or instrumental or conducting lessons as appropriate. Students undertaking independent study in similar disciplines will meet for workshops and seminars during the year as they develop their work.

Supporting this, critical and contextual awareness will be explicitly developed through core modules, which are delivered through seminars that may be student-led. The option modules allow students to explore highly specific areas of music and musicology, through lecture- and seminar-based teaching, and to undertake projects within their own interests through seminars and workshop-based learning.

The music staff comprises resident and visiting specialists who contribute to the MMus through lectures, seminars, workshops and masterclasses. Performance and composition­based subjects are supported by a generous allowance of individual tuition. You'll also participate in a range of public performances and concert activity within the University and beyond.

The lectures usually take place on just one day of the week (normally a Thursday), and so the course is flexible for students wishing to continue working alongside their studies.


2019/20 tuition fees for this course

Full-time £7,700 £12,420
Part-time £3,850 N/A

Alumni of Canterbury Christ Church University are eligible for a 20% discount on this course, subject to terms and conditions.

Tuition fees for all courses which last more than one academic year are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

There will be an annual inflationary increase in tuition fees for this course where the course lasts more than one academic year. For further information read the 2019/20 Tuition fee statements and continuing fee information.

Government loans of up to £10,906 are available for some postgraduate Master’s courses for students starting their course from 1 August 2018. Loans are subject to both personal and course eligibility criteria.

The rules around course eligibility mean that in some cases it may depend on how you are studying (full-time or part-time) as to whether you can apply for a postgraduate loan. To check whether your course is eligible, you can  email the Student Fees Team or call 01227 923 948.

Read more about  postgraduate masters student loans.

Students may self-fund their course or a sponsor may fund or part-fund. Bursaries, scholarships and fee discounts may also be available.

Further information

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any library fees and fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

You will be assessed through a wide range of assignments throughout the programme. These include musical performance, composition portfolios, written work, research posters, presentations and learning journals, and will be specific to the disciplines and modules that you choose to study.

The independent study modules will be assessed through a major project in each, with performance and conducting assessed through a recital, composition through a portfolio, and research project through a dissertation.

Within core modules, you will undertake coursework assignments that assess skills and techniques that are central to research and professional work in music. There is an element of peer learning and support in Contextual Studies which will provide you with continuous formative feedback, while the preparation of final projects in this module and in the Performance Project and Creative Project options will test your ability to develop and demonstrate an independent approach to critical engagement with a topic. Assessed seminar presentations in Contextual Studies will invite you to realise or speak and write about your work as a composer, performer or researcher.

The range of assessment tasks in the option modules further reflects the range of subjects that you might study and assessment tasks may include learning journals, essays, posters, workshop presentations, compositions and performances.

The Larissa Lovelock Memorial Scholarship is available to outstanding graduates of Canterbury Christ Church University who have proceeded to postgraduate study.

The Canterbury Festival Composition prize is a cash award, available through open competition to students of composition in the School.

General Music Scholarships for extra development activities are available to students on the course by application to the Scholarships Committee.

Fact file

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 1 year full-time
    2 years part-time


  • September

Typical contact hours per week

  • In Semester 1, compulsory teaching is 11-7 on Thursday, in Semester 2 it is 9-5 on Thursday, with an extra class 5-7 on some weeks. Masterclasses (Friday/Wednesdays), composition workshops (Mondays/Wednesdays), concerts (Wednesdays) and ensemble rehearsals (throughout the week) are all open to MMus students and tutorials are available throughout the week by arrangement. Thursday is the only compulsory day so that students can combine study with work if they wish to.

Entry requirements

  • A good honours degree (2:2 or higher) in music, or equivalent academic or professional experience. Applicants must be able to show that their background in their chosen independent study is sufficient for development at postgraduate level.
  • The selection of entrants is normally based on audition or interview in the School of Music and Performing Arts. Performance audition programmes should be approximately 20 minutes long, and demonstrate the breadth of your command of style and technique. Portfolios of creative or academic work should be of comparable scope and submitted in advance of interview.



Last edited 09/09/2019 12:13:00

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Last edited: 09/09/2019 12:13:00