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Music MMus

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This course offers you the opportunity to consolidate and expand your knowledge of music in a world-leading university.

In our Musicology & Ethnomusicology pathway, you can explore a wide range of music and approaches, while learning advanced skills in writing and research. Our Composition pathway allows you to both develop your compositional skills and explore other areas of music studies. You can also select from a wide range of modules across Arts & Humanities at King’s.

Our location in the heart of London means you have access to major arts and research centres.


Key benefits


  • Intensively taught course covering a wide range of specialised topics.

  • Provides a foundation for further research focusing on current approaches and advanced techniques.

  • Musicology & Ethnomusicology students choose from historical, sociocultural and theoretical modules taught by distinguished staff.

  • Composition students benefit from one-to-one lessons and participation in composition seminars and have the opportunity to hear their works performed by resident ensemble Lontano.

  • Option to take modules in other Arts & Humanities departments at King’s, or at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

  • Located in the heart of London’s music scene, with two major opera companies (Royal Opera Covent Garden and English National Opera) and two major arts centres (South Bank Centre - location of the Royal Festival Hall - and Barbican) within walking distance.

Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake No set number. Average 15 FT, 5 PT.

Course leaders Professor Martin Stokes (Musicology and Ethnomusicology), Professor Silvina Milstein (Composition)

Further details

Course contact for further information Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of Music



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Music MMus

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Course detail


On this course you may specialise in either Composition or Musicology & Ethnomusicology. (Please note, we do not offer a Performance pathway.) We encourage you to choose modules that reflect your particular interests, and up to a third of your optional module choices may be from other Arts & Humanities departments, meaning you can build a broad and truly individual study pathway.

Our specialist modules will teach you current approaches to academic writing on music as well as advanced techniques for research and composition. At the end of your course, you will submit a special study – either a dissertation or a substantial work of 8-15 minutes in duration (for composers) – for which we will give you one-to-one supervision.

Our aim is to nurture leaders in musicology, ethnomusicology and composition. If you intend to go on to research or composition at doctoral level, or if you want to build on your existing skills, this course will be ideal for you.

Further literature

Course format and assessment


If you are studying the Musicology & Ethnomusicology Pathway, we will give you six hours of teaching each week (if you are a part-time student, this is two to four in your first year, and one to two in your second) through seminars, and we will expect you to undertake 24 hours (12 hours for part-time) of self-study.

If you are studying the Composition Pathway, we will give you four hours of teaching each week (one to two hours if you are a part-time student) through seminars and one-to-one teaching, and we will expect you to undertake 26 hours of self-study (13 hours for part-time).

We will use a delivery method that will ensure students have a rich, exciting experience from the start. Assessments are typically submitted electronically and assessed within our web-based teaching platform.

Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.


We will assess you entirely through coursework. If you are studying the Musicology & Ethnomusicology Pathway, you will write a 12,000-word dissertation or critical edition.

If you are studying the Composition Pathway, you will compose a substantial work lasting 8-15 minutes.


The course is primarily taught on the King’s College London Strand Campus. Our location in the heart of London gives you easy access to a huge variety of cultural and musical opportunities, such as the two major opera companies (Royal Opera Covent Garden and English National Opera) and two major arts centres (South Bank Centre—where the Royal Festival Hall and other performance spaces are located, and Barbican), both within walking distance.

Regulating body
King’s College London is regulated by the Office for Students.


Year 1

Courses are divided into modules. You will normally take modules totalling 180 credits.
Required Modules

Musicology & Ethnomusicology Pathway - Required modules

You are required to take:

· Special Study in Musicology or Ethnomusicology (60 credits): a dissertation or critical edition of 12,000 words (c. 8,000 words in the case of critical editions or transcription projects)

Composition Pathway - Required modules

You are required to take:

· Special Study in Composition (60 credits): a substantial work of 8-15 minutes in duration. The composition must be notated in a conventional manner.

The following is a list of suggested suitable projects:

· a work for small orchestra or large instrumental ensemble

· a choral work

· a string quartet

· a piano sonata or set of variations

· a song cycle

Optional Modules

In addition, you are required to take six modules (totalling 120 credits) from a range that may typically include:

Musicology & Ethnomusicology Pathway

· Issues in Historiography and Criticism (20 credits)

· Material Culture in Nineteenth Century Music (20 credits)

· Medieval Music from the Sources (20 credits)

· Regional Studies in Music Research (20 credits)

· History in Ethnomusicology (20 credits)

· Mozart: Biography & Criticism (20 credits)

· Issues & Topics in Jazz (20 credits)

· Mozart in London (20 credits)

· Ethnomusicology and Social Theory (20 credits)

· Post-Tonal Music and Compositional Theory (20 credits)

· Late Beethoven (20 credits)


Composition Pathway

In addition, you are required to take between three and six modules (totalling 120 credits) from a range that may typically include:

· Post-Tonal Music & Compositional Theory (20 credits)

· Introduction to Free Composition Studies (40 credits)

· Composing for Large Ensemble or Orchestra (40 credits)

· Orchestration (20 credits)

· Any of the postgraduate musicology and ethnomusicology modules, such as those listed above

You are also free to choose up to 40 of your 180 credits from Master’s modules offered across the Faculty of Arts & Humanities or from MMus modules (excluding performance and composition) offered by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant courses of study. Therefore, modules offered in a given year may change from the examples listed above. We suggest you consult the department website for updates on recent module offerings.

Entry requirements & how to apply

Music Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements 2:1

Bachelor's degree with 2:1 honours in Music or a related discipline is usually required. However applicants with equivalent qualifications or experience will be seriously considered.

In order to meet the academic entry requirements for this programme you should have a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree with a final mark of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme. If you are still studying you should be achieving an average of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme.

Additional requirements  for "Musicology" or "Composition" pathways (please note, we do not offer Performance): please read carefully the instructions for your Personal Statement and Supporting Information below

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band C Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £70 applies.

Applications are normally considered within four to six weeks of receipt of references and written work. They are seen by at least two members of the teaching staff; candidates may be called for interview or (for overseas candidates) interviewed by phone or Skype.

Personal statement and supporting information

Please note that there are different application procedures for Composition or Musicology and Ethnomusicology pathways. You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

MMus checklist
Personal Statement Yes (all applicants)

A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages). Please give your reasons for applying and achievements to date. In the first sentence of your personal statement, please make clear which pathway you are applying for - Composition or Musicology and Ethnomusicology.

Previous Academic Study Yes (all applicants) A scan or digital copy of your official academic transcript(s) showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English will need to submit both the original and an official translation of their documents.
References Yes (all applicants) One academic reference is required. A professional reference will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago. In some cases, we may request an additional reference from you.
Portfolio Composition only

Applicants for the Composition pathway should send a portfolio of recent scores (pdf), accompanied by recordings of the works if available. You can provide these digitally, uploading them in the writing sample section of your application.

Writing Sample Musicology and Ethnomusicology only Applicants for the Musicology and Ethnomusicology pathway should upload an undergraduate dissertation (if available) or two or three recent essays to the writing sample section of your application. Your work should engage with the existing scholarly literature (so essays that are purely descriptive or technical are unlikely to be appropriate).
Other Optional Applicants may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of their application

Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. Our first application deadline is the 26th March 2021. After this date, the programme will remain open only if places are still available and will be closed as soon as it is full.

For programmes that remain open beyond this date, the final application deadlines for the following fee statuses are listed below:

  • EU or overseas (international) fee status: 30th July 2021
  • Home fee status: 27th August 2021

Please note, you will not be eligible for an application fee refund if you apply after the first application deadline in March, and we are unable to process more offers as places are filled before the final application deadlines above.


Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home fees: £10,500 per year (2021/22)
  • Full time overseas fees: £23,460 per year (2021/22)
  • Part time Home fees: £5,250 per year (2021/22)
  • Part time overseas fees: £11,730 per year (2021/22)

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March, payment is due by 30th April 2021.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April and 30th June, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July and 31st July, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer from late August onwards, payment is due within 2 days of receiving the offer.

If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.

Anthony & Susan Chow Scholarship for MMus Study

The scholarship is intended to support exceptional international (non-EU) students wishing to study musicology, ethnomusicology or composition at King’s and will fund one master’s student with financial support to study at the Department of Music hre at King's. The scholarship is £30,000 for full-time study and will cover the cost of tuition fees and help towards living costs for the one-year duration of the master’s programme.

The scholarship is available to students commencing their studies in September 2020, and applicants to the programme will be automatically considered for this award when submitting their MMus application before 30 March 2020. The Scholarship is made possible by a most generous gift from Mr Anthony Chow JP FKC and Mrs Susan Chow, which has funded international students on the MMus programme since 2018. If you have specific questions about this scholarship or the MMus programme, please contact the Course Convenor Dr Arman Schwartz (arman.schwartz@kcl.ac.uk).

Additional costs/expenses

In addition to your tuition fees, you may also expect to pay for:

· books if you choose to buy your own copies

· society membership fees

· personal computer and other equipment

· concert admission fees at London venues outside of the university

· travel costs for travel around London and to/from your permanent home

· graduation costs

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

Our graduates have gone on to further research at the doctoral level in the Department or elsewhere in the UK or overseas (particularly the USA). Others have transferred the skills and knowledge they develop to careers in teaching, media, arts administration and other fields.


Blue box with King's College London rankings. Starting with, 7th in the UK for research quality. Followed by, 6th in the UK for research power. Concluding with, 4th among multi-faculty universities for research Impact. The source is research excellence framework 2014

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