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Music MMus

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Develop and expand your knowledge of music in a world-leading university, located in the heart of London with access to major arts centres.  Choose to study either Composition or Musicology and Ethnomusicology. 

On 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


Key benefits

  • Intensively taught course covering a wide range of specialised topics.
  • Musicology & Ethnomusicology students choose from historical, sociocultural and theoretical modules.
  • 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 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 to nine hours of teaching each week (if you are a part-time student, this is two to six in your first year, and two to three in your second), 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).

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 – location of the Royal Festival Hall – and Barbican) which are 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 & Criticism (20 credits)
  • Readings in the New Eighteenth Century (20 credits)
  • Medieval Music from the Sources (20 credits)
  • Ethnomusicology: Regional Studies (20 credits)
  • History in Ethnomusicology (20 credits)
  • Mozart: Biography & Criticism (20 credits)
  • Issues & Topics in Jazz (20 credits)
  • Modernism and Sentimentality (20 credits)
  • Ethnographic Writing (20 credits)
  • Post-Tonal Music and Compositional Theory (20 credits)
  • Puccini and the Twentieth Century (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)
  • Issues & Topics in Jazz (20 credits)
  • Issues in Historiography & Criticism (20 credits)
  • Modernism & Sentimentality (20 credits)
  • Ethnomusicology: Regional Studies (20 credits)

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 may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

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 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 31 March 2020. After this date, applications will remain open if places are available, but programmes will be closed as soon as they are full. For programmes with spaces remaining, no further applications will be accepted from non-EU (Overseas) nationals after 31July 2020 or from UK/EU nationals after 28 August 2020.

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


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/EU fees: £9,990 per year (2020/21)
  • Full time overseas fees: £22,350 per year (2020/21)
  • Part time Home/EU fees: £4,995 per year (2020/21)
  • Part time overseas fees: £11,175 per year (2020/21)

Students starting their programme in 2020/21 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 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/EU deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer before 1 June 2020, payment is due by 30 June 2020.

  • If you receive an offer between 1 June 2020 and 30 June 2020, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.

  • If you receive an offer between 1 July 2020 and 31 July 2020, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.

  • If you receive an offer on or after 1 August 2020, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.

  •  If you receive an offer in late August, 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 (

Additional costs/expenses

In addition to the costs above, you can also expect to pay for:

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies
  • Clothing for optional course related events and competitions
  • Library fees and fines
  • Personal photocopies
  • Printing course handouts
  • Society membership fees
  • Stationery
  • Graduation costs
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses

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 careers in teaching, media and arts amongst others or further study. 


Next steps

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