Postgraduate MA


Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology





One year

Two and a half year

Next enrolment

September 2020


In a nutshell

Our postgraduate degree in music stands apart from similar courses due to the breadth of musical genres that they will expose you to. From rock and pop, to classical, jazz, electronic and other world styles, each genre is given equal precedence, and you will have a great opportunity to learn from each tradition.

During your time with us, you will also have the opportunity to collaborate on projects with other students and you will learn from academics who are all practicing professional musicians at national and international levels.

On this exciting and challenging music course, you will have the opportunity to follow one of four specialist pathways:

  • Composition (C)
  • Performance (P)
  • Interactive Music and Advanced Studio Production (IMASP).

If you are keen to broaden your musical knowledge, you can also combine your specialist pathway with other pathways.

You will: 
  • Learn from professional practitioners at all stages of your study 

  • Have the opportunity to compete for a variety of prizes including the Kirklees Composition Competition 

  • Gain a breadth of professional musical experience   

Find out more by signing up to our upcoming Open Day, or if you have any general questions please contact course enquiries.

You can also find helpful FAQs, learn more about student life at Salford or explore all our Music courses. Continue reading to understand more about this MA Music course.


students accepted

This is for you if...


you are a musician and/or musicologist wishing to further develop your skills and expertise to an enhanced professional level.


you already have a good honours degree in music or a related subject, or evidence of industry/professional practice experience.

Course details

All about the course

This course begins with a shared 30-credit plenary module, you would then take another module dependent upon your specialist pathway. Semester two allows you to choose one 30-credit option outside of your chosen pathway alongside another 30-credit module from your specialist pathway. During semester three, you will work on a single 60-credit module; your Negotiated Final Project.

Semester one

Composition, Performance and the Musical Text (Plenary)

  • The written score as locus of authority
  • The graphic score as provocation
  • The musical text in popular music
  • The aural tradition in European folk music and in non-Western traditions
  • The recording as artefact

Composition Techniques (C)

  • Forms in the 21st century
  • Texture and instrumentation
  • Colour and structure in composition
  • Presentation of artefact

Individual Performance (P)

  • Cognitive processes in performance
  • Physiological responses
  • Relaxation techniques

Advanced Studio Composition and Production Techniques (IMASP)

  • Dynamic sound editing, design and spatialisation
  • Studio composition and sound-design strategies, including those for mixed-media
  • An examination of the historical/cultural context for studio-based composition
  • Recent and current repertoires for studio-based composition practice
  • Delivery of the musical works in a form appropriate for the medium(s) chosen
Semester two

Applied Composition Techniques (C)

  • Composition for TV and film
  • Composition for games
  • Composition for theatre
  • Sound environments
  • Project managing in the commercial world

Group Interaction in Performance (P)

  • Leadership skills
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Psychology of group performance
  • Repertoire planning

Optional modules:

Ethnomusicology Theories and Techniques

  • Historical development and key figures in ethnomusicology
  • Instrument classification and the construction of Instruments (Hindustani, West African, Chinese, 'Are'are, etc.)
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Localisation and globalisation
  • Race and ethnicities
  • Fieldwork methodologies
  • Participant-observation: history, theoretical framework and techniques
  • Transcriptions, interviews, and fieldwork diaries
  • Learning procedures: enculturation, acculturation, nature, nurture; anthropology of the body
  • Music and socialisation: musical behaviour and emic and etic
  • Film and phonographic recordings in ethnomusicology
  • Music space and place

Community Music Theories and Techniques

During this module you will negotiate a series of proposed projects with your specialist tutor. Typically, projects will be undertaken across a range of areas including, for example, band management and promotion, musical directing and community music in its broadest sense.

Semester three

Negotiated Final Project

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


The course is delivered by way of lectures, seminars, masterclasses, supervision tutorials/instrumental lessons

  • Examination

  • Coursework folio

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative technology

All our Music courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology.

Our School and University have strong and long-lasting relationships with local and national industry.

Once you graduate with us, you’ll join a thriving alumni community in Greater Manchester and beyond.


The Music Directorate houses five fully equipped professional recording studios with access to a variety of recording/performance spaces. We have created a creative and educational environment that aims to mirror contemporary professional studio practice. Our general philosophy is to facilitate the use of both analogue and digital recording platforms, software and hardware signal processing.

All studios centre around a large format mixing desk which can feed hard disk recording systems and 24 track analogue tape machines. All studios make use of professional level outboard and software plugins as well as comprehensive balanced patch bays, giving students the opportunity to fully explore traditional signal routing, a skill vital to ones progression into professional practice.

Our studios are equipped with a range of different equipment, including, among many others:

  • Audient ASP 8024 mixing desks
  • Tama Superstar Drumkits
  • Rhodes Stage 73 MK2 Electric Pianos
  • Fender Deluxe Tweed amplifiers

Our suite of 24 iMacs are equipped with sequencing, wave editing, synthesis, signal processing and post-production software. The software in the computer suite is, on the whole, the same as that found in the recording studios, so that work can easily be transferred from one facility to another. Logic Studio 9 and Sibelius 6 are standard across all the machines.

We also have six 'amplified rehearsal rooms', each containing a vocal PA system, stage piano/keyboard, drum kit and back-line amplifiers for guitars, bass and keyboards/electronics.

We also encourage students to use their own equipment for rehearsals. To facilitate this we have an instrument storage facility where you can leave your equipment to avoid having to constantly transport it between lectures, seminars and accommodation. You are free to store instruments, amplifiers, drum kit accessories on a short/mid term basis.

'The Band Room' is a large double height space with a modifiable acoustic characteristic. It is mainly used for large acoustic ensemble rehearsals, catering for our Big Band, Brass Bands, Adelphi Contemporary Music Group and Wind Band. It is also used for performance master classes and small concerts (capacity approx 80 - 100) with a two tier stage and 5kw PA system.

Specialist rooms for drum/percussion tuition and bass guitar tuition are located in this area. When these facilities are not in use by teaching staff the rooms can be booked for individual student practice.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

After completing the MA in Music people will find their professional skills to be considerably enhanced. We have found that this has enhanced career prospects in music education (teachers/lecturers), arts administration and as freelance performers and composers.

There are also postgraduate research options in composition, performance, technology and musicology.

A taste of what you could become

a freelance performer

a composer

a music lecturer

an arts administrator,

a musicology researcher

Career Links

We have direct links with professional institutions such the BBC Philharmonic, Halle Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain as well as the 'Sounds from the Other City' festival. We have a good working relationship with many venues in the local area including Islington Mill.



Whether you are a composer, performer, technologist or musicologist you should prepare yourself for an interview or audition as appropriate. You will be asked to submit an appropriate portfolio of work evidencing its quality or to perform a contrasting programme of appropriate works.

Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

A good honours degree preferably in Music or a related subject and/or evidence of industry/professional practice experience.

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

How Much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2020/21 £7,920per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £14,670per year
Part-time 2020/21 £1,320 per 30 credits for home
Full-time home 2021/22 £8,100per year
Full-time international 2021/22 £15030per year
Part-time 2021/22 £1,350 per 30 credits for home
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for international students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
We have a range of scholarships available for students applying for courses in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Our Global Gold Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,500 and our Global Silver Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,000 - both are available for students studying in our 2021/22 intakes.

We also offer the Salford International Excellence Scholarship which offers up to £5,000 discount on tuition fees. As this is a prestigious award we have a limited number of these scholarships available.

See the full range of our International Scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2020