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Educational aims

This taught postgraduate programme in music (which comprises the postgraduate foundation module (A870), the subject module (A871) and the dissertation module (A877) will:

  • provide you with an advanced academic training in the techniques of postgraduate study in music
  • increase your knowledge and understanding of a range of key themes, including the ways that research is conducted, using both traditional methods and those employing new technologies, and how scholarly discourses about music are conveyed in writing
  • enable you to explore the ways in which research and scholarship inform discourses about, and practices associated with, musical performance.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of the programme are described in four areas.

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this degree you will have a sound knowledge and understanding of:

  • the nature, purpose and diversity of postgraduate research in music
  • investigative methods that are generic to music research, together with an ability to use those methods
  • the major concerns in current and recent musical discourse, and the arguments that have existed within them
  • how to analyse a range of different types of sources relevant to music, and an ability to express ideas in extended pieces of writing
  • the relationship between musical scholarship and performance
  • the cultural and thematic breadth of postgraduate music study: the programme structure ensures that you will engage with western and non-western music.

Cognitive skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • compare different methodological approaches to music research
  • analyse and compare sources in different media, written and aural
  • analyse and describe musical works and practices
  • use new technology discriminatingly and systematically
  • understand the relationship between scholarly sources and musical performance.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • use research libraries, their archives and their contents efficiently
  • use specialist online databases and other online facilities for postgraduate study
  • form arguments at postgraduate level and express those arguments in substantial pieces of writing using proper academic conventions
  • apply critical and evaluative skills to several themes and topics related to musical performance and assess the importance of these research skills to practical and professional aspects of music.

Key skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • write extended pieces of prose based on your own research of primary and secondary sources
  • use internet resources relevant to music efficiently and discriminatingly
  • structure arguments
  • use scholarly conventions accurately
  • find and evaluate musical sources
  • understand relationships between different research and interpretative methods.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

Knowledge and understanding are gained and developed through the study materials in a postgraduate foundation module, a subject module, and a final dissertation module. Teaching materials supporting the first two of these include study guides and offprints, a scores supplement, audio CDs, assignment booklets, and access to a large number of online resources through the Postgraduate Music website. Learning outcomes are assessed primarily by means of tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). The foundation module also has an examination, which provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the broad methodological themes of the module, and the subject module includes a final long assignment, or ‘project’, which prepares you for the independent work of the dissertation. For the dissertation you will choose a topic relating to the themes studied earlier in the programme, and write this up in 16,000–18,000 words. Tutors provide ungraded feedback on draft chapters, but the dissertation itself forms the assessed component of this final module.

Cognitive skills: the case studies contained in the first two programme modules are designed to provide you with opportunities to learn through the analysis and comparison of secondary sources in various media (for example, sound recordings, documents and scores), and to encourage increasing independence in research. The use of ICT is an inherent element of the learning technique, which is developed in both the foundation and subject modules as an aid to learning (rather than as a skill that is taught and tested in its own right). The programme’s online facilities form an extension of the techniques that are taught, for example, in respect of library research, and the assessment of these skills is manifest throughout the TMAs.

Practical and professional skills: the formation of arguments and the employment of critical and evaluative skills are taught in the foundation and subject modules, and assessed in these and the dissertation module. The use of research libraries is taught in the foundation module and developed at each stage of the programme. Similarly, the use of online facilities is taught in the study material at foundation level and developed through the programme. These skills are assessed throughout the programme.

Key skills: the foundation module sets up the learning-centred approach for the whole programme, using a recurring four-week pattern in which you will normally spend two weeks learning from the module materials, one week applying and developing this knowledge by working on case studies relevant to a forthcoming TMA, and one week working on the TMA itself. The key skills developed within this structure and in subsequent modules are tested, either explicitly or implicitly, in every assessment component in the programme.