Musicology - MMus

Programme video: Musicology - MMus


The MMus in Musicology takes a very broad approach to musical scholarship, including cultural musicology, popular music, the sociology of music, music in film, and music analysis.

Edinburgh is an extraordinary place to study music. You will join a large postgraduate community and vibrant research culture within the Reid School of Music, home to a range of student orchestras and choirs and located in a capital city with a dynamic cultural scene.

The MMus in Musicology provides an excellent foundation for further postgraduate work, and many of our students have gone on to work in academia.

Recent graduates have also established successful careers in performance, journalism, arts administration, music education, and librarianship.

Programme format

You will be introduced to a wide range of methodologies in musicology and will develop the critical skills needed to pursue your own research.

You will take four compulsory courses...

  • Introduction to Musicology
  • Research Methods
  • Making Sense of Popular Music
  • Music, Philosophy and Politics

... and will choose a further course from a selection of options across the University.

You will also develop your independent research skills: working under the supervision of a member of staff on an individual research project over the first two semesters; and writing a dissertation on a second topic of your choosing at the end of the programme.

Our teaching combines small-group seminars and individual supervision.

The weekly Research Seminar Series, at which international academics discuss their work, is an integral part of the programme, and students are also encouraged to participate in our regular popular music seminar.

You will be taught by leading academics with diverse research interests, including musical patronage in fifteenth and sixteenth century Rome, nineteenth century music theory, music and politics in the Cold War, opera, music and film, and popular music. 

Top five reasons to choose the programme

  • Edinburgh has a vibrant and inspirational music and arts scene. It's home to the world’s largest arts festival, and a world-class orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and hosts performances by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera and a wide range of inspiring bands and performers across all genres of music.
  • The University of Edinburgh has been ranked 11th in the world in the area of the Arts and Humanities, which includes the Reid School of Music at Edinburgh College of Art.
  • Our staff are world leaders in a wide range of areas spanning from the Renaissance to the 21st century.
  • We combine tradition and innovation. Our programme takes a very broad approach to music, placing traditional musicology side-by-side with newer developments in popular music and music sociology.
  • Within the flexible framework of the MMus in Musicology, there is considerable scope to tailor the programme to suit your own research interests.

View the programme handbook (login required) >

Student work


Dr. Noel O’Regan, Programme Director and course organiser for Introduction to Musicology | View staff profile >

Renaissance and early Baroque music in Italy, institutional patronage including archival study, and church music more broadly. 

Dr. Annette Davison, course organiser for Research Methods | View staff profile >

Audio-visual media: the history, analysis and aesthetics of music for the screen and for the stage, including the impact of institutions on that music. Maintains links with practitioners and industry.

Dr. Anne Desler | View staff profile >

Eighteenth-century Italian serious opera, focussing on star singers’ artistic profiles and their influence on developments in both dramatic and musical style and performance practice. Also has interests in popular music.

Dr. Matt Brennan, course organiser for Making Sense of Popular Music | View staff profile >

Specialises in the interdisciplinary field of popular music studies. His creative practice as a musician informs his teaching and research, which also draws from historical, sociological, business, and ethical approaches to understanding music in society.

Dr. Elaine Kelly | View staff profile >

Music in the German Democratic Republic, with particular interests in the relationship between culture and politics in the state and issues such as identity formation, nation building, dissidence, and late socialism. Has broader interests in nationalism, politics and the canon in 19th and 20th-century Germany

Dr. Benedict Taylor, course organiser for Music, Philosophy and Politics | View staff profile >

Classical-Romantic music from Haydn to the Second Viennese School, with particular interests in temporality and subjectivity in Music, as well as in music theory and analysis more generally.


Everything you need to know about finding perfect student accommodation.

Six purpose-built, acoustically-treated music studios, with tie-lines to a shared recording space.

A fully operational, entirely student-run 90-seat theatre housed in a neo-gothic church.

Recording equipment is available to students through BookIt, the online booking system.

Get information, advice and guidance about your career options.

The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) is the main space for anyone using the University of Edinburgh’s historic collections.

Work spaces are available across the University. ECA's computers include software tailored to the disciplines studied here.

At the heart of the Evolution House Learning and Research Zone, the ECA Library provides an innovative environment for learning, teaching and research resources in art and design.

ECAfé provides a full catering service to all staff, students and visitors to Edinburgh College of Art.

Edinburgh Global's mission is to encourage internationalisation, enhance the student experience, create and develop partnerships.

EUSA represent the student voice. They provide services, run events, and facilitate student societies.

Information and guidance on financial matters for all students of the University of Edinburgh.

A Georgian garden that doubles as a venue for performances in the centre of the city.

The primary collection of books, periodicals, manuscripts, and research material.

Edinburgh is home to a number of musical societies, bands, orchestras and dance troupes.

17 practice rooms equipped with pianos, ideal for students requiring a private place for music practice.

A technical support team is on hand to help you with any studio or equipment queries.

Information on the equipment available to students in the music studios and editing suites.

Nearly 1,000 items including stringed, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.

Includes organs, harpsichords, and instruments from the Musical Instruments Museum.

By day, a café, bar and study space, and by night a club venue. Potterrow’s dome is also home to the Advice Place and the Potter Shop.

A 218-seat Victorian venue built in 1859. Used for regular orchestral and choral rehearsals and performances.

Located beneath Reid Concert Hall, this studio is built to record live performances in the venue.

The neo-classical Sculpture Court in the ECA Main Building is home to the many pieces from the Edinburgh Cast Collection, and is regularly used for student exhibitions.

Studio equipment and software tailored for music students to be able to record, edit, and experiment with their work.

Caters to a diverse range of users from occasional exercisers to international athletes.

The oldest purpose-built concert hall in Scotland. Used for concerts and part of the Musical Instruments Museum.

Offering counselling services for students, workshops, consultation and training for staff.

Supporting students with dyslexia, mental health issues and students on the autistic spectrum, as well as those who have physical and sensory impairments.

Talbot Rice Gallery is the public art Gallery for the University of Edinburgh.

Home to six distinctive bars, Teviot is the oldest purpose built students' union in the world.

A hub for the University Societies and setting regular live music, comedy, spoken word and poetry nights.

A bar at the Lauriston Campus which hosts regular events including club nights and gigs.

Scholarships & bursaries

Scholarships available for one academic year of postgraduate study at Edinburgh College of Art. (£5,000)

For full-time postgraduate taught masters students starting at Reid School of Music. (£5,000)

For current full-time music students. Students wishing to enter the competition must present a programme of organ music lasting 35-40 minutes. (£1,000)

For full-time postgraduate taught masters students starting at Reid School of Music. (£3,000)

News & events

Stanley IMG_0459 960 x 610.jpg

Photo of a musicology student
Sio Pan (Stanley) majored in piano performance at National Taiwan University of Arts
His final project is on Gustav Mahler and Eastern philosophies

We talk to Musicology student, Stanley, about his transition from pianist to researcher on music and philosophy.

Haley Turner IMG_0457 960 x 610.jpg

Photo of a musicology student
Haley is a Bachelor of Arts in Music graduate from the USA
Her final project is a dissertation on the Scottish music industry

We talk to Musicology student, Haley, about her research into the Scottish music industry.


Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4086