Music - MA (Hons)

Programme video: Music - MA (Hons)

Music - MA (Hons)


Music is an evolving subject area, constantly pushing at the boundaries between everyday life and art. Our distinctive MA in Music programme embraces the subject’s spirit of diversity, enabling you to study music in all its forms.

From day one, you’ll find yourself immersed in music. You’ll explore its role and value in society from a wide range of perspectives, including its relationship to the other arts. At the same time, you’ll develop your own practical musicianship through performance workshops involving ensemble and improvisation.

Who should study the MA in Music?

If you’re passionate about music, and would like to focus on it through a mix of academic and creative study, this undergraduate degree is for you.

You don’t necessarily need to have a formal background in music when you arrive - but you need to demonstrate active involvement in music, for example, performing, writing about music, promoting music, or similar.

The flexible structure of this programme means you’ll have the opportunity to pursue specialist composition or musicological options alongside core courses, or to select subjects from other disciplines within one of Europe’s leading art colleges.

Join a vibrant creative community

Within ECA, you’ll find yourself at the heart of a dynamic community.

You’ll be ideally placed to study the interaction between music and the other arts such as film, animation, installation and dance, to take part in interdisciplinary courses such as ‘Music, Style, Identity and Image’ and ‘Festivals’, and to collaborate with other creatives, both within music and across the College.

Leading creative thinkers

You’ll be supported by academic staff and practitioners with a world-leading research track record across musical genres.

And during your studies, you’ll have the chance to attend guest lectures, workshops and performances by a range of inspirational creative professionals.

Skills and careers

Throughout the programme, the skills you’ll gain will be the building blocks for a major project in your final year. This could be a new performance, recording, installation, piece of public art or site-specific music. Alternatively, it might be an independent, scholarly dissertation focusing on your own particular research interest.

And when you graduate, you’ll be ready for a whole range of music-related careers in the creative arts, education and media. Depending on your expertise, you might move into arts management, festival development, management and curation, or work in film, television, radio, animation or the games industry. You will also be well placed to collaborate in community development projects.

Top five reasons to choose the programme

  • An extraordinary place to study music: Edinburgh has a vibrant and inspirational music and arts scene. It's home to the world’s largest arts festival, a jazz and blues festival and a military tattoo, as well as world-class galleries and concert halls.
  • Defined by an Art School ethosWe have an open, practical and creative approach to music. We understand that performance, scholarship, scientific investigation and creativity can all be part of the study of music.
  • Ranked among the bestThe Reid School of Music at Edinburgh College of Art is currently the Guardian University League Table’s top-placed institution in Scotland for the undergraduate study of music, and is ranked second in the UK.
  • Access to leading creative thinkersOur staff are world leaders in a wide range of musical areas, including the study of popular music, musical acoustics and music technology, and in music for the moving image.
  • Flexibility and choiceOur flexible course structure means that you will have the opportunity to tailor a study programme to suit your own individual aims and interests, while gaining an in-depth education in core music skills.

View the programme handbook (login required) >


The Music - MA (Hons) programme is jointly led by two Programme Co-Directors who also organise and teach on core courses in years one and two. Teaching on these core courses include contributions from a large number of Reid School of Music's academic staff.

The choice of electives on the programme means that students can also study with a range of staff from Music and beyond, and alongside students from other programmes at Edinburgh College of Art, including Music - BMus (Hons) and Music Technology - BMus (Hons), during the four years of study.

Programme Co-Directors

Dr Nikki Moran  | View staff profile >

Dr Matt Brennan | View staff profile >

The core course organisers are Dr Nikki Moran, Dr Matt Brennan, Dr Tom Wagner, Dr Annette Davison, Dr Graeme Wilson, Prof. Raymond MacDonald.

Reid School of Music staff >


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

Access Awards are non-repayable support based on criteria such as income, background and personal circumstances, and in some cases geographical area.

Awarded to final year students who have made an outstanding contribution to the musical life of Reid School of Music or the wider Edinburgh community.

Open to any full-time undergraduate student in the Reid School of Music. Awarded to the best dissertation. (Amount variable)

Awarded to postgraduates and 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year undergraduates for travel and study abroad during the academic year or summer vacation. (c. £100-£1,000)

Awarded to a member of EUMS who demonstrates an aptitude in the development and conducting of a choral ensemble. (Amount variable)

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)

Awarded to the 2nd year Undergraduate in Music who shows the greatest promise and all-round ability in organ/piano performance. (£1000)

Nominations by music staff (final year student dealing with 'Early Music before 1750').

Awarded as part of a first year undergraduate music competition to the student who shows all-round excellence in piano performance. (£500 per annum)

Awarded to the first year undergraduate in Music who achieves the best all-round academic performance in the May examinations. (£500)

Awarded annually to first year undergraduates on the basis of their end of year examination results (not including pianists and singers). (£1000)

Awarded to music student who shows the greatest promise in composition or performance.

News & events

The £234k grant has been awarded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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Photo of a percussion concert
The Edinburgh University Gamelan Ensemble in concert
Elly Gladman is pictured in the centre with her back to the wall
Image courtesy of the Edinburgh University Gamelan Ensemble

Student, Elly Gladman, explains what the group is and how to get involved.


College of Humanities & Social Science Undergraduate Admissions Office


Tel: +44 (0)131 650 3565