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  • PAC CodeDC695
  • Course Type Postgraduate
  • NFQ Level 9
  • Delivery Modes Part-Time
  • Duration 2 Years

The breadth of the MA in Music’s academic and applied components reflects a wide range of musical genres and scholarly perspectives. The course aims to stimulate musicological inquiry and to expand your knowledge of and engagement with music. While enrolled, you’ll have access to an up-to-date music technology studio, a suite of rehearsal spaces, a substantial collection of music titles and online databases, and DCU’s vibrant musical culture.

Graduate View


“The MA in Music has helped my career progression in many ways. I feel it’s really enhanced my skills as a music practitioner... I’ve developed my skills as a performer and as an accompanist, and this opens up many musical doors for me. I also feel that I’ve gained a lot of confidence in forming my own musical opinions. There’s such a lively music atmosphere and so many chances to engage, whether listening to concerts or actually performing in them yourself. There’s a real opportunity to engage in music technology, and also with the seminars, there are so many different areas of music covered that there’s something for everybody. There’s a chance to learn new things while also developing your own research skills and redelving into a topic of particular interest for you.”


Anna Bourke, MA in Music graduate


Why Do This Programme?

The MA in Music is a two-year part-time course delivered through lectures, workshops, concerts, tutorials and seminars. The taught modules include regular feedback, equipping you to undertake skill-based projects, develop academic writing and critical thinking, and carry out extended research or creative portfolio work.

 The course is distinguished in that it:

  • Builds on prior experience and knowledge by providing advanced level academic and applied music studies
  • Stimulates learning through lecturers active as musicologists, composers and performers
  • Offers up-to-date perspectives on historical and comparative aspects of music production and reception, including themes relating to music in Ireland
  • Enhances career prospects in music production, arts management, media, education, research and other fields

Programme Structure and Content

The MA in Music is delivered through lectures, workshops, concerts, tutorials and seminars.

Year One: lectures/workshops between 6-9pm on Mondays and Thursdays.

Year Two: involves a Research Seminar series and a series of meetings with assigned research supervisors.

YEAR ONE: Six modules in Musicology and related Music Studies

  • Introduction to Musicology, Music Criticism and Aesthetics
  • Music and Modernity
  • Music in Performance
  • Music and Identity
  • Choral Music: Gesture, Sound and Style
  • Music and the moving image

Year 1, Semester 1 Taught Modules

  • Introduction to Musicology, Music Criticism and Aesthetics -  (sub) disciplines, sources, and methodologies of musicology across various music cultures; principles of music aesthetics; critical theory and music; music criticism; music journalism
  • Music and Modernity – the music of European and North American composers in modernist and contemporary styles covering the 20th and early 21st centuries
  • Music in Performance – explores a range of genres, practices and scholarly approaches across various locations and historical periods.

Year 1, Semester 2 Taught Modules

  • Music and Identity – examines issues of culture, ethnicity and national identity with reference to developments in art music, film music, popular music, and traditional music.
  • Choral Music: Gesture, Sound and Style – choral repertoire from Medieval to contemporary; analysis, editing and interpretation of choral music; conducting, arranging, and composing music for choral ensembles
  • Music and the moving image  – introduction to film theory and applied studies of music in film, video and TV;  analysis of sound design, original score, soundtrack compilation and music editing; comparative film music studies


A: Students participate in a Research seminar

B: Students complete supervised approved work involving Musicological Research, Composition or Performance.


Year One:

Essays on topics selected from the taught modules; a portfolio of short assignments

Year Two:

All students present a research seminar, and opt for one of the following:

A dissertation of 20,000-25,000 words


A performance recital of at least 40 minutes in conjunction with a relevant research essay of 5,000-8,000 words


A portfolio of recent compositions in a variety of musical genres (30-45 minutes performance time) in conjunction with a relevant research essay of 5,000-8,000 words

Programme Aims and Objectives

The aims of the MA in Music are twofold: first, to deepen your knowledge of and engagement with music; second, to engender musicological inquiry. The aims are progressed by providing you with a range of advanced studies in musicology and applied music fields, and by developing relevant expertise that enables you to carry out independent work in research, performance and composition.

Specific objectives include:

  • To acquaint students with theories, techniques, discourses and analytic methodologies relevant to a wide range of music genres and practices
  • To introduce students to significant developments in aspects of modern and contemporary composition and performance practices
  •  To consider music in light of philosophical, sociological, psychological and cultural perspectives
  • To introduce students to intertextual and intermedial approaches in music scholarship
  • To acquaint students with diverse research and creative practice perspectives
  • To provide appropriate Master’s-level research training, enabling students to carry out independent research in aspects of musicology, performance or composition


DCU’s MA in Music course is unique in Ireland for its breadth of taught modules covering a wide range of musical genres and scholarly perspectives. The course combines academic and practical components, with taught modules conducted by specialists in areas of musicology, composition and performance. In your second year, you can choose to undertake research in Musicology, Composition or Performance, depending on your concentration.


Programme Chairperson: Dr. John O’Flynn

Tel: +353 (0)1 700 6132




Graduates work in a range of music production roles (composing, arranging, performing, editing, performing, conducting), and in arts management, media, music education, community music, musicological research and other fields.

Potential Careers

Music Producer (Composer, Conductor, Editor)

Concert/Festival Manager

Radio Broadcaster/Producer/Researcher

Music Journalist

Music Educator

Music Development Officer

Music Business Entrepreneur

Academic Researcher (PhD studies)


General Entry Requirements

Applicants will normally have an honours primary degree or equivalent (2.2) but appropriate combinations of professional qualifications and experience may be accepted as equivalent to an honours degree, in accordance with the relevant regulations of the University. Interviews may be held.

International Applications

International candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to those outlined above. In addition, where such candidates are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

For further information on international applications click here (link: international/index.shtml)


How to Apply and Closing Dates

Applicants presenting EU School Leaving examinations

All Applicants must submit

  • Certified academic transcripts for each and every year of study, with certified English translations if applicable
  • Personal statement of 1,000 words maximum

Non Native English Speakers must also submit

  • Evidence of English competency which meets DCU entry requirements - see link

 Dates for Submission of Applications EU Applicants

  • Please apply through PAC  Applications will be reviewed and offers will be made on an onging basis.  Should places still be available on this programme, the final date for receipt of applications will be 14 August 2018 for entry in Autumn 2018.

Non-EU Applicants

  • Please apply through PAC  Applicants will be reviewed and offers will be made on an ongoing basis.  Should places still be available on this programme, the final date for receipt of applications will be 10 July 2018 for entry in Autumn 2018.  

  • Applicants who require a study visa for the purposes of gaining entry into Ireland are advised to apply as early as possible.  If you need a study visa and are a Non EU student, you are not eligible to apply for part time programmes as study visas are only granted for full time programmes.

  • To apply for this programme use the PAC code D695.

For queries on completed applications please email