Postgraduate study in Music

As a postgraduate student in Music you will join one of the most vibrant and exciting Music Departments in the world.

Student playing an instrument

Over 85% of research in the Department of Music has been judged to be 'world-leading' or 'internally excellent'.  This is the result of the national Research Excellence Framework exercise, which assessed research publications and the public impact of research carried out in all universities in the UK, 2008-2014.

We have an excellent record of postgraduate employment, with many former students holding academic posts at institutions such as the University of Manchester, Edinburgh University, the University of Sheffield, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the University of Malaysia, and Harvard University.

All our postgraduate programmes are available full and part-time. Some are available through a Distance Learning option. Read more about our programmes via the links below.

Taught programmes

The Music MA is a flexible programme designed to cater for those with a wide range of interests and specialisms. It is conceived as a 'next step' after the undergraduate degree, either as a stepping stone to research, as a qualification for teaching in the FE sector or simply to satisfy a thirst for development. There are 12 specialist pathways that you can choose from; each includes a range of core and optional taught modules and you will complete the course with a dissertation, recital or composition portfolio.

Taught programmes

MA Music with Integrated Pre-Masters

This two-year full-time course is suitable for students who do not meet the entry requirements for the one-year MA course. Aimed at highly motivated international learners with an excellent academic record, the Pre-Masters year is designed to bridge the gap between your current qualification and the postgraduate programme at Birmingham. Applications will open shortly – but to find out more in the meantime, visit MA Music with Integrated Pre-Masters.

Doctoral research


For information on available funding, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.


All prospective students must submit sample work.

  • Applicants in British Music Studies, Critical Musicology, Early Music, Musicology and for the Open Pathway without performance must submit a sample of written work - in English - of at least 3,000 words on a musical topic, with academic bibliography and references.
  • Applicants for Music Composition pathways must send two or three scores and/or recordings of their previous compositional work. 
  • All applicants for Performance pathways of the MA must submit a video-recorded audition (either a DVD or an internet video link, e.g. YouTube/Vimeo/Youku). The audition programme should be at least 20 minutes in duration, with a varied programme focusing on Western classical repertoire. If possible, the audition video should include a brief spoken introduction to the programme, discussing - in English - the repertoire performed.
    Applicants must also submit a sample of written work - in English - of at least 1,500 words on a musical topic, with academic bibliography and references.

Materials can be sent by post to: Dr Eliot Bates, Music Department, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT. 

N.B. Although there is not a formal deadline for applications there are deadlines for funding, and competition can be fierce for the limited number of places available each academic year. Students will not normally be considered for funding if they have not already accepted an offer. It is thus necessary to make an application to study well in advance of funding deadlines. For this reason we recommend applying as early as possible.