Music - Ethnomusicology

Ethnomusicology is the study of "people making music" (Titon). It embraces music from around the world, old and new, professional and amateur, sacred and profane, traditional and newly invented. A dynamic discipline, its key focuses include extended fieldwork-based approaches to understanding what people are doing and valuing when they express themselves musically. Ethnomusicologists give a special place to learning via the formation of sound human relationships with members of musical communities and to learning via their own personal involvement in music-making itself. This experience, often both humbling and insightful, informs us as we build understandings, interpretations and analyses upon those of the people with whom we live and study. In projects referred to as applied ethnomusicology, we also contribute as advocates or supporters, using our expertise to transform society in positive directions.

Our innovative one-year taught MA in Ethnomusicology offers a fresh and dynamic approach to the study of music at postgraduate level in Ireland. It combines scholarship and performance in the study of a diverse range of music traditions from around the world. Coursework includes a personalised research training preparation, musical performance, history and theory of ethnomusicology, multidisciplinarity, performance studies, and ethnographic field research. MAs are completed by a research project, selected by the student, which ranges from ethnographic dissertations to a major performance and from film making to the creation of world music materials for the classroom.

The Department of Music is internationally renowned as a centre of excellence for the study of Irish traditional music and world music. Postgraduate students join a thriving research culture in our Department. Our music scholars and practitioners represent a model of innovative research in the twenty-first century. Committed to a diversity of scholarly traditions and forms of creativity, our staff are internationally recognised for their innovative research, which is marked by its progressive attitudes and its diversity of coverage.

Why Choose this course
The programme team should be highly commended for providing a thorough and varied training on the MA Ethnomusicology. The programme structure and the teaching staff provide an excellent learning environment for students to develop knowledge, understanding and skills. It is evident from the high quality student work and the detailed feedback that a great deal of care and attention is given by teaching staff to the individual interests and projects of students" (External Examiner, 2017).

Several key factors combine to make the MA in Ethnomusicology at UCC the most popular course of its kind on the island of Ireland. The MA is unique in Ireland through its emphasis on learning through performance and discussion and the practical application of these skills in the service of new research. We uphold a fully contemporaneous model of ethnomusicology, fully open to applied research outside the academy and to the insights of other disciplines, from folklore to anthropology and from sound studies to performance. It benefits from the intellectual and musical environment of a large, diverse Department of Music in which all musics are treated as equally worthy of study and respect. The MA in Ethnomusicology at UCC is delivered by a large, experienced team of diversely skilled researchers and teachers who have well-established international reputations for their work in the discipline.

Entry requirements

You will have a You will have a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours Arts degree (NFQ, Level 8), or equivalent, in music or a related subject (e.g. anthropology, folklore, cultural studies). Applicants with an appropriate professional equivalent (e.g. professional musician of high standing, music media professionals) will also be considered under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). All applicants will be required to attend an interview with members of the programme team and may be required to pass a qualifying test.

English Language Requirements
Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here.

International/non-EU applicants
For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)
Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following questions:

You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.

In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning and professional training relevant to this programme.

Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.

Please detail your research interest(s).
Please enter the names and email addresses of 2 referees.

Assessment Info

All assessment is based on continuous assessment methods. You are assessed on coursework submitted, including essays/papers, presentations, music performances, and on attendance and contribution to class.

Subjects taught

The MA in Ethnomusicology consists of 90 credits as follows

MU6050 Performance Studies (15 credits)
MU6004 Performance Practice (15 credits)
MU6030 Research Skills (5 credits)
MU6034 Multidisciplinary Debates in Musicology and Ethnomusicology (5 credits)
MU6042 Ethnography of Music (10 credits)
MU6043 History and Theory of Ethnomusicology (10 credits)
MU6047 Music Cognition and Perception in Culture (5 credits)

Part II
Research Project (30 credits)
The programme can also be taken part-time over 24 months (by day). The course structure for part-time students is subject to agreement with the Department of Music.

Postgraduate Diploma in Ethnomusicology (NFQ Level 9, Major Award)

Candidates who pass at least 60 credits of taught modules may elect to exit the programme and be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Ethnomusicology.

Details of the programme content and modules are in the Postgraduate College Calendar


1 year Full-time, 2 years Part-time

The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours over 2 years.

Enrolment dates

Start Date 7 September 2020

Post Course Info

Graduates of the MA in Ethnomusicology go on to pursue a wide range of careers in the creative arts, culture industries and media. Many have applied successfully for PhDs in Ireland or overseas. Our graduates include professional musicians, academics, teachers, arts managers and staff in NGOs.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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