Music & Cultural History

The one-year MA in Music and Cultural History is a progressive alternative to conventional postgraduate courses in musicology, and it draws on the diverse expertise of internationally renowned scholars to combine the very best of traditional and contemporary scholarly practice.

During the course you will be presented with the opportunity to acquire and develop core musicological skills, including research techniques, the critical editing of music, and the close reading and analysis of musical texts. You will also engage with some of the most exciting developments in recent music scholarship, including:

explorations of politics,
gender and sexuality in music
race and ethnicity in music
(dis)ability in music
the interaction of music with other media
musical globalisation
the manifold issues in today's popular music and culture, and

the new links being formed between musicology and other disciplines such as film studies, cultural studies, postcolonial theory, and philosophy.

The MA in Music and Cultural History offers a well-rounded but focused introduction to methodologies and issues in contemporary musicology. It presents you with an opportunity to expand your familiarity with musical repertoire, deepen your engagement with key critical concepts and acquire valuable research skills.

The MA in Music and Cultural History is the only course in Ireland to focus on recent developments in musicology, which is increasingly embracing and absorbing methods and insights from other disciplines to provide new perspectives on music and its cultural role.

The course not only offers an introduction to some of this interdisciplinary research (topics in intertextuality, intermediality, gender, sexuality) but offers co-taught modules with courses in ethnomusicology and film studies.

Entry requirements

In order to be permitted to proceed to the MA Degree in Music and Cultural History, a candidate must hold a primary honours degree in Music (or one in which Music is a major subject) with at least a Second Class Honours grade or higher.

Applicants with an appropriate professional equivalent will also be considered. Final acceptance is subject to approval by the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, UCC.

If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please click here to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests.

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to Irish university primary degree level. 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. To verify if you meet the minimum academic requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website .


1 year Full-time; 2 years Part-time

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

Each of the modules in Part A runs for twelve weeks (either September to December or January to March) and consists of three weekly hours of seminars as well as an additional hour of self-directed study.

You will also be encouraged to form peer-learning groups and you will be provided with study facilities for these groups.

The average weekly commitment is approximately 10 hours of formal instruction, but you will also spend time in individual preparation, reading, study and research.

You will be required to attend selected live performances and screenings, and to engage with live streams and other mediatised forms of performance.

The dissertation (approximately 12,000 words) is submitted in September.

Careers or further progression

What can I do after I graduate with an MA in Music and Cultural History?

UCC Musicology graduates develop a wide range of skills that are invaluable to our cultural industries and information economy, including: critical, historical, and global thinking, advanced media literacy and media savvy, cultural analysis, and professional writing. By participating in MCH Seminars and events such as the FUAIM Music Research Seminar Series, graduates will gain experience in formal presentation and broaden their professional network before leaving UCC. Graduates leave with transferable skills that are extremely important in our global cultural economy and its proliferation of cultural and information-based career fields.

Occupations associated with Music and Cultural History degrees:

Tourism and Cultural Industries: Tourism, Arts Venues.
Media: Radio, TV, and Online Platforms, Cultural Journalism.

Information Technology: Online Music Platforms (Google, YouTube, Spotify,, Librarian, Archives, Information Officer.

Teaching: Universities, EU Cultural Commission, NGO Research Consortia, Secondary Schools.

Performance: Music Performance and Production, Historically Informed Performance, Singer-Songwriter.

Public Sector: Arts Administrator, Outreach Officer, Communications Officer, Media Officer

Advertising: Advertising Copywriter, Demographic Analysis, Account Executive.

Public Relations & Communications: Music Management and PR.

Writer: Freelance, Culture and Style Columnist, Blogger, Magazine Editor, Music Editor.

Marketing: Music Marketing Executive, Marketing Analysis.

Or Further your Skill Set with Advanced PhD Research

Remember, in many advertised job vacancies a postgraduate degree is required. A Master's Degree in Music and Cultural History is an excellent qualification to prepare you for a diverse range of professional fields. The degree exhibits your dedication to history and an informed view of the past, but with an eye to the future information economy and its multi-media cultural industries.

Further enquiries

Contact details for this course
Dr. J Griffith Rollefson
+ 353 21 4904521 / 4904530

Ms. Celena O'Brien
00 353 21 4904530

Subjects taught

Students take 90 credits as follows:

Part I

MU6030 Research Skills (5 credits)

MU6003 Performance Studies (15 credits)

MU6031 Sound Studies & Musicology (5 credits)

MU6034 Multidisciplinary Debates in Musicology and Ethnomusicology (5 credits)

MU6036 Music and Popular Culture (10 credits)

MU6037 Music and Cinema (10 credits)

MU6046 Musicology: History and Trends (10 credits)

Part II

MU6012 Research Project in Music and Cultural History (30 credits)

Postgraduate Diploma in Music and Cultural History

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

Assessment method

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework (essays, portfolios of short assignments, learning journals), in-class presentations and viva voce examinations. There are no written examinations.

Application date

Applications for 2019 start dates will open on November 1st 2018.

EU Applicants: UCC operates a rounds closing date system for the majority of postgraduate taught courses, which means we offer places four times a year on a rolling basis. Some courses have one specific closing date, please check your course prospectus page for this information.

The UCC rounds EU application system closing dates for postgraduate taught courses are below. We advise applicants to apply as soon as possible.

Deadline for receipt of Applications:

For all completed applications received by January 11th 2019
Offers will be made:Offers will be made by January 25th 2019

For all completed applications received by March 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offers will be made by March 15th 2019

For all completed applications received by May 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offers will be made by May 15th 2019

For all completed applications received by July 1st 2019
Offers will be made: Offer will be made by July 15th 2019

Late applications may be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for any courses that have remaining capacity for places.

While there is no official closing date for Research courses applicants are advised to submit their application at least two months ahead of their proposed start date. There are four official Research start dates – September/October, January, April and July.

Non-EU Applicants:

Please visit the following page for further information for Non EU applicants

The closing date for non-EU applications is 15th June

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date 9 September 2019

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!