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UCC Postgraduate courses

Music - Ethnomusicology

Course Fact File
Duration1 Year Full-time, 2 Years Part-time
Teaching ModeFull-time, Part-Time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing DateRolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.
Non-EU Closing DateOpen until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.
Start Date9 September 2024

Course Outline

Ethnomusicology is the study of people making music ... (J.T.Titon)

Ethnomusicology 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 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 the postgraduate level in Ireland. The programme 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, multi-disciplinarity, performance studies, and ethnographic field research. MAs are completed by a research project, selected by the student, which ranges from ethnographic dissertations to major performance and from filmmaking to the creation of world music materials for the classroom.

Programme Details

The MA in Ethnomusicology may be taken full-time over 12 months or part-time over 24 months from the date of first registration for the programme.

Part-time: The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours over two years. The course structure for part-time students is subject to agreement with the Department of Music. 

The MA consists of 90 credits as follows:

Part I (60 credits)

  • MU6050  Performance Studies (10 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

  • MU6006  Research Project (30 credits)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this programme, Ethnomusicology students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate improved knowledge and understanding of the history of ethnomusicological theory and methodology;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of fieldwork theory and methodology and apply this knowledge in the course of ethnographic research and representation;
  • Apply theories of performance in critical and creative to musical performance;
  • Demonstrate improved skills in musical performance, improvisation, and creativity across a range of music genres and repertories;
  • Demonstrate improved skills in written and oral presentation of ethnomusicological concepts and methods (Diploma students);
  • Demonstrate the competence to carry out an independent research dissertation (Master’s students).

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.

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

All teaching is delivered in small group seminars, ensemble classes and tutorials, and in one-on-one lessons and supervision. You can expect eight to twelve hours of class contact time each week, depending on the ensembles studied, concerts presented, and frequency of supervision meetings.


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

Who teaches this course

Our teaching staff from the Department of Music at UCC include:

In addition to these core staff, the MA in Ethnomusicology is delivered by a team of instrumental and vocal tutors specialising in a diverse range of music traditions, including Irish traditional music, Javanese gamelan, Indian classical music and jazz.

Why Choose This Course

Ethnomusicology is a subject I am very interested in and UCC has excellent experts in ethnomusicology...

Yanming Gao, PhD Ethnomusicology, 2022-2026

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Undertaking the MA programme in Ethnomusicology at UCC was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I have made ...

Mary Dillon, MA Ethnomusicology, 2018

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The programme team should be highly commended for providing a thorough and varied training on the MA Ethnomusicology ...

External Examiner, Ethnomusicology, 2017

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Several key factors combine to make the MA in Ethnomusicology at UCC a most popular course. It is unique in Ireland for 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 types of music are treated as equally worthy of study and respect.

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.

Skills and Careers Information

Our MA Ethnomusicology graduates 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.



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 musicians 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.

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure 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.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.


If your course requires a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second-semester fee payment in January.

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

How To Apply

1. Check dates

Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

2. Gather documents

Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply online

Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

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 two referees.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Open until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact