UCC Postgraduate courses

Music & Cultural History

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

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.

Students take 90 credits as follows:

Part I

  • MU6030 Research Skills (5 credits)
  • MU6050 Performance Studies (10 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)
  • One further module in Music or a related area as appropriate to the student's research specialization (5 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.

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

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 research project (e.g. a dissertation of c.12,000 words, or an equivalent project that may have performance or creative components) is submitted in September.

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


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.

Why Choose This Course

Our MA in Music and Cultural History is the only course in Ireland to focus on recent developments in musicology, which is increasingly 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) and offers co-taught modules with courses in ethnomusicology and film studies.

Skills and Careers Information

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, WhoSampled.com), 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.


In order to be permitted to proceed to the MA Degree in Music and Cultural History, a candidate must hold a minimum of Second Class Honours, Grader II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) in Music (or one in which Music is a major subject). 

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

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 add 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.

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact