UCC Postgraduate courses

Music and Cultural History

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Music and Cultural History

  • Code


  • College

    Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    1 year Full-time; 2 years Part-time

  • Teaching Mode

    Full-time, Part-Time. See Additional Teaching Mode Information for more info.

  • Qualifications


  • EU Fees 2021

    €6,130; €3,130 (Year 1 Part-time); €3,130 (Year 2 Part-time)
    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Non-EU Fees 2021


  • Entry Requirements

    A primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) or equivalent in Music See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Closed for applications: we will reopen in November.

  • Non-EU Closing Date

    Extended until 31 July 2021

  • Start Date

    13 September 2021

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)
  • MU6003 Performance Studies (15 credits)
  • MU6031 Sound Studies & Musicology (5 credits)
  • MU6034 Multidisciplinary Debates in Musicology and Ethnomusicology (5 credit)
  • 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.

Additional Teaching Mode Information

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


Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our book of modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

University Calendar

You can find the full academic content for the current year of any given course in our University Calendar.

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


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.

Who teaches this course

Dr Melanie L. Marshall (Course Coordinator), BMus (Edinburgh), MA, PhD (Southampton). Dr Marshall is a musicologist specialising in sixteenth-century Italian music, and in issues of gender and sexuality in music (including contemporary popular music).

Dr J. Griffith Rollefson, BA (Macalester College), MM composition (Bowling Green State University), MM musicology (Bowling Green State University), PhD (Wisconsin-Madison). Dr Rollefson is a musicologist specialising in popular-music studies, notably concerning global hip hop, jazz and blues, and in American and other modern musics.

Dr Danijela Kulezic-Wilson, BMus (Belgrade), PhD (Ulster), a musicologist specialising in comparative arts, film music and the musical poetics of film.

Dr Jillian Rogers, BM (University of Denver), MFA Musicology (Brandeis University), PhD Musicology (UCLA). Dr Rogers is a musicologist who specialises in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century European and American musical cultures, as well as in how people have historically used music as a way of coping with grief and trauma.

Prof. Jonathan P.J. Stock, GBSM (Birmingham), MA (York), PhD (Belfast). Prof. Stock is an ethnomusicologist who works mostly on the music of China and Taiwan. His current theoretical interests include the transformation of traditions under modernity, globalisation and postmodernity; the development of fieldwork and ethnography; research ethics; and the social application of research.

Dr Tríona Ní Shíocháin BA(mus) (UCC), PhD (UCC). Dr Ní Shíocháin is an interdisciplinary scholar and ethnomusicologist specializing in Irish traditional music, sean-nós singing, oral theory, and performance theory. Her work concerns oral composition, transmission, and aesthetics, thought formation and identity formation through singing, song and political thought, song and prophecy, and the work of 19th-century song composer, Máire Bhuí Ní Laeire.

Click HERE for further information on the School of Music Staff Profiles

Why Choose This Course

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.

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.

What are our graduates doing?

Roslyn Steer, 2012 

 Doctoral Research … and Shepherding


Joey Ryan, 2014

Music Teaching and Performance


Julie Seagrave, 2015

 Internship as Arts Administrator

Image of Student

Eimear Hurley, 2015

 Arts Administration, Arts Outreach, and Cultural Journalism

Image of Student


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 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.

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.

Fees and Costs

The EU fee for this course is €6,130; €3,130 (Year 1 Part-time); €3,130 (Year 2 Part-time).

The Non-EU fee for this course is €16,080.


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

EU student fee payment:

Fees for EU students are payable in two equal instalments. First payment at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment:

Fees for Non-EU Students are payable in one instalment in August.

How can I pay?

By Credit/Debit card online or by credit transfer.


If you have any questions on fee payment please email our Fees Office at fees@ucc.ie .

Non-EU Fees

The fee schedule for 2019/2020 is available here.

How Do I Apply

1. Choose Course

Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to two courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online

Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the online application portal. Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a non-refundable €50 application fee for all courses apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.

Applicants for the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Nursing must apply on the PAC website when the programme opens for applications.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to the online application portal in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

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

Please log into the online application portal for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

Our online application portal opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details. 

5. Rounds

For courses that are in the rounds system (Irish and EU applicants), please check the rounds closing dates here.

Questions on how to apply?

Please 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 2 referees. 

The closing date for non-EU applications is Extended until 31 July 2021

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact