What will I learn?

The individually focused nature of the MA in Music (by Research) is particularly well suited to the study of Musical Analysis. Here at York, analytical work has always centred around the practical applications of this approach: using analysis to uncover and evidence the workings of a given repertoire. Analysis of any kind is a quest for understanding. Rather than studying the theory of analytical techniques in isolation, it is the more musically intuitive process of rationalisation that is the focus here. Discovering the compositional grounds that have engendered an emotional response to music, considering how and why a composer has created effects, ensure that analysis is kept relevant.

Applicants for this programme of study should have a clear research proposal that sets out to apply analytical investigations within a wider context. Some indication of how analytical evidence may be used to support a larger thesis should also be outlined. Examples may include the study of a particular composer, period, style, genre (and so on). Analytical topics of recently completed MA dissertations include Perception & Perspective in Sibelius’ Symphony No.3; Unity, Contrasts and Cyclic Aspects of Schumann’s Carnival; Processes of Integration in Contemporary String Quartets; Coherence and Direction in Ligeti’s Violin Concerto; Case Studies of the Twentieth-Century Chamber Concerto.

The MA in Music by Research offers postgraduate opportunities to individuals who prefer to study independently rather than through classroom teaching, working under the close supervision of an expert in their field. This is a research degree, not a taught course programme, and applicants will need to have a clearly focussed research proposal in their given area in order to be considered for admission to the research MA. Supervision and tutorial meetings are held on either a weekly or fortnightly basis throughout the academic year and by arrangement over the summer vacation. There is also an opportunity for all MA by Research students to interact with one another: the MA Research Forum. Meeting on Wednesday mornings, this is a discussion group that engages with common themes, such as issues of writing about music, while offering the opportunity for individual students to present aspects of their research topics to the larger group. Students are also encouraged to attend the weekly Research Seminar series (on Wednesday afternoons) where invited speakers, staff members and PhD students give presentations about their latest work, and there are opportunities to meet other postgraduate researchers.

Which department am I in?


Study options

Full Time (1 year)

Tuition fees
£23,900.00 (US$ 32,393) per year
The fees quoted are for one year of study. Fees are subject to increase in subsequent years but this increase will be set at a maximum of two per cent in each year for continuing students. The University reserves the right to alter the level of fee.

This is a fixed fee

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

January 2022, April 2022, July 2022, October 2022, January 2023, April 2023, July 2023


University of York



YO10 5DD, England

Entry requirements

For students from United States

For a postgraduate taught course such as a Masters, you would normally need a Bachelors degree from a recognised institution. Typically you would need at least the equivalent to a UK upper second class honours degree, however some courses will accept lower second class honours degrees. Actual requirements will vary by course: A score of 3.2 out of 4.0 is considered comparable to a UK 2:1; A score of 2.8 out of 4.0 is considered comparable to a UK 2:2. If you're a non-native English speaking applicant you must provide evidence of your English language ability.

For international students

You need at least the equivalent to a UK upper second-class (2:1) honours degree and, in some cases, a Masters degree. Actual requirements vary by course. English language requirements: IELTS 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in each component, TOEFL 79, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking and 17 in Writing.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.

Pathways options

Offered by other partners

This university accepts pathways courses from
  • Kaplan International College (KIC) London

About University of York

“The University of York is based in the historic city of York, regularly named one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.”

  • 94 per cent graduate employment rate
  • Part of the Russell Group of 24 leading UK universities
  • York is consistently ranked as one of the top UK universities
  • International scholarships available

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