SOAS University of London

Department of Music, School of Arts

MA Music in Development

Duration: One calendar year (full time). Two or three years (part time, daytime only). We recommend that part-time students have between two and a half and three days free in the week to pursue their course of study.

Fees 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. This is a Band 1 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

2017 Entry requirements

  • Students with a demonstrably strong background in music performance and evidence of a serious and sustained interest in development and creative communication. An undergraduate training in ethnomusicology, music psychology or music sociology would be an advantage, although a 2.1 pass in any social science degree would be acceptable. Under exceptional circumstances, significant fieldwork experience may off-set the absence of formal academic qualifications in this area.

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Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

This unique programme has been designed for students wishing to combine an interest in music and related cultural performance with advocacy and social development practice. Students will build critical understanding of how music’s agentive and imaginative capacities act in different contexts - e.g. human rights, forced migration, health, and environmental justice - to communicate needs and interests, and to mobilize action.

Students will have the opportunity to build the programme around their specific interests by drawing on optional courses from a range of disciplines, while also developing an understanding of the musical practices of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The programme is particularly suitable for students wishing to deepen their understanding of social and cultural theory and to develop applied research skills. It appeals to those wishing to develop a career in the   international NGO sector, in arts-based public sector programmes (e.g. UNESCO) and in arts policy. Students interested in research may proceed to MPhil/PhD in ethnomusicology or allied disciplines.



Programme Specification

The MA Music in Development programme involves taking three courses and writing a 11,000-word dissertation. In addition to these formal elements, students are expected to attend regular postgraduate and public seminars and may also participate in performance ensemble classes and other activities.

Course Detail
The four formal elements of the MA Music in Development programme are:

  • The full unit core course Music in Development: Taught as a weekly two-hour lecture with additional tutorials. Part-time students must take this in their first year.
  • The Dissertation in Music: A special study 11,000 words in length on a topic agreed with the candidate's supervisor. Part-time students normally take this in their final year.

Student must select courses to the value of 90 credits from List A and B including at least one course from each list.

One compulsory Core Course
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Music in Development 15PMUC034 1 Unit Full Year
List A: Area Courses
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Atlantic Africa: (P)Layers of Mediation in African Popular Music (PG) 15PMUC009 1 Unit Full Year
Aspects of Music and Religion in South East Asia 15PMUH017 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Central Asian Music 15PMUH008 0.5 Unit Term 1
Ethnicity, Religion and Gender in Middle Eastern Musical cultures 15PMUH024 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Indian vocal music: Styles and histories 15PMUH025 0.5 Unit Term 2
Klezmer Music: Roots and Revival 15PMUH011 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Musical Traditions of East Asia (Masters) 15PMUH016 0.5 Unit Term 2
Music, Nation and Conflict in Jerusalem 15PMUH022 0.5 Unit Term 1
Music, Place and Politics in Cuba 15PMUH015 0.5 Unit Term 1
Pop and Politics in East Asia (Masters) 15PMUH014 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Popular and Fusion Music in South East Asia (PG) 15PMUH018 0.5 Unit Term 2
Sacred Sound in South Asia 15PMUH021 0.5 Unit Term 1
A dissertation of 11,000 words

based on practice-based research (preferably based on a consultancy for a commissioning agency)

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Dissertation in Music 15PMUC999 1 Unit Full Year
List B:Additional Courses

Students are strongly advised to take a half unit in either Anthropology of Development OR Media in Development in the first term. In addition, if students do not have a strong background in Ethnomusicology, it is highly recommended that they register for Ethnomusicology in Practice (1 unit). Prior to registering, however, please be sure to discuss course options with both the Programme Tutor and with the respective course convenors.


Choose either (a) two half unit courses from the list below, or (b) choose, but subject to the agreement of the course convenor, courses from other departments in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities or MA Area Studies courses in the Faculty of Languages & Cultures. If you choose option (b), the course(s) will normally relate to the same geographical region chosen in the Major region specialisation. "Students may also take approved courses from Kings College Department of Music" see this link for available options: //

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Analysing World Music: Transcription & Analysis in Ethnomusicology 15PMUH004 0.5 Unit Term 2
Aspects of Music and Religion in South East Asia 15PMUH017 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Atlantic Africa: (P)Layers of Mediation in African Popular Music (PG) 15PMUC009 1 Unit Full Year
Central Asian Music 15PMUH008 0.5 Unit Term 1
Composition 15PMUH013 0.5 Unit Full Year
Ethnomusicology in Practice 15PMUC004 1 Unit Full Year
Gender and Music (MMus) 15PMUH009 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Music and Healing 15PMUH019 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Music, Place and Politics in Cuba 15PMUH015 0.5 Unit Term 1
Musical Traditions of East Asia (Masters) 15PMUH016 0.5 Unit Term 2
Performance 15PMUC002 1 Unit Full Year
Pop and Politics in East Asia (Masters) 15PMUH014 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
The Music Business (Masters) 15PMUH003 0.5 Unit Term 2
Development Studies
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Theory, policy and practice of development 15PDSC001 1 Unit Full Year
Centre for Media and Film Studies
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Global Media and Postnational Communication: Theoretical & Contemporary Issues 15PMSC003 1 Unit Full Year
Transnational Communities and Diasporic Media:Networking, Connectivity, Identity 15PMSH004 0.5 Unit Term 2
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Anthropology of Development 15PANC090 1 Unit Full Year
Cultural Understandings of Health 15PANC093 1 Unit Full Year
Issues in the Anthropology of Gender 15PANH024 0.5 Unit Term 2
Perspectives On Development 15PANH033 0.5 Unit Term 1
Therapy and Culture 15PANH027 0.5 Unit Term 1
Gender Studies
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Gender theory and the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East 15PGNC002 1 Unit Full Year
Gendering migration & diasporas 15PGNH002 0.5 Unit Term 1


Important information for 2017/18 applicants

For the 2017 academic year, SOAS has introduced a new academic framework for all of our postgraduate taught courses. The new model will mean that taught programmes are now made up of four units each worth 30 credits – our current structure is based on three units – plus dissertation. This approach is in line with PG programmes in most other universities.

In practice this means that there will be additional choice of modules for students taking PG taught programmes in 2017. The modules set out here represent the options available in the programme in 2016. In most cases, our 2017 programmes will contain these options plus additional modules – broadening the range of what is available on your programme.

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

The aim of the programme is to develop:

  1. critical understanding of music as a culturally embedded system that has wide-ranging application as a communication tool and process in a variety of development contexts;
  2. a critical understanding of relevant theories in Ethnomusicology and allied disciplines, such as Development Studies and Anthropology;
  3. a critical understanding of participatory research methodologies and applications;
  4. the development of workshop modelling and management skills aimed at linking musical performances and meanings to social action and advocacy work; and
  5. a critical knowledge of the musical practices, meanings and performance contexts from select regions of the world.

The programme is designed to prepare students for entry into a range of professional sectors, namely International Development, Social Music Therapies, Cultural Research and Policy, Sound and Audio-Visual Archiving, Media for Development, and documentation and research for the UNESCO Intangible Heritage Programme.

More information will be added soon...

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

This is a Band 1 tuition fee.

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-timePart-time 2 YearsPart-time 3 Years
£8,785 £18,075 £4,393 £9,038 £2,928 £6,025
Commonwealth Shared Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

SOAS Master's Scholarships - Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

Sasakawa Postgraduate Studentship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

The Prospect Burma Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


An MA in Music in Development from SOAS gives students greater intercultural awareness and a better understanding of global music which will enable them to continue in the field of research or engage in related work. Equally, they develop a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and creative capacities including interpersonal skills, communication skills, focus, team work, passion and dedication. A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

I would sum up my studies here so far as a white-knuckle intellectual adventure. It has opened doors not only in my mind, but in real life, especially in terms of people I have met.

Richard Gray


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