SOAS University of London

Department of Music, School of Arts

MMus Ethnomusicology

One calendar year (full-time); Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)

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

  • Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent), usually in Music

Featured events

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply


Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

Theoretical and practical grounding in the discipline of ethnomusicology, as well as the opportunity to develop performance and ethnographic skills, regional expertise, and a deeper understanding of global music – just some of what you can expect to develop on the MMus Ethnomusicology. This programme is tailored for musicians and musicologists, anthropologists, teachers and composers, as well as those dedicated to developing an in-depth knowledge of a specific music tradition.

You will study with the largest and most influential team of ethnomusicologists in the UK, who are experts in the musical traditions of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Jewish world. You will be part of a thriving culture of performance, research and active engagement with music around the globe.

The programme will suit those looking for a springboard into further research or employment in a range of music-related fields including journalism, industry, NGOs and education, and often serves as a conversion route for those trained predominantly in western music traditions.



Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

The MMus 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 MMus Ethnomusicology programme are:

  1. The full unit core course Ethnomusicology in Practice.
    A broad introduction to the major themes of ethnomusicological study. Taught as a weekly two-hour lecture/seminar with additional tutorials. Part-time students must take this in their first year.
  2. The Dissertation in Music.  
    A special study 11,000 words in length on a topic agreed with the candidate's supervisor. This will normally relate to the "major region" chosen below, but may instead deal with a theoretical or comparative topic. Part-time students normally take this in their final year.

Select courses to the value of 90 credits from List A,B,C and/or D,including at least one course from list A.

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
Music in Selected Regions of Africa: Contexts and Structures 15PMUC006 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Music, Nation and Conflict in Jerusalem 15PMUH022 0.5 Unit Term 1
Music, Place and Politics in Cuba 15PMUH015 0.5 Unit Term 1
Musical Traditions of East Asia (Masters) 15PMUH016 0.5 Unit Term 2
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
List B: Additional Music Courses
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
African and Asian Cultures in Britain 15PANH009 0.5 Unit Term 2
African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World 15PANH010 0.5 Unit Term 1
Analysing World Music: Transcription & Analysis in Ethnomusicology 15PMUH004 0.5 Unit Term 2
Composition 15PMUH013 0.5 Unit Full Year
Digital traditional broadcasting communication 15PMSH022 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
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 in Development 15PMUC034 1 Unit Full Year
Performance 15PMUC002 1 Unit Full Year
Sound Recording and Production 15PMSH025 0.5 Unit Term 1
The Music Business (Masters) 15PMUH003 0.5 Unit Term 2
List C: Courses at King's College

Students may also take up to a maximum of 45 credit units from King's College Department of Music (see this link for available options: https: // . Special assessment rules apply for SOAS students taking King’s College courses to bring the credit rating of each course up to 45 credits. Please check with course tutors at King’s for specific requirements. Course choices will vary each year, at the time of completing this document, the following courses are available:

ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Advanced Opera Study 22.5 Unit
Advanced Studies in Musical Analysis & Criticism: Beethoven's Late Works 22.5 Unit
Issues in Biography and Criticism 22.5 Unit
Issues in Historiography and Criticism 22.5 Unit
Performance, Gesture and Meaning 22.5 Unit
Post-tonal Music and Composition Theory 22.5 Unit
Theories of Modernism and the Avant-Garde 22.5 Unit
21st-Century Bach 22.5 Unit
List D:

Courses at SOAS from other departments in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities or MA Area Studies courses (including languages) in the Faculty of Languages and Cultures. Course choices are subject to the agreement of both the course convenor and the MMus Ethnomusicology convenor. Courses will normally relate to the same geographical region chosen from List A course(s).


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.


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

The Department of Music has been highly rated for teaching and research in all recent assessment exercises, and is regularly ranked amongst the top Music departments in the UK in Good University Guides.

Music students have access to the large Main Library of the School which holds numerous books, journals and recordings relevant to the study of ethnomusicology and world music, as well as the nearby British Library Sound Archive and other London libraries and museums.

The SOAS Library holds copies of standard reference works on music, such as the current edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. The Grove dictionary and the RILM database can also be accessed on line from computer terminals in the Library or elsewhere on the SOAS network. Listening facilities are provided in the Library, and most CDs are available on short loan. Among special items in the Department’s collections are:

  • field recordings, films and slides
  • a large working collection of musical instruments from Asia and Africa
  • extensive staff collections relating to specific research interests

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
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


A postgraduate degree in Ethnomusicology from SOAS gives students greater intercultural awareness, improved competency in performance 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.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

Internet Advertising Board
Marie Stopes International
Association of Culture & World Music
School of Traditional & Popular Music
Vortex Jazz Club
S24 Film
British Library
Grant & Cutler
British Library
UK Government
Warner Music 
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:
Production Assistant
Sound Archive assistant
Finance Manager
Manager of Musical Association
Junior Research Executive
Project support officer
Policy adviser
Library Assistant
Local Councillor 
For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

SOAS is a great place to study Ethnomusicology. It has the flavour of the world spread through the music made by the students, lecturers and guests.

Marina Di Giorgi


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