MA in the Psychology of Music

(MUST02) MA in the Psychology of Music - Full Time
(MUST20) MA in the Psychology of Music - Part Time

Image of studentsMusic Psychology uses psychological methods and theory to interpret and understand musical behaviours, sounds and ideas. The interdisciplinarity of the subject, and its use of a wide range of empirical approaches, offers a unique perspective on music.

Cognition, Social Psychology, Perception and Emotion

The on-site course introduces students into a wide range of areas including auditory perception, music cognition, musical development, music in everyday life, and musical performance. Students specialize within an area through a written dissertation, and the pursuit of original research, which generally includes an experimental or observational empirical investigation.

Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods

The research orientation includes qualitative as well as quantitative research and both methodologies are taught within the course. This research orientation makes the course highly suitable for continued doctoral research.

Specialisation in Language & Music, or Cognitive Neuroscience of Music

In addition to the regular MA in Psychology of Music, there is the possibility to specialise in the relationship between Language and Music by following selected modules in linguistics from the MA in Language Acquisition, replacing part of the modules followed at the Department of Music. Similarly, there is the possibility to specialise in the Cognitive Neuroscience of Music by following selected modules from the MSc in Cognitive and computational neuroscience.

A Rich Context for Psychology of Music

Postgraduate teaching and research in music psychology is well established at Sheffield, with the department offering both distance learning MAs in Psychology for Musicians and Music Psychology in Education, and a site-based MA in Psychology of Music, and supporting approximately 12 research students and assistants working on projects within the field. There is an active research community that meets regularly for student-led reading groups and presentation seminars. Two research centres are dedicated to Psychology of Music: Music Mind Machine in Sheffield with a more cognitive orientation, and Sheffield Audience Participation research centre with a social psychological orientation. These centres provide links to other departments and music institutes in and outside Sheffield. They regularly organise events in which students take part through attendance, participation and co-organisation.


The course tutors have published widely in the areas of music psychology and education, contributing to the music department's status as an internationally leading centre for research in these fields. Sheffield is unique in having three full-time specialist staff: Prof. Nicola Dibben, Dr. Stephanie Pitts, and Dr. Renee Timmers.
Opportunities for research in music psychology are further enhanced by connections with other areas of staff expertise: music analysis; music education; ethnomusicology; historical, analytical and critical musicology; and performance practice as well as by connections with the Departments of Psychology and Computer Science.

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As well as having outstanding library collections, the department provides studios for work with recorded music and film, word processing, statistics, and notation. It has two rooms dedicated to music psychological research providing ample opportunities for conducting psychological experiments, hosting a MIDI Yamaha piano and drum, and equipment for measurements of physiological responses and reaction times.