MA in the Psychology of Music - Learning and Structure
Teaching and Learning
A series of lectures and seminars provides the primary means through which you will engage with the knowledge base of the discipline. Laboratory work and demonstrations are used from the second semester when you will engage with empirical research methods. Some of this empirical work is carried out in groups in order to foster team-working skills. Individual tutorials are used throughout the course to respond directly to student-specific interests and needs, for detailed discussion of literature and ideas, and are the main support for the dissertation. Independent study is a crucial element of the course and encourages the development of all aspects of knowledge, understanding and skills, but in particular it encourages qualities of originality, independence, information collection and management.
The MA in Psychology of Music consists of compulsory units designed to ensure coverage of essential elements of graduate study in music and key learning experiences in the psychology of music. The first half of the programme provides training in generic musicological research skills alongside a seminar series focusing on the music psychology literature. You will also participate in the planning and design of two collaborative research projects, alongside the design of a substantial and original research project which will become the basis for your dissertation. The second half of the programme provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate your assimilation of this learning through completion of an original piece of research reported as a dissertation.
Part-time candidates follow a pathway that divides these modules across two years of study. There is some flexibility in this, but typically candidates will take the dissertation proposal and dissertation in year 2 and all other modules in year 1.
- MUS6000 Research Techniques (15 credits)
- MUS615 Topics in Music Psychology (30 credits) (option: 15 credits)
- MUS613 Quantitative Research (30 credits) (option: 15 credits)
- MUS614 Qualitative Research (30 credits) (option: 15 credits)
NOTE: There is the option to follow reduced 15 credit modules and additionally follow two 15 credit modules from the MA in Language Acquisition or two 15 credit modules from the MSc in Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience.
- MUS6070 Research Design (15 credits)
- MUS6020 Dissertation (60 credits)
Course total 180 credits
Topics in Music Psychology (MUS615)
This unit is taught through the Psychology of Music seminars. This module provides an introduction to the core topics in the psychology of music, including psychoacoustics, perception and cognition of musical structure, emotion and meaning in music, developmental psychology of music, psychological approaches to performance, social and applied music psychology, including music therapy and music education. Assessment is by means of coursework essays. Students complete a draft essay of c.2,000 words for each of 5 topic areas covered on which they receive formative feedback. They then choose to submit two of these as longer essays of 3,000 words for the summative assessment. This resubmission process enables students to improve their critical and communicative skills whilst also gaining a broader understanding of the subject of music psychology.
Research Techniques (MUS6000)
This module introduces a range of music-related research techniques including defining and designing a research topic, collecting and analysing data, access to unusual research materials from libraries or internet sites, compiling and laying out literature reviews and empirical studies, becoming acquainted with basics of music processing. Assessment is by means of the completion of exercises set within the class.
Research Design (MUS6070)
This module will help you identify and refine a topic of research suitable for a Masters dissertation. Participation in student-led seminars provides the forum for discussion. Assessment is by a written Dissertation Proposal of 3000 words, which allows assessment of students´ ability to identify a research question, locate sources, and communicate an appropriate design by which to investigate it, together with a submission for ethical approval.
Quantitative Research Techniques (MUS613)
This unit aims to equip students with a practical understanding of a range of quantitative research methods in the psychology of music. Teaching takes place in a computer laboratory setting so that theoretical ideas are put into practice in practical class exercises using statistical software. The ability to develop designs, evaluate literature, and practice ethical research, is enabled through completion of a partially designed empirical study discussed and developed through these classes. The project is carried out as a group, which enables students to develop team-working skills.
Qualitative Research Techniques (MUS614)
This unit aims to equip students with a practical understanding of a range of qualitative research methods in the psychology of music. Teaching takes place in seminars. The ability to develop designs, evaluate literature, and practice ethical research, is enabled through completion of a partially designed empirical study discussed and developed through these classes. The qualitative project is carried out as a group, which enables students to develop team-working skills.
Dissertation research takes place primarily in the second semester of the course, giving you the chance to develop your ability to carry out an independent research project. The dissertation, of c.12,000 words, should report psychological research of an empirical or theoretical nature, deal with musical issues, and place this research within the context of existing work in psychology and music. Topics chosen by previous students have included absolute pitch and pitch memory, determinants of musical skill among talented young musicians. the role of music in autobiographical memory.
Students on the MA are also encouraged to attend appropriate undergraduate modules in both the psychology and music departments. Modules in the Music Department include Psychological Approaches to Performance, Music in the Community, Music in Education, and Music Perception. A range of courses on perception, memory and cognition, experimental methods and statistics, are available in the Psychology Department.
Library and resources
The music department library is well equipped to support research in music psychology, housing a range of music psychology texts and journals as well as collections of a wide range of other musicological resources. The department owns Disklavier pianos and a MIDI drum kit allowing piano performances and drum performances to be digitally recorded and analysed. Additionally, facilities for perceptual experiments are available as well as hardware and software to measure physiological responses. Inter-library loans can be arranged through the music department, and mainstream psychology and education texts can be found in the Main Library nearby. For students on the Distance Learning MA time is available during residential weeks to make full use of the resources in the department, and the Sconul Access scheme means that part-time and distance learning students can also use other UK university libraries nearer their home.