A flexible, practice-based course for musicians wishing to develop or refresh their professional expertise for work in the creative industries.
The MMus in Creative Musicianship at Ulster University is a series of linked postgraduate awards offered both full-time (1 year) and part-time (2 years). With a particular emphasis on practice-based study the programme has been designed to appeal to musicians from a variety of backgrounds and genres, interesting in pursuing one of three named pathways:
- Performance Studies (classical, Irish traditional, jazz, rock or popular styles)
- Composition and Creative Audio (including the combination of acoustic and electronic sources, film music, interactive and mixed media)
- Music and Communities (including disability arts and traditional music communities)
Taught by a dedicated course team of leading professional musical practitioners and researchers and with further guidance from industry experts, the programme will enable you to refine your skills as a musician, while giving you the confidence to apply critical and practical approaches to the creation and performance of music across a range of creative environments.
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About this course
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The MMus in Creative Musicianship is a flexible postgraduate programme which aims to produce informed, skilled and insightful musical practitioners across a wide range of musical genres working in three practice-based fields: Performance, Composition & Creative Audio or Music and Communities. Whether opting to spend a short, focused period of study honing your musicianship skills as part of a PGCert or expanding your studies into a PGDip or Masters, this is the ideal programme for those who wish to develop, refine or refresh their professional expertise for work in the creative industries while also providing the perfect springboard for further postgraduate and/or PhD study.
Over the first two semesters, two complementary Specialism modules (20 credits each) familiarise students with the most important recent developments in their specialist pathway, training them in essential technical, research and communication skills while providing them with opportunities to put their expertise to practical use. The Practice module is devoted entirely to developing the individual's creative practice in their chosen field affording opportunities for one on one tuition. Meanwhile, the Seminar module provides a platform for contextual, aesthetic and theoretical study in their chosen discipline via group tutorial work and practice-based workshops.
In addition, the 20 credit Research Project allows students to pursue a self-directed topic of their choice, usually related to their chosen specialism, under the supervision of a single member of staff and/or undertake work outside of the University as part of an established work placement.
For those continuing their study to MMus level, the third semester Final Project (60 credits) allows student to undertake a sustained period of self-directed, practice-based work related to their chosen specialism.
Full-time: three semesters (one calendar year in total) for MMus or two semesters for PGDip and PGCert
Currently timetabled as two contact days per week full-time, plus any relevant instrumental/vocal tuition and work in the library.
Part-time: six semesters (two calendar years in total).
Currently timetabled as one contact day per week, plus any relevant instrumental/vocal tuition and work in the library.
- September 2019
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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Applicants must meet the University's minimum entrance requirements and, in addition, a) hold a second-class honours degree or better in music or another relevant discipline from a recognised institution, or b) an equivalent qualification, or c) be able to provide other evidence of ability and experience appropriate to the course. International applicants whose first language is not English must attain either of the following English competence standards:
A written proposal outlining the intended area of individual study (i.e. the Specialism and, ideally, an idea of what the third-semester project might involve) should support the application; all applicants will be interviewed and/or auditioned.
The University will consider applications on the basis of experiential learning for those who do not hold the normal entry qualifications. The onus is on the applicant to evidence that they have relevant experience equating to degree study at honours level.
English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Teaching and learning assessment
A number of formats for teaching and learning will be offered including lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops.
The performance of candidates shall be assessed by the Board of Examiners in accordance with the Regulations Governing Examinations in Programmes of Study.
Candidates shall be assessed in the modules for which they have enrolled in each year of study. At the discretion of the Board of Examiners candidates may be required to attend a viva voce examination.
Within each module candidates shall be assessed by 100% coursework.
The pass mark for the module shall be 50%.
Exemptions and transferability
Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that
(a) they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least the final third of the credit value of the award at the highest level.
(b) the Final Project module is not exempted for those wishing to complete the MMus award.
Careers & opportunities
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-Professional work in the creative industries
-Further academic or practical study
-Community-based education and/or creative work
-Technical positions in the music industry
Work placement / study abroad
Work placements are available as an option within Research Project.
Dr. Adam Melvin (Course-Director) is a composer with research interests in collaborative practice and sound, music and moving image.
Dr. Brian Bridges is a composer and researcher in electracoustic music, spatial music and mixed-media work, sonic arts and auditory perception & music cognition.
Dr. Liz Doherty is a fiddle player, academic, educator and consultant within the traditional arts community in Ireland and internationally.
Dr. Linley Hamilton is a professional trumpeter and broadcaster with research interests in jazz improvisation and the creative industries
Prof. Frank Lyons is a composer and researcher in musicology, community music and disability arts.
Dr. Laurence Roman is a composer with research interests in music in theatre
Dr. Shaun Ryan is a performer and conductor of the Ulster University Choir with research interests in music and community and the music of George Gershwin
ApplyHow to apply Request a prospectus
To arrange an interview/audition or to discuss informally any aspect of the course, please get in touch with the Course Director.
Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.
The deadline for submission of applications is 15th May. We will consider late applications but these may experience delays in processing.
- September 2019
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Fees illustrated are based on 18/19 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees
- Northern Ireland & EU:
- £13,680.00 Scholarships available
Scholarships, awards and prizes
Additional mandatory costs
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.
Course Director: Dr Adam Melvin
International Admissions Office
For more information visit
"Choosing the MMus at Ulster was one of the best decisions I ever made. As a traditional musician the level of tuition I received was world class - and opportunities my tutor created for me to perform and to enage with the traditional arts from an industry perspective was amazing. I wish I could do it every year!" Maggie Maguire, Co. Fermanagh (MMus, 2011)