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Taught Masters in Music Psychology

Music Psychology at Durham

Durham’s Music Department hosts a range of world-leading Music Psychology research projects. Our staff members have backgrounds in music psychology, computational analysis of music, and physiological and neuroscientific approaches to music. Particular areas of expertise include music and emotions, music and memory, entrainment and synchronisation in music performance, and cross-cultural research. Staff and postgraduate students in our Music and Science Lab group come together for fortnightly collaborative research discussions, which include a range of training activities for early career researchers and MA students. Research in Music Psychology at Durham is facilitated by strong links with other pathways in the Music Department, including cross-cultural studies conducted in collaboration with ethnomusicology staff members and corpus analysis projects with our performance and analysis colleagues. This research is also enabled by excellent facilities, equipment, and technical support.

What will you do?

Get to know your discipline, and why it matters

  • Attend seminars on state-of-the-art topics from music psychology, music computing, and music neuroscience (e.g., music and emotions, musical memory, corpus analysis)
  • Gain hands-on, practical experience in experimental design, quantitative and qualitative analysis
  • Conduct an in-depth empirical dissertation project on a topic of your choice
  • Develop skills that prepare you for a career in research, industry, or the cultural sector

Explore your interests in more detail

  • Conduct research supported by a range of excellent facilities, software for building experiments and analysing data, and specialist tools (e.g., physiology data collection kits, EEG, eye tracking)
  • Undertake training in research skills and resources that allows you to build knowledge of methodologies across the discipline
  • Choose from additional taught modules, giving you freedom to explore other areas that play to your interests (e.g., Advanced Music Analysis, modules in other departments, foreign languages)

Be part of the academic community

  • Benefit from close collaboration with your dissertation supervisor, as well as regular engagement with academic staff from across the Department
  • Join our fortnightly Music and Science Lab research group meetings of staff and students for discussions of new research projects, articles, methods, and current debates in the field
  • Attend regular postgraduate seminars and Research Forum sessions that allow you to engage with cutting-edge research across the discipline

For full details of the course structure and module content, visit our taught MA course page.

Capturing audio, video, and physiological data from a professional string quartet in our Recording Studio.

Professor Eerola demonstrating Music Information Retrieval techniques in our Music and Science Lab.

Dr Kelly Jakubowski presenting a conference poster.


What do our students think? 

University student
As an international student, I have received tremendous support from the members of the music department during my undergraduate degree and as such decided to stay on to complete my MA. Having come from the Caribbean, Durham has been a ‘home away from home’ where I am surrounded by beautiful fauna and flora. I enjoyed having a small class which allowed for discussions to be held more freely and allowed for confidence to be built when answering questions. I have enjoyed the challenge of the degree, considering new concepts and topics within the module. Our module leader was incredibly helpful in supporting us through the module and our tasks.

Aliyah Ramatally, PGT, 2022-23
University student
My research MA experience at Durham University has been unforgettably meaningful to me at both academic level and personal level. Conducting an independent research project during the COVID-19 pandemic was harder than anything I’ve gone through so far in my life. However, Durham University and its excellent researchers provided me with warm support and the environment to pursue my academic goals. There are many good things to say about Durham University, but nothing can mean more than its sophisticated environment for academic activities to future students.

Ryuichi Hamakawa, PGR, 2020-2021
University student
My PhD experience at Durham university has been a great one so far. I feel extremely lucky to have the opportunity to learn from expert researchers in the field of music psychology. My supervisors have been extremely supportive, and constantly challenge me to better develop my research and advance in my area of study. Having regular lab meetings allows me to keep in contact with staff members and other PhD candidates, creating a close-knit group of researchers that support and educate each other

Annaliese Micallef Grimaud (2018-21)
University student
The PhD experience at Durham has been overwhelmingly positive, and a great opportunity to work professionally with world-leading researchers and supervisors, whilst developing an independent research agenda and my future career prospects. I could not recommend enough choosing to study at the top UK music department here in Durham, surrounded by friendly peers, and working in the shadow of the famous Durham Cathedral is not so bad either!

Scott Bannister (2016-20)