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Duration: 12 months (full-time); 27 months (part-time)|Hope Park|Start month: January & October
International students can apply
Entry Requirements
Teaching & Research


A unique opportunity to study in the city of Liverpool, home of The Beatles and with access to leading Popular Music academics and Beatles specialists, this MA is the only one of its kind in the UK and the world.

This MA will examine the significance of the music of The Beatles in the construction of identities, audiences, ethnicities and industries, and localities; by doing so it will suggest ways to understand popular music as a social practise, focusing attention on issues such as the role of music in the construction of regional identities, concepts of authenticity, aesthetics, meaning, value, performance, and the use of popular music as a discursive evocation of place. Furthermore, in a consideration of popular music as a text, popular music semiotics will also be employed.

This MA will be of interest to those working in the fields of popular music studies, cultural studies, social anthropology, politics, gender studies, and musicology, among others. Such a course is an essential addition to the discipline of Popular Music Studies.

Curriculum Overview

Currently four taught modules are offered on this programme.

Texts and Contexts: Understanding Popular Music

This will offer you an understanding of how Popular Music Studies has expanded and developed to deal with the changing nature of popular music over the past 50 years. This module will also provide students with contextually related research methods.

Topics in History: Liverpool

This module will introduce and discuss musical production and consumption within the post WWII era and will discuss the roles of locality, economics, space and place, and other issues specifically relating to Merseyside.

Musicology and the Beatles

In this module you will take a popular music semiotics approach and will textually analyse a variety of Beatles material.

Historical and Critical Approaches

You will be invited to study a more ethnographic approach to the Beatles, the various cultural discourses surrounding their music, and the local tourist industry established in Liverpool to capitalise on the group.


The Dissertation module will be introduced to students towards the end of the Topics in History module with a request for student abstracts, the allocation of supervisors, and the agreement of research areas.

Please Note:

  • The Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on the successful completion of 60 credits. This will consist of two taught modules.
  • The Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on the successful completion of 120 credits. This will mean the completion of all modules apart from the Dissertation.

Entry Requirements

Normally a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a relevant discipline. 

Applications from students who do not hold a 1st or 2:1 Honours Degree (or equivalent) may be asked to demonstrate potential to achieve a Masters award via a sample of academic writing and interview before an offer is made.

International Entry Requirements

For students whose first language is not English there is a language requirement of IELTS 6.5 overall (reading 6, writing 6), TOEFL ibt 87, or other equivalent recognised English language qualification.

For additional information about country specific entry requirements visit the your country pages

Teaching and Research

The Course Director, Dr Michael Brocken is a highly qualified Popular Music Studies specialist – one of the first in the world to receive a doctorate in Popular Music Studies. He is research-led and research-active and possesses an appropriate level of subject expertise, as well as a range of publications, to under-pin the teaching of the course. The programme team are also either highly qualified or pursuing the highest qualifications in their chosen areas.


Tuitition fees for Home/EU students for 2018/19 are:



We offer a number of scholarships and loans to help fund your postgraduate studies. Visit our scholarships pages for more details.



If you are an international student, visit our international scholarships pages.


Although this course will have a wide appeal, it would be beneficial to those teaching in schools or in Further or Higher Education. There is evidence to suggest the importance of postgraduate qualifications for those teaching Music or Popular Music. As with other areas of industry, within the music industry itself postgraduate qualifications are of increasing importance.