School of Music, Theatre and Art

Masters in Musicology: Music and Human Beings


What do people do with music? What does music do to people? Why? In the Master's program in Musicology at Örebro we investigate how and why people are musical and how music, in an increasingly connected world, affects society at large.


The master's program in musicology is aimed at those of you with a bachelor's degree in musicology, the humanities or social sciences, or related disciplines, who have a budding interest in understanding more about music. The program prepares you for a career in doctoral research on music in academia, but also provides knowledge that can be used in a wide variety of music related professions. E.g. working with data analysis in the media and music industries or working in the public cultural sector.

During the program you will learn how to deal with different perspectives relating to, among other things: human beings’ "innate" musicality, the impact of technologies on our musical experiences, how we can research music’s "impact" on people and the role of music in creating a fair society.

The program entails two years of full-time study although you can finish after one year with a Master's (magister) degree. Year 1 provides you as a student with an in-depth introduction to central themes and debates in music research from different perspectives and methodologies. If you want to finish after only one year you will write a Master's thesis (magister). If you go on to study the second year you will undertake an individually selected specialization in an area of your own choosing. Year 2 focuses on social science and cultural theory perspectives looking specifically at music’s societal value. These courses deal with aesthetic, cultural, educational and sociological questions about the music place in the world today. At the end of the second year you will write an independent Master’s thesis.

Program Structure

Semester 1: The first year starts with the course "Music, Human Beings, Technologies", 15 credits. This course addresses debates about how and why human beings are musical, as well as the relationship between human beings, culture, technologies and music. Following this you will undertake the course "Music Research in its Many Forms", 15 credits. This course explores music research from a multidisciplinary perspective and will equip you as a student with in-depth perspective on multimodal music analysis.

Semester 2: During this semester you will first take the course "Methods and Methodologies in Music Research: Theory and Practice", 15 credits. This course is focused on developing the methodological and theoretical skills to research people's musical engagement using different methods (eg. social media analysis, questionnaires and archive research). Following this you can either choose to write an independent Master’s thesis (magister), 15 credits, if you want to finish after the first year, or an “Individually chosen specialization course”, 15 credits, adapted to a topic that you are personally interested in.

Semester 3: This semester starts with the course "Culture, Structure and Society", 15 credits, which will deepen your understanding of questions related to music's relationship to the concept of "culture" and societies at large. Following this, you will take the course "Music’s Value in the World" 15 credits, which is aimed at enhancing your understanding of music in a democratic and fair society from aesthetic, philosophical and pedagogical perspectives.

Semester 4: During this semester you will undertake an independent Master’s thesis, 30 credits, the entire semester. During the course, you will be able to choose a music-related topic that you are most interested in. You will be supported by experts in the field of music research as supervisors.

Career and Job Prospects

If you want to research music, or just simply understand more about it, the Master's program in Musicology provides you with a solid foundation. The program offers an in-depth, interdisciplinary training and, upon completion of the program, you will be eligible to study at the doctoral level (licentiate or doctorate) in a wide range of fields on music research.

The program is suitable primarily for those thinking about doctoral studies. However it is also suitable for music teachers who want to further their knowledge of musicology or music research in general. The program will also help those of you looking to develop a career in a variety of music related professions. E.g. in analyzing data in the music industry, working as a cultural activities coordinator, or working in public or private sector with marketing and research.

Eligibility and admission

Eligibility: Degree at Bachelor’s level worth at least 180 higher education credits, of which at least 90 higher education credits must be a successive specialization in a major in humanities or social sciences. In addition, knowledge equivalent to English course 6 or course B from Swedish upper secondary school is required.

Admission points: Search admission statistics at

Study rate: Full time

Level: Advanced

Number of places: 10

Selection: Number of higher education credits on the day of application.

Place of Study: Örebro

Institution: School of Music, Theatre and Art

Exam: Masterexam (1 year), Masterexam (2 years)

Teaching language: Teaching is conducted in English.

Program coordinator: Sam de Boise

Why should I study a Master's in Musicology at Örebro University?

This program is unique in its interdisciplinary focus. The program combines perspectives from sociology, psychology, philosophy, pedagogy and musicology to provide an in-depth perspective on people's relationship to music. You will be taught by experts and teachers who have researched music from different disciplinary and methodological perspectives. The program will give you as a student a broad knowledge base and skills that are relevant to several different research courses and other public and private sector professions.

What is the aim of the Master's Program in Musicology?

The program aims to equip you as a student with the most important practical and theoretical skills to solve critical, complex questions about people’s music habits, tastes and engagement. You will do this by learning to use different methods and critically analyzing research on music from different perspectives.  

What can I do with a Master's in musicology?

The program is a preparation for postgraduate education. However because we are focused on interdisciplinary music research, this means that we teach the application of different methods to study and solve different research and scientific problems which are relevant for careers outside of academia.  The program is also suitable particularly for those of you who want to work in the media and music industries with data analysis, marketing and research into consumer behaviour. The program also functions as a continued education for music teachers as well as those who want to work with coordination or planning of activities within the cultural sectors.

What is the difference between Master's (one-year) and Master's (two-years) of study?

In Sweden there is a distinction between a one-year Master’s degree (Magister, 60 credits) and a two-year Master’s degree (Master, 120 credits). During the first year of the program all students receive tuition which will prepare them with a solid foundation for understanding and doing empirical research on music. If you decide to read one year only, the first year ends with you writing a 15 credits Master’s thesis. If you decide to read further until the second year, you will undertake an “Individually chosen specialization course”. In the second year you will then take two compulsory courses before writing a more substantial Master's thesis for 30 credits.

Can I apply for a doctoral degree with only a one-year master's degree?

In some cases in Sweden you can apply for postgraduate study after you have completed and passed all courses from the master's year (60 credits at the advanced level). If you want to apply for doctoral studies in other countries, it is usually required that you have taken and been approved in the master's degree course and that you have 120 credits at the advanced level. However there are some exceptions to this. If you have a specific doctoral program in mind for the future be sure to check their entry requirements.

When do I need to decide if I want to study one or two years?

You will need to decide already at the end of the autumn term, within the first year, whether or not to write a master's thesis. If you change your mind after you have written your master's thesis, it is possible to continue into the second year as long as your thesis has passed examination.