Postgraduate taught 

Music Industries MSc

Popular Music Research MUSIC5089

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Culture and Creative Arts
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

The course will introduce students to Popular Music Research as an area of postgraduate study through reading and critical discussion addressing a series of core questions in the field, including: What is popular music (and popular music research)? Who makes, buys, and sells popular music? What methods are suitable to researching popular music?


10 x 2-hour, weekly classes taught using a combination of lecture, seminar and presentation styles.

Excluded Courses





Research Blog (1000 words) - 20%

Essay (3500 words) - 80% 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Introduce the student to key theories and concepts in researching Popular Music and the role it plays within society

■ Encourage the student to critically reflect on approaches regarding the study, and use, of Popular Music

■ Promote the student's critical engagement with key texts in Popular Music Studies

■ Develop the student's skills (including verbal and written) in the presentation of ideas relating to Popular Music

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Apply an understanding of, and critically evaluate, a range of academic approaches to the study of Popular Music

■ Reflect critically upon the contested nature of the term 'Popular Music

■ Critically evaluate the role which popular music plays in diverse social contexts

■ Critically assess key concepts such as authenticity, genre and musicianship

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.