Postgraduate taught 

Music Industries MLitt

FAQs for Chinese applicants

FAQs for Chinese applicants

1. Why should I choose the University of Glasgow’s Popular Music Studies (PMS) programme rather than other conservatories? What are the advantages?

First, it is important to note that PMS is a relatively broad field of study, which encompasses a range of different approaches and methodologies. So instead of the purely musical approach of many conservatories, the University of Glasgow programmes offer a range of approaches, including looking at the music industries industrially, looking at popular music’s social roles and looking at creativity in popular music. The variety of options available mean that the PMS programmes have something to offer everyone with an interest in popular music.

Another result of the diverse range of approaches is that a musical background is not necessarily required to join the programmes, because that they are based on the  socio-cultural activities around popular music as well as the music itself.

It is also important to note that the Chinese popular music industries are experiencing serious recruitment issues in areas such as copyright, the survival of independent labels, and the transformation from traditional recording to digital and streaming era. All of these topics are covered in the PMS programmes.

In addition there is a group of excellent professors and researchers in this field (such as Dr John Williamson), whose expertise and experience are the ultimate guarantee for the quality of the programme.

Finally, Glasgow is well known for its vibrant popular music scene and is a UNESCO City of Music.

Q2. What does the programme mainly consist of?

A: The Music Industries M.Litt begins in Semester 1 with two courses: An Introduction to Popular Music Studies and a Working in the Music Industries Since 1800. These introduce the programme. In Semester two students undertake a course on the Contemporary Music Industries and a Placement project with a local music company involving working with industry professionals on a research project. This is a unique part of the Glasgow programme. Following the taught courses a dissertation project of 20,000 words is undertaken.

Q3. What about the teaching format? Is it completely different from China?

A: The course is taught via a series of lectures each one of which is focused on the particular topics. Relevant readings on the weekly topics are assigned to the students before each session. Usually, there are not more than 15 students in class, and students  are free to interact with the lecturer and their fellow students. Students are encouraged  to put forward their own arguments and to engage in discussion of each of the topics is encouraged. While this may vary from traditional Chinese teaching forms, but the classes are designed to be as inclusive as possible.

Q4. Why are four 7s in the IELTS tests required by applicants whose first language is not English?

A: The Four 7s in the IELTS tests as an English language requirement for the programmes is relatively high among universities in the UK. However there are good reasons for insisting on this.  The University of Glasgow is one of the world’s leading universities and seeks to ensure that all students attending it are of the highest calibre, including in their language ability. In addition as Popular Music Studies is an inter-disciplinary field of study which incorporates (amongst other things) culture, economics, and music, these programmes demand particular communication skills. In addition a lot of reading and writing, all in English, is required.

Q5. Can I make the application without four 7s in the IELTS? Is so, what should  I do?

A: Yes. You can apply at any time. However, if you do not have the four 7s in the IELTS tests any offer made in response to the application will specify that these are achieved prior to entry. If this is the only condition the offer can be turned in to a non-conditional one once the required IELTS scores have been achieved and notified to the University.. Prior to this you have two options.

1. You can try more IELTS tests in China until you eventually obtain the four 7s. However, depending on when the application is made, you may miss the entrance date (September) for the year in which you apply.

2. You can choose a language course at the University of Glasgow Language Centre which provides various English pre-sessional courses of differing lengths, (15, 10 or 5 weeks in duration). How long you should take the course depends on your IELTS results when you apply. There will be examinations at the end of the language course, and you do not need to take another IELTS test if you pass the course successfully. Once you have met the entrance requirements your offer will be made unconditional. For details of the English pre-sessional courses, please have check the website:

http://www.gla.ac.uk/international/pre-sessionalenglishcourses/. Please note that there are differing application deadlines depending on the course. It is best to apply early as our language courses are extremely popular and tend to fill up very early.

Q6. My undergraduate major was not or even relevant to popular music, if it is still possible for me to study on of the Popular Music programmes?

A: Yes. The inter-disciplinary nature of Popular Music Studies means that a number of approaches can be used and your previous knowledge and background may provide a particular angle via which to access into the study. This will be supplemented by specialist readings on Popular Music Studies so that with hard work you will be able to get up to speed.  

Q7. Is it easy to find a job after studying on the Popular Music Industries programme?

A: Much of this is dependent on your achievements on the programme. A number of career pathways exist in the music industries including academics, musicians, critics, managers, promoters, etc. As China’s music industries develop the professional talents of musical entrepreneurship may be the most urgently needed skills and the programme will introduce you to various working practices here. On completion of the programme a range of options may be open to you. The programme also serves as an excellent preparation for PhD study.

Q8. I am afraid of being rejected. Is there an acceptance rate for the programme?

A: We do not have a fixed acceptance rate for these programmes. This is completely determined by the individual situation of the applicant. As long as you meet all the entry requirements of the programme, you will almost certainly be accepted. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to make the application. Be adventurous!

Q9. When should I start making the application?

A: We strongly suggest you start making the online application as soon as possible. Ideally this should not be later than January if you plan to start your study on September in the same year. Should you do this you will have more time for interaction with those teaching on the programme and to prepare the necessary documents. In this case, you have enough time to get in contact with the programmer leaders and prepare all the required documents. Importantly, you can also plan for more IELTS tests in China or apply to take the pre-sessional language course at the University. Please always set aside at least one month for the visa application to be processed, whether you wish to begin either the programme or the language course.

Anything else?

Please feel free to ask any questions about the application and programme by email to Dr John Williamson: John.C.Williamson@glasgow.ac.uk