Popular Music & Culture

Jointly offered by the Don Wright Faculty of Music and the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University.

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What is it?

A pioneering, innovative, and interdisciplinary MA degree program for students who want to explore any and all facets of popular music by combining cultural and creative approaches. This cross-disciplinary degree melds critical media study and cultural theory with cutting-edge explorations of recording practice and production.

Who are we?

Western University boasts one of the largest complements of popular music scholars in North America. Members of our core faculty are all internationally-renowned and published scholars, recognized as leaders in the field and passionate about graduate education in popular music.

What do we do?

Students take three required seminars in the first year covering media theory, popular music studies, and approaches to sound and musical creativity along with two elective courses. Seminars are kept small in order to foster collegiality and dialogue. During the final year of their program, students work closely with a faculty advisor on one of three options: a traditional thesis; a creative project, often a close musical analysis or examination of a recording technique and practice; or a tailored program of coursework with a viva voce examination as the capstone. Recent topics include: success, longevity and failure within the hip hop career; gendered discourse in dubstep; musical borrowing in the Middle Ages and in on-line remix culture; audio mastering as musical practice; Canadian popular music culture during the rock era; and a model for the analysis of microphone practice on rock recordings.

What happens after graduation?

Several of our graduates have continued on to prestigious PhD programs. Others graduates are working in a range of related fields, including: record production; music education; music journalism; and arts and non-profit administration.

Financial Support

Students receive a highly competitive funding package and have opportunities to act as teaching assistants in both Faculties.

Our Location

Western University is located on a beautiful campus in London, Ontario, halfway between Toronto and Detroit.


Program Contact:
Audrey Yardley Jones
Graduate Programs Assistant
ayardley@uwo.ca
519-661-2111 ext. 85354


Updated: November 6, 2013