Popular Music & Culture

** Admissions to the MA in Popular Music & Culture program are currently suspended.

Admissions criteria

For admission to the master’s program, applicants must possess a four-year degree from an accredited university. The program requires at least a 78% overall average in the last two full-time years of the undergraduate degree. Admission to the program is competitive and meeting the minimum criteria does not guarantee admission.

Because of the trans-disciplinary nature of this program, students must possess a serious interest in the field of popular music. Thus, in addition to meeting the admission requirements set by Western's School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, we require applicants to demonstrate knowledge of popular music and the ability to manage the curriculum's diverse requirements.

We suggest competence in one of the following areas:

  • Music history (including artists, genres, and repertoires)
  • Music technology
  • Discography
  • Music business
  • Theory
  • Performance
  • Criticism
A statement outlining the student's experience with and motivation for studying popular music, ill help the admissions committee in determining preparedness for the program. Applicants should specify the particular aspect of popular music they wish to research.

How to apply

General Application Information

Applications for the next intake open on October 1. Deadline to apply is February 1.

Applications received after the deadline will be considered, subject to limitations of space and funding.

No application will be considered until it is complete. The responsibility rests with the applicant to ensure that all required supplementary documents are uploaded to their application before it is submitted.

The online application should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the application deadline to allow for the electronic collection of letters of recommendation.

Only a very small number of spaces will be available for highly competitive international applicants to FIMS thesis programs. Please consider this before completing your application and paying your fee.

Completed applications will be evaluated by the program, which makes the admission decision. The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies sends out offers of admission.

English Proficiency

Students born outside Canada whose first language is not English, and who have not completed a four year university degree in Canada, the US or the UK. must provide proof of achieving a score of at least 107 (Internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a score of 8.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), taken within the last 2 years.

Information to Include in Online Application

The applicant will provide Western with the following information as part of the online application:
  • Name and personal information
  • Contact information
  • Academic background

  • Transcripts from each post-secondary institution attended
    • Past or current students of Western University are required to upload an electronic copy of their academic record to the online application. An unofficial academic record, available from your Western Student Center, can be used.
    • If you have attended or are currently enrolled at any university or college other than Western, you MUST upload and attach an electronic copy or scanned PDF copy of your transcripts from each institution attended to the online application. Applicants who are offered a space in the program will be required to provide one official* copy of their transcript to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies prior to the start of the program.
Applicants who are unable to attach an electronic, or scanned copy of their transcripts to the application must forward one official hard copy* of their transcript by mail to:

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
International and Graduate Affairs Building, Room 1N07
Western University, London, ON N6A 3K7

* Western considers a transcript official only if it is received in a university envelope that is sealed and signed on the flap by the official person in the office issuing the transcript. If the transcript and degree certificate are not in English, a certified translation must also be included. (Non-English transcripts from institutions within Canada do not require a translation.)

  • Proficiency in English Scores (if applicable). Applicant must have testing service send score electronically to Western. Proof of proficiency in English is required from applicants whose first language is not English, and who have not completed a four year university degree in Canada, the US, or the UK.
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum score required: 107 Internet-based. Western's TOEFL ID is 0984
    • International English Language Testing Service (IELTS). Minimum score required: 8

  • Referee Information
    Applicants are required to enter the names and contact information (including e-mail address) of two academic referees (academic referees are people who have taught the applicant in a university degree credit course) into the online application. Once the information is entered into the application, each referee will receive a request via e-mail within 24 hours to complete an electronic recommendation form on the applicant’s behalf. A link to the form will be included in the e-mail. The applicant will receive an e-mail when Western receives the referee's letter of recommendation.
  • Non-refundable application fee of CAD $120.00.

Supplementary Documents to include with Application

The following supplementary documents are to be uploaded and attached to the online application in MS Word or PDF format:
  • A sample of academic writing (5 - 10 pages)
  • A statement of objectives as a student in the program, together with an indication of the area in which the student would like to do a thesis or creative project (one - two pages)
  • A CV detailing your educational and employment experience
  • For permanent residents of Canada only, please include a photocopy of both sides of your Permanent Resident Card or a photocopy of your Record of Landing. If you are applying to be a permanent resident, but have not been granted landed-immigrant status, you must apply as an international applicant.
  • Proof of name change, if applicable (photocopy of change of name documentation, such as marriage certificate or other legal change of name and a photocopy of photo ID showing your current name)

Questions About Applications/Admissions

Questions regarding the application procedure should be directed to:

Shelley Long
Faculty of Information and Media Studies
FIMS & Nursing Building, Room 2020 
Western University
London, Ontario  N0M 2A0
Phone: (519) 661-4017