Master of Arts in Popular Music & Culture

Vinyl record

The PMC Story

This innovative and interdisciplinary program – a joint venture between the Faculty of Information & Media Studies and the Don Wright Faculty of Music – first admitted students in 2007 and has since awarded Master of Arts degrees to 45 students. The students who passed through the PMC program left a legacy of high-quality research and fantastic creative projects that we will continue to celebrate on our website. Our alumni are out in the world, making their mark in exciting careers that we continue to follow.

PMC students worked on a wide variety of topics, including new technologies and the music industry, gender and performance, fandom and the construction of new genres, among others. The program was staffed by renowned popular music scholars from both FIMS and the Don Wright Faculty of Music, including Jonathan Burston, Norma Coates, Jay Hodgson, Keir Keightley, and Matt Stahl. Professor Burston was one of the program’s biggest boosters, and a beloved FIMS faculty member until he sadly passed away in 2019.

The PMC program was closed in 2020 due to sharply declining enrollment, but this doesn’t mean that the study of popular music at Western has ended. Depending on a student’s academic background, an alternative route to conducting research in this area can still be achieved through either the Master of Arts in Media Studies (offered by FIMS) or the Master of Musicology (offered by Music). Western University continues to boast one of the largest complements of popular music scholars in North America. Members of the faculty are internationally renowned scholars, recognized as leaders in the field and passionate about graduate education in popular music.

Some graduates of the PMC program have continued on as scholars, while other are working in a range of related fields, including record production, music education, music journalism, and arts and non-profit administration.