Studying music psychology

This page contains links to help anybody interested in studying music psychology. My experience is largely confined to the UK, but as I learn more about worldwide courses (I’m going to ask around!) I will add the details here. I got a lot of info from SEMPREs website too.

I have also written blogs that answer questions about studying music psychology and I have found an excellent list of syllabi from music psychology courses that has been provided by SMPC, as linked below:

1) How to prepare for a music psychology course
2) What kinds of things are taught in a music psychology course?
3) Possible career paths in music psychology
4) What is it like to be a music psychology lecturer?


AT UNDERGRADUATE level there are no music psychology degrees, but many courses offer introductory modules, as follows:

1) The University of Sheffield: This University offers music psychology at all undergrad levels, and not just to its own honours students. It is one of seven ‘pathways’ that students can opt to follow so they can shape their music degree to suit their interests and future career aims.

In Year 1 students can take a 10 credit module called “Introduction to Music Psychology”. This module is open to students from other UG Year 1 programmes as well. At Years 2 and 3, 20 credit modules are offered in “Psychology of Musicians” and “Music Psychology in Everyday Life”

2) Goldsmiths, University of London runs an optional module in the third year of its psychology program called ‘Psychological Approaches to Music’, which is an excellent course which is run by the world expert Professor Pam Heaton.

3) Keele University has a number of options as part of its psychology degree including ‘Research in Music Psychology’, ‘Special Topics in Music Psychology’, ‘Music Technology’ and ‘Research in Music Psychology for MSc’. These courses are run by Dr Alex Lamont.

4) Musicology in Graz is a Bachelors and a Masters program that is offered jointly by the University of Graz (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz) and the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz.. As well as the study of music this course offers modules in music psychology and acoustics, but be aware that the majority of this course is taught in German.

5) Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh has a psychology of music module in fourth year as part of their undergraduate (Applied) Psychology degree. It’s focused on the social and applied aspects of music psychology.

6) The University of Leeds: Level 2 BA Music students have the option of a 20 credit module entitled “Psychology of Listening and Performance”. Level 3 BA Music students have the option of the 40 credit module “Music Psychology”, and are also able to conduct a psychological study in the area of music for their 40 credit dissertation if they wish. (Thanks to Charlie Heslon for this info)

7) Bath Spa University:  Bath Spa University offers a combined degree and has an option module in the third year of the music degree run by Prof Roger Heaton (20 credit) and a portion of the Music Analysis module (optional in second year, also 20 credits) is devoted to a range of music psychology topics (Thanks to Michael Longden for this info)

8) Manchester Metropolitan: Runs a combined undergraduate degree.

9) St AndrewsPsychology of Music module. This advanced level module aims to introduce students to psychological processes underlying music perception, cognition and performance. The relationship between musical phenomena and mental functions will be illustrated. The module will cover different aspects of music perception including psychoacoustics and sound perception, music cognition including music memory emotion and expectancies, skilled performance as well as abnormalities in music perception and performance. The module will be taught in the form of seminars including student presentations. Emphasis will be placed on the development of critical thinking and the ability to relate conceptual debates in psychology to issues in the real world. Prerequisites Available only to students in the second year of the Honours programme

10) The University of Uppsala in Sweden offers music psychology courses at undergraduate level in their excellent research group. It is possible to study music psychology (Musikpsykologi) at their psychology department, but precisely which courses are offered varies from year to year, depending on the resources. The default language is Swedish. For further information, please contact Patrik Juslin on patrik.juslin = at =

11) Chichester University (UK) offers a joint honours undergraduate degree in psychology and music and wellbeing. Info can be found here on the well established ‘What Uni?’

12) University of Kent (UK) offers a psychology of music optional module in the third year 


At MASTERS level your choice of dedicated courses increases considerably. There is enough choice now that you can afford to specialise depending on your interest, be it more in the study of music, cognition, acoustics or neuroscience, although most courses offer a mixture of all topics.

1) The Department of Music in the University of Sheffield (UK) offers MAs in Music Psychology in Education, Performance and Wellbeing. The team offers a distance-taught programme (i.e. remote learning) and a doctoral programme. Modules include ‘Music in Everyday Life’, ‘Psychology of Performance’ and ‘Research Methods in the Psychology of Music’. Contact Stephanie Pitts for details.

2) Goldsmiths run an MSc programme that focuses on both the biological and cognitive aspects of musical behaviour. The MSc is run by Dr Lauren Stewart and Dr Daniel Mullensiefen. The program is highly interdisciplinary and draws on expertise from leading figures in the field, in areas ranging from music cognition, cognitive neuroscience, and computational modelling.

3) The Schools of Human and Life Sciences (HALS) and Education at Roehampton University (UK) offer integrated MSc/MA and MA programmes in Applied Music Psychology and Applied Music Education, and MPhil/PhD degrees. The Masters courses cover a wide number of perspectives in music psychology, including developmental, social and cognitive.

4) The University of Edinburgh recently launched a masters in ‘Music in the Community’ which is run by Dr Katie Overy. This programme provides a context and support for advanced development in personal creativity and community music skills. It brings together practical work in the community with new and relevant research in the biological, psychological and social sciences.

5) The University of Leeds now offers a Taught Postgraduate music psychology programme: MMus Applied Psychology of Music (Thanks to Charlie Heslop for this info)

6) The Hochschule Luzern in Switzerland (my old work place – it is wonderful there!) offers a German-speaking Master of Arts in Music Research

It offers interdisciplinary, solid foundations in the field of practice-led music research including basic research competences (incl. scientific writing and media communication), quantitative and qualitative empirical methods, plus basics of human sciences (source critique, hermeneutic) and artistic & action research. Research topics span from music and wellbeing, to the study of creative processes, music and society, and musical cultural heritage.

7) The University of Florida runs a masters of music in Music Education and has made the following info graphic to attract your attention.  More information can be obtained by visiting the course website.

8) The Royal College of Music runs a masters in Performance Science  for people who are motivated to gain a scientific understanding of how music is performed, taught, created, and perceived, including performers and educators aiming to progress their current careers through continued professional development. For further details, please see the programme website or contact Professor Aaron Williamon, Head of the Centre for Performance Science at

9) The University of York runs an MA in Music that can be adapted into several ‘pathways’, including a focus on music psychology.The MA in Music (taught): Music Psychology pathway is designed to develop research skills and knowledge in the field of Music Psychology. It is targeted at students coming from Music, Psychology, or any other related areas like Education, Engineering or Computer Science. It will cover theoretical and empirical approaches to music performance, perception, and cognition. It is run in close collaboration with the York Music Psychology Group.

10) Since 2017, the UNED in Madrid (Spain) has taught a training programme in Psychology and Music. This programme offers three degrees that seek specialisation and professionalisation in this field.
University expert in psychology for musicians
This course is aimed at musicians, and other interested persons, who can prove that they have access to university. It can be taken in one academic year and has a course load of 35 credits (ECTS). Its aim is to provide psychological knowledge and basic tools useful in the professional activities of musicians (mainly music education and performance).
Master in Psychology for Musicians
This course is aimed at music professionals with a university degree (bachelor’s or master’s degree). It is recommended to be completed in two years and has a course load of 60 credits (ECTS). The aim is to provide psychological knowledge and advanced tools to improve professional performance in the fields in which these professionals work (music education, musical performance and creation).
Master’s degree in the psychology of music
This course is aimed exclusively at graduates in Psychology.
It is recommended to be taken over two years and has a course load of 60 credits (ECTS).
This course provides the psychological knowledge and specific tools that allow the Psychology professional to offer help to music professionals (music education, music performance and creation), as well as to other artistic performers (dance, theatre, circus, cinema…).


Postgraduate Modules/Doctoral Programs – the following courses are not dedicated to studying music psychology but contain excellent specific modules that you can opt for as part of your wider study. Alternatively they offer doctoral programs thanks to the presence of leading music psychology academics on staff.

The University of Sheffield, offers PhDs in Music Psychlogy through the Music, Mind and Machine group. They offer a range of music psychology interests including music and education, and music and mind (Professor Nicola Dibben, Professor Stephanie Pitts and Dr Renee Timmers).

1) The Department of Music in the University of Leeds (United Kingdom) offers a doctoral programme in music psychology. The language of study is English. There are courses in ‘Music Perception’, ‘Music Performance’, ‘Ensemble Coordination’ and ‘Electroacoustic Music’ .

2) The Centre for Performance Science (CPS) at the Royal College of Music (UK) offers an MMus in Advanced Performance and a doctoral programme in Performance Science. This course comes very much from a musicians perspective and covers areas such as ‘Music psychology and physiology’, ‘Musicians’ health and wellbeing’, and ‘Acoustics and psychoacoustics’

3) The Department of Psychology in Keele University (United Kingdom) offers an MSc in applied psychological research methods which features modules in music psychology, and PhDs in music psychology. The language of study is English. Courses include ‘Development of Musical Skills and Understanding, ‘Social Psychology of Music’ and ‘Music Teaching and learning’.

4) Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester has MPhil and PhD programs in music that contain modules in Music Psychology – including both quantitative and qualitative research in the fields of expert music performance and training; music education and pedagogy; music and health.

5) The Faculty of Music in the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) offers an MPhil in Musicology and a Doctoral program that contains options for modules in ‘Music Perception’ and ‘Music and Cognitive Development’.

6) The Music Psychology Training unit (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)  program consists of two master’s degree programmes
•    Music, Mind & Technology
•    Music Therapy
The degree programmes are taught in English, consist of 120 ECTS credits, require two academic years of full-time study, and are tuition free. The application period will be between December 1, 2015 and January 22, 2016:

MUSIC, MIND AND TECHNOLOGY (MMT) is an international master’s degree programme that aims to:
•    Acquaint you with the main areas of contemporary research into music perception and cognition
•    Familiarize you with the methods and equipment used in various applications of music technology
•    Provide you with the skills needed for designing, executing and reporting empirical investigations
•    Supply you with the knowledge and skills needed for PhD studies.
•    Application guidelines for MMT can be found at:

MUSIC THERAPY (MT) is an international master’s degree programme that aims to:
•    Acquaint you with the main areas of contemporary music therapy and music psychotherapy research, theory and clinical practice – in particular on psychiatric and neurological perspectives
•    Familiarize you with strategies, methods and equipment used in different clinical research designs
•    Provide you with skills needed for designing, executing and reporting investigations
•    Supply you with the knowledge and skills needed for PhD studies.
•    Application guidelines for MT can be found at:


  • MARC

    Hi Vicky!

    Wonderful website and useful information
    I’m employed in Vic (Barcelona) as a music teacher and in the Conservatory. I’m became fond of psychology of music since two years ago and I’m improving my English as the same time while I read Sloboda, Hargreaves, Storr, Sacks, Cook and so on.
    I have checked the studies at Sheffield, but I don’t know which one would be more appropiate for me. Of course my aim is to study online.
    My interests are:
    – To understand how music is processed by the brain
    – Why playing an instrument is one of the most complex activities
    – How does the brain works with music and emotional life
    – How can we help instrument teachers to use other skills or techiques learned from the psychology of music pont of view.

    Thank you!
    Best wishes!


  • Anna

    Thank you very much for your response! I´d like to ask you some more questions about the MA course Psychology of music in Sheffield… I´m currently corresponding with Ms. York from the Sheffield university and I found out that with my qualifications I would be able to apply that course. But I´d like to know more from some personal experience – you wrote that the course was brilliant – what did you like about it? I´m really thinking about going to Sheffield – although I know it´s probably too late to apply now, that doesn´t matter… (I still study a conservatory.)

  • Alethea

    Hey there! I’ve been following your weblog for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the good work!

  • Elizabeth Dobson

    What a wonderful resource your blog is – thank you. I just want to add that the Open University is also a very good option for doing a PhD in music psychology. I’ve just completed my PhD there (part-time) and my work constitutes a social psychology of creative process in undergraduate collaborative music composition. Supervisors were Professor Dot Miell (now University of Edinburgh), Professor Karen Littleton and Dr Rosie Flewitt (now RIE). My work was influenced by their expertise in music and creativity, discourse, and multimodal research respectively.

  • vicky

    Many thanks for this useful information Elizabeth, and many congratulations on getting your PhD! It sounds like a really interesting topic. Vicky

  • vicky

    Thanks for the shout out and the kind words about the blog. A big hi to Texas from London in return!! Vicky


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  • Tim Riley at The Piano School in Cardiff

    Dear Vicky

    Very much enjoyed listening to you speak on Start the Week this morning. I run group piano sessions in Cardiff and teach more than 100 children (in groups of up to 6) to play the piano. Most of the children are around 4 or 5 when they start. Piano is not often taught in a group setting which has never made sense to me as how can you really develop a child’s general musical ability if they are learning in a ‘vacuum’? I try to make the lessons as holistic as possible with lots of music games and singing. Initially I adapted existing teaching material to use in a group setting, but gradually I’m developing my own teaching materials. If you know of any music psychology students that might be interested in seeing what I do possibly even with a view to collaborating in more effective ways of teaching and engaging children in learning to play the piano and general musicianship skills – please send them my way.

    Best wishes and good luck with all that you do.

    Tim Riley

  • Samuel

    I heard your recent appearance on Start the Week. I thought I’d contribute some info on music psychology courses in Sweden. I am a Swedish psychology major and took a undergraduate course in music psychology at the University of Uppsala. It is led by professor Patrik Juslin, who has collaborated with Sloboda who, to my understanding, is a modern pioneer of the field. I hope this information is of use to you! (since you write that you are in the process of compiling information on music psychology courses)

  • vicky

    Thank you very much Samuel, I will add some links to Uppsala on my blog right away. I wish you all the best with your studies, Vicky

  • Stanley Cheng

    Dear Vicky, thanks very much for sharing your information. I have a 12- year old daughter who is interested in music psychotherapy. She likes both music and psychology. Do you have any recommendation for books or other programs that she can explore more about it? Many thanks. Stanley

  • vicky

    Hi Stanley. There are plenty of interesting and free YouTube talks about music psychology if you search especially for ‘music and mind’. I can recommend speakers like Ani Patel, Jessica Grahn and Oliver Sacks. You could read a free chapter of my new book ‘You Are The Music’ here, which is all about music psychology and babies ( Otherwise there are not many books for young children yet. Vicky

  • Elsie

    Hi Ms.Victoria,

    I woke up this morning with my mind trouble, but i found (I don’t know how anymore) your website. I am so happy right now, thank you so much. Can you contact me i’d like to talk to you more.



    p.s: Sorry for the mistakes, I am French!

  • Movanna

    Hi Vicky
    My daughter (18) is interested in studying music psychology with a view to working in music therapy. We live in Ireland. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Tim Jones

    Hello, my name is Tim from the United States. I recently received my BA in psychology and I’m trying to figure what route to go next. I have a genuine interest in music, however I am not classically trained. I took a basic intro music theory course In undergrad and was wondering are there any chances of finding a music therapy program for someone that needs to learn music? I have an interest in the piano and would like to incorporate with psychology. Thank you

  • vicky

    Hi Tim. It does not matter that you are not classically trained, as long as you have some musical experience (can play an instrument or sing) and an understanding of the basics of music theory and performance. You can pick these up from private study and with some experience, for example as a volunteer. Music therapy courses as far as I know treat this level of skill and experience as a prerequisit, I have not heard of one that has music learning as part of its course syllabus. But as I say, it is not necessary to be a concert level performer. Why not contact the course leader of a music therapy school that interests you and ask them one-to-one what kind of musical skills they expect. Then go from there is acquiring them for yourself. All the best, VIcky

  • Stephanie

    Hello, I’m a classical vocalist who has almost finished my bachelors in music. I want to study music psychology and work in this field, but there don’t seem to be any courses in Australia. Where can I study online?

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