Music and the Environment MA

What is special about this course?

Creative artists make a significant contribution to the sustainability of the creative economy, particularly in rural communities.

The MA Music and the Environment provides a foundation for musicians to develop new paths for creative, entrepreneurial and environmentally responsible endeavours. In addition, the course equips musicians to work within their own community, establishing effective and successful contributions to their local economy.

The course focuses on the three distinct but interrelated themes of: music performance and creation; cultural and historical context; and the creative economy and creative sustainability.  Activities during the course encourage and demand the skills of observation, investigation, experimentation, reflection, creation, innovation and design.

Special features

  • Opportunity to work in one of the richest natural and cultural environments in the world, with leading musicians and experts, set in the heritage and historical context
  • Chance to work on real-life work scenarios to develop new works, performances and enterprises in local settings across the Highlands and Islands
  • You will gain key skills and expertise to form complex and compelling artistic works, with a clear understanding of relevant environmental factors
  • You will acquire skills to create sustainable enterprises and make a contribution to the creative economy and network of other artists in the UK and Europe

Entry requirements

  • Relevant honours degree OR
  • Professional musicians, composers and creative entrepreneurs without a degree but with relevant work experience are welcome to apply and will be considered on an individual basis

*Funding support notice*

Postgraduate Loans (SAAS) (Scottish domiciled and EU students)

Loans for tuition fees are available from SAAS for eligible Scotland domiciled and EU students, and loans for living costs for eligible Scottish students.

Access routes

Students can access the programme from a range of our undergraduate programmes including:


Core modules are:

  • Music and the environment: space, place, and people
  • Sustainable creative endeavour in contemporary society

You will also choose one option from a range of music and humanities modules.


The core module is:

  • Music creation and collaboration

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • Research and music production
  • Making music matter


To achieve the award of MA you must also complete a final project or dissertation.

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • You will study through supported online learning using the university's virtual learning environment (VLE). This includes video conference lectures (available in real-time or recordings) and the opportunity to attend an initial face-to-face residential. You will be responsible for covering any costs such as travel and accommodation for attendance at the residential.


How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 15 months
  • Part-time (structured): minimum 3 years
  • Part-time (unstructured): maximum 6 years

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll College UHI
  • Lews Castle College UHI
  • Moray College UHI
  • North Highland College UHI
  • Orkney College UHI
  • Shetland College UHI
  • West Highland College UHI
  • You can study this off-campus masters from any location, including internationally
  • You will be enrolled at and receive support from one of the campuses listed above

Start date

  • September


The following fees apply to this taught postgraduate course:

Rest of UK
(inc EU)
Per module (20 credits) £560 £650 £960
Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits) £1,680 £1,950 £2,880
Postgraduate diploma (6 modules, 120 credits) £3,360 £3,900 £5,760
Masters degree (6 modules + dissertation) £5,000 £5,850 £8,640
Rest of UK
(inc EU)
Per module (20 credits) £560 £650 £900
Postgraduate certificate (3 modules, 60 credits) £1,680 £1,950 £2,700
Postgraduate diploma (6 modules, 120 credits) £3,360 £3,900 £5,400
Masters degree (6 modules + dissertation) £5,000 £5,850 £8,120

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.


From 2017, eligible Scotland domiciled students studying full time for any taught postgraduate course up to full Masters level can access loans up to 10,000 from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). This comprises a tuition fee loan up to £5,500 and a non-income assessed living cost loan of £4,500. EU students studying full time can apply for a tuition fee loan up to £5500.

Part-time students undertaking any taught postgraduate course over two years up to Masters level who meet the residency eligibility can apply for a for a tuition fee loan up to £2,750 per year.

Full details can be found on the SAAS website. Applications for loans open in April.

Students from the rest of the UK who meet the eligibility requirements may be able to apply for a loan from the Student Loan Company

External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant university partner college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

This course prepares students for various careers in the creative industries:

  • Performing musician
  • Composer or arranger
  • Creative entrepreneur
  • Community musician
  • Event organiser

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

The course seemed a natural progression from the BA (Hons) Applied Music I’d previously studied. I enjoy engaging with other students remotely to create pieces of music and discuss ideas and theories through video conference and social media. Being able to study from home while continuing to work is the key reason I have been able to progress onto this masters course.

My aim is to use music to work with people with various disabilities either through teaching, group ensembles or research, using a variety of technology-based applications and musical instruments.

I have had nothing but positive experiences with this university. Lecturers are always available to answer questions and they use their knowledge and experience to direct and advise their students.

Jacob Hodge is studying full time on the MA Music and the Environment at North Highland College UHI.

If you're interested in music, culture, history and how music relates to society, this course is for you. It's hard work but it's a great experience. The fact that it's distance learning makes it easier for those who live in rural areas or in other parts of the world.

The lecturers try to shape the discussions and content to our own individual interests, work and everyday life: it often feels like each class has been designed for me.

Singer-songwriter Eric Escudero is enrolled at our Lews Castle College UHI campus, on the MA Music and the Environment, and studies from his home in São Paulo, Brazil.

Directed by some of the top music professionals in the country, the course provided new challenges and helped me reflect on those endeavours and place them in a deeper musical and research context. The elements I particularly enjoyed were the blended learning aspect of the course; the focus on delivery at masters level and the opportunity to mix theoretical with practical. Since graduating I have created a new guitar school, ‘The Novar Guitar School’, based in Glasgow. Many of the concepts and ideas that form the ethos of the school were developed during the masters course.

Alan Geddes, MA Music and the Environment graduate.

Apply for Music and the Environment MA

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2020

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). UHI operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.