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Prospective Students


Departmental qualification information:

FAQs about the undergraduate modules (DOC)



Who should study Musicology?

Anybody with an interest in music should think about choosing musicology modules in their curriculum. Music is an integral part of culture in every known society on earth. Are you into jazz, rock, folk, or ‘classical’? Because music is surely the most direct way of learning about people’s passions – what makes them tick – it is able to reveal ‘the deepest emotions of a people, their philosophies of life, their conceptions of death, their hopes and fears, anger and affections, desires and dreams’ (Terry Miller and Andrew Shahriari, World music: A Global Journey, p. 8).

If you are studying for a BA or other Bachelor’s degree in Human Sciences we suggest you try ‘Introducing music studies’ (MHS1501) and ‘Exploring world musics’ (MHS1502) to start with. These will lay the foundation for second and third-level studies in musicology – you should ideally not study any later modules without the foundation of these two first-level modules.

You may register for Music in History and Society as a major in your BA degree, or choose only first-level (or first and second-level) modules if you don’t want to major in it. If you have some technical knowledge of music you could also register for first and second-level modules in Composition Studies. You may not major in Composition studies for a BA degree.

If you want to be a professional musician, a musicologist (music researcher) or music educationist, then you could do no better than register for the BMus degree

If you want to be a professional musician, a musicologist (music researcher) or music educationist, then you could do no better than register for the BMus degree. If you decide to study for the BMus you will also need a licentiate in practical music (teacher’s or performer’s) before you can The BMus is intended as a specialized professional degree. In order to enrol for it you will need a minimum of Grade 5 Theory (Unisa) or equivalent – usually Grade 6 Trinity College or ABRSM. If you think you have achieved this level in ‘music theory’ but do not have a formal certificate, you may apply to do a test in our department. Although we do not stipulate a minimum level in practical music, we suggest that you ought to at Grade 7 or Grade 8 level by the time you begin your studies in Musicology.

If you are interested in studying music as a part of Western and world culture, we suggest you register for the BA degree, majoring in Music in History and Society. Musicology has links with many other disciplines, including Anthropology, Art History, Communication Studies, History, Literature (various languages), Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Religious Studies. It is therefore an ideal subject to study on its own or together with other subjects within the College of Human Sciences.

At postgraduate level you may study for the Honours BA or Honours BMus degrees, the MA and MMus, and the DLitt et Phil in Musicology. We thus offer a comprehensive range of qualifications in Musicology from undergraduate to doctoral studies.

Our Musicology curriculum at Unisa aims at exploring specific historical aspects of music and focussing attention on issues in music today. At undergraduate level we offer innovative modules in aspects such as world music, music in South Africa (where we look at and learn to listen to many different kinds of music within our society in this country), opera, music and patronage, music in religion, performing practice, sociology of music, urban musicology, as well as compositional resources of Western, African and Asian musics. Our modules are designed to give you insight into the fascinatingly diverse world of music today and challenge you to think about music in new ways. Overall, the BMus curriculum is designed to prepare you for a career in music in the twenty-first century.

Our department is housed in a superb Herbert Baker building at Oak Square on Unisa’s Sunnyside Campus. We would be glad to meet you if you have any specific enquiries.