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Music Cognition Specialization

The Music Cognition specialization within the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University is unique among North America universities, providing students with a double background in cognitive neuroscience and music, thus preparing them for interdisciplinary research into the cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience of music, as well as applied careers in audiology and music therapy. Students can opt for either a B.A. or a B.Sc.

The coursework involves not only a strong curriculum in music (including music history, harmony, and music analysis), but an equally strong curriculum in psychology, including specialized core courses in music cognition; the neuroscience of music cognition, and the science of performance.

Students can take advantage of a wealth of research opportunities to explore many aspects of music processing, including brain imaging (functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography), development, cognition, evolution, and even cross-cultural aspects of world musical styles. Our research covers both perceptual and motor aspects of music cognition, conducted by our nationally and internationally recognized faculty. McMaster is also home to the LIVELab, a state-of-the-art unique 106-seat research performance hall and the internationally renowned McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind (MIMM).

Students in the Music Cognition specialization  have access to the activities organized by MIMM, which puts together symposia, journal clubs and joint lecture/concerts connected to the study of music.

Both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts programs are offered. Students in Psychology are admitted to the Music Cognition program in Level II, after having successfully completed the first-year admission requirements. A related Music Cognition specialization is offered through the McMaster School of the Arts (SOTA) for students who prefer to have a degree in music.

Entrance into the first-year Theory & Analysis course (MUSIC 1CA3) requires Grade 2 Rudiments from the Royal Conservatory of Music (a grade of 80% or above) within the past 2 years, or a grade of 65% or above on a qualifying music-theory exam administered by the School of the Arts (SOTA). Appointments can be made with SOTA to write the exam on specific dates between February and May. Details about the  exam can be found on the Faculty of Humanities website.

Contact Information

For inquiries into the Music Cognition specialization in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (PNB), please contact Dr. Steven Brown.

For inquiries into the Music Cognition specialization in the School of the Arts (SOTA), please contact Dr. Andrew Mitchell.

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