Stefan Grüll is a Musicology student
“The curriculum in Utrecht attracted me because I had the impression that it allows students to pursue their own ideas, whilst providing them with profound research skills and a good overview of what is going on in the many different areas of the discipline. Due to the wide range of topics offered, you get a very profound understanding of the many roles that music can take on in different contexts and how it is related to different aspects of social life. This will help you to take on a different, more nuanced stance on the topics of your own interest.
During the programme, I did not only take courses in Utrecht, I also spent a semester at the University of California in Los Angeles. At first, I was not really aware of the great exchange opportunities UU is offering when I started the programme. I did not really think about going abroad; especially because, being originally from Germany, I felt like I was studying abroad already. After talking about the different options in my first mentor meeting I soon was convinced that going abroad would offer me a great opportunity to broaden my horizons academically and personally. I did two different courses, worth 10 EC each. Both of the courses I attended were related to the topic of my Master's thesis.
The stay abroad certainly was another highlight of my student life. In addition to the fact that my stay was really helpful in getting a move on with my own research it also was of great value for me personally.
After two years of studying at Utrecht University, I feel much more confident about developing and presenting my ideas and conducting research autonomously. The programme prepares you very well for an academic career. You not only get to know many different approaches to various musicological topics, you also learn how to pitch your ideas in front of expert- and non-expert audiences and how to write project proposals and grant applications. Of course, some of these skills can also be very useful outside of academia."
Renée Vulto is a PhD student at Ghent University
"After my Bachelor's in Musicology I worked for two years as an organiser for classical music events. Even though these jobs were really cool, I missed thinking about content. The RMA Musicology is really focused on preparing you for an academic career. You are challenged to work hard to achieve the best possible results. There are a lot of extra things to do, such as the masterclasses by renowned professors from all over the world and the possibility to do research abroad and participate in conferences.
Besides the knowledge of research methods, the master’s programme stressed the importance of networking. We were always stimulated to look across our own borders and the borders of the discipline.
Next to doing research and taking interesting courses, I spent a semester at the Humboldt Universität in Berlin. Studying abroad was in many ways a valuable contribution to my academic and personal development. I learned how to make a start in a new country and city, how to position myself as a student and researcher in an academic tradition and how to handle all these new impressions. I would recommend everyone to take the opportunity to look across the border and explore new places.
I was lucky to receive several job offers even before I graduated. They were not all in the academic field, which shows that you can go several ways after graduation. In the end I chose a PhD position – an interdisciplinary PhD at the department of literary studies at Ghent University – as I really want to continue doing research. This was something I discovered thanks to this master’s programme.
Besides my PhD I am involved as a freelancer in smaller projects in the cultural field. I am often approached for new projects, which I am happy to do if they are fun and fit in my schedule. I’m confident that my education and working experience so far has provided me with a set of skills that has opened up a range of professional opportunities for the future."
Stefan Udell is a PhD Student at the University of Toronto
“The Musicology programme at Utrecht was attractive to me because it was a two-year Research Master's programme with a strong focus on Medieval music. I am interested in research and education so the programme fit the bill.
I was accepted to the University of Toronto’s Musicology programme before I completed my Master’s at Utrecht. It was the first application I sent out. I believe that I obtained this PhD position for a few reasons. My supervisor, Prof. Karl Kügle, had coached me through the application process and gave many excellent tips on how to improve my application. In the application itself, I was able to demonstrate the significant skill set I developed through the Master's programme. Finally, the reputation of Utrecht University and Karl Kügle had preceded my application, which didn’t hurt!
My next goal is to complete the PhD and continue from there into a career in teaching and research at the university level. Thanks to the Master's programme in Musicology, I will go into this phase, having a sense of the current state of research in my field, what possibilities are out there and what new directions can be taken. I have also developed an understanding of rigorous, responsible, and effective research. During the Master I was allowed to go out on a limb, but more crucially, I was guided back to a place of practical and theoretical application.”
Marieke Lefeber is Curator for the Museum Speelklok and PhD student for the Meertens Instituut
“Before starting the Master’s programme, I was already interested in mechanical musical instruments. I was a tour guide at Museum Speelklok (musical clocks, street organs, etc) and during my Master’s I did an internship here. After graduating in 2006 the curator of the museum retired and left a vacancy. I then started as an assistant curator, and a few years later I became curator. In addition, I started a PhD research project in 2009 about the musical repertoire on eighteenth-century musical clocks in the Netherlands.
For the museum I deal with collection registration, loan administration, but also with small research projects concerning the collection. Writing texts for exhibitions is a part of my job, too, and I travelled to Vienna and St. Petersburg, amongst others, to do research and investigate possible loans. My main task as PhD student is writing my dissertation of course. Besides that, I participated in conferences, published articles and taught a course for Bachelor’s students.
I did not yet have a research question at the moment I started my Master’s. I would advise future students to think of one before they start. This way they can really benefit from the various courses. But, the fact that I did not have one, did have the advantage that I read a lot of different literature about mechanical musical instruments. Consequently, I have a broad knowledge on this subject and the existing literature. This helps me a lot in both of my jobs.”