Liverpool Hope University now includes a Masters degree in “The Beatles, Popular Music and Society” in its postgraduate prospectus. The university asserts that it is the first institution to offer such a course in the UK, and probably in the whole world.
Critics of the course may argue that Beatles fanatics cannot justify spending several thousands of pounds to study a specific musical craze. However, Mike Brocken, senior lecturer in popular music at the university, described Beatlemania as an unexplored area of academic interest, commenting: “There have been over 8,000 books about the Beatles but there has never been serious academic study and that is what we are going to address.”
The course covers a range of topics including cultural and historical issues such as the post-war music industry, Liverpudlian life from the 1930s and emergent subcultures. It also involves studying popular music and relating it back to the Beatles’ significant influence. According to the Liverpool Hope prospectus, the MA will “suggest ways to understand popular music as social practice.”
Other unconventional MAs include “Wine studies” at Coventry University. Swansea University has discontinued a degree in “Surf and Beach Management” in recent years as “it was impossible to stop people poking fun at it.” Also, relating to popular culture, Staffordshire University offer a module in “David Beckham Studies.”