British university offers MA in the Beatles

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The course plans to redress the lack of serious academic studies of the Fab Four’s spectacular impact on Western culture.

London -- A British University has launched what it says is the first Master of Arts (MA) degree course on the Beatles to study their impact on popular music and society.

Students taking the postgraduate course at Liverpool Hope University -- in the Fab Four's home city in northwest England -- will take four 12-week modules and be required to write a dissertation.

"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," said course leader Mike Brocken, a senior lecturer in popular music.

"The Beatles influenced so much of society, not just with their music, but also with fashion from their collar-less jackets to their psychedelic clothes," he added.

Their output covered a huge range of music and film, from the black and white film A Hard Day's Night to Strawberry Fields Forever, which Brocken noted was "accompanied by arguably the first pop video."

He added: "Forty years on, now is the right time and Liverpool is the right place to study The Beatles. It is definitely the first Beatles related MA in this country and I would say probably the first in the world."

The course entitled Beatles, Popular Music and Society -- which can also be taken part-time -- starts in September, and Brocken said he has already had expressions of interest from the United States as well as in Britain.

Fees for an MA course at the university are around 3,500 pounds (4,900 dollars, 3,900 euros), and students will have to fund themselves unless they win backing from another institution, although there may be "some" bursaries.

The course has a maximum of 30 places. Asked why people would study the Beatles at a time of global economic crisis, Brocken said: "I think any MA equips people with extra study and research skills. MAs of any description are vital for the work place. You will find that once you have done a masters degree it separates you from the pack.”


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