UK university awards first Beatles studies degree

Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:58pm EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - A Canadian woman has become the first person in the world to graduate with a masters degree in Beatles studies.

Former Miss Canada finalist, Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy was one of the first 12 students to sign up for the Liverpool Hope University course on the Fab Four when it began in 2009 and was the first to graduate, the university said on Wednesday.

"I am so proud of my achievement," Zahalan-Kennedy said. "The course was challenging, enjoyable and it provided a great insight into the impact the Beatles had and still have to this day across all aspects of life."

The launch of the unique masters degree in Beatles, Popular Music and Society was a world first when it took its first class. Zahalan-Kennedy was the first to accept her degree in person from the university.

The course looks at the studio sound and composition of the Beatles and how Liverpool helped to shape their music. Students also examine the significance of their music and how it helped to define identities, culture and society.

Mike Brocken, founder and leader of the Beatles Master of Arts course at Liverpool Hope University, said the postgraduate degree makes Zahalan-Kennedy a member of a select group of popular music experts.

"Mary-Lu now joins an internationally recognized group of scholars of popular music studies who are able to offer fresh and thought-provoking insights into the discipline of musicology," he said.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato, editing by Steve Addison)

 
<p>UNDATED FILE PHOTO - of the Beatles 1960's era British rock group, clockwise from top left Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison.</p>