MA Composition


One year (full-time) or two years (part-time).


The teaching component of the programme is based on Autumn and Spring semesters. Over the summer you will complete your Dissertation module in consultation with an academic supervisor.


This programme is offered as a MA (180 credits).

Teaching and Assessment

Seminars, individual tutorials, workshops and graduate study days. Assessment takes a variety of forms such as compositions and essays. Visit the online prospectus for further information.

This is the module outline for 2018/19 entry and is subject to change for 2019/20.

Core Modules

(150 credits total)

  • MUS6000: Research Techniques (15 credits)
    Research Techniques is a general introduction to research methods in music, with particular reference to: (1) bibliographical methods, library resources, on-line and hard-copy abstracts and indices; (2) manuscript sources, discographies, specialist sound/music libraries and other resources; (3) developing a research area; exploring references, following leads and evaluating sources; (4) music processing; (5) presentation skills; (6) current methods in survey/questionnaire/interview techniques; (7) careers skills; (8) professional development; (9) giving and receiving feedback; (10) reflective skills.
  • MUS666: Interdisciplinary Music Studies (15 credits)
    Taking advantage of the department’s distinctive interdisciplinary research environment, this module introduces key concepts and debates within composition, ethnomusicology, musicology and performance through discursive critical engagement with key texts in a reading group context. Discussing core topics in the cultural, social and aesthetic study of music in a friendly but rigorous setting, you will learn about the history and morphology of music studies, and gain skills in the critical analysis of academic literature.
  • MUS627: Collaborative Project (Composition MA) (30 credits)
    This module aims to facilitate student-led collaborative projects. Collaborations may be with a performer or ensemble from within or outside the Department of Music, or a practitioner from another artistic discipline, including visual arts, writing, choreography, film-making, etc., who may be from within or outside the University. You will be guided in the planning and execution of your project and will report and reflect on the process throughout the module. Work generated through the collaboration will be presented at the end of the module in a performance, installation, or other format as appropriate.
  • MUS6018: Creative Portfolio (60 credits)
    Creative Portfolio invites the candidate to collate a diverse body of work, including a number of projects of varying sizes. The nature of the projects themselves will determine their length. Projects may include musical compositions, works of sonic art, audio-visual pieces, sound installations, web based media/events, live-electronic performances, interactive media.
  • MUS624: Composition Dissertation (30 credits)
    This module requires you to produce a short dissertation. Students propose a topic for their dissertation; this should normally relate to one or more of the various topics covered during previous modules and must be approved by the module teaching team. Following this, an appropriate supervisor will be allocated and you will be offered a series of regular tutorials that are supported by research seminars. During the course of the module, you will assess, evaluate, analyse, criticise and/or synthesise existing knowledge and produce a coherent and sustained argument that offers advanced insights into your chosen topic.


Optional Modules

(Students will take 30 credits from this group)

  • MUS6017: Creative Foundation (30 credits)
    Creative Foundation invites you to collate a small portfolio of diverse work that will prepare you for the larger scale projects demanded in Creative Media Portfolio. Projects may include sonic art work, audio-visual works, installations, web based events etc. You will also contextualise your work within broader concepts; examine media politics, gender issues, the media industry and other aspects of artistic consumption where technology has become both necessary and transparent
  • MUS628: Compositional Techniques (instrumental) (30 credits)
    This module will deal with the techniques and methods of instrumental composition relevant to the contemporary composer through a combination of compositional tasks modelled on the practice of a wide range of 20th and 21st Century composers.


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is current and relevant. Individual modules may be updated or withdrawn in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, curriculum review, staff availability, and variations in student numbers. In the event of a material change the University will inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.