We welcome applications until 30 June 2017 for most of our courses. If your chosen course becomes full we may not be able to consider your application. So the earlier you apply the better!

image of graduate student in crowd

Our main Music degree, the BMus is a flexible programme, covering key skills in music whilst also giving you the freedom to pursue your own interests. Our rigorous curriculum is exceptionally diverse, covering psychological and anthropological approaches to the study of music, alongside performance, composition and musicology. We offer academic and practical study in most music genres, including classical, pop, jazz, folk and world music. Our teaching ranges from the very ‘academic’ to the very ‘hands-on’.

Entry Requirements. A Levels - ABB including Music and/or Music Technology or ABB + Grade 8 Practical (ABRSM/Trinity/Rockschool) at Merit + Grade 5 theory (ABRSM/Trinity) at Merit. View alternative entry requirements.

Our seven pathways

At Sheffield we are proud to offer one of the most diverse Music degree programmes in the UK. Our curriculum and our expertise spread across seven different approaches to the study of music:

  • Performance
  • Composition
  • Musicology
  • Musical Industries
  • Music Technology
  • Music Psychology
  • Ethnomusicology

Our BMus degree course offers you the freedom to specialise in any one of these, or to combine them.

Our research-led teaching

Our academic staff are involved in world-leading research and because our research shapes what we teach, it means you'll learn about the latest insights in the field. You'll study alongside experts who are passionate about their subject and who will help you realise your full potential.

You will study in a combination of lectures and seminars with interactive classes and tutorials. In your first year you will usually have 214 hours of lectures, seminars, tutorials and rehearsals and be expected to undertake around 1000 hours of independent study, assignments and instrument practice. Typically, if you are on the performance pathways, you will receive 18 hours a year of individual tuition from our team of expert instrumental and vocal tutors. A few of our modules include formal exams, but the majority of our assessment is through coursework of various kinds (e.g. essays, journals, compositions, recordings) and through assessed performances.

Our modules

Press the + icon to expand the text and see our range of modules.

Year 1

Select 120 credits from the following options. (* = compulsory module)

  • *History of Western Music (20 credits) This module considers key moments in western music from the 1500s to the present. Taking individual composers and works it will introduce you to different approaches to music history, the development of particular genres and the impact of cultural, historical and geographical context, as well as to the critical use of sources.
  • *Music of the World (20 credits) A survey of significant examples of music from around the world, including traditional, popular and classical genres. After an initial focus on the concept of music itself, each lecture considers the role of one form of music in its cultural context.
  • *The Materials of Music (10 credits) We take sound, melody, harmony and rhythm for granted as the building blocks of music but how well do we understand them? In this module we will put the various elements of music under a spotlight. Brief weekly exercises will focus on skills in making, analysing and perceiving music, culminating in a listening exam.
  • *Harmony and Counterpoint (10 credits) An introduction to the writing and analysis of 18th-century ‘common practice’ harmony and counterpoint, covering Bach chorales but also improvisation techniques learned by music students in 18th-century conservatoires.
  • *Introduction to Studio Techniques (10 credits; 2017-18) This module equips you with the fundamental knowledge and problem-solving skills necessary to use a wide variety of music technology in areas such as composition, (ethno- )musicology, music psychology, performance and music analysis.
  • Composition (10 credits) This module is concerned with the foundations of original composition; you are encouraged to develop an open-minded approach to contemporary methods in composition. Pieces written for assessment may be performed by other members of the group.
  • Electroacoustic Composition (10 credits; 2017-18) This module aims to develop the creative use of open source sound manipulation software in the construction of original sonic art. It introduces students to new and imaginative ways of working with sound and further engage with the question ‘what is music?’ Students will access and develop a number of tools and develop their skills in the software environment pure-data and mixing packages, Ardour and Cubase.
  • Performance (10 credits) Instrumental lessons are offered throughout both semesters. In semester 2 performance classes are held with the Director of Performance. The course aims to develop the musical and intellectual abilities necessary for solo performance. Particular attention is paid to stylistic interpretation and communication in performance.
  • Ensemble Performance (10 credits) This module offers students the opportunity to gain credit for participating in auditioned university ensembles including the Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir (provisional).
  • Popular Music Studies (10 credits) As an introduction to the subject, the changing definitions of ‘popular music’ are studied in relation to their socio-cultural contexts, and major issues and debates in popular music are investigated. Classes involve lectures, group discussions and in-class tasks.
  • Sound and Science (10 credits) This module explores scientific approaches to music through the perspectives of acoustics, psychoacoustics and the cognitive sciences. It provides a basic understanding of the physical principles of sound and the auditory system, develops awareness of the relationship between nature and culture, and explores the principles of ecological acoustics as a way of understanding music and soundscapes, and as a form of creativity.
  • Folk and Traditional Musics of the British Isles (10 credits) This module covers general knowledge of British Isles traditional music, critical awareness of relevant issues, and practical musicianship skills; it involves performance and tune/song writing options as well as academic study (provisional).
  • Up to 40 credits can be taken in other departments, through the Interdisciplinary Programmes Office, or through Languages for All.

NB: From 2018-19, Introduction to Studio Techniques and Electroacoustic Composition will be replaced by the following, new, core 10 credit module:

  • *Electronic Music (10 credits) This module tackles the theory and practice of electronic music through the development of a series of short creative tasks using a variety of different software tools. It will provide a basic understanding of the tools needed throughout your degree, deliver a broad scientific survey of sound, and afford creative opportunities that will enable you to develop your own creative voice using technology.
Year 2 and 3

Select 120 credits in each year.

  • In Year 2, students must select 60 (or more) credits from the Pathway Modules, to develop focused consolidation of the musical subdisciplines introduced in Level 1. Each of these Pathway Modules relates to a key area of curriculum and research activity within the Department (listed above), and each provides greater depth of knowledge of that area by developing an applied understanding of theories, research methods and approaches. Pathway Modules are taught annually, and are also available to Year 3 students.
  • Final Year Projects are restricted to Year 3 students: Year 3 students are required to take one 40 credit Final Year Project, and can opt to take a second module of this type for 40 or 20 credits.
  • All other modules, each worth 20 credits, are optional for students of both years, taught on a two-year rotation, and subject to change depending on staff availability. They are grouped below according to area of study.


  • Intermediate Performance (**Pathway Module, 20 credits)
  • Practical Musicianship (20 credits)
  • Ensemble Performance Skills (20 credits)
  • Recital (Final Year Project, 40 or 20 credits)


  • Intermediate Composition (**pathway module, 20 credits)
  • Orchestral Techniques (20 credits)
  • Composition Folio (Final Year Project, 40 or 20 credits)


  • Musicology (**pathway module, 20 credits)
  • Music in Renaissance Europe (20 credits)
  • Baroque Music: Research and Performance (20 credits)
  • Topics in Popular Music (20 credits)
  • Musicals (20 credits)
  • Mozart in Vienna (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (Final Year Project, 20 or 40 credits)

Musical Industries:

  • Music Promotions (**pathway module, 20 credits)
  • Industry Placement (20 credits)
  • Community, Music and Education (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (Final Year Project, 20 or 40 credits)
  • Special Project (Final Year Project, 20 or 40 credits)

Music Technology:

  • Creative Applications of Music Technology (**pathway module, 20 credits)
  • Sound Recording Practice (20 credits)
  • Special Project (Final Year Project, 20 or 40 credits)

Music Psychology:

  • Psychology of Musicians (**pathway module, 20 credits)
  • Music and Wellbeing (20 credits)
  • Music Psychology in Everyday Life (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (Final Year Project, 20 or 40 credits)
  • Special Project (Final Year Project, 20 or 40 credits)


  • Ethnomusicology (**pathway module, 20 credits)
  • World Music Performance (annual) (20 credits)
  • Traditional Music in the Modern World (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (Final Year Project, 20 or 40 credits)
  • Special Project (Final Year Project, 20 or 40 credits)

Alternatively, up to 20 credits per year can be taken in other departments through the Interdisciplinary Programmes Office, or through Languages for All.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.In the event of any change the University will consult and inform students in good time and will take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Statistics about this course

The figures below give you key information about this course. The data has been independently collected by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).