Department of Music,
Faculty of Arts and Humanities
This course focuses upon composition of contemporary music and offers two distinct pathways. You can choose to specialise in instrumental composition, in which you will explore a broad range of compositional approaches and techniques with a strong emphasis on inquiry-led practice. This will include collaboration with professional performers and peers, resulting in numerous live premieres of work, and/or the scope for interacting across disciplines. You may also have the opportunity to make mixed-media work, and collaborate with artists working with other media (visual, design, text). Alternatively, you may specialise in electronic/electroacoustic composition, in which you can explore creative applications of analogue/digital technologies, studio-based composition techniques, real-time audio processing techniques, aesthetics of sonic art, historical developments in electronic music, temporal/spatial-audio and post-digital aesthetics, amongst others. At the start of the course, you will be offered intensive training in the knowledge and methods of your chosen field; this is followed by opportunities for independent research and exploration. By the end of the course you will have developed and refined your own compositional voice and will be able to situate creative work within a broader contextual framework.
The MA also includes composition for film and film sound recording, recognising training needs for those wishing to enter the creative industries as composers, sound designers and game contributors.
You'll need to provide a portfolio with your application.
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 Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn.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 we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.
The course is taught through lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. These are combined with departmental study days and extracurricular listening groups, professional workshops, and performance opportunities, all of which makes for a stimulating and supportive study environment.
You'll be assessed through practical, experiential and theoretical methods that include compositions and essays. A written essay will assess your knowledge of a broad range of current artistic practices along with your skills in evaluation, analysis and criticism, information organisation and writing.
- 1 year full-time
- 2 years part-time
MA Composition developed and strengthened my compositional voice with tutorials, live opportunities, and conferences. It gave me the opportunity to collaborate with an engineer on a very unique sound installation. Most significantly, it changed the way I think and write about music with group discussions and focused dissertation study. This is a valuable and rewarding degree for composers who welcome a challenge.
You’ll need a 2:1 in music or a combined degree with a substantial music component.
Degrees in other related subjects may be acceptable depending on your background.
When you apply you'll need to provide a portfolio of your compositional work. The portfolio must include one or two examples of your best work and can be in many different formats depending on your style of composition - instrumental composers are invited to submit copies of scores, but any recordings of performances (or even midi files) are most welcome. Electroacoustic composers are invited to upload soundfiles of their works.
To submit your portfolio, you should do one of the following:
- upload your video recordings with your postgraduate online application
- provide an online link to your composition portfolio in your postgraduate online application
Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Fees and funding
University funding and scholarships opportunities are available each year. Please check the department funding webpages for music specific scholarships. Department scholarships details are released in the January prior to the start of your course.
You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.
+44 114 222 0495
Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.
Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.