2021 start
MA

Composition

Department of Music, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Immerse yourself in contemporary music, sharpen your skills and explore your creative voice. The MA in Composition is taught by a diverse team of internationally renowned composers who love to share their knowledge and expertise.
MA Compostition student

Course description

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.

Applying

You'll need to provide a portfolio with your application.

Apply now

Modules

Explore core and optional modules

Teaching

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.

Learn more about your supervisors

Assessment

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.

Duration

  • 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.

Stephen Theofanous
MA Composition

Entry requirements

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.

Provide a portfolio with your application

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

English language requirements

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

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.

Funding information on the Department of Music website

Apply

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now

Contact

music-admissions@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 0495

The course information set out here may change before you begin, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the start date.