History students in a seminar

History and Music BA

Department of History

Department of Music

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You are viewing this course for 2021-22 entry.

Key details

Course description

2 performers on stage

Develop your skills in performance and composition, and your academic knowledge of music, while exploring the great events, extraordinary documents and remarkable people that have shaped our culture and society.

You'll study past societies from the late Roman through to the modern period, focusing on political, social and cultural themes. You'll be engaged in real research from the beginning of your course, learning to exercise independent judgement, to be critical of accepted opinion and to construct effective arguments.

Our music curriculum and expertise span seven different areas: performance, composition, musicology, ethnomusicology, music psychology, musical industries, and music technology.

We offer an impressive array of modules, with academic and practical study in most music genres, including classical, pop, jazz, folk and world music. You'll develop your skills as a musician and music researcher, and have the freedom to follow your own interests.

As a dual honours student, you'll divide your studies between the Department of History and the Department of Music. You'll be required to take a minimum number of credits within both departments each year, but how you choose to divide your modules after this is up to you: split your modules evenly between history and music or choose to weight your degree in favour of one subject or the other.

Throughout your degree, you'll be studying in an environment dedicated to high-quality teaching, world-leading research, and innovative public engagement. We have cutting-edge facilities, including purpose-built music practice rooms, recording studios and music psychology labs.

Outside of your degree, there are many ways to develop your interests, insights and critical faculties. Opportunities include student-led reading groups, multiple ensembles, active student societies, and our University Concerts series, which hosts over 100 musical events and performances every year.

Dual and combined honours degrees


A selection of the modules below will be available each year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

Title: History and Music BA course structure
UCAS code: VW13
Years: 2021

For history, the first year programme is designed to help you to make the transition from studying History at school or college to studying it at degree level. It introduces you to core academic skills and provides a solid grounding in historical study and research, giving you the foundations you'll need to deepen your understanding of historical events and processes throughout your degree and setting you off on the path to becoming an independent historian.

Our first year history option modules introduce you to our main areas of teaching and research and give you insight into what you can study in the coming years, so that you can better shape your degree to your individual interests.

For music, you select from the following options.

Core history module:

History Workshop

What does it take to be a historian? In this module, students study the process of historical research, learning discipline-specific methods and essential study and writing skills through close engagement with a historical monograph linked to their tutor¿s research interests. Students will develop skills in critical reading, historiography, essay writing, bibliographic techniques, and oral communication. Assessment consists of independent work (completing tasks on the online learning environment and producing a critical analysis of the secondary source), and group work (oral presentation on a related historical topic).

20 credits

Optional music modules:

History of Western Music

This module considers key moments in the history of Western music from the 1500s to the present day. Taking individual composers and works, it aims to introduce students to different approaches to the study of music history, the development of particular musical genres, and the impact of cultural, historical and geographical context on composers. In addition, the module will consider ways of writing about music, and the use of primary and secondary sources for informing critical discussions of the subject.

20 credits
Music of the World

As a foundation for more specialised studies in particular forms of music, the module introduces students to music as a phenomenon common to all humanity, and cultivates an awareness of the many different things that music can be and the many different ways in which people use and understand music. Lectures introduce a range of music cultures from around the world, emphasising how particular ways of making and structuring musical sound are suited to particular purposes and performance contexts. Student work includes a small midterm written assignment, a final transcription and analysis assignment and two online quizzes with listening examples.

20 credits
The Materials of Music

This module addresses the core skills of listening to music accurately and critically; writing melody, harmony and counterpoint with understanding; and musical leadership skills. The module will also deal with musical nomenclature and terminology, and stylistic and formal elements of music. These will be taught against the broad musical context of the Department and in order to prepare students for concurrent and future modules.

10 credits
Harmony and Counterpoint

This module addresses the core skills of listening to and writing harmony and counterpoint accurately and critically. The module will also deal with musical nomenclature and terminology, and stylistic and formal elements of music. These will be taught against the musical context of the eighteenth century, and will serve to prepare students for compositional and analytical tasks in concurrent and future modules. It is linked with MUS133 - Materials of Music and will build on topics introduced in the first module.

10 credits
Technologies for Music

This module introduces students to a range of pertinent music technologies, focusing upon four key areas: sound recording, editing, transformation and representation. In each case, students experience some of the many ways in which specific technologies serve the many different music disciplines. They go on to learn the essential principals of those technologies, before learning how they work in practice.

10 credits

Through a preliminary analysis of examples drawn from mainstream and contemporary musical literature students will be introduced to strategies for generating and shaping musical materials. In addition there will be some exploration of the technical and practical capabilities of musical instruments. Students will be required to produce coherently structured small-scale pieces which can be performed by members of the group.

20 credits

The course aims to develop the musical and intellectual abilities appropriate to solo performance. The theoretical background is considered, focusing on the aural and analytical skills essential to performance at an advanced level. Issues of style and interpretation as well as effective preparation and communication are addressed. Consideration is given to the varying demands of concert and studio work and performing with confidence. Attendance at a number of University concerts will be required.

20 credits
Folk Music Participation

This module is based upon participation in and preparation for folk sessions hosted by the Department of Music. Through intensive preparation of challenging repertoire, as well as the skills to enable improvised participation, students will develop their understanding of the demands and pleasures of session practice, and their knowledge of the repertoires concerned (British folk traditions), and be encouraged to reflect upon the roles and responsibilities of individual participants within the group. They will also be required to attend a professional ensemble concert or concerts within the university concert series.Module delivered through directed sessions on site; other sessions in venues around the city to be selected by the student.

10 credits
Composing Electronic Music

This module aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to compose various forms of electronic music. It introduces students to some of key figures within the field, surveys some of numerous musical genres and traditions that feed into this diverse form of artistic practice, and surveys a number of technologies and techniques typically used in the creation of electronic music. Students will learn how to process and develop a range of recorded and synthetic sound materials, before considering some of the various ways in which those materials may be used to compose electronic pieces.

10 credits
Popular Music Studies

This module provides an introduction to the study of popular music. The changing definitions of 'popular music' are explored in relation to their socio-cultural context, and major issues and debates in popular music studies are investigated. Classes involve lectures, group discussions and in-class tasks. Assessments include a 1500 word essay choosing a piece of popular music, examining its significant features and discussing what, and how, it communicates to the listener. Additionally a student will give a 15 minute group presentation drawing on the major themes of the module to analyse an artist or album.

10 credits
Music Psychology

This module aims to give musicians an awareness of the characteristics of scientific explanations and the problems and benefits of approaching music from a scientific perspective. It explores scientific approaches to music through selected topics in music psychology, such as psychoacoustics and music perception, music's evolutionary origins, and considers the benefits and value of music making and listening. Teaching and learning takes the form of lectures, demonstrations, collaborative learning, group-working in written and spoken forms.

10 credits
Ensemble Participation

This module is based upon participation in and preparation for rehearsals and performances of the ensembles hosted by the Department of Music: the University of Sheffield Symphony Orchestra, Wind Orchestra and Chamber Choir. Through intensive preparation of challenging repertoire, students will develop their understanding of the demands and pleasures of large ensemble performance and their knowledge of the repertoire concerned, and be encouraged to reflect upon the roles and responsibilities of individual performers within the group. They will also be required to attend a professional ensemble concert or concerts within the university concert series.

10 credits

History option modules:

Empire: From the Ancient World to the Middle Ages

Covering the period from the 4th century BC to the 15th century AD, this module invites students to explore the ancient and medieval worlds through the lens of `empire'. It provides an introduction to ancient and medieval types of empire, their contacts with and legacies to each other, and the connectedness between East and West in this period. Using a wealth of primary evidence and drawing on corresponding historiographical debates, students explore what it meant to live in ancient and medieval empires, what kind of social, cultural and religious encounters they engendered, and whether there was any space for resistance.

20 credits
The 'Disenchantment' of Early Modern Europe, c. 1570-1770

The decline of magic, and some sorts of religion, lies at the heart of this course which traces the emergence of human societies that sought to operate according to rules supposed to be scientific. European cultural experience in the critical juncture between the Reformation and the Enlightenment was by no means the simple rejection of one world-view and its replacement with another. Through the rich, surviving evidence of court records and printing-presses we examine people's changing assumptions about how they should be governed and how they fitted into the world around them.

20 credits
The Making of the Twentieth Century

The module aims to explore the forces in Europe which produced two World Wars of unprecedented destruction, leaving the Continent in ruins by 1945. From there, it analyses the ways in which Europe was able to rise from the ashes, with a troubled route to a semblance of emerging unity - and certainly a half-century of initially unexpected peace - following the suicidal 'European Civil War' of 1914 - 1945. The changing balance of power and approach to war in 1914; the 'era of ideology' in the unparalleled brutality of 'totalitarian dictatorships' and the clashes of Fascism, Communism and Democracy; the postwar settlements; and the growth of the European Community are some of the themes explored.

20 credits
Land of Liberty? Rights in the USA, 1776-2016

In 1776, the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that men were created with ‘certain unalienable rights’. Yet the new United States denied those rights to large swathes of its people. Examining themes which resonate powerfully today, this module explores American history as a struggle over how rights have been defined and debated, expanded and contracted, and secured and denied. Linking the history of ideas to the efforts of ordinary people, we will look at debates over liberty and slavery, democracy and disenfranchisement, capital and labour, integration and segregation, gender and sexuality, nationalism and internationalism, and conservatism and liberalism.

20 credits
The Transformation of the United Kingdom, 1800 to the Present

This module explores the central political, social, economic, cultural and diplomatic developments that have transformed Britain since 1800. Unlike most of its European neighbours, Britain did not experience dramatic moments of revolution, constitution-building, invasion or military defeat; indeed the belief that the nation was set on a course of gradual evolutionary progress was central to many versions of British identity. This course examines how, when and why change occurred in Britain. Key themes include the transition to mass democracy; the impact of industrialisation; shifts in social relationships based on class, gender and ethnicity; and the rise and fall of Britain as an imperial power.

20 credits

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.

Learning and assessment


You'll learn through a mix of interactive lectures and lively discussion-based seminars. Research is central to the student experience here in Sheffield and all our teaching is informed by the latest findings.

On the music side of your degree, our teaching ranges from academic to hands-on. You'll learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, interactive classes and tutorials, and you'll be expected to carry out independent study, assignments and instrument practice. Instrumental lessons are available in your first year and throughout the rest of your degree if you choose to take assessed performance modules.

We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

Learning support facilities and library opening hours

You'll be taught by world-leading experts in both departments. In the Department of History, our internationally renowned tutors offer modules spanning four thousand years and criss-crossing continents, allowing you to explore great events, extraordinary documents, remarkable people.

In the Department of Music, our staff research directly informs the content of our degrees and we bring our expertise and ideas into all our teaching, so you’ll benefit from being introduced to the latest discoveries at the forefront of musical research.


On the music side of the degree, a few of our modules include formal exams but the majority of your assessment is through coursework (for example essays, journals, compositions, recordings, group projects) and assessed performances.

Programme specification

This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

Find programme specification for this course

Entry requirements

With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible

Standard offer
Access Sheffield offer

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
typically including History or Classical Civilisation and Music, Music Technology or Grade 8 Practical (ABRSM/Trinity/Rockschool or equivalent) + Grade 5 theory (ABRSM/Trinity)

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
ABB typically including History or Classical Civilisation and Music or Music Technology (or Grade 8 Practical (ABRSM/Trinity/Rockschool) + Grade 5 Theory (Trinity/ABRSM)

A Levels + additional qualifications | ABB, typically including History and Music/Music Technology or Grade 8 Practical (ABRSM/Trinity/Rockshool) + Grade 5 Theory (ABRSM/Trinity) + B in a relevant EPQ ABB, typically including History and Music/Music Technology or Grade 8 Practical (ABRSM/Trinity/Rockshool) + Grade 5 Theory (ABRSM/Trinity) + B in a relevant EPQ

International Baccalaureate | 34, typically with 5 in Higher Level History and Music (or Grade 8 Practical (ABRSM/Trinity/Rockschool or equivalent) + Grade 5 theory (ABRSM/Trinity) 33 typically including 5 in Higher Level History and Music (or Grade 8 Practical (ABRSM/Trinity/Rockschool) + Grade 5 Theory (Trinity/ABRSM)

BTEC | DD in Music typically in combination with grade A in A Level History DD Music + B in History or Classical Civilisation

Scottish Highers + 2 Advanced Highers | AAABB + typically AA in History and Music or Grade 8 Practical (ABRSM/Trinity/Rockschool or equivalent) + Grade 5 theory (ABRSM/Trinity) AAABB + typically AA in History and Music or Grade 8 Practical (ABRSM/Trinity/Rockschool or equivalent) + Grade 5 theory (ABRSM/Trinity)

Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels | B + AA, typically including History or Classical Civilisation and Music (or Grade 8 Practical (ABRSM/Trinity/Rockschool or equivalent) + Grade 5 theory (ABRSM/Trinity) B + AB, typically including History or Classical Civilisation and Music (or Grade 8 Practical (ABRSM/Trinity/Rockschool or equivalent) + Grade 5 theory (ABRSM/Trinity)

Access to HE Diploma | 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, 45 at Level 3 with Distinctions in 36 Level 3 credits, including History units, + Merits in 9 Level 3 credits. Applicants are considered individually 60 credits overall in a relevant subject, 45 at Level 3 with Distinctions in 30 Level 3 credits, including History units, + Merits in 15 Level 3 credits.Applicants are considered individually

Mature students - explore other routes for mature students

English language requirements

You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification

Equivalent English language qualifications

Visa and immigration requirements

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Department of History

As a history student at Sheffield, you'll develop your understanding of the past in a friendly and supportive environment.

Our internationally-renowned tutors offer modules spanning four thousand years and criss-crossing continents - allowing you to explore great events, extraordinary documents, remarkable people, and long-lasting transformations, from the ancient period to the modern day and across the globe.

You can tailor your course to suit you, discovering the areas of history that most inspire you most while preparing for the future you want with opportunities like studying abroad, work placements and volunteering.

Department of History students are based in the Jessop West building at the heart of the university campus, close to the Diamond and the Information Commons. We share the Jessop West Building with the School of English and the School of Languages and Cultures.

Department of History

Department of Music

Day in the life: Music at Sheffield

Our departmental ethos combines high achievement with a sense of community and a shared passion for music. Our internationally recognised research informs our high-quality teaching and our student experience is second to none.

Sheffield is celebrated as one of the UK's leading music cities, with dozens of major venues from the City Hall and Crucible to the Leadmill and the Foundry, covering all music genres. This brings with it a host of opportunities for our students to get involved in professional music-making of the highest quality.

For music, you'll study in our Jessop Building, Soundhouse, and performance facilities which are specalily designed for cutting-edge research and teaching. Based at the heart of the campus, you'll have access to multi-purpose ensemble and practice rooms, technology labs and recording studios. The University also has a suit of performance venues which provide a platform for bands, solo recitals and public events.


Specially designed for music study, our £8.5m facilities provide the ideal environment for our diverse and cutting-edge teaching and research.

The Jessop Building houses study and rehearsal rooms, with dedicated specialist spaces including our historical instruments collection, ethnomusicology space and collection, music psychology lab and music technology lab.

The Soundhouse is our purpose-built facility for instrumental lessons, practice, small-scale rehearsals and sound recording, and houses the internationally-renowned University of Sheffield Sound Studios for recording and electroacoustic composition.

The University of Sheffield is also home to a suite of performance venues, including the intimate theatre-style Drama Studio, where we host our third year performance recitals, and the beautiful 380-seater Firth Hall, set in the stunning Edwardian Grade II listed Firth Court and home to the University’s multi-genre Concert Series.

Department of Music

Why choose Sheffield?

The University of Sheffield

  A Top 100 university 2021
QS World University Rankings

  Top 10% of all UK universities
Research Excellence Framework 2014

  No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019, 2018, 2017

Department of History

Top 5 in the UK for History

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020

3rd in the UK for world-leading research

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Department of Music

Top 10 music department for research excellence in the UK

Research Excellence Framework 2014

2nd in the Russell Group for teaching on our course

National Student Survey 2020

93% of our students are in work or further study 6 months after graduation

UK UG, 2015-2017 Higher Education Survey

An All-Steinway School

The University of Sheffield is to become and All-Steinway School from March 2021

Graduate careers

Department of History

Our history graduates are highly skilled in research, critical reasoning and communication. You'll be able to think and write coherently, to put specific matters in a broader context, and to summarise complex ideas in a discerning and creative way.

Our graduates have gone on to become successful lawyers, marketing executives, civil servants, accountants, management consultants, university lecturers, archivists, librarians and workers in museums, tourism and the heritage industry.

So, however you choose to use your degree, the combination of academic excellence and personal skills developed and demonstrated on your course will make you stand out in an increasingly competitive graduate world.

Companies that have employed our graduates include Accenture, Ernst and Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers and DLA Piper. You'll also find our graduates in organisations ranging from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to the Imperial War Museum and the National Archives, to BBC online and The Guardian.

Department of Music

The musical excellence and academic aptitude you develop on your course will make you highly valued by employers, whatever your chosen career path after university. You'll also develop valuable transferable skills such as time management, critical thinking and interpersonal communication.

There are lots of opportunities to get work experience. Hands-on projects are integrated into several academic modules and every year our Concerts team provides internships while the Careers Service can help you find placements. You can lead a music project or workshop in a local school through our student-led volunteering organisation Music in the City. All of these experiences will help you build a compelling CV.

Our graduates work with prestigious orchestras and music institutions within the UK and globally, in roles ranging from performing and conducting to administration and education. Sheffield music graduates have also forged successful careers in other fields, from audio programming to marketing and management.

Graduate job roles include: artist management, audio programming, composition, concerts coordination, instrument repair, marketing and communications, music research, music promotion, music therapy, orchestral management, professional performance, publishing, sound engineering, teaching.

Placements and study abroad

Work experience

There are lots of opportunities to get work experience, with hands-on projects integrated into several of our academic modules and every year our University Concerts team provides internships. Alternatively, you can lead a music project or workshop in a local school through our student-led volunteering organisation Music in the City

In History you can undertake a work placement with a heritage or culture organisation and join our student-led volunteering organisations History in the City and take part in activities that bring history to new audiences within the local community. All of these experiences will help you build a compelling CV.

You can also study our courses with the Degree with Employment Experience option. This allows you to apply for a placement year during your degree where you'll gain valuable experience and improve your employability.

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad for a semester or a year, as part of a three or four-year degree programme. We have exchange agreements with universities in the USA, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, Singapore and throughout Europe.

Fees and funding


Additional costs

The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

Examples of what’s included and excluded

Funding your study

Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

Additional funding

The Department of Music offers a number of scholarships.These can include scholarships in partnership with local music organisations, giving you a chance to gain advanced work experience within the music sector while studying. Alternatively, we can offer busarys donated by alumni to help support you with your studies.

Both single honours BMus students and dual honours students with music are eligible to apply. For a full list of scholarships and prizes available, please visit our fees and funding page.

Visit us

University open days

There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

Open days: book your place

Taster days

At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.

Upcoming taster sessions

Applicant days

If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

Campus tours

Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Book your place on a campus tour

Apply for this course

Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:

The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

Our student protection plan

Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer

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