Music and English Literature (BA)

This joint honours degree programme enables you to combine the study of Music and English Literature

The School of Music and the School of English, Communication and Philosophy offer challenging courses of modules in each subject. The flexibility of the course allows you to specialise and develop your own interests, while acquiring a solid, broad-based education and developing transferable skills. English Literature at Cardiff University offers access to the whole span of English literature, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the 21st century. Nor is the curriculum restricted to the printed word – we are intrigued by the connections between literature and film, art, music, history, language, and popular culture, and our teaching reflects these interests.

After a grounding in your first year, you are free to follow a traditional course covering multiple periods and genres or to build a more distinctive mix of modules combining literary study with analysis of other cultural forms.

Home to the arts, Cardiff is a great location for the study of music in the UK. The city has a professional opera company, Welsh National Opera, and a professional symphony orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The School of Music enjoys a fruitful relationship with both organisations that allows, for instance, students to attend dress rehearsals and buy cut-price tickets for concerts. 

As a joint honours student, you will find that often there are complementary issues and perspectives as well as skills and that link subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research. You will spend a similar amount of time on each subject, benefiting from developing your music understanding and skills while studying the fascinating and challenging subject of English Literature.

You are expected to have gained or shown evidence of working towards Grade 8 in one or more instruments or voice at the time of your application. You may be considered if you are not taking A-level Music but have Grade 8 Practical and Grade 7/8 Theory and are studying appropriate Humanities subjects at A-level.

We do not routinely interview applicants for our undergraduate programmes. Applicants with a non-traditional qualification may be invited to attend an informal interview in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy which will have a bearing on the selection decision.

Distinctive features

  • This course is especially suited to those interested in seeing music within a broad cultural context, embracing the literary, the social and the political
  • The option in both subjects to write a dissertation lets you choose a topic that draws on both disciplines
  • Instrumental tuition is fully funded by the School of Music on your principal study instrument
  • Business of Music modules offer a short work placement
  • Composition workshops, performance masterclasses, the University concert series, the John Bird lectures presented by visiting academics and the careers talks provides many opportunities for contact with active music professionals

Key facts

UCAS CodeWQ33
Next intakeSeptember 2016
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places available
Typical applications received
Typical A level offerAAB (A in English Literature or Creative Writing, AB including Music, excluding General Studies). All joint honours applicants with Music are expected to have gained or shown evidence of working towards Grade 8 in one instrument or voice at the time of application. Consideration will be given to applicants who are not taking A-level Music but have Grade 8 Practical and Grade 7/8 Theory and are studying appropriate Humanities subjects at A-level.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above), excluding Music and English. Applicants are expected to have gained or shown evidence of working towards Grade 8 in one instrument, or voice, at the time of application.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer36 points, with 6 points each required from both English Literature and Music at higher level.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course
Admissions tutor(s)

This is a three-year full-time degree, consisting of 120 credits a year, split between the two Schools. Most modules are worth 20 credits.

Year one

You will take 60 credits in English Literature and 60 credits in Music.

In Music, this is essentially a foundation year preparing you to take advantage of the creative and intellectual benefits of higher education.

In the first year the School of Music offers core instruction in analysis, harmony and counterpoint, history of music, composition and practical musicianship. As a BA student you will take a free choice from these subjects.

Note that some Music modules provide essential preparation (‘prerequisites’) for more advanced modules if you wish to pursue them in later years.

To complement your academic study, you are actively encouraged to join the University Choir or Orchestra and other ensembles.

In English Literature you will take at least three 20-credit modules.

Module titleModule codeCredits
English in Theory and PracticeSE213820 credits

Year two

You will take 60 credits in English Literature and 60 credits in Music.

In Music, courses are more advanced and you will focus on more specialist topics, choosing from four groups: Composition and Electroacoustic Studies, Written and Practical Musicianship, Analytical and Critical Skills, and Historical Studies.

Our year two modules on the Business of Music I/II are designed to help you better understand different branches of the music profession and give an opportunity for a short placement in an area related to music or the arts, either in one block or as a series of regular workplace visits.

In English Literature you may select from a range of modules based on period, genre or theme, reading a variety of texts in their historical and cultural contexts.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Harmonic Practice (1750-1900)MU211410 credits
Contrapuntal Practice (1750-1900)MU222410 credits
Composition IIMU232020 credits
Analysing 20th Century MusicMU215210 credits
Studio Techniques I : Midi and SynthesisersMU215310 credits
Studio Techniques I : Midi and SynthesisersMU226110 credits
Formal Functions in The Classical TraditionMU215720 credits
Practical Musicianship I IMU235520 credits
Creative Writing ISE241720 credits
Reading Old EnglishSE244120 credits
Modernism and the CitySE246320 credits
Fiction of The Indian SubcontinentSE228320 credits
The Post-1945 American NovelSE256620 credits
Imaginary Journeys: More to HuxleySE245720 credits
MUSIC SOUNDED OUT: INTERPRETING ORAL AND RECORDED GENRES AND FORMSMU235620 credits
ORCHESTRATIONMU216120 credits
The Business of Music IMU216410 credits
The Business of Music IIMU227220 credits
ETHNOMUSICOLOGY II: Music in Cross-Cultural PerspectiveMU227120 credits
Contemporary Women's WritingSE244620 credits
Children's Literature: Form & FunctionSE244720 credits
The Robin Hood TraditionSE236720 credits
Gothic Fiction: The Romantic AgeSE246820 credits
Romanticism, Politics, AestheticsSE246920 credits
Social Politics and National Style: American Fiction and Form 1920-1940SE247020 credits
Ways of ReadingSE244920 credits
Literature and ScienceSE247120 credits
Dickens in Many MediaSE247220 credits
Reading Film SoundMU227410 credits
Shakespeare's Tragedies and HistoriesSE247720 credits
Chivalry and Subversion in Medieval LiteratureSE246420 credits
Shakespeare's Late PlaysSE259420 credits
Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Women WritersSE247620 credits
Contemporary Irish PoetrySE247320 credits
The Twentieth Century Novel in the British IslesSE245620 credits
Modern and Contemporary Women's PoetrySE247420 credits
Style & GenreSE141620 credits
Visual VictoriansSE247520 credits
Mapping Wales: Politics and Identity in Contemporary Welsh Fiction in EnglishSE247820 credits
Modernist FictionsSE244520 credits
Issues in Popular MusicMU217020 credits
Issues in Popular MusicMU216010 credits
Performance Practice and Organology: The Long Eighteenth Century 1700-1830MU216710 credits
Performance Practice and Organology: The Long Eighteenth Century 1700-1830MU216820 credits
Introduction To Schenkerian AnalysisMU225710 credits
Opera From Handel To WeberMU225610 credits
Opera from Handel to WeberMU227820 credits
Reading Film SoundMU227720 credits

Year three

You will take 60 credits in English Literature and 60 credits in Music.

In Music, you choose again from the four subject groups, and can pursue one of the three major academic projects: Dissertation, Project in Ethnomusicology, or Project in Music Analysis. 

You may complete a short composition portfolio (Composition IV) and/or a ‘closed’ recital in front of examiners only (Practical Musicianship IV).

In English Literature, by year three you will have gained an experience of a variety of literary periods, topics, genres and approaches, developing your critical faculties and your skills in analysing texts and contexts. You will therefore be in an excellent position to choose between a range of more specialised modules in which you will be able to engage with current issues in research and scholarship in relation to authors and texts both well-known and possibly less well-known to you.

The option in both subjects to write a dissertation lets you choose a topic that draws on both disciplines, if you wish.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Practical Musicianship III (Ensemble)MU313710 credits
Case Studies in Performance PracticeMU315410 credits
FugueMU333020 credits
DissertationMU334030 credits
Case Studies in Performance PracticeMU315820 credits
Practical Musicianship IV (Performance)MU334420 credits
Project in Music AnalysisMU334330 credits
Studio Techniques II : Audio and Hard Disk RecordingMU316320 credits
Studio Techniques II: Audio and Hard Disk RecordingMU326720 credits
Composition IvMU334520 credits
20th Century Contrapuntal PracticeMU316410 credits
Project in EthnomusicologyMU334630 credits
The Birth of ModernismMU314910 credits
The Birth of ModernismMU316520 credits
Creative Writing III: Special TopicsSE237320 credits
HitchcockSE254420 credits
DissertationSE252420 credits
Creative Writing II: Special TopicsSE237020 credits
Notation and Editing of Early MusicMU327320 credits
Writing Caribbean SlaverySE256820 credits
Love, Death and Marriage in Renaissance LiteratureSE258320 credits
French TheorySE257020 credits
Utopia: Suffrage to CyberpunkSE258120 credits
Wagner and Romantic OperaMU327410 credits
Wagner and Romantic OperaMU327520 credits
Gender & Monstrosity: Late/Neo VictorianSE256420 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) AutumnSE625160 credits
International Study Abroad (60 credits) SpringSE625260 credits
Bluestockings, Britannia, Unsex'd Females: Women in public life, 1770 - 1800SE258820 credits
Gothic Fiction: The VictoriansSE258920 credits
Four English Poets of the Twentieth CenturySE259120 credits
Poetry in the Making: Modern Literary ManuscriptsSE259220 credits
Postcolonial TheorySE259320 credits
The Graphic MemoirSE140920 credits
Visions of Past and Future in Children's LiteratureSE259520 credits
Medical FictionsSE259620 credits
Military Masculinities in the Long Nineteenth CenturySE259720 credits
Island Stories: Literatures of the North AtlanticSE259820 credits
Dialect in Literature and FilmSE141320 credits
Modern Drama: Page, Stage, ScreenSE255120 credits
The Illustrated BookSE239520 credits
Medieval Romance: Monsters and MagicSE259920 credits
Religion, Politics and Sex, 1640-1714SE254820 credits
Medieval Arthurian LiteratureSE229520 credits
Postmodern American PoetrySE235420 credits
Nineteenth Century Italian OperaMU316810 credits
Nineteenth Century Italian OperaMU316920 credits
The Cultures of BeethovenMU328010 credits
The Cultures of BeethovenMU328120 credits
Innovation and Tradition in French Music Since 1920MU328210 credits
Innovation and Tradition in French Music Since 1920MU328320 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

Instrumental tuition is fully funded by the School of Music on your principal study instrument. This includes accompaniment at your final recital. You receive 24 half-hour lessons over the course of the year.

In Music, we use a range of teaching and learning styles, including lectures, small-group seminars and workshops, individual tutorials, ensemble instrumental tuition, rehearsals, and independent study. Cardiff offers a supportive learning environment, where students are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge. Our courses foster intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory, and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team-working, independent research, and time management.

In English, you will be taught both by lecture and seminar. Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas.

Seminars provide an opportunity for you to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment. Seminars would usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations.

How will I be supported?

For Music at the start of each year you will be given a guide to module aims, learning outcomes, methods of assessment, module syllabuses, and reading and listening lists. Your allocated personal tutors will be able to provide advice and guidance on module choices and you will have regular meetings with them.

For the final-year projects you will have a supervisor to monitor progress and provide individual consultations by arrangement.

You will also have a personal tutor in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy.

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

How will I be assessed?

A range of formative and summative assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios, performances and creative assignments.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Dedicated essay workshops and individual advice enable you to produce your best work, and written feedback on essays feeds forward into future work, enabling you to develop your strengths and address any weaker areas.

The optional final-year dissertation provides you with the opportunity to investigate a specific topic of interest to you in depth and to acquire detailed knowledge about a particular field of study, to use your initiative in the collection and presentation of material and present a clear, cogent argument and draw appropriate conclusions.

 

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’, such as:

  • asking the right questions of complex texts
  • identifying and applying relevant data
  • critical skills (reasoning, evaluating evidence, problem-solving, relating theory to practice)
  • oral and written communication skills
  • coping with uncertainty/complexity
  • creativity and innovative thinking
  • computer literacy
  • skills such as leadership, teamwork and self-management
  • identifying, recording and communicating your relevant career attainments

In 2013/14, 98% of the School of Music’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

The skills developed within a music degree help our students to progress to a wide range of careers, both within and beyond the music profession.

Employability skills are embedded in modules at the School of Music so that you will learn both music-specific and academic skills that are transferable to other domains, especially the workplace. Our second-year modules on the Business of Music are designed to help you better understand different branches of the music profession and provide an opportunity to undertake a short placement in a music-related or arts-related area.

Our annual series of talks on Careers in Music offer a great chance to meet professionals active in a range of fields such as performance, music education, music journalism, arts and artist management, production and licensing, and composing for media.

In 2013/14, 91% of the School of English, Communication and Philosophy’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

UK and EU students 2016/17

EU students entering in 2016/17 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course. Please be aware that fees may increase annually in line with inflation. No decisions regarding fees and loans for EU students starting in 2017/18 have been made yet. These will be determined as part of the UK's discussions on its membership of the EU and we will provide further details as soon as we can.

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£9,000None

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our Funding and fees section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU 2016/17

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes. Please check with us for full clarification.

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£14,500None

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

Other than your principal study instrument, you will not need any specific equipment.

Year two modules on the Business of Music I/II give an opportunity for a short placement, either in one block or as a series of regular workplace visits.


Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.