Mathematics and Music (BA)

Entry year

2018

This Joint Honours degree programme enables students to combine the study of Music and Mathematics

Musicians

This Joint Honours degree programme enables students to combine the study of Music and Mathematics.

The time spent on each subject is effectively equal, enabling you to benefit from developing your musical understanding and skills while studying the fascinating and challenging subject of Mathematics. You will be encouraged to actively pursue your own areas of interest through the highly flexible modular courses.

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.

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 (or are working towards) Grade 7/8 Theory and are studying appropriate subjects at A-level.

Distinctive features

The distinctive features of the degree include:

  • instrumental tuition which is fully funded by the School of Music on your principal study instrument if you are studying a Practical Musicianship module
  • Business of Music modules which 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 which provide many opportunities for contact with active music professionals. Mathematics classes are used to discuss both theoretical concepts and essential techniques
  • Mathematical classes used to discuss both theoretical concepts and essential techniques

Key facts

UCAS CodeGW13
Next intakeSeptember 2018
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Studying in WelshUp to 17% of this course is available through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information
Typical places availableThe School of Music typically has 70 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School of Music typically receives 350 applications.
Admissions tutor(s)

Entry requirements

Typical A level offerABB, including an A in Mathematics and B in Music. Please note, General Studies will not be accepted. Please also see ‘Other requirements’ below. 
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerThe Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects. Please also see ‘Other requirements’ below. 
Typical International Baccalaureate offer34 points, to include 6 in HL Music and 6 in HL Mathematics. Please also see ‘Other requirements’ below. 
Alternative qualificationsAlternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Mathematics and School of Music admissions criteria pages.
English Language requirementsIf you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.
Other requirementsYou will require GCSE Maths at grade C or grade 4 and GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C or grade 4.  You will also be required to provide evidence that you have completed or are working towards Grade 8 Music Practical in an instrument/voice. 

This is a three-year full-time degree, consisting of 120 credits a year, split equally between the two Schools.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2018/19 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2018.

Year one

In Music, year one provides you with the foundations to take advantage of the creative and intellectual benefits of higher education. You will receive instruction in analysis, harmony and counterpoint, history of music, composition and practical musicianship.

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

In Mathematics, year one currently consists of four compulsory modules. These are Foundations of Mathematics I, Vectors and Matrices, Foundations of Mathematics II and Elementary Differential Equations. 

Note that in both subjects some modules are 'prerequisites', providing essential preparation for more advanced modules if you wish to pursue them in later years.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Elementary Differential EquationsMA100110 credits
Foundations of Mathematics IMA100520 credits
Foundations of Mathematics IIMA100620 credits
Linear Algebra IMA100810 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Composition 1AMU110710 credits
Ethnomusicology 1: Music in Human LifeMU112410 credits
Elements of Tonal Music 1MU112520 credits
The Full WorksMU112710 credits
Composition 1BMU120810 credits
A History of Popular MusicMU122610 credits
Elements of Tonal Music 2MU122720 credits
From Page to Stage: Dramaturgy in Musical TheatreMU123010 credits
Composing the LandscapeMU123110 credits
Practical Musicianship 1MU131410 credits
Repertoire StudiesMU131720 credits

Year two

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 Mathematics, please see the module list to see the specifics of individual modules available.

Note that Statistics as a subject area is not available to students taking Music.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Calculus of Several VariablesMA200110 credits
Complex AnalysisMA200310 credits
Series and TransformsMA200410 credits
Linear AlgebraMA200720 credits

Year three

In Music, you choose again from the four subject groups, and may 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 an ‘open’ recital in front of examiners and an invited audience only (Practical Musicianship IV).

There are no core modules for Mathematics in year three.

Module titleModule codeCredits
KnotsMA032210 credits
Time Series Analysis and ForecastingMA036710 credits
Complex Function TheoryMA300010 credits
Introduction to Functional and Fourier AnalysisMA300520 credits
Introduction to Coding Theory and Data CompressionMA300620 credits
Differential GeometryMA300910 credits
Applied Nonlinear SystemsMA330110 credits
Theoretical and Computational Partial Differential EquationsMA330320 credits
Methods of Applied MathematicsMA330420 credits
Regression Analysis and Experimental DesignMA350220 credits
Game TheoryMA360410 credits
Mathematical Methods for Data MiningMA370010 credits
Practical Musicianship 3 (Ensemble)MU313710 credits
The Birth of ModernismMU314910 credits
Studio Techniques 2: Audio and Hard Disk RecordingMU316320 credits
20th Century Contrapuntal PracticeMU316410 credits
The Birth of ModernismMU316520 credits
Nineteenth Century Italian OperaMU316810 credits
Nineteenth Century Italian OperaMU316920 credits
Innovation and Tradition in French Music since 1920MU317210 credits
Innovation and Tradition in French Music since 1920MU317320 credits
Studio Techniques 2: Audio and Hard Disk RecordingMU326720 credits
Wagner and Romantic OperaMU327410 credits
Wagner and Romantic OperaMU327520 credits
The Cultures of BeethovenMU328010 credits
The Cultures of BeethovenMU328120 credits
Performance Practice and Organology the Long Seventeenth Century, 1550-1700MU328410 credits
Performance Practice and Organology the Long Seventeenth Century, 1550-1700MU328520 credits
Jazz, Culture and PoliticsMU328610 credits
Jazz, Culture and PoliticsMU328720 credits
FugueMU333020 credits
DissertationMU334030 credits
Project in Music AnalysisMU334330 credits
Practical Musicianship 4 (Performance)MU334420 credits
Composition 4MU334520 credits
Project in EthnomusicologyMU334630 credits
Practical Contribution Portfolio 3MU334710 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?

In Music you will be taught by academic staff with expertise across composition, performance, musicology, ethnomusicology, and popular music.

Instrumental tuition is fully funded by the School on your principal study instrument if you are taking a Practical Musicianship module. This includes accompaniment at your final recital. You will receive 24 half-hour lessons over the course of the year.

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.

Mathematics is based on lectures supported by examples classes (and laboratory classes where appropriate).  In all years the classes are used to discuss both theoretical concepts and essential mathematical techniques. You are encouraged to undertake additional reading outside of timetabled classes and fully engage with and reflect upon the assessments that take place.  Feedback on progress is typically provided through a combination of discussion in class, written comments on submitted work and review of outline solutions to problems. You are encouraged to discuss any queries related to specific modules with individual lecturers.

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 tutor 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.

In Mathematics there are scheduled academic tutorials for all core modules in Year One, and you will also be assigned a Personal Tutor who can offer pastoral advice, guidance and support.  There is also a daily drop-in service based in the School where you can ask any maths-related question.

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?

Methods of assessment vary from module to module and may include essay assignments, presentations, extended projects, performances, and written exams.

Many mathematics modules include written examinations that take place at the end of the Autumn or Spring Semester, with some also having an element of continuous assessment. This may include problem solving exercises, written reports, computer programs or presentations.  Please see the module descriptions for further details.

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:

  • advanced literacy
  • computer literacy
  • applying logical and analytic thinking to problems
  • oral and written communication skills
  • coping with uncertainty/complexity
  • creativity and innovative thinking
  • leadership, teamwork and self-management, embedded in practical musical activities
  • identifying, recording and communicating your relevant career attainments

​School of Music

In 2015/16, 95% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

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.

​School of Mathematics

In 2015/16, 89% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

The Mathematics degree programmes will equip you with specialist numerical skills and develop your capacity for logical and analytical thought. These are qualities which are in demand across a broad range of stimulating and rewarding careers. 

In addition to the formal teaching on the programme the School of Mathematics also has significant engagement with the Careers Service and Employers. This includes a Careers Management Skills Programme, numerous company presentations held in the School, presentations by students returning from industry, and a range of sponsored prizes awarded for academic achievement.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£9,000None

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in the second and subsequent years of a course as permitted by law or Welsh Government policy. Where applicable we will notify you of any change in tuition fee by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which the fee will increase.

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding 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 (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes
£15,950None

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 and Medical and Dental courses. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

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.

Discover more courses