Skip to content

Music and English Literature (BA)

Entry year


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

Book an Open Day

A violinist and a pianist.

Course overview

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

We do not routinely interview applicants for this programme. 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 for students taking a Practical Musicianship module
  • 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
UCAS codeWQ33
Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
  1. School of English, Communication and Philosophy

    John Percival Building

    Colum Drive

    Cardiff

    CF10 3EU

  2. School of Music

    Music Building

    31 Corbett Road

    Cathays

    Cardiff

    CF10 3EB

Entry requirements

ABB-BBB including a B in English Literature, English Literature and English Language or Creative Writing, and a B in Music. Please note, General Studies and Critical Thinking will not be accepted.  Please also see ‘Other requirements’ below.  

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

DDM - DMM in the subject of Music but applicants will also need to have A in A Level English Literature or English Literature and Language or Creative Writing or equivalent. Please also see ‘Other requirements’ below. 

34-32 points, to include 6 in HL Music and 6 in HL English Literature. Please also see ‘Other requirements’ below. 

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of English, Communication & Philosophy and School of Music admissions criteria pages.

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 overall with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You will require GCSE Maths at grade C/4, and GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C/4 or an accepted English Language equivalent You will be required to have, or be working towards, Grade 8 Music Practical in an instrument or voice.   

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit
£9,000None

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 (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit
£17,700None

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.

Additional costs

Course specific equipment

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

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Course structure

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.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

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

In Music, year one provides the foundations for you to take advantage of the creative and intellectual benefits of higher education. You will be offered 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, subject to availability.

Note that some Music modules are ‘prerequisites', providing essential preparation 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 three 20-credit modules.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Critical Reading and Critical WritingSE214620 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Composition 1AMU110710 credits
Ethnomusicology 1: Music in Human LifeMU112410 credits
Elements of Tonal Music 1MU112520 credits
The Full WorksMU112710 credits
Elfennau 1MU113520 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
Elfennau 2MU123720 credits
Practical Musicianship 1MU131410 credits
Repertoire StudiesMU131720 credits
Cerddoriaeth Ymarferol IMU132410 credits
Astudiaethau RepertoireMU132720 credits
Drama: Stage and PageSE213920 credits
Star-cross'd Lovers: the Politics of DesireSE214020 credits
Transforming Visions: Text and ImageSE214220 credits
Transgressive Bodies in Medieval LiteratureSE214720 credits
Ways of ReadingSE214820 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
Analysing 20th Century MusicMU215210 credits
Studio Techniques 1: Midi and SynthesisersMU215310 credits
Formal Functions in the Classical TraditionMU215720 credits
OrchestrationMU216120 credits
The Business of Music 1MU216410 credits
Performance Practice and Organology: the Long Eighteenth Century, 1700-1830MU216710 credits
Performance Practice and Organology: the Long Eighteenth Century, 1700-1830MU216820 credits
Harmonic Practice, 1725-1870MU217810 credits
Reading Film SoundMU217910 credits
Reading Film SoundMU218120 credits
Music in France Since 1900MU218210 credits
Music in France Since 1900MU218320 credits
Studio Techniques 1: Midi and SynthesisersMU226110 credits
Ethnomusicology 2: Music in Cross-Cultural PerspectiveMU227120 credits
The Business of Music 2MU227220 credits
Contrapuntal Practice, 1725-1870MU228410 credits
British Art Music from c.1900MU228510 credits
British Art Music from c.1900MU228620 credits
Issues in Popular MusicMU228710 credits
Issues in Popular MusicMU228820 credits
Opera WorldsMU228910 credits
Opera WorldsMU229020 credits
Composition 2MU232020 credits
Music Sounded Out: Interpreting Oral and Recorded Genres and FormsMU235620 credits
Practical Musicianship 2MU235810 credits
Practical Musicianship 2BMU235910 credits
Practical Contribution Portfolio 2MU236010 credits
Cerddoriaeth Ymarferol IIMU236520 credits
Style and GenreSE141620 credits
The Robin Hood TraditionSE236720 credits
Modernist FictionsSE244520 credits
Children's Literature: Form and FunctionSE244720 credits
Introduction to Romantic PoetrySE245020 credits
African-American LiteratureSE245120 credits
Modernism and the CitySE246320 credits
Gothic Fiction: The Romantic AgeSE246820 credits
Social Politics and National Style: American Fiction and Form, 1920-1940SE247020 credits
Literature and ScienceSE247120 credits
Dickens in Many MediaSE247220 credits
Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Women WritersSE247620 credits
Shakespeare's Tragedies and HistoriesSE247720 credits
Contemporary Poetry: Tradition and InnovationSE248120 credits
GirlsSE248220 credits
Object Women in Literature and FilmSE249420 credits
Renaissance Poetry, Prose and Drama: The Principal Genres, Issues and AuthorsSE249720 credits
Decadent Men, 1890s-1910s: Wilde to ForsterSE249820 credits
Chaucer's Gender Politics: Chivalry, Sex and Subversion in the Canterbury TalesSE261820 credits
Contemporary British FictionsSE261920 credits
Experimental Early Modern DramaSE262020 credits
Writing MourningSE262120 credits
Philosophy and LiteratureSE262320 credits
Jane Austen in ContextSE262520 credits
ENCAP Employability ModuleSE625520 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 an 'open’ recital in front of examiners and an invited audience (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 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
The Cultures of BeethovenMU317410 credits
The Cultures of BeethovenMU317520 credits
Studio Techniques 2: Audio and Hard Disk RecordingMU326720 credits
Wagner and Romantic OperaMU327410 credits
Wagner and Romantic OperaMU327520 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
FugueMU328810 credits
Aural Cultures from the Phonograph to the SmartphoneMU328910 credits
Aural Cultures from the Phonograph to the SmartphoneMU329020 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
TraethawdMU335030 credits
Cerddoriaeth Ymarferol IV (Perfformiad)MU335420 credits
The Graphic MemoirSE140920 credits
Fictive Histories/Historical FictionsSE246720 credits
DissertationSE252420 credits
HitchcockSE254420 credits
Modern Drama: Page, Stage, ScreenSE255120 credits
Gender and Monstrosity: Late/Neo VictorianSE256420 credits
Utopia: Suffrage to CyberpunkSE258120 credits
Second-generation Romantic PoetsSE258220 credits
Bluestockings, Britannia, Unsexed Females: Women in Public Life, 1770-1800SE258820 credits
Gothic Fiction: The VictoriansSE258920 credits
Poetry in the Making: Modern Literary ManuscriptsSE259220 credits
Postcolonial TheorySE259320 credits
Visions of Past and Future in Children's LiteratureSE259520 credits
Island Stories: Literatures of the North AtlanticSE259820 credits
Medieval Romance: Monsters and MagicSE259920 credits
John MiltonSE260820 credits
The American Short StorySE260920 credits
Apocalypse Then and NowSE261120 credits
Criminal ShakespeareSE261220 credits
Scandal and Outrage: Controversial Literature of the Twentieth and Twenty-First CenturiesSE261320 credits
Representing Race in Contemporary AmericaSE261620 credits
Love, Death and Marriage in Renaissance DramaSE262220 credits
Visuality, Culture and TechnologySE262420 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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Instrumental tuition is fully funded by the School of Music on your principal study instrument if you are taking a Practical Musicianship module. 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.

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

23%

Guided independent study

77%

Placements

0%

Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

25%

Guided independent study

75%

Placements

0%

Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

null%

Guided independent study

null%

Placements

null%

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.

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

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

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.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams

10%

Practical exams

8%

Coursework

83%

Year 2

Written exams

37%

Practical exams

15%

Coursework

48%

Year 3

Written exams

null%

Practical exams

null%

Coursework

null%

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
  • leadership, teamwork and self-management
  • identifying, recording and communicating your relevant career attainments

Careers and placements

Career prospects

In 2015/16, 95% 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 2015/16, 95% 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.

Placements

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.

icon-academic

Next Undergraduate Open Day

Spring 2020

icon-international

International

icon-contact

Get in touch

icon-pen

How to apply