Why study this course
This Joint Honours degree programme enables students to combine the study of Music and Mathematics with an adventure-packed year studying at one of our partner universities abroad.
As a joint honours student of Music and Mathematics, you will find there are often complementary issues and perspectives as well as skills that link subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research. You will spend a similar amount of time on each subject, developing your musical understanding and skills while studying the fascinating and challenging subject of Mathematics.
This four-year course allows you to spend the third year broadening your horizons by studying abroad.
This course will provide you with a sound basis of knowledge, understanding and skills in the main areas of mathematics, alongside experience of a range of musical disciplines, including performance, composition, historical and critical musicology, ethnomusicology and acoustics.
You will develop an ease with abstract mathematical concepts, logical argument and deductive reasoning, as well as a portfolio of skills associated with literate musicianship.
Later in the course you can study appropriate advanced mathematical topics and at least one area of musical specialisation.
Graduates from this course have moved into music-specific areas such as performance and composition, postgraduate study in mathematics and music and various roles needing a numerate or analytical approach.
Cardiff is a great place for the study of music in the UK, as home to Welsh National Opera and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. School of Music students can 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 Humanities subjects at A-level.
Year abroad - On this degree you will have the exciting opportunity to study at a university abroad for one year. You will learn while you travel and experience the practices and culture of a different country.
Fully-funded instrumental tuition - Your instrumental tuition is fully funded by the School of Music on your principal study instrument if you are studying a Practical Musicianship module.
Work placement opportunities - Your 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 careers talks providing many opportunities for you to engage with active music professionals.
Student support - In addition to having your very own personal Math tutor at the start of the first year, you will also have access to weekly tutorials, supervised computer laboratories and daily drop-in sessions for one-to-one support.
AAB-ABB. Must include grade A in Maths and grade B in Music. Applicants without an A-level in Music will be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine appropriate levels of music performance and theory skills (such as Grade 6/7 Music Theory). Where skill levels cannot be determined by alternative qualifications, you may be invited to audition.
Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ 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.
DD in a BTEC Diploma in Music and grade A in A-level Maths. Applicants without BTEC Music will be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine appropriate levels of music performance and theory skills (such as Grade 6/7 Music Theory). Where skill levels cannot be determined by alternative qualifications, you may be invited to audition.
34-32 overall or 666-665 in 3 HL subjects. Must include grade 6 in HL Music. Applicants without HL Music will be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine appropriate levels of music performance and theory skills (such as Grade 6/7 Music Theory). Where skill levels cannot be determined by alternative qualifications, you may be invited to audition.
Other UK qualifications may also be accepted, often in lieu of A-levels, but subject requirements must be met. If you are offering non-UK qualifications, our qualification equivalences guide should allow you to calculate what kind of offer you are likely to receive.
Please be aware that this is a general guide, and that some programmes may have more detailed or specific entry requirements which will be reflected in your offer.
Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.
At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.
At least 90 overall with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.
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 must have or be working towards:
- English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade C/4 or an equivalent (such as A-levels). If you require a Tier 4 visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements.
- GCSE Maths grade C/4 or equivalent qualification (subject and grade). If you are taking A-level Maths (or equivalent), GCSE Maths is not required. Core Maths may also be accepted in place of GCSE Maths.
- grade 8 Music Practical in an instrument or voice.
We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.
We will accept a combination of BTEC subjects, A-levels, and other qualifications, subject to the course specific grade and subject requirements.
You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course. If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- access to computers or devices that can store images
- use of internet and communication tools/devices
- freedom of movement
- contact with people related to Cardiff University.
Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.
Interview or selection process
Where skill levels cannot be determined by alternative qualifications, you may be invited to audition.
Students from the UK
|Tuition fee (2021/22)||Deposit|
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees for 2021/22 will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Students from the rest of the world (international)
|Tuition fee (2021/22)||Deposit|
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.
Costs for sandwich years
During a sandwich year (e.g. year in industry, placement year or year abroad) a lower fee will apply. Full details can be found on our fees pages.
Course specific equipment
Other than your principal study instrument, you will not need any specific equipment.
We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.
We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
This is a four-year full-time degree, consisting of 120 credits a year, split equally 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 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2017.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.
In Music, year one prepares you to take advantage of the creative and intellectual benefits of higher education. You will receive 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 topics, subject to availability.
To complement your academic study, you are actively encouraged to join the University Choir or Orchestra and other ensembles.
In Mathematics, year one consists of four compulsory modules. These are Foundations of Mathematics I, Vectors and Matrices, Foundations of Mathematics 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 title||Module code||Credits|
|Composition 1A||MU1107||10 credits|
|Ethnomusicology 1: Music in Human Life||MU1124||10 credits|
|Elements of Tonal Music 1||MU1125||20 credits|
|A History of Popular Music||MU1126||10 credits|
|The Full Works||MU1128||20 credits|
|Composition 1B||MU1208||10 credits|
|Elements of Tonal Music 2||MU1227||20 credits|
|From Page to Stage: Dramaturgy in Musical Theatre||MU1230||10 credits|
|Practical Musicianship 1||MU1314||10 credits|
|Repertoire Studies||MU1317||20 credits|
|Practical Contribution Portfolio I||MU1318||10 credits|
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.
Year three: Sandwich year
Year three is spent studying abroad. The University has academic links in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Canada and the United States. Students studying abroad are entitled to their usual loans and travel grants are available from the Cardiff University Global Opportunities Centre.
Any student who undertakes a study placement or a traineeship/work placement in Europe is eligible to apply for an Erasmus grant.
While you are away from Cardiff, you will be assigned to the Year Abroad coordinator, who will keep in touch and monitor your progress. You will also be assigned a personal tutor at the host institution.
In Music, you choose again from the four subject groups, and may 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).
There are no core modules for Mathematics in year four.
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
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 studying 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 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.
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.
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
- maturity and self-confidence from spending a year studying abroad
Careers and placements
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 at Cardiff 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.
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.
Year three is spent studying abroad at one of our partner institutions.