Why study this course
Your instrument of choice
Realise your full potential through fully-funded instrumental tuition.
Spend a year abroad
Adventure into a new culture; open your mind to new ideas and experiences.
Life as a touring musician
Get a taste of what could come through touring with one of our ensembles.
This flexible and challenging programme allows you to specialise and develop your musical interests while developing a solid, broad-based education in aesthetics, analysis, composition, ethnomusicology, music history and performance.
As well as the key foundations of an education in music, this programme offers you a flexible and diverse range of modules. You may also be able to study topics in other Schools, subject to availability. If you would prefer to focus solely on music, consider our BMus course (which includes composition and performance as third-year major projects) as an alternative.
You will spend the third year of this four-year course studying abroad, taking modules in music and other subjects where available. At your host university, you will learn different perspectives and approaches to studying music. You will complete your studies in Cardiff in the fourth year.
We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. Typical offers are as follows:
AAB-BBB. Must include 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).
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.
This grade range reflects our typical standard and contextual offers. We carefully consider your contextual data (the circumstances in which you've been studying) upon application. Eligible students applying for this course will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.
32-31 overall or 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).
From 2023, the Welsh Baccalaureate will be renamed the Baccalaureate Wales Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate. This qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Other qualifications from inside the UK
DDM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Music.
Applicants without a BTEC 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).
Acceptance of T Levels for this programme will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Academic School. Consideration will be given to the T Level grade/subject and grades/subjects achieved at GCSE/Level 2.
Additional entry requirements
Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.
Interview or selection process
After you apply, we will invite you to attend one of five audition and interview days, which are held from November to February.
At the audition
Auditions are conducted by members of staff. We will ask you to sing or perform on your principal instrument for about five minutes. You can choose your repertoire, and we will base our assessment of your performance on overall expressive and technical standards.
A short interview will follow in which we may ask you about the music you performed, your musical interests and experience. The aim isn’t to test your factual knowledge or judge your likes and dislikes; our interviews allow us to get to know you better and give you the opportunity to ask questions and show us what you’re interested in.
The final decision of the admissions tutor is based on an interview report and the UCAS application.
Tuition fees for 2022 entry
Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.
Fees for home status
|Year three (sandwich year)||£1,350||None|
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2022/23 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Fees for island status
Learn more about the undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
Fees for overseas status
|Year three (sandwich year)||£2,880||None|
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.
We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2022 and this page will be updated by end of October 2022 to reflect the changes.
Our undergraduate programmes allow you to specialise and develop your own musical interests.
This is a four-year full-time degree, consisting of 120 credits a year. Each year in Cardiff is divided into an autumn and a spring semester and has a modular structure. Most Cardiff modules are worth 10 or 20 credits Depending on where you spend your year abroad, the semester and module structure may differ in Year 3 of the programme.
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 2022/2023 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2022.
The first year in Music provides the foundations for you to take advantage of the creative and intellectual benefits of higher education.
Available modules focus on basic skills of literate musicianship: harmony and counterpoint, practical musicianship, historical and stylistic awareness of musical genres and traditions, and skills in research and writing about music. There are also modules available in composition, music history, and ethnomusicology.
You will take a minimum of 80 credits and a maximum of 120 credits in Music in year one. Students on this course can choose to study modules outside of Music, subject to availability.
Note that some 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 many ensembles run by the School of Music or led by students. School ensembles explore a variety of classical, jazz, contemporary, and non-Western repertoires and traditions.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Composition 1A||MU1107||10 credits|
|Elements of Tonal Music 1||MU1125||20 credits|
|The Full Works||MU1128||20 credits|
|From Page to Stage: Dramaturgy in Musical Theatre||MU1129||10 credits|
|Composition 1B||MU1208||10 credits|
|Elements of Tonal Music 2||MU1227||20 credits|
|Ethnomusicology 1: Music in Human Life||MU1233||10 credits|
|Rewinding Pop||MU1234||10 credits|
|Practical Musicianship 1||MU1314||10 credits|
|Repertoire Studies||MU1317||20 credits|
|Practical Portfolio I||MU1319||10 credits|
In year two, study is more advanced and you will have the opportunity to consolidate your strengths while maintaining activity in a breadth of disciplines, choosing from four groups: composition and electroacoustic studies, written and practical musicianship, analytical and critical skills, and historical studies.
Our year two Business of Music modules 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.
You will take a minimum of 100 credits in Music in year two and can choose to study modules outside of Music, subject to availability.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Opera Worlds||MU2112||20 credits|
|The Business of Music 1||MU2141||20 credits|
|Composition 2A||MU2142||20 credits|
|Ethnomusicology 2: Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective||MU2143||20 credits|
|Performance Practice and Organology: the Long Eighteenth Century, 1700-1830||MU2168||20 credits|
|Reading Film Sound||MU2181||20 credits|
|Music in France Since 1900||MU2212||20 credits|
|Tonal Common Practice: Styles and Techniques||MU2214||20 credits|
|Music Sounded Out||MU2215||20 credits|
|Studio Techniques 1: Midi and Synthesisers||MU2231||20 credits|
|Formal Functions in the Classical Tradition||MU2232||20 credits|
|Composition 2B||MU2233||20 credits|
|The Business of Music 2||MU2272||20 credits|
|Analysing 20th Century Music||MU2291||20 credits|
|Practical Portfolio 2||MU2301||20 credits|
|Practical Musicianship 2||MU2361||20 credits|
Year three: Sandwich year
This is a standalone year in which students pursue music-related modules at a partner university abroad. The curriculum abroad will equate exactly to 120 Cardiff credits, and will be assessed according to the norms established at that partner university.
In year four, you choose again from the four subject groups, and may pursue up to two of the three 30-credit major academic projects: Dissertation, Project in Ethnomusicology, or Project in Music Analysis.
You will take a minimum of 100 credits in Music in year three and can choose to study modules outside of Music, subject to availability.
Unlike BMus students, BA students do not have the option to undertake a 30-credit composition portfolio or public performance, though they may complete a shorter 20-credit composition portfolio (Composition IV) and/or an 'open' recital in front of examiners and an invited audience (Practical Musicianship IV).
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Women in 19th Century Music||MU3117||20 credits|
|Challenging Tradition: Counterpoint from Bartok to Bartsch||MU3120||20 credits|
|Studio Techniques 2: Audio and Hard Disk Recording||MU3163||20 credits|
|Nineteenth Century Italian Opera||MU3214||20 credits|
|Performance Practice and Organology the Long Seventeenth Century, 1550-1700||MU3285||20 credits|
|Jazz, Culture and Politics||MU3287||20 credits|
|Practical Portfolio 3||MU3301||20 credits|
|Practical Musicianship 3||MU3302||20 credits|
|Composition 3||MU3353||40 credits|
|Project in Music Analysis||MU3357||40 credits|
|Project in Ethnomusicology||MU3358||40 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
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.
How will I be supported?
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.
You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.
For the Year of Study abroad, the School’s International Coordinator will provide you with guidance before, during, and after your placement. Most partner universities provide a comprehensive induction programme, with a welcome session organized for the beginning of the year. For universities in Europe, if you require additional tuition in the native language of the institute, you are encouraged to enrol in classes suitable to your level of ability.
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. For the Year of Study Abroad you will be assessed according to the norms established at the partner university.
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
- critical skills (reasoning, evaluating evidence, problem-solving, relating theory to practice)
- 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
As part of the Year of Study Abroad, you will acquire:
- language skills
- ability to negotiate cultural differences
- ability to adjust to new institutional practices
Careers and placements
In 2016/17, 100% 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 (DLHE 2016/17).
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.
Graduates have gone on to careers with the BBC, Arts Councils, Glyndebourne Opera, English National Opera, universities, Oxford University Press, the National Trust, and London Symphony Orchestra, along with a range of other industrial, commercial, educational, and charitable organisations.
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.
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.
Studying in Welsh
Data from Discover Uni is not yet available for this course.
HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018/19, published by HESA in June 2021.