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Music and English Literature (BA)

Why study this course

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Tailored to you

With primarily optional modules you have freedom to choose a personalised degree.

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Your instrument of choice

Realise your full potential through fully-funded instrumental tuition.

structure

Music business placement

Explore what the music business has to offer with a placement.

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Industry experience

Gain skills, confidence and connections through a variety of literary and cultural internships.

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Learn from the best

Benefit from research-led content; learn from world-renowned literary scholars and authors.

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.

Subject area: English language and literature

Subject area: Music

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Entry requirements

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:

A level

ABB-BBB. Must include Music, and Creative Writing, English Language and Literature, or English Literature.

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.


We carefully consider your contextual data (the circumstances in which you've been studying) upon application. Where a grade range is advertised this reflects our typical standard and contextual offers. Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range. Where there is no grade range advertised you will usually receive additional points in the selection process. Learn about eligible courses and how contextual data is applied.

International Baccalaureate

32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects. Must include grade 6 in HL English Literature and 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.

Baccalaureate Wales

From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The 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

BTEC

DM in a BTEC Diploma in Music, and grade A in A-level English Literature or English Language and Literature or Creative Writing or equivalent.

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.

T level

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.

Qualifications from outside the UK

See our qualification equivalences guide

Additional entry requirements

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 59 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 Student 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
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
  • 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.

Tuition fees for 2023 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £9,000 None
Year two £9,000 None
Year three £9,000 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 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 Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £20,450 None
Year two £20,450 None
Year three £20,450 None

Learn more about our tuition fees

Financial support

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.

Living costs

We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Course structure

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 2023 and this page will be updated by end of October 2023 to reflect the changes.

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 2023/2024 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.

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.

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
Opera WorldsMU211220 credits
The Business of Music 1MU214120 credits
Composition 2AMU214220 credits
Ethnomusicology 2: Music in Cross-Cultural PerspectiveMU214320 credits
OrchestrationMU216120 credits
Performance Practice and Organology: the Long Eighteenth Century, 1700-1830MU216820 credits
Reading Film SoundMU218120 credits
Music in France Since 1900MU221220 credits
Tonal Common Practice: Styles and TechniquesMU221420 credits
Music Sounded OutMU221520 credits
Studio Techniques 1: Midi and SynthesisersMU223120 credits
Formal Functions in the Classical TraditionMU223220 credits
Composition 2BMU223320 credits
The Business of Music 2MU227220 credits
Analysing 20th Century MusicMU229120 credits
Practical Portfolio 2MU230120 credits
Practical Musicianship 2MU236120 credits
Style and GenreSE141620 credits
Medieval Arthurian LiteratureSE229520 credits
Modernist FictionsSE244520 credits
Children's Literature: Form and FunctionSE244720 credits
Introduction to Romantic PoetrySE245020 credits
African-American LiteratureSE245120 credits
Imaginary Journeys: More to HuxleySE245720 credits
Modernism and the CitySE246320 credits
Gothic Fiction: The Romantic AgeSE246820 credits
Dickens in Many MediaSE247220 credits
Object Women in Literature and FilmSE249420 credits
Renaissance Poetry, Prose and Drama: The Principal Genres, Issues and AuthorsSE249720 credits
Second-generation Romantic PoetsSE258220 credits
Gothic Fiction: The VictoriansSE258920 credits
Contemporary British FictionsSE261920 credits
Philosophy and LiteratureSE262320 credits
Victorian Realism(s)SE262620 credits
Shakespeare's WorldsSE263220 credits
Philosophy of MindSE431320 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
Women in 19th Century MusicMU311720 credits
Challenging Tradition: Counterpoint from Bartok to BartschMU312020 credits
EnsembleMU313820 credits
Studio Techniques 2: Audio and Hard Disk RecordingMU316320 credits
Nineteenth Century Italian OperaMU321420 credits
Performance Practice and Organology the Long Seventeenth Century, 1550-1700MU328520 credits
Jazz, Culture and PoliticsMU328720 credits
Practical Portfolio 3MU330120 credits
Practical Musicianship 3MU330220 credits
DissertationMU335140 credits
Composition 3MU335340 credits
Project in Music AnalysisMU335740 credits
Project in EthnomusicologyMU335840 credits
The Graphic MemoirSE140920 credits
The Illustrated BookSE239520 credits
Literature and ScienceSE247120 credits
Decadent Men, 1890s-1910s: Wilde to ForsterSE249820 credits
DissertationSE252420 credits
Modern Drama: Page, Stage, ScreenSE255120 credits
Utopia: Suffrage to CyberpunkSE258120 credits
Poetry in the Making: Modern Literary ManuscriptsSE259220 credits
Postcolonial TheorySE259320 credits
Medieval Romance: Monsters and MagicSE259920 credits
American Poetry after ModernismSE260620 credits
The American Short StorySE260920 credits
Apocalypse Then and NowSE261120 credits
Representing Race in Contemporary AmericaSE261620 credits
Experimental Early Modern DramaSE262020 credits
Visuality, Culture and TechnologySE262420 credits
Activist Poetry: Protest, Dissent, ResistanceSE262720 credits
Contemporary British Political DramaSE262820 credits
Visions of the Future: Climate Change & FictionSE263020 credits
Encounters With Oil in Literature and FilmSE263120 credits
Romantic Circles: Collaboration, Radicalism and Creativity 1770-1830SE263320 credits
Medieval MisfitsSE263420 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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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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 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.