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.
Our flexible Music BA programme will allow you to specialise and develop your own musical interests while acquiring a solid, broad-based education in music theory and analysis, composition and performance studies, music history and culture, ethnomusicology, studio production and the business of music (including the opportunity to undertake a work placement).
As well as the key foundations of an education in music, this programme offers you a flexible and diverse range of modules, without any core requirements in year 1. You may also be able to study topics in other schools, subject to availability each year. If you would prefer to focus solely on music, consider our BMus course (which includes performance as a major project in year 3, core module requirements in year 1, and the opportunity to specialise in two major projects) as an alternative.
In addition to studying a range of academic modules, you’ll also be encouraged to take full advantage of our school-led core ensembles, representing a wide range of musical repertoires and traditions, such as the Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic Winds, Symphony Orchestra, Gamelan Ensemble, Chamber Choir, Chamber Orchestra, Lanyi (West African Ensemble), Symphony Chorus and the Pop Collective.
You’ll spend the third year of this 4-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’ll 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 offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.
Our grade range covers our standard offer and contextual offer. We carefully consider the circumstances in which you've been studying (your contextual data) upon application.
- Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.
- Where there is no grade range advertised and/or where there are selection processes in place (like an interview) you may receive additional points in the selection process or be guaranteed interview/consideration.
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 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
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.
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 2024 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 2024/25 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)||£3,405||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 2024 and this page will be updated by end of October 2024 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 2024/2025 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2024.
Year 1 provides the foundations for you to take advantage of the creative and intellectual benefits of higher education.
Entirely optional modules are offered in music theory and analysis, composition (solo instruments and small ensembles), practical musicianship (solo performance), practical portfolio (ensembles, conducting, aural training), and techniques in jazz and popular music. There are also a trio of modules which will provide students with much needed support in historical and stylistic awareness of musical genres and traditions (Western and Non-Western, Popular, Jazz and Film Music, as well as Music Theatre) and developing an ability to write and talk confidently, fluently and critically about music.
You’ll take a minimum of 80 credits in Music in year 1 (i.e. four modules). You can choose to study modules outside of the school’s modules, subject to availability.
To complement your academic study, you are actively encouraged to join the university-led core ensembles if you choose not to formally take them as academic modules.
In year 2, you have the opportunity to consolidate your strengths while maintaining activity in a breadth of disciplines, choosing your modules from at least three of four groups:
- Analytical & Critical Skills
- Composition & Production
- Practical Musicianship
- Musicology & Placement
Our year 2 modules on the Business of Music are designed to help you better understand different branches of the music profession and give an opportunity for a short work placement in an area related to music or the arts, in the spring semester.
In year 2, you’ll be extensively introduced to research-led teaching.
As a BA student, you will take a minimum of 100 credits in Music in year 2, and can choose to study modules outside of Music, subject to availability.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|From Palaces to Proms: A History of Performance Practices (1700-1890)||MU2124||20 credits|
|The Business of Music 1||MU2141||20 credits|
|Composition 2A||MU2142||20 credits|
|Formal Functions in the Classical Tradition||MU2157||20 credits|
|Reading Film Sound||MU2181||20 credits|
|Music in France Since 1900||MU2212||20 credits|
|Composition 2B||MU2233||20 credits|
|Studio Techniques 1||MU2235||20 credits|
|Ethnomusicology 2: Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective||MU2271||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
The year of Study Abroad is a ‘stand-alone’ year, in which you pursue music related modules at one of our partner universities abroad. The curriculum will equate exactly to 120 Cardiff University credits, and you’ll be assessed according to the norms established at the partner university.
You choose again from at least three of the four subject groups (outlined under year 2), and have the opportunity to study one or two of the four major project modules: Dissertation, Project in Ethnomusicology, Project in Music Analysis and Composition 3 (Composition Portfolio).
BA students have the opportunity to take a minor project in performance (Practical Musicianship) worth 20 credits. (A major project in Recital is exclusive to the BMus programme.)
You’ll take a minimum of 100 credits in Music in year 4 and can choose to study modules outside of Music, subject to availability. Year 4 modules continue to focus on research-led teaching.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Challenging Tradition: Counterpoint from Bartok to Bartsch||MU3120||20 credits|
|The Birth of Modernism||MU3165||20 credits|
|Jazz, Culture and Politics||MU3171||20 credits|
|Studio Techniques 2||MU3176||20 credits|
|Nineteenth Century Italian Opera||MU3214||20 credits|
|Beethoven: Style, Form and Culture||MU3217||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 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.