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  1. Composition
    1. 2017
Courses

Composition

MA |
Join one of the UK’s leading university environments for the study of Music, combining world-leading research, exceptional teaching and a vibrant musical community in the heart of global London.

Key Information

Start date

September 2017

Duration

Full-time: One year

Part-time: Two years

UK/EU

Full-time: £7,500

Part-time: £4,000 per year

Non-EU

Full-time: £13,500

Part-time: £6,750 per year

Who is it for?

The programme provides ideal training for those wishing to enter the professional world of composition and/or proceed to a research degree.

We welcome students from all over the world and from a range of backgrounds.

Objectives

The MA Composition develops skills in the broad field of contemporary composition, encompassing notated and digital music, sound art, improvisation and interdisciplinary practices.

The course provides a critical context for exploring key topics and issues in contemporary composition as well as a platform for presenting your own work to an audience of peers.

Engagement with professional creative practice is at the core of the MA Composition. Students have the opportunity to receive tuition from world-renowned composers external to the department. There are also opportunities to work with City’s professional ensembles-in-residence, Plus Minus and EXAUDI.

We have an outstanding reputation for dynamic, inspring and rigorous postgraduate eduation and offer exceptional support to our students

Our students come from all over the world and benefit from our location in the heart of London, one of the world’s greatest cultural hubs.

Requirements and how to apply

Entry requirements

Applicants shoud normally hold (or expect to gain) an upper second class honours degree. While most students come with a first degree in Music, we do consider applicants with a good honours degree in related subjects in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

English requirements

If your first language is not English, you will need to achieve one of the following English language test scores:

  • IELTS: an overall score of 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-test)
  • Cambridge Proficiency grade C or above
  • Evidence that the medium of instruction for your first degree was in English.

Your English test should have been taken in the last two years.

Due to changes in the UKVI's list of SELTs, we are no longer able to accept TOEFL as evidence of English language for students who require a CAS as of April 2014.

INTO English language programmes

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner, INTO City, University of London, offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree. Please follow the links below for more information:

Visa requirements

If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.

The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course. There are different rules for:

  • Students on courses of more than six months
  • Students on courses of less than six months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English language course.

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you cannot undertake any City courses on a part-time basis.

For more information see our main Visa page.

How to apply

The MA Composition attracts a very high number and standard of applications. To make sure you have the best opportunity of gaining a place, please apply as early as possible. When making your application you should note the following:

  • Each application is carefully assessed against the entry requirements so it is important that you include all the required information with your application (for example, degree certificates, certificates of language proficiency levels etc). The processing of your application may be delayed if you do not include these documents.
  • As part of your application you are asked to provide a personal statement. It is important that you use this opportunity to demonstrate clearly why you want to undertake the MA and how this relates to your future career plans.

When applications open, you should submit the following:

  • Online application form
  • A transcript of your undergraduate degree.
  • An essay (2,000-3,000 words) on a musical topic. The essay should demonstrate critical skills and writing ability, and conform to standard academic guidelines for formatting and referencing. Most applicants submit an essay completed as part of their undergraduate studies.
  • A CD/DVD of compositions/creative work (no more than three examples of your best and most representative work, with brief commentaries on each piece, and scores where applicable).
  • Two academic references.
Research-intensive
88% of our research was described as either world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2014).
Central London location
We are within walking distance of many internationally important art and culture venues.
100%
of our graduates are in employment 6 months after graduation.

More about fees

Funding

Explore up-to-date information about funding options, available financial support and typical living costs.

Future Finance offers students loans of between £2,500 and £40,000 to help cover tuition fees and living expenses. All students and courses are considered. All loans are subject to credit checks and approval for further details please visit the City Finance website.

Graduate Loyalty Discount

The School of Arts & Social Sciences offer a 10% discount on tuition fees for all City graduates.

Bursaries

Find out more about the Postgraduate Solutions Study Bursary.

Future Finance Loans

Future Finance offers students loans of between £2,500 and £40,000 to help cover tuition fees and living expenses. All students and courses are considered. All loans are subject to credit checks and approval for further details please visit the City Finance website.

Scholarships

We are offering one full fee-waiver scholarship for entry to any of our MA Music pathways in September 2017.

The Robert Anderson Scholarship provides a full-fee waiver at UK/EU rates. International students are also eligible to apply and if successful will have the equivalent UK/EU fee amount deducted from the international fee. The deadline for applications is Friday 5th May 2017.

In addition to your main application, scholarship applications should include:

  • a CV indicating your studies and achievements to date
  • a statement indicating why you feel you are particularly deserving of such an award and outlining the contribution you will make to the Department of Music.

The School of Arts and Social Sciences is delighted to offer a number of UK scholarships for this course. The scholarships are worth £2,000 towards tuition fees awarded on the basis of academic merit and applicants' personal statements. Applications are now closed and successful applicants will be notified in May 2017.

Find out more about Scholarships for the Arts and Social Sciences.

Academic facilities

Department facilities include advanced recording and composition studios, a professional performance space, computer laboratories, rehearsal rooms, practice rooms and world music instruments.

Our composition studios include three surround (8.1/ 5.1) studios, one of which is dedicated to film and live electronics work, and three stereo composition studios. All of the studios are equipped for sound editing, processing and mixing. As well as general software such as Logic, Sibelius and Pro Tools, these studios are equipped with Native Instruments Komplete.

The recording studio is equipped to deliver multitrack recording and mixing to a professional standard.

Learn a language for free

We offer a free language course for City, University of London students.

Find out how to apply

Teaching and learning

Teaching delivery is through a combination of lectures, group seminars, interactive sessions, practical workshops, one-to-one tutorials and a high level of individual learning. Students also have the opportunity to receive tuition from world-renowned composers external to the department.

The Department of Music provides a stimulating environment with abundant opportunities for composers and sound artists and there are also plenty of opportunities for involvement in our many ensembles. The department’s concert series features contemporary classical music, world music, electronic music and multimedia work and an annual music festival in May and June provides opportunities for students to receive public performances of their work.

In addition to our many ensembles at City, MA students are also eligible to audition for the University of London Symphony Orchestra.

Assessment

We use a range of assessment methods, including projects, portfolio submissions and extended creative tasks and accompanying commentary.

Modules

On City's MA Composition, you will take three core modules (30 credits each) in which you will enhance your understanding of creative practice and engage critically with compositional techniques, theoretical concepts and current issues in contemporary composition.

Core modules

Term one

  • Compositional Materials and Technique (30 credits)
  • Contexts of Composition (30 credits)

Term two

  • Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Process (30 credits)

You will also take a 90-credit Composition Portfolio, which runs through terms two and three.

  • Student
    I decided to study at City for the incredible lectures whose tutelage and advice were unparalleled.
  • Student
    Planning your time around composing, writing and other activities is a valuable skill in itself.
  • Academic expert
    Senior Lecturer in Composition working in the School of Arts and Social Sciences.

Career prospects

Our MA programmes have excellent employment statistics. Students have gone on to teach, compose and perform in a wide variety of settings, and are also employed in areas such as music publishing, broadcasting, music management, arts administration and further musical study at MPhil or PhD level.

100% of our graduates are in employment 6 months after graduation, and graduates are mostly working as Freelance composers.

Our alumni include award-winning composers such as film sound designer Chris Reading and Nico Casal, composer for the winner of the Best Short Film at the 2016 Oscars.


The MA Composition attracts a very high number and standard of applications. To make sure you have the best opportunity of gaining a place, please apply as early as possible. When making your application you should note the following:

  • Each application is carefully assessed against the entry requirements so it is important that you include all the required information with your application (for example, degree certificates, certificates of language proficiency levels etc). The processing of your application may be delayed if you do not include these documents.
  • As part of your application you are asked to provide a personal statement. It is important that you use this opportunity to demonstrate clearly why you want to undertake the MA and how this relates to your future career plans.

When applications open, you should submit the following:

  • Online application form
  • A transcript of your undergraduate degree.
  • An essay (2,000-3,000 words) on a musical topic. The essay should demonstrate critical skills and writing ability, and conform to standard academic guidelines for formatting and referencing. Most applicants submit an essay completed as part of their undergraduate studies.
  • A CD/DVD of compositions/creative work (no more than three examples of your best and most representative work, with brief commentaries on each piece, and scores where applicable).
  • Two academic references.

Contact details

Request a prospectus

Find out more about City and all our postgraduate degree programmes.

Get your prospectus

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London EC1V 0HB

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.