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  1. Postgraduate
    1. 2019
    2. 2020
Study at City

MA Sound Practice and Composition

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Entry Year:
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 2019

Academic year dates

Duration

Full-time: One year

Part-time: Two years

UK/EU

Full-time: £7,650

Part-time: £3,825 per year

Non-EU

Full-time: £13,770

Part-time: £6,885 per year

Campus

Northampton Square

Who is it for?

The programme provides ideal preparation for those wishing to enter the professional world of sound practice and/or proceed to a research degree in a variety of disciplines.

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

Objectives

The MA develops skills in the broad field of contemporary sound practice, encompassing notated and digital music, sound art, improvisation, performance, sound studies, and interdisciplinary work. The course embraces contemporary sound in all its plurality and provides a critical context for exploring key topics and issues at the frontiers of its increasingly overlapping sub-disciplines.

Engagement with professional creative practice lies at the core of the course taught by world-leading composers and sound artists. Students workshop their music with professional ensembles in-residence EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble and Plus Minus Ensemble as well as international visitors, and present work to the public in the annual City Summer Sounds festival. The course complements our research centre SPARC (Sound Practice And Research @ City), which attracts visiting artists to work with students through workshops, lectures, masterclasses, an annual interdisciplinary symposium, and hosts our groundbreaking record label multi.modal distributed by NMC Recordings.

Requirements and how to apply

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally hold (or expect to gain) an upper second class honours degree. While most students come with a first degree in Music or Music Technology, we do consider applicants with a good honours degree in related subjects in the arts, humanities, and sciences if they can demonstrate musical expertise and experience.

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.

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.

For more information see our main Visa page.

How to apply

Applications for 2019 entry are now open.

Apply online MA Sound Practice and Composition 2019 (full time)

Apply online MA Sound Practice and Composition 2019 (part time)

Please note the following:

The MA Sound Practice and 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.

  • 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.

Please submit the following:

  • 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.
  • An electronic portfolio of creative work (no more than three examples of your best and most representative work, with brief commentaries on each piece, and scores where applicable). Please include a list of links with your application, or email files directly to music@city.ac.uk . If you wish to send hard copies, please contact music@city.ac.uk.
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.
During your course

More about fees

Fees in each subsequent year of study (where applicable) will be subject to an annual increase of 2%. We will confirm any change to the annual tuition fee to you in writing prior to you commencing each subsequent year of study (where applicable).

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 seven professional studios include four 5.1 surround studios, one 8.1 surround studio, and two stereo studios all featuring Genelec monitors. Our recording studios are equipped to deliver multitrack recording and mixing to a professional standard with Neve and SSL mixers, a wide array of outboard effects, and reference microphones. All our studios are equipped for sound editing, processing and mixing, offering industry standard software including Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Max, Native Instruments Komplete, and Ircam Forum.

Accommodation

We offer a variety of accommodation options and support services for postgraduate students.

Read more about our postgraduate halls.

Our Accommodation Service can also help you find private accommodation.

Find out more about private accommodation.

Learn a language for free

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

Find out how to apply

Timetables

Course timetables are normally available from July and can be accessed from our timetabling pages. These pages also provide timetables for the current academic year, though this information should be viewed as indicative and details may vary from year to year.

View academic timetables

Please note that all academic timetables are subject to change.

Student support

We offer an extensive support network during your time here at City, University of London – from Learning Support (including disability support) and counselling to financial and career advice – leaving you free to enjoy every opportunity campus life has to offer.

Find out more about the different types of student support available.

Course content and assessment

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 Sound Practice and 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. You will also submit a major 90-credit Sound Practice and Composition Portfolio, which allows you to develop and display your creative compositional practice in a variety of ways.

Core modules

Term one

  • Sound Materials and Technique (30 credits)
  • Contexts of Sound Practice and Composition(30 credits)

Term two

  • Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Process (30 credits)

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

The programme specification contains more information on how the course is organised, the requirements for progression for each part and credits required for awards.

  • Joe Perkins
    Student profile
    I decided to study at City for the incredible lectures whose tutelage and advice were unparalleled..
  • Chris Reading
    Student profile
    Planning your time around composing, writing and other activities is a valuable skill in itself..
  • Academic profile
    Senior Lecturer
After you graduate

Career prospects

Our alumni are employed in areas such as music publishing, broadcasting, music management, arts administration and further musical study at MPhil or PhD level, including Oscar-winning composer Nico Casal, composer Javier Álvarez and film sound designer Chris Reading. 100% of our graduates are in employment or further study six months after graduation.


Applications for 2019 entry are now open.

Apply online MA Sound Practice and Composition 2019 (full time)

Apply online MA Sound Practice and Composition 2019 (part time)

Please note the following:

The MA Sound Practice and 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.

  • 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.

Please submit the following:

  • 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.
  • An electronic portfolio of creative work (no more than three examples of your best and most representative work, with brief commentaries on each piece, and scores where applicable). Please include a list of links with your application, or email files directly to music@city.ac.uk . If you wish to send hard copies, please contact music@city.ac.uk.

Contact details

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