Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

BA Music

This information is for 2018 entry only. Information for 2017 entry.

This exciting programme allows you to explore music through a variety of subject areas in musicology, performance, composition, theory, notation, music technology, aesthetics, analysis and psychology.

In your first year you’ll study core modules that introduce you to theoretical, historical and social aspects of music alongside music technology and the psychology of music. You can also choose to develop specialist knowledge and skills in areas such as composition, solo and ensemble performance.

Through study in musical performance, psychology or musicology, you can explore ideas across periods and cultures. You could study topics as diverse as classical music, world percussion, film music, jazz or pop – and allow them to inform your own creativity.

Our world-leading researchers will guide you through self-directed project modules and the final-year dissertation, developing independence, team-working, and communication – skills which will enable you to pursue a career within or beyond music in the professional world.

Specialist facilities

At the heart of the School of Music is the Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, a beautiful performance space which hosts a large and varied programme of concerts in term time. The entire concert programme is free to students.

The School of Music has its own purpose-built building complete with rehearsal, performance and practice spaces, a lab for studying the psychology of music and four lecture theatres. There are also studios for sound recording, software development and computer music composition – we have a wide range of professional recording equipment and up-to-date music software to help you with your studies. In addition, our instrument collection includes a specially commissioned gamelan, historic and modern keyboard instruments and a large selection of orchestral and world percussion.

Take a virtual tour of the School of Music

Music at Leeds

Leeds offers a fantastic variety of opportunities to get involved with music and performance that go far beyond the School of Music ensembles. You can also be involved in extra-curricular activities through the student union, or by creating your own ensembles or bands.

Leeds University Union Music Society (LUUMS) is one of the Union's largest societies and boasts eight ensembles, including orchestras, choruses, brass and wind bands; each one gives regular concerts and some go on tour. The campus hosts a diverse range of other musical societies, including Gospel Choir, Clothworkers Consort of Leeds, Opera Society, Music Theatre, Band Soc, Big Band, Electronic Music and DJ Societies. Find out more about Leeds University Union Clubs and Societies.

You could also get involved in cultural activities in the Leeds area, and perform in the city’s many venues such as clubs, pubs, churches, or the Town Hall.

Read more about city life in Leeds.

In your first year you’ll study core modules introducing you to the relationship between music and culture, theoretical elements, and aspects of music technology and psychology and you’ll develop the skills you need to study music at university level. You can choose from aspects of music technology or pyschology, composition, ensemble and solo performance. Throughout the degree, you will also have the chance to study discovery modules within the School or from across the University.

From there you’ll continue to choose topics that suit your interests over the next two years. Our core musicology the relationship between music and politics, culture, or religion, among other specialist topics. In addition, you can choose from a variety of modules which allow you to build on your composition and performance skills, technology, notation and editing, analysis, aesthetics or music psychology.

By your final year you will have developed your musical knowledge and abilities, choosing at least one major area of study, and demonstrating your research skills through an independent research project on a topic of your choice.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Understanding Music, 20 credits
Music in History and Culture, 20 credits
Music Research Skills, 20 credits
Studies in a Digital Age (Music), 5 credits

Optional modules

Composition, 20 credits
Performance, 20 credits
Ensemble Performance, 20 credits
Sound, Technology and Music, 20 credits
Introduction to Music Psychology, 20 credits

(If students select only 40 credits from the list above, they may not take both Performance and Ensemble Performance)

Discovery modules

Discovery Modules, 20 credits

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Music in Context, 20 credits

Optional modules

Interpreting Music, 20 credits
Composition, 20 credits
Performance, 20 credits
Ensemble Performance, 20 credits
Notation and Editing, 20 credits
Aesthetics and Criticism, 20 credits
Music Technology Skills and Techniques, 20 credits
Music in Practice, 20 credits
The Psychology of Listening and Performance, 20 credits
Music Students in Schools, 20 credits

Discovery modules

Discovery Modules, 20 credits

Year 3

Compulsory modules

Dissertation, 40 credits

Optional modules

Analysing Music, 40 credits
Composition, 40 credits
Ensemble Performance, 20 credits
Applied Project, 20 credits
Performance, 40 credits
Editing and Source Studies, 40 credits
Contemporary Aesthetics, 40 credits
Music Technology, 40 credits
Music Psychology, 40 credits
Special Studies in Musicology modules, 20 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Music BA in the course catalogue.

Discovery modules

Discovery Modules, 20 credits

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Academics in the School of Music are leading practitioners and researchers, carrying out world-leading research which directly informs their teaching.

To help you benefit from their expertise, a variety of learning and teaching methods are used. Depending on the modules you choose, these are likely to include lectures, seminars and tutorials, as well as online learning tasks, solo and ensemble rehearsals, studio time for composition and technology, and lab work in music psychology.

Independent study is also an important part of the degree, since this is where you will develop your analytical and research skills. Our experienced technicians and tutors are on hand to help if you need them, and you’ll have access to our expert instrumental and vocal teachers if you are studying performance.

You’ll be assigned a personal tutor who will meet with you individually at least twice a year, and tutorial support for your other modules is always available on request. All staff have office hours where you can drop in and ask for help if you need it. There is extensive support for students offered through the library's skills programme.


We use different types of assessment, depending on the modules you choose. You will complete exams and essays, but you may also be assessed through performances, project work, composition portfolios, presentations, concert reviews and recordings.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB

Normally students will have taken Music, but if you have not (especially if it isn’t taught at your school or college), you should have at least one essay-based subject, as well as a minimum ABRSM Grade 8 practical qualification and evidence of musical literacy (e.g. Grade 5 music theory or equivalent).

If you have taken Music, practical grades are not a requirement for this programme. However, if you want to study performance, you’ll need a minimum of ABRSM, Trinity Guildhall or Rockschool Grade 8 merit/grade 7 distinction (or demonstrate that you are of equivalent standard by the time you arrive in Leeds).

We always consider applicants with alternative profiles and experience. We also welcome applications from mature students, international students and those with a range of access qualifications.

Students taking the EPQ may also be made an alternative offer.

We typically interview all eligible applicants.

Alternate Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

In Music: 60 credits overall, with 45 credits at level 3 with an overall Distinction and no credits below Merit


DDD in a music specialism with evidence of musical literacy.

Cambridge Pre-U

typically D3, M1, M1.

International Baccalaureate

35 overall (6 at higher level in Music)

Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)

H2 H2 H2 H2 H3 H3.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AAAABB in Highers / AB at Advanced Higher and AABBB in Highers / A in Advanced Higher and AABBB in Highers.

Other Qualifications

Apolytirion of Geniko Lykeio with Pan Hellenic exams: 18.5 overall normally including Music (equivalent music qualifications will be considered); including 17 in the English from the Pan Hellenic exams

Cypriot: pass in the Apolytirion with a minimum of 19 overall, including 19 in Music (other music qualifications will be considered) and 17 in English, plus at least one A level at grade B or above (or equivalent)

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

Were committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Access to Leeds participants will receive a lower offer.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Music Undergraduate Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

How to apply

Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

It is also possible to study this programme part time. The programme content is the same but you will study at a lesser intensity. Find out more about how to apply, support available and the part-time student experience at the Lifelong Learning Centre.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If youre unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Next steps

Suitable candidates will be invited for interview as part of the selection process. Interviews usually take place between November and March during one of the post-application open days, meaning you’ll also have the chance to look around the School of Music and meet some staff and students.

Admissions tutors will consider your experience, skills and knowledge in relation to the academic demands of the course. If you’re predicted grades lower than AAB, or don’t hold standard entry qualifications, the interview is particularly important for demonstrating your musical experience, skills and knowledge, and ability to talk about music critically.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures Undergraduate Admissions Policy 2018


UK/EU: See fees section below

International: £17,500 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2018, the fee for 2018/19 will be £9,250. 

The fee for undergraduate students starting in 2019 will be confirmed in September 2018.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% in 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students in 2018-19 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

If you take a study abroad or work placement year, youll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Career opportunities

A degree in Music will allow you to develop a wide range of subject knowledge and skills; you’ll also gain transferable skills that are very attractive to employers.

You’ll be a good communicator who is able to collaborate and work well in a team, but you’ll also be confident working independently. You’ll have the chance to develop analytical, research and organisational skills.

Graduates from the School of Music have gone on to succeed in fields such as composing, (e.g. films such as Shaun the Sheep), performing (one of our graduates in Snarky Puppy recently won a Grammy), arts administration and education. Others work in business, media, management, law, music therapy and psychology. Many also progress to postgraduate study.

We run a series of careers events every year in collaboration with the University Careers Centre to help you explore your options.

Read our Graduate profiles

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Placement opportunities

Study abroad

During your second year you’ll be able to apply to transfer to our BA Music (International) programme. This allows you to extend your degree by a year and spend your third year studying at one of our many partner universities worldwide.

It’s a great opportunity to enhance your CV and gain a new perspective on your studies, as well as deepening your cultural awareness through more varied experience. In addition to being a highlight of your degree, it can give you real confidence in a competitive job market.

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

You’ll have the option to extend your programme by a year to spend your third year working in the music industry. It’s a great opportunity to gain valuable experience and contacts – and some students go on to work for their placement companies after they graduate.

Internship opportunities have included placements with major music organisations such as Warner Music, English National Opera, and the Leeds International Concert Season, but you can also explore placements such as music therapy, education, orchestral or band management, in the UK or abroad. In recent years students have taken placements in organisations such as Faber Music, Grand Union Orchestra, and Scottish Opera. One graduate has recently opened the New York office of WilKatPR, following a placement with the company.

Read more about Year in Industry

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