Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications

School of Music

Virtual tour screenshot

BA Music

In this section:


UCAS code Qualification Duration and mode of study
W300 BA

3 Years Full Time

What you study

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. You’ll also develop the skills you need to study music at university level, and can choose from 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 Music in Context core modules are led by the research interests of our tutors, meaning you could study 20th century music or the relationship between music and national identity, among others. You will also build on your analytical skills in the Interpreting Music module. 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, 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 a dissertation on a topic of your choice.

What facilities are available

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

Read more about life in Leeds

Why Leeds

This degree allows you to explore music through a variety of subject areas in performance, composition, history, theory, 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’ll also choose to develop specialist knowledge and skills in areas such as composition, solo and ensemble performance.

From Grieg to Lady Gaga, Prokofiev to punk, you’ll explore topics across periods and cultures. You could study topics as diverse as world percussion, Broadway shows, film music 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 skills such as creative thinking, time management, team-working, self-motivation, discipline and communication—all highly valued in the professional world.

Studying music at Leeds is more than taking part in lectures and ensembles organised by the School. You can also be involved in extra-curricular activities through the student union, or through creating your own ensembles and bands. Leeds University Union Music Society (LUUMS) is one of the Union's largest societies and boasts four auditioned ensembles (Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Orchestra and Chamber Choir) and several non-auditioning groups (Brass Band, Wind Band, Sinfonia and LUUMS Choir). Each ensemble, run and conducted by students, gives regular concerts and some go on tour in the summer holidays. LUUMS prides itself on the quality of its performances and its parties, and there are many social events throughout the year. For more information visit their website.

The campus hosts a diverse range of other musical societies, including the Forum of Composers and Musicians, Revelation Rock Gospel Choir, Clothworkers Consort of Leeds, Opera Society, Stage Musical Society, Music Theatre, Band Soc, Big Band, Punk Soc, Rock Soc, and Jazz and Blues Society. Students perform in the city's live music venues too, and are active in civic groups ranging from Leeds Improvised Music Association to the Leeds Festival Chorus. Performance at Leeds is what you make it - it is social, student-focused and enables you to develop your skills in a relaxed environment.

Applying, Fees, Funding

  • Our typical offer is AAB-ABB including Music, and is based on the merit and ability of each applicant as demonstrated by the UCAS form and performance during the interview. Though most applicants study A Level Music, we will consider other subjects in lieu of Music (especially if it's not taught at an applicant's school/college) where the applicant is taking at least one essay-based subject at A-Level and has theory (minimum Grade 5 ABRSM) and practical (minimum Grade 8) music qualifications.
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB (A in Music).
  • BTECs: a minimum of Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in a music (not music technology or practical music) specialism. Evidence of musical participation is also normally required in the form of ABRSM grade 5 music theory or above and advanced practical examinations (grade 7 or above)
  • International Baccalaureate: 35 points overall, with 6 in Music

Candidates will be invited for an interview as part of the selection process. Admissions tutors will consider the applicant’s experience, skills and knowledge in relation to the academic demands of the course. For those applicants predicted grades lower than AAB, or who are not holding standard entry qualifications, the interview is particularly important for demonstrating relevant musical experience, skills and knowledge, and the ability to talk about music critically.

Please note that, unless otherwise stated, practical grades are not a requirement for entry onto this programme of study. However, if you want to study performance you will need a minimum of ABRSM, Trinity Guildhall or Rockschool Grade 8.

Applications with alternative profiles and experience are always considered. The Admissions Tutor will be able to give advice.

We welcome applications from candidates of all social and ethnic backgrounds and are committed to the promotion of equal opportunities.

For further information, please refer to the School's Admission Policy, available for download from the website.

How to apply

Please apply online via UCAS. If you need help with their online application process please telephone UCAS on 44 (0)871 468 0468.

For some tips on completing your UCAS form when applying for our courses click here.

Entry / admissions tests

Selection principles


For information about our fees and details of the financial support that may be available to you please visit www.leeds.ac.uk/yourfinances

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Leeds has one of the most comprehensive financial support packages available. One in four students qualifies for a bursary and in addition we have a series of scholarships Further information about scholarships and other types of financial support available here.

There are also a number of music-specific scholarships available to students offered by Leeds Parish Church and Leeds Cathedral. Click here for more information.

Course Content

Tutors in the School of Music are leading practitioners and researchers, carrying out cutting-edge 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 even 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.

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

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 an extensive programme of support for students offered through the library's skills programme.

Current modules taught

For a full list of modules taught please visit the Module and Programme Catalogue.

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

Study Abroad, Work Placements

Study abroad opportunities

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. A new option is the Horizon study abroad year, which provides the opportunity to focus on language learning and intercultural understanding at one of a few specific Horizon destinations.

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.

Read more about Study Abroad

Work placement opportunities

If you change to our BA Music (Industry) degree in your second year, you can 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.

We have established internship opportunities 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


If you wish to contact the School of Music for more information about the course or to book a department visit, please use the details below:

School of Music Reception

Tel: 0370 837 5874

Email: music@leeds.ac.uk

School of Music
University of Leeds

© Copyright Leeds 2016