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Overview

Throughout the year you’ll take a combination of core modules that allow you to develop your skills as a musician and composer. You’ll develop your academic skills, including research and presentation skills, as well as studying the principles of composition and different professional contexts. You’ll also develop an awareness of broader topics in the study of music to help inform your practice through a core module in aesthetic theory.

We have a variety of excellent facilities to support your learning, including rehearsal, performance and practice spaces, a lab for studying the psychology of music and studios for sound recording, software development and computer music composition. We also have good working relationships with a range of prestigious arts organisations: we host BBC Radio 3 concerts, Leeds Lieder and the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, as well as enjoying a close partnership with Opera North and many others in a city with a thriving music and cultural scene.

Course content

Throughout the year you’ll take a combination of core modules that allow you to develop your skills as a musician and composer. You’ll develop your academic skills, including research and presentation skills, as well as studying the principles of composition and different professional contexts. You’ll also develop an awareness of broader topics in the study of music to help inform your practice through a core module in aesthetic theory.

In addition, you’ll choose from the range of optional modules on offer across the School of Music depending on your individual interests and experience: options include performance, editing and archival studies, musicology, computer music, psychology of music and more.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Modules

Compulsory modules

  • Composition Studies
  • Portfolio of Original Composition
  • Aesthetic Theory

Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

  • Individual Project
  • Issues in Musicology
  • Short Dissertation
  • Instrumental or Vocal Recital
  • Applied Performance Studies
  • Electronic & Computer Music Practice
  • Electronic & Computer Music Contexts
  • Case Studies in the Applied Psychology of Music
  • Audience Engagement and Impact
  • Applied Research Methodologies

Learning and teaching

Most of our taught modules will use seminars and tutorials, as well as lectures and instrumental or vocal lessons, depending on the modules you choose. However, independent study is the backbone of this programme, allowing you to build your skills and express your own creativity.

Assessment

Obviously, you’ll submit original compositions as an important part of your assessment. You will also write commentaries on your own work — drawing on musical/theoretical contexts — and more theoretical modules are likely to make use of written tasks such as essays and reports. Optional modules may also involve assessment through recitals, transcriptions or critical editions, presentations or other forms of assessment.

Applying, fees and funding

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component . For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

How to apply

We will consider applications from 1 October – 1 September.

However, we recommend you apply as early as possible, especially if you are planning to apply for external funding. You will usually be expected to have an offer of a place on a programme before you apply for funding. You may also need to leave time to make arrangements such as visa applications or relocating to Leeds.

APPLY (FULL TIME) 

APPLY (PART TIME) 

Documents and information you need

  • Your degree certificate and transcript, or a partial transcript if you’re still studying.
  • Two academic references.
  • A recent composition (if hard-copy score, no larger than A4) and recordings if you have them. These can include links to websites, Dropbox, Soundcloud, or similar.
  • A copy (or draft) of an essay about music in English of around 2,000 words.
  • If English is not your first language, you’ll need to provide evidence of your English language qualification.
  • If you want to take a module in performance, we need to see evidence of your performance standard. You can either audition in person or submit a recording on DVD, or a link to a video of your performance online.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students.

Fees

  • UK/EU: £8,500 (total)
  • International: £20,000 (total)

Read more about paying fees and charges.

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

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.

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 may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Career opportunities

Composition tutors have connections with performers, ensembles, and festivals in all corners of the globe. These relationships can be useful for your professional development, giving you an insight into issues such as funding, publicity and other aspects of working life for professional freelance composers.

Many of our graduates choose to continue and refine their research by applying for PhD level study. Several of our existing PhD students also completed their Masters programmes here at Leeds.

We have other resources to support you as you develop your career plans too – the School of Music boasts a unique Alumni Mentoring Network, where you can be supported by past students as you plan your next steps.


Visit the Critical and Experimental Composition MMus page on the University of Leeds website for more details!

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