University of Leeds Featured Masters Courses
FindA University Ltd Featured Masters Courses
Imperial College London Featured Masters Courses
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Featured Masters Courses
Loughborough University Featured Masters Courses

Course overview

Our MusM Composition (Instrumental and Vocal) master's course offers intensive training for composers and provides excellent preparation for doctoral work or a career in the professional world.

With a strong focus on practical music-making and supported by an outstanding programme of workshops and performances by professional musicians, it offers an invaluable opportunity for composers to hone their skills and develop their personal voice.

You will benefit from:

  • links to ensembles as an integral part of the course;
  • interaction with the music profession, including the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata;
  • opportunities to develop professional skills, for example through collaborating, rehearsing and networking with professional musicians; learning to arrange/orchestrate; undertaking outreach opportunities; and collaborating in the creation of performances;
  • flexibility to develop your own compositional and research interests;
  • close ties with electroacoustic composers in NOVARS, and the flexibility to combine electroacoustic course units with those for instrumental and vocal composition;
  • integration into the active research culture of The University of Manchester, through research seminars, performance workshops and concerts.


For entry in the academic year beginning September 2019, the tuition fees are as follows:

  • MusM (full-time)
  • UK/EU students (per annum): £9,500 
  • International students (per annum): £18,500
  • MusM (part-time)
  • UK/EU students (per annum): £4,750


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of  School awards  and  Subject-specific bursaries  (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the  School's funding page.

See also  the University's postgraduate funding database  to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities.

Entry requirements

English language

An overall grade of 6.5 in IELTS is required or 93+ in the TOEFL iBT with a minimum writing score of 23.

If you have obtained a different qualification, please check our  English language requirements  to ensure that it is accepted and equivalent to the above requirements.

English language test validity

Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Relevant work experience

We do not require work experience as a condition of entry. Any work experience relevant to the programme may, however, be taken into consideration when we review your application.

Application and selection

How to apply

Please refer to the following School page regarding subject-specific requirements. These are in addition to the basic prerequisites as shown under entry requirements:

For references, please email the following link to your referees:

References for master's applications

They will submit your references directly to us and we will add them to your application.

Please use the  Online Application Form to apply. 

Portfolio requirements

You will need to submit scores (as hard copy or PDF files) of two or three recent compositions, if possible for a variety of forces or dealing with a variety of musical contexts, and, if available, recordings of performances of your works. These should be sent directly to the course director: .

Teaching and learning

Most taught course units are delivered via weekly seminars and/or tutorials.

The composition portfolio is supported by one-to-one supervision and is submitted at the beginning of September. Part-time students may submit in either September or December following their second year of study.

Each student meets regularly with their supervisor (for full-time students usually on a weekly basis during term-time, less frequently during vacations), allowing for in-depth exploration of ideas and intensive support for the various course units offered.

All postgraduate students are expected to undertake their own programme of self-directed learning and skills acquisition. This may also involve wider reading, language work, computer training and attendance at research seminars.

Coursework and assessment

There are no formal examinations. Taught course units - all of which must be satisfactorily completed - are assessed by submission of compositions, coursework essays or other tasks, normally submitted at the end of each semester (January and May).

The Composition Portfolio is created over the entire duration of study and is submitted at the end of the academic year (after the summer vacation). All work is double-marked internally and moderated by the External Examiner.

Course unit details

You will undertake units totalling 180 credits. Core and optional units combine to make 120 credits, with the remaining 60 credits allocated to a portfolio. Full-time students take two course units per semester; part-time students take one.

Compulsory units are Portfolio of Compositions (60 credits), which normally consists of at least three works for contrasting media or instrumentation, and Composition Project , which focuses on a complete composition, written over a limited period of time in response to specific criteria and supported by discussion in tutorials.

Course units specific to Instrumental Composition include Compositional Etudes , Contemporary Music Studies and Advanced Orchestration .

Further options include Aesthetics and Analysis of Organised Sound , Interactive Tools and Engines and Historical or Contemporary Performance .


Alongside teaching rooms and practice rooms, the building houses the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall (capacity 350, with a stage large enough to accommodate a full symphony orchestra), the John Thaw Studio Theatre, the Lenagan Library and a postgraduate suite consisting of a common room and computer room.

Find out more about our facilities .

Career opportunities

Graduates of this course have pursued successful careers in musical and non-musical fields.

Many are continuing to achieve success as composers, in some cases receiving professional performances from soloists, ensembles and orchestras all over the world.

Others continue to further study via a PhD before securing an academic position. Some go on to teach in schools or further education, both in the UK and overseas.

Other areas of work for which advanced musical training has been directly relevant include arts management and the culture industries, music publishing, music journalism, librarianship, music therapy and performance.

Careers outside of music have included accountancy, law, social work and human resources.

Visit the MusM Composition (Instrumental and Vocal) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!




Enquire About This Course

Recipient: University of Manchester

* required field

Please correct the errors indicated below to send your enquiry

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully