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MA Composition

Course Description

About the course

This course offers an ideal opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the creation and presentation of contemporary music. You can choose to specialise in instrumental composition and explore a broad range of compositional approaches and techniques while collaborating with performers. Alternatively, you may specialise in electronic/electroacoustic composition which includes the opportunity to explore creative applications of analogue/digital technologies, real-time audio processing techniques, and aesthetics of sonic art.

About us

Music at Sheffield attracts world-leading academics and musicians working in a wide range of specialist fields. This is reflected in the diversity of the MA programmes we offer, both on campus and by distance learning. Our courses are taught by experts and backed by world-class research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) 84 per cent of our work was rated internationally excellent or world-leading.

We are influential in composition, ethnomusicology, musicology, performance, music technology, music management and psychology of music. Our MA programmes allow students to take advantage of the department’s distinctive interdisciplinary research environment and to be part of a strong postgraduate community by taking modules from other specialist areas. Our three research centres, Music, Mind, Machine; Sheffield Performer and Audience Research Centre, and Music and Wellbeing provide a hub for research collaborations in music psychology and audience research.

Performance is an important part of our work. You will have the chance to participate in orchestras, music theatre, contemporary music, folk and world traditions. We have strong links with the community, giving you the chance to volunteer with local arts organisations.

Your career

Our graduates are employed by universities, colleges, concert agencies and music promoters. Many work in education; others are performers in various genres, in the UK and abroad. Some work in recording studios.

Studios and equipment

We have a postgraduate research suite and several studios for advanced compositional work, software development, sound recording, laboratory and field experimentation, transcription, music notation and other research applications. You will have access to scores, books, periodicals, recordings and online resources.

Through a series of graduate study days you will be able to use the tools for digital recording, video and film. We also have excellent practice facilities and collections of historical and world music instruments.

Our team of professional musicians bring performance expertise to the department – including clarinettist Sarah Watts, pianist Inja Davidovic, jazz guitarist Ronan McCullagh and North Indian tabla and santoor performer John Ball.


University and faculty funding is available each year. The closing date for applications is mid-January. The department has a number of studentships available for our strongest candidates. The closing date for these is the end of April. You can also apply for a small grant to support your postgraduate research project.

Course tutors

Dorothy Ker, Adrian Moore, George Nicholson and Adam Stansbie are all highly experienced and internationally recognised composers.

Course content

See http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/music/prospective-pg/taught

Teaching and assessment

Seminars, individual tutorials, workshops and graduate study days. Assessment takes a variety of forms such as compositions and essays.

Visit the MA Composition page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A 2:1 in music or a combined degree with a substantial music component. Other qualifications may be acceptable depending on your background, for instance a degree in drama, psychology or another subject, equivalent life experience or a performance diploma from a conservatoire or academy. English language requirements: overall IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.

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