We come into contact with music every day: on the internet or radio, in the street, in a club, on film, or in a concert hall. This experience can be fleeting or intense, relaxing or frustrating, trivial or life-changing, looked-for or unexpected, solitary or social.
Studying music at university gives you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of that experience and to look at how music has shaped and responded to the world. The story of music is always about people and their creativity – even in a world full of music, what it is and what it does still matters.
You'll learn from musicians who are leaders in their fields and benefit from the working relationships we have built up with our professional partners – an enviable roster of artists-in-association. We teach in small groups and individual tutorials, which means you'll always be actively engaged in discussion with your lecturers.
York Music graduates are creative, critical, independent thinkers. Our degree programme develops these qualities through a modular teaching system covering all forms of musical activity: performance, composing, analysis, musicology and music technology are all valued. Both flexible and challenging, we deliver a balanced musical education and develop key skills, providing you with opportunities to specialise and pursue your own choices of study under expert guidance.
York appealed to me because of the fantastic atmosphere and the excellent course. Our lecturers are down to earth, extremely interesting, and passionate teachers, as well as producing some of the top current research. For students this translates into a stimulating academic environment, offering in-depth insight into a wide variety of topics.Anna, BA Music
From choral to orchestral, jazz and folk to improvised electronica, gospel to gamelan, almost every kind of music is performed by the Department’s many ensembles, and all Music students are required to join at least one of these.
We're in the top 15 in the Complete University Guide 2021 and the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020.
Our BA Music is designed to be flexible, meaning you can tailor your studies to what interests you, while developing your core skills in musicology and analysis, composition and performance.
Throughout your three years at York, your studies will include:
Option modules are key to the way we teach. Rather than being split by year, students from all years of the degree are taught together, giving you invaluable opportunities to meet and learn from other students on the course.
The core skills modules complement and support the specialist topics covered in the option modules. You will develop research techniques, skills in writing about music, aural ability, and analytical, critical and creative thinking.
You will be supported with a bursary for instrumental or vocal lessons; this will be increased if you choose to present a final recital in Year 3. Individual tuition is also supported by a range of performance classes ranging from masterclasses with leading concert artists on various aspects of instrumental and vocal techniques to sessions on the Alexander technique and developing entrepreneurial skills, as well as workshops with non-Western, folk and jazz musicians.
There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:
You'll study four core skills modules.
As part of the Making Music, Studying Music module, you'll take part in the first-year Practical Project. This will take up the majority of your first term and involves the preparation and public performance of a music theatre work or small opera. The project involves around 50 hours of rehearsals, lectures, workshops and tutorials and includes classes on writing and research skills.
In the second half of Autumn Term, you'll choose one first-year option module. These are designed to give you experience of the 'project' format (skill-based exercises, researching materials, delivering seminar presentations, academic writing) before entering the full cross-year modules in the Spring Term.
First year option modules may include:
In your Spring Term, you'll choose two option modules (20 credits each). We update these modules every year.
In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.
This module covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.
This module will:
You'll focus on developing your independence, critical thinking and confidence; improving your core skills; and continuing your instrumental/vocal studies. You'll also begin to prepare for your Solo Project, Composition Folio and/or Recital in your final year. The Critical Thinking and Listening module develops critical reflection on music and its performance, while your specialist option modules allow you to explore the areas you are most interested in.
You will choose four further option modules (two worth 20 credits and two worth 10 credits). You'll be able to choose from a similar range of options as in your first year, although modules do vary year on year.
During your final year, you'll specialise further with Recital and Composition Folio options alongside your choice of two or four option modules.
You will also have the opportunity to devise, research and produce a Solo Project. Building on skills you've acquired across your degree, this is an opportunity for you to develop a piece of large-scale work that will be useful to your future career. Past Solo Projects have included dissertations, editions, albums, innovative performance events, orchestrations, film music, community music projects and many other types of work.
You can choose one or two of the following three options totalling either 40 or 60 credits; one module must be taken at the 40 credit level.
Depending on those choices, you'll study either two or four option modules (20 credits each). You will choose from similar options to those available to you in your second year.
Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.
The fees and funding figures below are for 2021/22 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year
|UK (home)||International and EU|
You will be expected to pay for the maintenance of your instruments, equipment and sheet music. You will also need appropriate concert attire throughout your studies.
UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status
For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2021/22 throughout the year.
We offer some funding for undergraduate students. See our bursaries for instrumental and vocal studies.
You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.
“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”
The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018
Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.
You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.
Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19)
We hope to deliver this course as advertised for 2021/22 entry, but it’s unclear when we’ll be able to return to a normal timetable. For an idea of how this course might be affected, see our changes for 2020/21 entry.
Our modules are taught in small groups (typically 15-25 students). Much of the course content is developed alongside ongoing staff research so what you learn keeps pace with the constant changes in music culture and technology. Most modules are taught across all three years, giving you the chance to learn from your peers as well as your tutors.
Each module is made up of intensive tutor-led sessions which typically include a combination of lecture-style teaching, group discussion, performance workshops and other practical activities. With the support of the module tutor, you will then produce a portfolio of work in response to these taught sessions.
Your contact time with the department can take the form of rehearsals, lectures, seminars, tutorials, supervision meetings, concerts, performance assessments and instrumental lessons. Around your timetabled hours you'll work independently – altogether we recommend that you spend about 40 hours per week on learning.
Beyond your scheduled teaching, you’ll have the chance to attend weekly seminars on research and composition and performance masterclasses (some of these may be compulsory, depending on the modules you choose). These sessions are often delivered by visiting experts in the field, including professional composers, internationally established concert artists and ensembles and specialist researchers. You’ll join at least one departmental ensemble and attend the associated rehearsals and performances, but many students choose to join many more. You’ll also be expected to attend a certain number of events in our professional concert series. Many students also take the opportunity to put on their own performances as part of our biweekly, student-run series of lunchtime concerts.
In your first year, you can expect:
|Module teaching||9 hours per week|
|Ensembles||2 hours per week (per ensemble)|
|Instrumental/Vocal tuition||1 hour every two weeks, with additional weekly performance classes available|
|Concerts||Expected to attend at least 5 per term|
These figures are based on an average student in an average week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.
Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practise completion of assessment tasks, or revision.
We have a range of outstanding facilities, including the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall and Rymer Auditorium; dozens of teaching rooms and practice facilities; four digital recording studios; and a large collection of historical and world instruments. All spaces are designed to be flexible and are used for projects, seminars, ensemble rehearsals and recordings. Discover our facilities.
John Paynter Music Library
The John Paynter Music Library is an elegant facility, located within the University's JB Morrell Library, and houses the main music collections. It is also equipped with digital pianos and media replay equipment. The physical collection as well as an extensive range of electronic resources are searchable through the YorSearch.
The University Library houses and extensive collection of CDs and DVDs, which are available for listening and research. There are also archival recordings available for student use in the University of York Sound Archives.
You will be based in the Department of Music on Campus West. Nearly all of your teaching will take place within the department.
Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.
The York Music degree is unique in its approach to assessment. There are no closed written exams – instead we want to focus on your individual response to our teaching. You are assessed through portfolios, the precise content of which will be tailored to the individual module, but might consist of one or more essays, compositions, performances or other options. This approach challenges you to take what you have been taught and extend it into new, exciting areas.
What York does extremely well is offer the resources, teaching and time for students to experiment, discover their voice, and find a niche: something rather important in a climate where just being an excellent violinist/pianist/soprano won’t cut it.Kerry Andrew, BA Music
York graduate and award-winning composer and performer
The creativity, professionalism, and critical thinking that you develop in our Music degree sets you up for a wide variety of careers, both within the field and beyond. The majority of our students go on to graduate-level jobs in music and related professions. Others undertake further study for an MA, PhD, conservatoire programme or a PGCE.
Our graduates go on to build successful careers in music, as well as in fields such as law, finance and management. Recent graduate careers include:
Others have gone on to work in:
AAB including A in Music
If you are not taking A level Music we will accept AAB in three A Levels plus ABRSM or Trinity Grade 5 Theory and Grade 8 Performance. Other equivalent qualifications and exam boards may be considered on a case by case basis.
|Access to Higher Education Diploma||36 credits from units awarded Distinction and 9 awarded Merit or higher. An additional A Level or equivalent qualification in Music will be required.|
|BTEC National Extended Diploma||DDD in Music. If you are taking a BTEC in a different subject, an additional A Level or equivalent qualification in Music will be required.|
|Cambridge Pre-U||D3, D3, M2 including D3 in Music|
|European Baccalaureate||80% overall, including 85% in Music|
|International Baccalaureate||35 points including Higher Level 6 in Music|
|Other international qualifications||Equivalent qualifications from your country|
Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.
|Widening participation||If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Next Step York, Realising Opportunities. More about widening participation.|
|Contextual offers||If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.|
|EPQ||If you achieve C or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.|
|Core Maths||If you achieve B or higher in Core Maths, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.|
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
|IELTS||6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component|
|PTE Academic||61, with a minimum of 55 in each component|
|GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language)||Grade C|
|C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency||176, with a minimum of 169 in each component|
|TOEFL||87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component|
|Trinity ISE III||Merit in all components|
For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.
You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.
The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.
After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.
Get in touch if you have any questions
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