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BA (Hons) Music

At York, your degree in Music will be as unique as you.

Year of entry: 2024/25

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2024 (semester dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£23,700 per year

Undergraduate Open Days

Book your place for our Open Days on 22 and 23 June and 6 and 7 September.

Book your place

Music is everywhere, and we come into contact with it every day: it enriches our lives and creates meaning and community.

Studying music at York will deepen your understanding of that experience and how it has shaped and responded to the world.

Our course integrates practical music-making, musicology, analysis and music technology, and offers options in composition, music psychology, music education and many other areas. Our modular approach lets you shape your learning to your passions and career aspirations. We'll give you a generous allowance of one-to-one tuition to develop your playing to the highest level - our staff have performed with internationally-recognised ensembles, from BBC Philharmonic to Opera North. Our professional partners and artists-in-association regularly give talks, masterclasses and concerts.

We are home to a huge range of ensembles of all styles and traditions. From orchestral and choral classics to contemporary improvisation, from modular synths to Indonesian gamelan, you can explore and expand your musical horizons. We have a thriving University music culture: you can find like-minded musicians through Band Soc; learn to play drums Brazilian-style in Samba York; or throw yourself into our lively musical theatre community. There are also weekly jazz, folk and open mic events across campus, and a vibrant music scene in the city centre.

Our graduates have gone on to further study, and to work in musical performance, production, arts administration, music education, broadcast journalism, composition and more.

Musical ensembles

From choral to orchestral, jazz and folk to improvised electronic, gospel to gamelan, almost every kind of music is performed by the School's many ensembles, and all Music students are required to join at least one of these.

Seamless collective learning

We are part of the School of Arts and Creative Technologies. The School continues our commitment to the integration of music scholarship and creative practice.

1st for 'Academic support'

'Learning opportunities, 'Teaching on my course' and 'Assessment and feedback' for Music in the Russell Group, National Student Survey, 2023.

Course content

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, and ensemble and solo performance. 

Throughout your three years at York, your studies will include:

  • core skills modules
  • option modules
  • an extended independent project supervised one-to-one by a specialist
  • ensemble participation and performance tuition

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.

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:


There are opportunities to spend time in industry as part of this course.

Year 1

Core modules

Option modules

You will also study two option modules. We update these modules every year. Recent examples include:

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

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. 

Core modules

Option modules

You will also study four option modules. Recent examples include:

Elective modules

You may be able to replace one option module with an elective module, studying a complementary subject, a language or an interdisciplinary topic.

Year 3

During your final year, you'll specialise further with Recital and Composition Folio options alongside your choice of 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.

Core modules

Option modules

You will also study up to 3 option modules. You will choose from similar options to those available to you in your second year. If you wish, you can substitute one of your option module choices for a second block of specialised individual study, through the Recital, Composition Folio, and Solo Project options.

In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

Elective modules

You may be able to replace one option module with an elective module, studying a complementary subject, a language or an interdisciplinary topic.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff, and in line with Department/School academic planning.

Learning by design

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.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Understand and engage meaningfully, creatively and critically with a range of music from different traditions and parts of the world, by drawing upon knowledge and experience of music’s histories, its structures and its varied uses. 
  • Lead, or constructively contribute to, high-level musical activity, for example by performing, composing, listening, thinking critically, analysing, editing, improvising, notating or employing studio techniques and digital literacy at an advanced level. 
  • Research independently and collaboratively, whether as preparation for postgraduate study or for the workplace environment, with analytical sophistication, close attention to detail and creative flair. 
  • Apply the musical and transferable skills gained throughout the programme with confidence and aptitude in a range of national and international professional contexts, for example performance, composition, teaching, management, academic work, studio work and community music projects. 
  • Communicate with clarity and critical insight on a range of issues relating to music, the arts, society and culture, using appropriate written and oral media and music-making activities. 
  • Approach familiar tasks as well as new and challenging situations with creativity, imagination and initiative, and identify resourceful and entrepreneurial actions that have real benefit for themselves and others. 
  • Work independently and self-reliantly, and also contribute with purpose and responsibility to different communities through team-working skills that are founded on a commitment to inclusivity and are informed by a deep understanding of the role of music as an expression of culture.
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

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £23,700

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.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home) fees may increase within the government fee cap in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International fees are subject to increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

More information

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.

Additional costs

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, the cost of which will vary depending on what you choose.

If you don't already have them, you will need a laptop capable of running notation and recording software, as well as a set of good quality headphones. The School has a network license for Sibelius which students can use at no extra cost. The School will also provide hearing protection for musicians playing in high-volume settings, but you may choose to purchase your own.

You may also wish to take out specialist insurance if undertaking professional work or travelling with instruments.

If you choose to take a module involving a placement, you will be responsible for the cost of travel, which will vary depending on placement location. If the placement requires a DBS check, this cost will be covered by the School.


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.

Our Future Voices Scholarship programme provides a package of financial and industry support to welcome talented UK undergraduates from Black, Asian, Gypsy, Traveller and ethnically diverse backgrounds to our creative community.

Subject-specific funding

We offer some scholarships for undergraduate students. See our bursaries for instrumental and vocal studies

Living costs

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.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

Gold-standard education

Our teaching, learning and student experience is outstanding, recognised by a Gold rating from the Office for Students in the 2023 national assessment (Teaching Excellence Framework).

Why we’re gold-rated

Teaching and assessment

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.

Teaching format

Expect engaging expert-led sessions, interactive small-group teaching, performance workshops and practical activities integrated into the curriculum. Course content is developed alongside staff research so what you learn keeps pace with the changes in music culture and technology. Our teaching staff have experience as far and wide as IRCAM (Paris), Abbey Road Studios, Royal Opera House, BBC Philharmonic and many other world-class institutions.

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 musical 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.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures1-2 hours per week
Seminars8 hours per week
Ensembles2–3 hours per week minimum, often more if you join additional ensembles (many do)
Concerts2 hours per week (expected to attend at least 5 concerts per term, but many choose to attend more)
Instrumental/Vocal tuition1 hour every two weeks, with additional weekly performance classes available

These figures are representative of a typical 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, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during semesters. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.


Our facilities are exceptional. Perform in our 350-seat concert hall and Rymer auditorium, one of the finest listening spaces in the UK. Delve into music history with our extensive library collections and archives. If your passion lies behind the mixing desk, our five recording studios give you access to 60 years of audio recording - from vintage analogue to contemporary digital software integrations. These facilities, and over 35 practice rooms and larger rehearsal spaces, are all bookable for student use.

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.

Sound Resources
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.

Explore our facilities

Teaching location

You will be based in the School of Arts & Creative Technologies, with facilities on Campus West and Campus East. Nearly all of your teaching will take place within the School. 

About our campus

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 - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can use the fast and frequent bus service. Take a campus tour.

Assessment and feedback

We don't assess through written exams or set essay titles: instead, you work with your tutors to craft research projects that fit your interests, with opportunities to be assessed through performance, composition or other practical work alongside written submissions. We provide you with the creative flexibility you need to flourish as a musician.

Lecturer and student
assessed performance
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

Careers and skills

Our graduates have gone on to roles in major orchestras; arts administration; music education; broadcast journalism and radio production; a range of publishing houses; film, concert and multimedia composition; and a range of fields beyond music. Others undertake further study for an MA, PhD, conservatoire programme or a PGCE.

Career opportunities

York's alumni include:

  • Sam Jackson, Controller of BBC Radio 3
  • Gillian Moore CBE, Artistic Associate, Southbank Centre
  • Anna Meredith MBE, Mercury Prize-nominated composer
  • Samantha Ege, internationally-recognised concert pianist and award-winning researcher into the music of Florence Price and the Chicago Black Renaissance
  • Joe Walker, Oscar-winning film editor (Dune, Arrival)
  • Tom Service, journalist and music critic

Others have gone on to work in:

  • Broadcast and media
  • Professional performance
  • Arts management
  • Teaching and community education
  • University lecturing
  • Music outreach
  • Music publishing (most major houses)
  • Major music agencies
  • Orchestral management

Transferable skills

  • Independent thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Presentation
  • Writing
  • Critical analysis
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Communication

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

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 6 in Music at Higher Level
T levels We are currently not accepting T Levels for this course unless an additional A Level (or equivalent qualification) in Music has been taken.
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers Advanced Highers - B in Music plus Scottish Highers - BBBB

We may also be able to consider three Advanced Highers or a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers, where an applicant does not meet the grade requirement through Highers alone. Please contact us to discuss your qualifications.
International foundation programme Foundation Certificate from our International Pathway College or an appropriate alternative.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Black Access Programme, Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS, YorWay to York. 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.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
Cambridge CEFR 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Oxford ELLT 7, with a minimum of 6 in each component
Duolingo 120, minimum 105 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C / Grade 4
LanguageCert SELT B2 with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
LanguageCert Academic B2 Communicator with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
KITE 459 Main Flight score with 426 in each component
Skills for English B2: Merit overall, with Pass with Merit in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 55 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.

If you haven't met our 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 English language test 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.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

All applications must be made through UCAS. Following your application you may be called to an interview and audition. On the day you visit York, there will be a chance to talk to current students and see the School in action. For general information about the application process, visit the UCAS site.

Next steps

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Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Matthew Williams

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School of Arts and Creative Technologies

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