Music BMus (Hons) – 2016 entry

I think the great thing about my programme is the freedom to specialise in whatever areas of music I like.

What you'll study

Our Music degree reflects the diversity of contemporary musical experience and the rich variety of music as an art form. You will encounter a huge range of music and music-making, thus gaining training into how you might wish to develop as a musician.

Music is a creative art practised by composers and performers, a form of cultural expression experienced by a worldwide audience and a technical practice involving the engineering and design of sound. We recognise this diversity and reflect it in our Music degree programmes, which address issues of creative practice, reflection, analysis and technology in a wide range of musical contexts.

You will explore musical repertoires past and present through integrated studies in classical/popular musicology, composition and performance, with emphasis on cultural issues, theory and analysis, music technology and practice-based learning.

We are distinctive in pursuing all these fields in our teaching and research, resulting in a highly stimulating environment for undergraduate musicians as scholars, performers, composers and future decision makers in the arts.

Programme overview

Performance, composition and the academic study of music have equal status in our degrees, so that our programmes are well suited to those aspiring to a professional career in any area of the music industry.

The range of subjects is especially broad. Western classical music, jazz and popular music form the backbone of historical and analytical studies, but modules in non-Western music, music technology and screen music are also available. In your second and final years, you may specialise in performance, composition, musicology or conducting.

The result is a highly stimulating environment for undergraduate musicians, whether you are interested in performance, composition, musicology, music technology or the music industry.

Our curriculum is structured so that almost any musical activity with which you might want to engage can receive credit, and all disciplines are equally valued.

Read about the experience of Music student, Kirsten Parry.

Programme structure

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

During Year 1, you are given a thorough grounding in the principles of music, plus the opportunity to choose a number of optional subject areas.

Compulsory modules include:

  • Understanding Music
  • Harmony and Analysis
  • Instruments and Orchestration

Optional modules include:

  • Composition
  • Performance
  • The Business of Music*

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

In Years 2 and 3, you study one or two core modules in addition to a wide range of optional modules. You are able to select modules according to your own interests, allowing you the freedom to design your own programme of studies (with staff guidance).

Compulsory modules include:

  • Musicology A

Optional modules include:

  • Composition
  • Performance
  • Conducting
  • Event Planning/Management*
  • Historical Performance Practice
  • Musicology 2B
  • Jazz Studies 1
  • 18th/19th/20th/21st Century Studies
  • Music, Politics and Society
  • Popular Song Analysis
  • World Music
  • Screen Music
  • Arts Policy and Practice*

*compulsory for 4-year programme

Professional Training placement (optional)

Our four-year BMus degree includes core components in arts management issues and cultural policy-making. This programme is unique in offering a Professional Training placement year and is designed for students who wish to gain experience in music management or administration. See below for more details.

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)

Optional modules include:

  • Composition
  • Performance
  • Conducting
  • Opera Studies
  • Jazz Studies 2
  • 18th/19th/20th/21st Century Studies
  • Musicology 3
  • Dissertation
  • Rock Track Poetics
  • African-American Music
  • The Cultural Industries*
  • English Music from Elgar to Britten
  • Historical Performance Practice
  • *compulsory for 4-year programme

Professional Training and placements

The third year of our four-year Music (W301) degree programme is spent away from the University, working in a professional role for major arts and music organisations. The senior Professional Training tutor works with you to prepare you for the placement period and helps you to choose and organise an appropriate placement and host organisation.

Types of placement are varied and can take place anywhere in the country, although many are London-based. Recent students have worked in areas of music management and administration, concert management, music education, marketing, music publishing, venue management, on and off-line record labels and music retail.

Organisations/companies that have participated in the scheme include:

  • The London Symphony Orchestra
  • The Royal Opera House
  • Schott Music Publishing
  • The London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • South Hill Park Arts Centre
  • HMV
  • The Royal School of Church Music
  • The Orchestra of St Johns (OSJ)
  • Faber Music Publishers
  • Sherriff Rosebriars Trust
  • State 51
  • The Point
  • Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  • Signum Records
  • The Drill Hall

The placement experience helps you to get that all-important first job or move on to postgraduate study.


On our degree programmes, you attend a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. All are encouraged to participate in the many practical performance opportunities on offer. These include choirs, orchestras, student-run ensembles, weekly lunchtime recitals, concerts of student compositions, masterclasses and recording sessions.

Many students start up their own chamber ensembles and rock/pop groups. Short modules on computing skills, such as MIDI, Music Notation Software and Music Resources on the World Wide Web, are also available.


Degrees are awarded on the basis of the assessment of coursework, end-of-semester examinations, projects, composition folios and performances. Most modules involve both coursework and examination, though a few are assessed by just coursework or examination.

Year 1 marks do not count towards the final degree classification. However, they do determine whether students are able to proceed to Year 2.

Global opportunities

You have the opportunity to spend one or two semesters abroad on study placements in the University of Cincinnati (USA), at the University of Central Florida (USA), at North Carolina State University (USA) and the University of North Texas (USA), Brock University in Canada. Opportunities also exist at Australian, Brazilian and New Zealand partners.

Thanks to your experience overseas, you will acquire a new cultural background which will contribute to your success whether in your studies or in your professional career.

Career opportunities

Our graduate employment record is excellent. The breadth of experience gained on our programmes equips graduates with numerous transferable skills and an invaluable sense of initiative and adaptability. You will find our graduates in almost every area of work within the cultural and creative industries.

Graduate prospects

Graduates over the last few years entered employment in roles such as:

  • Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music – Theory Assistant
  • Royal Opera House – Musical Play Leader
  • London Symphony Orchestra – Discovery Schools Project Co-ordinator
  • Musical Associates UK – Box Office Manager
  • Warner Music UK – SLC Co-ordinator
  • Christchurch Cathedral – Teacher and Lay Clerk
  • Wigmore Hall, London – Learning Assistant
  • University sector – Arts Co-ordinator
  • Schott/Faber – Music Publisher
  • Music Producer – Kylie Minogue, Ellie Goulding, Lady Gaga, Timbaland, Katy Perry, Cheryl Cole
  • Signum Records – Label Manager

Performance opportunities

Opportunities in the School of Arts include:

  • University Symphony Orchestra
  • University Choir
  • Gospel Choir
  • Chamber Choir
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • University Big Band
  • Numerous chamber ensembles

Artists, composers and ensembles who have recently visited for concerts and masterclasses include:

  • Mark Anthony Turnage
  • Richard Rodney Bennett and Clare Martin
  • Nikolai Demidenko
  • Jacqui Dankworth
  • Nicola Benedetti
  • Notes Inégales
  • John Williams
  • Paco Pena

The School has a weekly lunchtime recital series featuring student performers, holds several larger concerts each semester and hosts regular performances by visiting professional artists. There are numerous opportunities for performing outside official University groups.

2016 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?


Grades required - AAB-ABB

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma

Grades required - DDD

European Baccalaureate

75% mark required

International Baccalaureate

35-34 points required

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year.

Select your country:

Required subjects

A-level Music grade A (or equivalent) required. Normally applicants taking performance will be required to have achieved grade 7 (minimum) or grade 8 ABRSM (or equivalent) in their primary instrument or voice.

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above (or international equivalent).

Selection process

Offers are normally made in terms of grades. Suitable candidates will be invited to an Applicant Day.

English language requirements

6.5 IELTS minimum overall

6.0 IELTS minimum in each sub-skill

If you are an international student and you are concerned that your English is not to the required standard, you may benefit from our International Foundation Year.

Please note that the University of Surrey offers English language programmes and is also an IELTS Test Centre.

See 2015 entry information

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
BMus (Hons) 3 years W300 View KIS data set
BMus (Hons) 4 years W301 View KIS data set

Tuition fees, bursaries & scholarships

Bursaries & Scholarships

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.

Find out more

Fees for UK/EU students

Tuition fees are currently set at £9,000 per year for UK/EU undergraduates starting in 2015. Fees for 2016 entry will be available in the autumn.

Fees for overseas students

Fees for students classed as overseas for fees purposes are as follows: £13,300 for 2015 entry. Fees for 2016 entry will be available in the autumn.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

View a complete list of all fees for our undergraduate programmes.

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

How to apply

Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.

More info

Music BMus (Hons)

Why Surrey?

  • The Guardian University Guide 2016 rank us in 4th place for music and sound recording
  • Music at Surrey ranked in the top 10 for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2013
  • Study and perform a wide spectrum of music: classical, rock, pop, jazz, world music and music for screen
  • Specialise in performance, composition, musicology or conducting
  • One-to-one performance tuition and ensemble coaching with leading instrumentalists and tutors
  • 70 per cent of our research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent by the latest REF research-assessment exercise
  • Benefit from regular guest lectures by distinguished visiting scholars, composers and performers
  • Opportunities to participate in a range of musical events and performances, both on and off campus
  • Masterclasses and workshops in performance and composition
  • Outstanding career prospects

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