Why choose this course
We’re one of the UK’s leading universities for music, with our degrees ranked in the top ten by the Guardian University Guide 2021.
Our music course offers training in a huge range of styles from classical and popular, to musical theatre, jazz and contemporary music. You’ll be able to make music on your own and with others, perform in orchestras, choirs and bands, and work with improvisation.
As a performer, you’ll receive free instrumental/vocal lessons, enjoy 24/7 practice room access and the opportunity to take part in regular concerts. As a composer you’ll have access to excellent recording facilities, state of the art Mac labs and many opportunities to showcase your work. All music students benefit from visits by industry professionals, including: performers, composers, promoters, publishers and educators.
Whether you’re interested in performance, composition, music history, analysis or the music industry itself, our experienced staff and vibrant musical community can help unlock your musical potential.
What you will study
On our course you’ll take performance and/or composition in each year. Alongside these, you’ll study music across history and within culture. You’ll develop advanced knowledge of music theory and analysis.
You will graduate from our course with a BMus (Hons) qualification, which denotes a practical emphasis - we use performing and/or composing as the key ways to increase your knowledge of music and develop your musicianship. You’ll learn about music of the past and the present, in both classical and popular styles.
In your final year, you will develop a large-scale individual project; this is a good example of the flexible approach you can take to your learning - it can be a substantial written investigation, or a performance or composition project, with complementary writing.
On our four-year degree, you’ll also be able to take a year-long Professional Training placement and gain experience in the music and wider arts industries.
Our music facilities include:
- Large recital venue equipped with recording facilities
- Practice rooms with 24/7 access
- Three Steinway grand pianos
- Rooms for ensemble rehearsal
- Bookable PA, guitar amps, stage pianos and drum kits
- Five editing suites
- Dedicated computer (Mac) lab
- Instrument storage facilities.
At the core of this degree are modules you’ll take in each year that we call the ‘Music Project’ and the ‘Topic Study’. To maximise your choice and experience, these change from year to year. Below you can find an indicative list of subjects recently explored in these modules.
Please note that while these musical areas indicate the scope and variety you can expect from our curriculum, staff availability means we may have to make adjustments to the topics we can offer in any one year.
Music Project (first, second and third-year students):
- Re-working the Classics
- Experimental Music
- The Music of Data
- Film Music
- Terry Riley’s ‘In C’
- Musical Theatre
- John Zorn’s ‘Cobra’
- Medieval Music
- Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas’.
Topic Study (second and third year students):
- Jazz Studies
- Musical Theatre
- Opera Studies
- Historical Performance Practice
- English Music from Elgar to Britten
- Studying Music as Performance
- Popular Music and Culture
- Popular Music and New Media.
Careers and graduate prospects
We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.
Our graduates over the last few years have entered employment in roles such as:
- Assistant Producer, Perfect Pitch
- Activities and Development Officer, Haringey Music Service
- Marketing Officer, English Folk Dance and Song Society
- Studio Manager, Spitfire Audio
- Concerts and Projects Manager, London Sinfonietta
- Commercial Rights Administrator, Faber Music
- Assistant Studio Runner, The Crypt Studio
- Music Supervisor, PH Media
- Digital Marketing Manager, Philharmonia Orchestra
- Freelance Composer for TV and Film
- Creative Sync and Licensing Manager, Warner Music UK.
Academic year structure
The academic year is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each. Each semester consists of a period of teaching, revision/directed learning and assessment.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.
Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the 2020/21 academic year. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach. View detailed information on the changes.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.
Please note: If there is an optional Professional Training placement as part of your course you can view the full module listing for this on the relevant programme specification.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:
Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
On this degree you’ll be taught through a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. You will regularly work in groups with other students on practical assignments and presentations.
We’ll provide you with access to a range of specialised online music archives and materials.
You’ll be encouraged to participate in the many performance opportunities on offer. These include choirs, orchestras, student-run ensembles, weekly lunchtime recitals, concerts of student compositions, masterclasses and recording sessions. Many of our students start their own chamber ensembles and rock/pop groups.
You will have the opportunity to work with leading performers and composers visiting as part of our artists in residence scheme. Previous visitors to the Department include: Harry Gregson Williams, Mark Anthony Turnage, Asaf Sirkis, Primrose Piano Quartet, Trifarious and Plus-Minus.
There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by postgraduate research students. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.
There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by graduate teaching assistants. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.
We assess modules individually and award credits for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of coursework and/or examinations, performance examinations, composition portfolios and reports.
Check individual module information to see full details at a module level.
Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.
As a student at Surrey, you can also sign up to our free courses in the following areas:
Find out more
Living in student accommodation is a great way to meet new people and spark friendships.
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, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in each other element.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
We normally make offers in terms of required grades. If applicants do not have ABRSM Grade 5 theory or equivalent at the point of application, this may be included as a condition of the offer.
If you are a suitable candidate you will be invited to an Applicant Day after you receive your offer. During your visit to the University you can find out more about the course and meet staff and students.
Recognition of prior learning
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please contact Admissions on +44 (0)1483 682222 with any queries.
The annual tuition fees for courses starting in October 2022
UK To be confirmed
Overseas To be confirmed
BMus (Hons) (with professional training year)
UK To be confirmed
Overseas To be confirmed
Professional training To be confirmed
- Fees for UK students: The University will apply annual regulated increases in the fee rates as set by Government each year, in order to maintain the same value in real terms.
- Fees for EU students: The UK is now no longer part of the EU, we are awaiting further instruction from the UK government and we will publish this as soon as it is provided. Find out more information about Studying in the UK and the Scholarships for EU students.
- Fees for international students: Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.
- Fees for international students with an integrated foundation year: The programme fee for Year 0 will match the lowest Year 1 overseas fee rate from across the substantive programmes for that year of entry. Students subsequently progressing into Year 1 will be liable for the same fee as overseas students joining at Year 1 for the same programme in that year. Annual fees after Year 1 will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.
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.
- Students in receipt of a Tuition Fee Loan: will have their fees paid by the Student Loans Company in line with their schedule.
- International students, or UK/EU students who have not taken out a Tuition Fee Loan: are required to pay their fees either in full at the beginning of the programme or in two instalments as follows:
- 50% payable 10 days after the invoice date (expected to be early October of each academic year)
- 50% in January of the same academic year.
The exact date(s) will be detailed on invoices. Students on certain part-time programmes, where fees are paid on a modular or stage basis, are not eligible to pay their fees by instalment.
If you are sponsored: you will provide us with valid sponsorship information that covers the period of your study.
Professional Training placement fees
If you are studying on a programme which contains a Professional Training placement year there will be a reduced fee for the academic year in which you undertake your placement. This is normally confirmed 12 to 18 months in advance, or once Government policy is determined.
See the information about 2020/21 academic year Professional Training placement fee.
You have the option to complete a Professional Training placement as part of this course. This will give you the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, helping to prepare you for your future career.
A significant proportion of placement students at Surrey are offered graduate-level jobs or go onto postgraduate study.
Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices.
The third year of our four-year music degree is spent away from the University, working in a professional role for major arts and music organisations. Your designated senior Professional Training placement tutor will prepare you for the placement period and help you 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 such as:
- Music management and administration
- Concert management
- Music education
- Social media and communications
- Music publishing
- Venue management
- Online and offline record labels
- Music retail.
Organisations and companies that have participated in the scheme include:
- English National Opera
- London Sinfonietta
- London Symphony Orchestra
- The Control Room Ltd
- Faber Music Publishers
- Signum Records
- Eagle Radio
- Manners McDade
- Music Nation, Hong Kong.
Applying for placements
You can apply for numerous opportunities via an open and free-to-all process. Placement providers use their own recruitment and selection procedures and the majority of students will secure their placement in this way.
Students are generally not placed by the University, however we offer support and guidance throughout the process alongside access to a vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. We also provide support if you wish to source your own placement.
Find out about more about the application process.
Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.
Study and work abroad
We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their studies by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad.
Want to study at an overseas institution as part of your degree or work abroad during your Professional Training year? Perhaps you would like to volunteer in India or learn about Brazilian business and culture in São Paulo during your summer holidays? With more than 200 partnerships, from 50 different countries worldwide, there is something for everyone.
Not only is the opportunity to go abroad a hugely enjoyable experience, you will develop key skills and knowledge that will strengthen your CV and increase your employability.
View our study and work abroad exchange information to find out more and see where you can go.
If you choose to study our three-year BMus Music course, you could spend one or two semesters abroad on study placements at institutions such as:
- Monash University, Australia
- Universidade da Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
- North Carolina State University, US
- University of Central Florida, US
- University of Cincinnati, US
- University of Maryland, US
- University of North Texas, US.
Through your experience overseas, you’ll gain a new cultural appreciation which will contribute to your success in your studies and your professional career.
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and procedures, the student regulations , and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View an example of our offer terms and conditions and our registration terms and conditions (PDF) from the 2020/2021 academic year as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us and before you accept an offer. Read more.
In particular we wish to draw your intention to the following matters affecting the academic year 2021/2022:
- Covid-19 - In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the 2020/2021 academic year. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach, details of which can be found here [link]. It is anticipated that these programme changes and the hybrid learning approach will be adopted throughout the academic year 2021/2022, however, given the changing nature of the pandemic, this is being kept under continuous review. Detailed information on all changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the coronavirus course changes page. The linked pages set out information relating to general University changes and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.
- Brexit - The UK is now no longer part of the EU. We are awaiting further information and instruction from the UK government and we will publish this as soon as it is provided. EU students applying for programmes in the academic year 2021/2022 and students applying for courses with placements abroad should visit our dedicated webpages for the latest information on how the UK’s departure from the EU will affect their courses.
Campus locationStag Hill
Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught.
As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement which would require attendance off campus, depending on where you secure your placement.