Music BA

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Special Features
  • Teaching & Assessment
  • Employability
  • Fees
  • Entry Criteria


About the Course

NSSNSS results show Music at Brunel as the 2nd best university in the country for overall satisfaction in Music.

This programme is designed for students who wish to focus on the academic study of music, while retaining the freedom to pursue composition, performance, and music technology.

You will gain knowledge of the development of Western music by studying song, contrapuntal forms, sonata form, the symphony, opera, music-theatre, and film music.

This leads to a focussed and in-depth study of the music of the 20th and 21st centuries at Level 3. It introduces important methods of analysis, as well as ideas in aesthetics and the sociology of music.

Students will gain skills in writing about music and are free to take a wide range of practical modules in addition to the compulsory musicology strand.

Practical Music-making

Brunel’s College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences and Brunel Arts have a strong tradition of practical music-making and there are a number of ensembles that you can participate in, including Jazzbridge, Brunel Vox, New Noise and Chamber Orchestra. The Brunel Arts holds regular lunchtime and evening concerts featuring visiting performers, music students and staff.

Music at Brunel also has a number of artists and ensembles in association: currently these are Apartment House, Piano Circus, and Distractfold Ensemble.

About the College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences at Brunel

The College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences at Brunel includes degree courses in English, Journalism, Music and Sonic Arts, Film and Television Studies and Theatre. This is a vibrant, friendly and creative place to study. Research conducted by staff provides the basis for much of our teaching, ensuring that modules are connected to debates and issues that are current within these areas. Each programme develops basic skills within its discipline but allows you to explore your own particular interests through a range of optional modules.

We also benefit from the activities of the Brunel Arts, which organises tuition, performances and exhibitions across a range of arts.

View student profiles


The course requires students to explore fundamental questions about the nature, structure and meaning of music by analysing and critiquing musical texts, and by considering their social, cultural and political contexts. Developing skills of writing about music is a central aim of the course.


Colin Riley
Department of Arts and Humanities
College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences
Brunel University London
Middlesex UB8 3PH

Tel +44 (0)1895 266582

Related Courses

Course Content

The degree course is modular. Modules are worth 20 or 40 credits and you must complete 120 credits for each year of your degree programme. All music students take the same modules in Year 1 (Performance I can be taken in a variety of ways and does not necessarily require a solo performance).

In Years 2 and 3 you will have a wide range of optional modules to choose from - some of these topics can be taken at either Level 2 or Level 3. The final year project requires you to carry out in-depth research on any related topic of particular interest to you.

The BA consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Year 1



Materials of Music 

Musicology I: Histories, Forms and Structures 

Sound Recording and Sonic Arts 

Composition I 

Performance I 


Level 2


Musicology II: Genres 


Composition II 

Performance II (Classical or Experimental) 

Performance II (Popular Music or Jazz) 

Sonic Arts II 

Conducting and Realisation 

Instrumentation and Orchestration 

Music and Perception 

Popular Music Studies 

Stylistic Improvisation 

Free Improvisation 

Jazz and Pop Arranging 

Professional Development 


Level 3 


Musicology III: Towards the New Music 

Special Project 


Level 3


Composition III 

Performance III (Classical or Experimental) 

Performance III (Popular Music or Jazz) 

Sonic Arts III 

Conducting and Realisation 

Instrumentation and Orchestration 

Music and Perception 

Popular Music Studies 

Stylistic Improvisation 

Free Improvisation 

Jazz and Pop Arranging 

Professional Development 


Read more about the structure of undergraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.

Special Features

  • Facilities include a computer suite fully equipped for sound design and notation, studios for individual work, individual practice rooms and larger spaces for group rehearsals.

  • There is a vibrant student performance culture on campus comprising several ensembles performing contemporary and classical music, improvisation, jazz, and live electronics.

  • You will be part of a highly dynamic music department with a strong profile in the Greater London area. The University hosts weekly recitals and concerts, and our new Arts@Artaud series showcases new performance work by students, staff and visiting artists in the newly refurbished surroundings of the Antonin Artaud building.

Facts and Figures

Brunel has an unequalled concentration of contemporary music practitioners of national and international reputation, including the composers John Croft, Carl Faia, Christopher Fox, Harald Muenz, Colin Riley, Jennifer Walshe and Peter Wiegold, the pianist Sarah Nicolls and the jazz musician Frank Griffith.

The presence of associate artists and ensembles including Piano Circus provides an invaluable resource of inspiration that few institutions can match.

Teaching and Learning

The music staff includes some of the country’s leading composers and performers who have teaching and research strengths in composition, performance, musicology and socio-critical musicology. Modules on the course focus on techniques and interpretation in contemporary music performance, as well as relevant cultural and historical issues.


Assessment methods include coursework, projects, oral presentations, practical work and some written examinations. The proportion of exam to coursework is approximately 30:70.


Brunel’s music courses help develop a wide range of vocational, collaborative and transferable skills that are highly attractive to employers in the industry.

Students have the opportunity, for example, to develop IT ability and highly sought-after presentation and communications skills.


Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey

The number of students participating in the DLHE survey from Music was small. The statistics below include graduates from Music, Creative Music and Technology, Contemporary Music and Performance, Music Composition and Sonic Arts. With findings based on small numbers of graduates they should be treated with some caution as one or two graduates in any one category may disproportionately affect the total numbers.

In 2013/14, six months after graduating:

Read more about graduate destinations for this subject area

A high proportion of our Music graduates have either progressed to postgraduate study at a university or conservatoire or have entered the music profession as performers, composers, teachers and technicians. Others have entered arts administration, publishing, the media and management.

Graduates have gone on to work for prestigious companies such as Universal (Decca) and the English National Opera.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2016/7 entry

UK/EU students: £9,000 full-time; £6,750 part-time

International students: £14,100 full-time

See our fees and funding page for full details of scholarships available to Brunel applicants

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Requirements 2016/7

  • GCE A-level BBB, including Grade B in Music.
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma DDD in Music.
  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma DD in a related subject with an A-level Music at grade B.
  • BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma D in a related subject with A-levels grade BB including Music.
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma 30 points in Higher Level 5 in Music.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma Complete and pass a related subject Access course with 45 credits at Level 3 with Merits in all units. Applicants who are not taking A-level music or grade 7/8 music but are musically inclined may be asked to take a short test.

All candidates without A-level Music at grade B or equivalent, or Grade 8 ABRSM, LCMM or Trinity College, will be required to pass a brief entrance test, details of which will be provided upon application.

GCSE Mathematics grade C and GCSE English grade C are also required.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants within our grade range as well as our full GCSE requirements and accepted equivalencies in place of GCSEs.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

For non-EU qualification equivalencies, please check the relevant country entry criteria.

International and EU Entry Requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 5.5 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 55% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.

Page last updated: Wednesday 25 May 2016