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Music BA

Placement Offered This course has a Placement Year option


Music at Brunel is ranked 9th in UK and 4th in London (The Guardian 2018).

We regularly host Facebook LIVE sessions to give you the chance to find out more about our courses and what studying at Brunel is like.  For a playback of our recent Music Facebook LIVE, click here

Brunel University London’s impact on the future wages of its graduates is among the best in the country compared to other universities, according to a new analysis of government data by The Economist (2017).

About the course

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. 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.

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.


Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)

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


  • Musicianship
  • 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
  • Psychogeography

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


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.

Many of our students go on to perform at prestigious festivals and venues in the UK and abroad as well as well received albums spanning many genres. You'll find Brunel graduates at the Arts Council, Universal (Decca) and the English National Opera to name just a few.



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

Entry Criteria 2017/18

  • GCE A-level BBB-BCC, 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 Access to Music course with 45 credits at Level 3 with Merits in all units.

All applicants are required to attend an audition as part of the selection process before a formal offer is made.

5 GCSEs to include Maths at Grade C and English Language at Grade C are also required.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants 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.

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. Find out more information about English course and test options.

Teaching and Assessment


Brunel's music staff 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.

Special Features

    • Music at Brunel is ranked 9th in UK and 4th in London (The Guardian 2018).
    • With so many world-class musicians amongst our array of teaching talent we give students real insight into how to develop their relationship with music from a first love into a career.
    • 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.
    • 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.

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 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.

Fees for 2018/19 entry

UK/EU students: £9,250 full-time; £6,935 part-time; £1,000 placement year

International students: £14,800 full-time

Additional course related costs

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