Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Music (BA)

  • W300

3 years (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

Choosing Music at Cardiff means you will become engaged in a vibrant musical community. You will be taught in a research environment and benefit from interaction with staff who are working at the frontiers of knowledge in their areas of expertise. Our undergraduate programmes are flexible and challenging, allowing you to specialise and develop your own musical interests whilst acquiring a solid, broad-based education in aesthetics, analysis, composition, ethnomusicology, music history and performance. The BA in Music is the ideal choice if you would like to combine your Music studies with another Humanities subject (including Maths). This option will allow you to combine modules from the School of Music with a selection of modules offered by 10 other programmes of study across the University.


Key Facts

UCAS Code W300
Duration 3 years
How to apply
Typical places available The School admits 70 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Typical applications received 450
Scholarships & Bursaries
Typical A-level offer AAB-BBB
Admissions Tutors Dr Keith Chapin
Tel Number 029 2087 0925
Email address
School website

Cardiff has one of the largest and most diverse music programmes in the UK, offering a high degree of flexibility and student choice. Through its undergraduate programmes, the School offers a highly stimulating environment for students interested in a practical, scholarly and creative engagement with music. Our undergraduate curriculum is strong in traditional musicological and musical skills, but is also wide-ranging and imaginative, reflecting contemporary developments in music and musicology. During your three years at Cardiff, you will explore aspects of music that you might not have had the chance to study before, including ethnomusicology, music aesthetics and the history of popular music. Cardiff has intentionally designed a flexible modular scheme of study to ensure that our students have maximum opportunity both to develop new skills and to engage with new musical interests.

The first year in Music is essentially a foundation year preparing students to take advantage of the creative and intellectual benefits of higher education. The second and final year courses are more advanced and focus on more specialist topics, encouraging a greater level of concentration on areas of particular interest to you. To complement your academic study, you are actively encouraged to join either the University Choir or Orchestra and other ensembles.
Each year is divided into an autumn and a spring semester, and has a modular structure. Modules may be single (10 credit modules taught and examined in one semester), double (20 credit modules taught and examined over one or two semesters) or triple (in the case of some final-year projects). At the start of each year you will be given a more comprehensive guide containing further details on module aims, learning outcomes, methods of assessment, module syllabuses, and reading and listening lists. Students are invited to seek guidance and advice over module choices with their personal tutors.

As a BA student you are able to take a minimum of 280 credits in music modules.
In the first year the School of Music offers core instruction in analysis, harmony and counterpoint, history of music, composition and practical musicianship. As a BA student you will take a free choice from these subjects.

In the second and third years you will select from groups of analytical, stylistic and historical modules together with practical musicianship. Available modules also include third-year projects.

Degree Programme - BA Single Hons (Music)
Year 1 - No. of Music Credits - 80 credits
Year 2 - No. of Music Credits - Minimum 100 credits
Year 3 - No. of Music Credits - Minimum 100 credits

If you opt to study music with another subject you will be required to complete a minimum number of credits per academic year in the School of Music.

The module selection for 2013/14 is as below:

Year One

  • The Full Works (t)
  • Composition 1a
  • Ethnomusicology I: Music in Human Life
  • Practical Musicianship I
  • Repertoire Studies*(t)
  • A History of Popular Music
  • Elements of Tonal Music I (t)
  • The History of Musical Instruments
  • Elements of Tonal Music II (t)
  • Composition 1b
  • Fundamental Acoustics
  • *=Compulsory for BMus
  • (t) = taught in small groups
  • Year Two

    • Composition II
    • Harmonic Practice 1750-1900
    • Orchestration I
    • Russian Music up to 1914
    • Analysing 20th Century Music
    • Music and Idea: from Enlightenment to Romanticism
    • Performance Practice
    • Formal Functions in the Classical Tradition
    • Studio Techniques I: MIDI and Synthesisers
    • French Music and National Identity 1848-1902
    • Orchestration II
    • British Music in the 20th Century
    • Opera from Handel to Weber
    • Introduction to Schenkerian Analysis
    • Jazz in the Modern World
    • Ethnomusicology II: Music in Cross-Culture Perspective
    • Issues in Popular Music
    • Practical Musicianship II
    • Contrapuntal Practice 1750-1900)
  • *=Compulsory for BMus
  • Year Three (Final Year)

    • Dissertation (1-1)
    • Project in Music Analysis (1-1)
    • Project in Ethnomusicology (1-1)
    • Practical Musicianship III (Ensemble)
    • Practical Musicianship IV (Performance)
    • Composition IV
    • The Birth of Modernism
    • Nineteenth Century Italian Opera
    • The Romantic Opera and the New German School
    • Studio Techniques II: Audio and Hard Disk Recording
    • 20th Century Contrapuntal Practice
    • The Birth of Modernism
    • Innovation and Tradition in French Music
    • Idea of Absolute Music
    • Wagner and Romantic Opera
    • Notation and Editing of Early Music
  • 1-1 = one-to-one teaching
  • Home to the arts, Cardiff is the ideal location for the study of Music in the UK. The city has a professional opera company, Welsh National Opera, and a professional symphony orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The School of Music enjoys a fruitful relationship with both organisations that allows, for instance, students to attend dress rehearsals and buy cut-price tickets for concerts. The city also has two world-class venues, Wales Millennium Centre and St David’s Hall, and the School’s Concert Hall is a significant venue for recitals, broadcasts and recordings.

    Click here for more information on any modules.

    Cardiff School of Music is a dynamic and ambitious centre for the study of music at all levels. It is dedicated to first-class research across the discipline and to research-led teaching of the highest quality. The wide range of experience and expertise amongst the staff ensures that the School offers students an encouraging and supportive environment in which to pursue core elements of music study and to foster their own developing ideas and musical specialisations. Through its undergraduate programmes, the School offers a highly stimulating environment for students interested in a practical, scholarly and creative engagement with music.

    The School ensures that no student remains anonymous. From arrival its students are fully immersed into its active musical and academic community. Each student is allocated a personal tutor to ensure they have support and guidance throughout their time at Cardiff.

    The BA involves a range of learning and teaching styles, including (but not limited to) lectures, small-group seminars and workshops, individual tutorials or solo instrumental tuition, ensemble instrumental tuition and practical rehearsals, and independent study. Supplementary resources are available through various channels, including Learning Central (the university’s Virtual Learning Environment) and from commercially available software for which the School holds licences.

    Requests for reasonable adjustment in the provision of teaching and/or learning materials can be made to the School Disability contact, who will liaise with the Disability and Dyslexia Centre as required. Autumn Semester - Daniel Bickerton:, Spring Semester - Amanda Villepastour:

    Applicants are expected to have gained or shown evidence of working towards Grade 8 in one instrument, or voice, at the time of application. All applicants are required to sit a written paper and have a short audition/interview.

    Typical A-level Offer  AAB-BBB, with an A or a B in Music.
    Typical WBQ Offer Grade A in the Core and grades AA or AB at A-level.
    Typical Int Bacc Offer  32 points, including 6 at Higher Level Music

    Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here

    Please find here further information about admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme.

    In 2010, 55% of the School’s graduates were in employment within six months of graduation while a further 35% were engaged in further study. Many of our students enter the music profession as administrators, composers, conductors, librarians, performers and teachers. The transferable skills nurtured within a music degree make our alumni among the most employable of arts graduates. The analytical, creative, social, technical, verbal and myriad other skills developed during their time at Cardiff School of Music ensure that many of our graduates have significant careers in fields besides music, such as banking, the civil service, IT, law, management and retail.

    Each year the School’s own series of Careers in Music talks brings to Cardiff professionals active in such fields as performance, music education (including special needs), arts and artist management, production and licensing, and composing for media. In collaboration with the Careers Service and GoWales the School promotes work experience and internship opportunities, and is able to connect students with professional mentors in their area of interest for specialist guidance and advice.

    This only applies for those students wishing to study BA Single Honours in Music.

    The information provided by interviews and auditions is a crucial addition to that provided on UCAS forms, and they are an important means of identifying potential in individual candidates.

    Candidates will be invited to attend one of five interview days that are held from October through to February. For each of these days, around 50 candidates attend. Applicants who do not attend will have their application rejected, unless they have contacted the School to make alternative arrangements, or to say that they are unable to attend for other reasons (e.g. distance to travel, exam commitments). In the case of exceptional mitigating circumstances, an offer can be made without interview.

    The day will comprise an introductory talk from the Admissions tutor, a tour of the School of Music, workshops with staff, and a 15-minute interview/auditon with a member of staff.

    Interviews are conducted by individual members of staff. Applicants will initially be asked to perform or sing for around 5 minutes. The choice of repertoire is left to individual candidates. Assessment of performance is based on overall expressive and technical standards.

    The interviewer will then ask questions of a specific nature, possibly relating to the music performed, and more general questions about musical interests and experience. The candidate will be assessed in terms of their enthusiasm and commitment to the subject, their wider knowledge, and their ability to respond to issues which they may not have considered before.

    The aim of the interviews is not to test factual knowledge, or to judge candidates in terms of their likes and dislikes, but to encourage them in as relaxed a way as possible to talk about what they know and what interests them. The interviews are not designed to catch people out or expose their weaknesses, but it is expected that applicants will engage readily with the interviewer. Candidates may also ask the interviewer questions regarding the undergraduate programmes.

    Members of staff involved in the interview process prepare written reports on each candidate. The final decision of the admissions tutor is based on both the interview report and the information contained in the UCAS application.

    Next intake: September each year

    School Contact

    Name: Dr Keith Chapin  

    Telephone: 029 208 70925 

    Fax: Fax: +44(0)29 2087 4379 


    School Website:

    School Contact

    Name: Daniel Bickerton (Disability and Specific Needs Tutor, Autumn Semester) 




    School Contact

    Name: Dr Amanda Villepastour (Disability and Specific Needs Tutor, Spring Semester) 

    Telephone: +44(0)29 2087 6226 

    Fax: +44(0)29 2087 4379 


    More information