Music MA

Singer and studio microphone

If you have practical experience in music and a keen interest in the technical, cultural, historical, and philosophical questions it opens up, then this programme is for you. In each year you are given a range of options both in Music and other subjects, allowing you to design a degree pathway that caters to your own particular interests and strengths.

In each year you are given a range of options from which to choose, allowing you to design your degree to cater to your own particular interests and strengths.

Music at Glasgow

Musician in studio with guitar

What our students say

Name: Cemre Nationality: Cypriot

What year are you in? 4th.

What degree are you currently studying? Bachelor of Music with Honours.

Why did you choose this degree? I grew up in a musical family and I knew that I wanted to study music at university from a very young age.

What subjects did you study in first year? Music: BMus is a single study course.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Glasgow? Both the course content and the city were very appealing to me. I wanted a flexible course that allowed me to study different areas of music. I visited Glasgow a couple of times before I came to study here and I fell in love with its rich music scene and of course its sense of community.

What is your favourite module and why? That is a difficult question! Musical Culture through the Long 18th Century was one of the most interesting modules I took. Having the chance to interact with some of the most influential researchers and performers in this area, not only by attending their classes, but also dancing (or attempting to dance!), singing and chatting with them at the workshops and observing the original historical sources at the library made my learning experience very engaging.

What is the best thing about studying at the University of Glasgow? The approach of our lecturers. Rather than being expected to memorise some books, to compose in a certain way or to perfect a specific repertoire, I was always encouraged to think critically, creatively, and to explore the best of myself, through the pathway of modules I chose.

What do you want to do when you graduate? I want to work and travel for a while and then to start a postgraduate course in contemporary music practice.

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming students? If you want to get the most out of your time at the university, always look for what is happening around you. Check the concert timetables, find performance opportunities, join a student club and try something completely new, volunteer, look for study abroad opportunities! There is something for everyone in Glasgow, enjoy it!

Name: Adam Nationality: British

What year are you in? 4th.

What degree are you currently studying? Music (MA) Single honours.

Why did you choose this degree? I chose the Music (MA) path to help me work out what I actually wanted from my degree and from life. The flexibility the degree path offers really gave me the freedom to study anything and everything that interested me.

What subjects did you study in first year? Music, Philosophy and English.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Glasgow? To be somewhere new but not too far from my family in Aberdeen. Being in a city so known for its music scene was exciting and the University is so gorgeous, with a great reputation.

What is your favourite module and why? The composition course as its tutors are so passionate and diverse that every day is just as exciting (and often crazy) as every other. Being in an environment where you’re encouraged to just be yourself and do what you want to do is so creatively freeing and I’ve grown so much artistically and personally because of it.

What is the best thing about studying at the University of Glasgow? The community feeling of the University, be it a subject area, or a society, there’s a sense of community everywhere. What do you want to do when you graduate? I’d like to compose and work in the field of music, and hopefully some research or lecturing along the way!

What is one piece of advice you would give to incoming students? Be yourself. In both your life in and out of the classroom. Take creative chances, do things that interest you. You came to study for yourself, try new things, and take classes you’re excited by. Grow. The worst that can happen is you learn!

Music facilities

Music facilities within the School of Culture and Creative Arts include three studios, the Audio Lab, a small library and a number of seminar and practice rooms. The School also has preferential access to the University Concert Hall.

Student work experience opportunities

Each year there are opportunities for students to gain work experience working either as the librarian in the School library or as an intern in the suite of studios, assisting with production work and carrying our admin and maintenance tasks.

Music club Glasgow University

Music Club is a student-run umbrella organisation comprising of a number of student-run music groups. All the groups are open to any ability and no auditions are necessary. The club is friendly and social, with most groups going for post-rehearsal drinks, and regular social events spanning the whole club. With five different ensembles and five concerts, as well as an end of year ball and a residential trip, music club is a relaxed and friendly way
of playing music while meeting some great people! For more information visit: gumusicclub.com

Programme structure

Year 1

You will take two courses: Listening in culture and Listening through analysis. The first encourages an open-minded, multi-disciplinary approach to listening and writing about music of all genres and styles, while the second explores more technical approaches to the understanding and analysis of musical works and events, as transmitted through notation, live performance, recording or audiovisual media.

Year 2

The compulsory course in Musical techniques will develop your grounding in the core Western musical disciplines of harmony and counterpoint, leading to stylistic composition. In addition, you will choose one other Music course (or two if continuing to Honours) to suit your own main interests in the field. 

You will also study other subjects in years 1 and 2: see Flexible degrees.

Years 3 and 4

If you progress to Honours (years 3 and 4) you can choose from a range of subjects including:

  • Historiography of music
  • Music criticism
  • Sonic arts
  • Composition
  • Jazz and blues
  • Aesthetics and philosophy of music
  • Bach
  • Debussy
  • Modernist musical aesthetics
  • Opera
  • Film music
  • Contemporary music ensemble
  • Multimedia
  • Notation
  • Aspects of modernity
  • Music of Scotland
  • Popular music politics
  • Performance (subject to a successful audition).

You can also choose one of the team taught courses (Gender or Interwar cultures) offered by the School of Culture & Creative Arts. You will write a dissertation on a topic of your choice under one-to-one supervision.

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Our international links

You can spend up to a year of your degree studying abroad, normally in the third year. Previous students have chosen to study at the University of Miami, University of British Columbia, University of Illinois, Radford University, University of Melbourne and University of California LA. See Study abroad.

Entry requirements

Academic entry requirements
for entry in 2019

About entry requirements

SQA Highers

The S5 Standard Academic Entry Requirements represent the grades which, if attained in addition to successfully meeting mandatory subject requirements and any non-academic entry requirements (interviews, auditions, aptitude tests), will normally result in an offer being made. Students must achieve the standard entry requirements by the end of S5 (cumulative S4 and S5).

The S5 Minimum Academic Entry Requirements represent the minimum grades which an applicant must have obtained by the end of S5 (cumulative S4 and S5) in order for them to be considered for a conditional offer based on S6 results. Not all applicants who achieve the Minimum Academic Entry Requirements will be made an offer. This will depend on the number of applications we have received for a degree programme and the number of applicants who have met the Standard Academic Entry Requirements.

Where an applicant is made a conditional offer based on S6 results, the S6 Standard Academic Entry Requirements represent the cumulative grades that must be attained by the end of S6, in addition to meeting any mandatory subject and non-academic requirements. All degree programmes allow applicants to “double count” Highers and Advanced Highers in the same subject when calculating cumulative grades. A Grade B in an Advanced Higher will be regarded as another Grade A at Higher Level and a Grade C at Advanced Higher will be regarded as another Grade B at Higher Level. All degree programmes require grades in a minimum of four different subjects.

Advanced Highers

Advanced Highers are a qualification of increased importance to the University, which recognises that applicants with these qualifications find the transition to university easier and perform better in their university exams. Many of our degrees specify Advanced Highers as part of the S6 Entry Requirements.

If a school is unable to offer specific Advanced Higher subjects applicants will be made bespoke offers which will normally require the applicant to attain additional relevant Highers in S6.

Adjusted Entry Requirements

We adjust the Standard Academic Entry Requirements for eligible applicants who complete one of our widening participation pre-entry programmes. Criteria for eligibility include attending a Scottish target secondary school, living in a priority Scottish postcode area, current or previous experience of living in care or estrangement from family support.

For more information about your eligibility and our pre-entry programmes see: Access Glasgow.

Admissions Policy

A-levels and International Baccalaureate

The Standard Academic Entry Requirements represent the grades at which any possible offer would be made. Students must also meet mandatory subject requirements and any non-academic entry requirements (interviews, auditions, aptitude tests).

The Minimum Academic Entry Requirements represent the minimum grades that the University will accept for entry to the degree programme. Students must also meet mandatory subject requirements and any non-academic entry requirements (interviews, auditions, aptitude tests).

Admissions Policies

Applicants to subject-combinations with Psychology must meet the Psychology degree programme entry requirements.

Music theory experience, to a level of Grade 5 ABRSM is required.


  • Standard academic entry requirements: AAB.
  • Minimum academic entry requirements: BBB.
  • Other mandatory requirements: One A-level arts, humanities or language subject.


  • Standard S5 academic entry requirements: AAAA/AAABB.
  • Minimum S5 academic entry requirements: ABBB.
  • Standard S6 academic entry requirements: AAAAAB.
  • Other mandatory requirements: Higher English at Grade A or B AND a Higher Humanities or Language subject at Grade A or B.

We adjust these entry requirements for eligible applicants who complete  one of our widening participation pre-entry programmes: see Access Glasgow.

  • Adjusted S5 academic entry requirements: AABB/ABBBB.
  • Adjusted S6 academic entry requirements: AABB-BBBBB.
  • Adjusted mandatory requirements: Higher English at Grade B AND a Higher Humanities or Language subject at Grade B.

Accepted humanities and languages Highers

Higher applicants to Arts MA degrees must attain, or have attained, grades A/B or B/A at Higher in English Higher and another humanities/language/social science Higher subject at their first sitting to have their application considered. The accepted humanities/languages/social science Higher subjects are listed below:

  • Business Management
  • Cantonese
  • Classical studies
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • English
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages
  • French
  • Gaelic
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Mandarin
  • Media
  • Modern Studies
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Education
  • Religious Moral and Philosophical Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Urdu

International Baccalaureate

  • Standard academic entry requirements: 36 points including three HL subjects at 6,6,5
  • Minimum academic entry requirements: 32 points including three HL subjects at 6,5,5 
  • Other mandatory requirements: HL subjects should include English and a Humanities (or language) subject. SL6 will be accepted for one of English or the Humanities subject. 

European qualifications

Typical entry requirements for European qualifications: European requirements: Arts, Science, Engineering, Accountancy, Social Sciences‌ [pdf]

A-level and IB applicants can expect offers to be between the minimum and standard entry requirements depending on demand for places on the degree.

Please note: all A-Level, International Baccalaureate, and other EU entry requirements must be achieved in first sitting.

Interview and audition

There is no audition for entry to the Music MA programme. However, applicants will be expected to hold requisite music theory experience, to a level of Grade 5 ABRSM, as a minimum preparation for success on the programme.

Students admitted to the MA but without Music at A-level or Higher (or equivalent) may be admitted to Music on an individual basis following an interview with their Adviser of Studies.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications:

  • ibTOEFL*: 90; no sub-test less than: Reading: 20; Listening: 19; Speaking: 19; Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • IGCSE: English as a First Language (0500/0522): C in Reading and Writing, plus 1 in Listening, 2 in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • IGCSE: English as a Second Language (0510/0511): A in Reading and Writing, plus A in Listening, 2/B in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office: Elaine.Shortt@glasgow.ac.uk

If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:

Visa requirements and proof of English language level

It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.

For further information about English language, please see School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study.

Career prospects

Music degrees provide a sound foundation for careers in arts and music administration, journalism, publishing, teaching, librarianship and cultural entrepreneurship, as well as for careers in performance, composition or research. They also provide strong transferable skills applicable to a wide range of careers outside music.

Degrees and UCAS codes

When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:

MA (Hons)

  • KIS
    Music: W300
  • KIS
    Archaeology/Music: V4W3
  • KIS
    Business & Management/Music: NW23
  • KIS
    Celtic Studies/Music: QW53
  • KIS
    Classics/Music: QW83
  • KIS
    Comparative Literature/Music: QWF3
  • KIS
    Computing Science/Music: GW43
  • KIS
    Digital Media & Information Studies/Music: GW5H
  • KIS
    Economic & Social History/Music: VW33
  • KIS
    Economics/Music: LW13
  • KIS
    English Language & Linguistics/Music: QW3J
  • KIS
    English Literature/Music: QW3H
  • KIS
    Film & Television Studies/Music: WW36
  • KIS
    French/Music: RW13
  • KIS
    Geography/Music: LW73
  • KIS
    German/Music: RW23
  • KIS
    History of Art/Music: VWH3
  • KIS
    History/Music: VW13
  • KIS
    Italian/Music: RW33
  • KIS
    Latin/Music: Q6W3
  • KIS
    Mathematics/Music: GW13
  • KIS
    Music/Philosophy: VW53
  • KIS
    Music/Politics: LW23
  • KIS
    Music/Psychology: CW83
    Applicants must meet the Psychology requirements
  • KIS
    Music/Russian: RW73
  • KIS
    Music/Scottish History: VWF3
  • KIS
    Music/Scottish Literature: QW23
  • KIS
    Music/Social & Public Policy: LW43
  • KIS
    Music/Theatre Studies: WW34
  • KIS
    Music/Theology & Religious Studies: WV36
  • KIS
    Spanish/Music: RW4H

Music can also be taken in combination with Law programmes:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see 2019/20 Tuition fees for details. If you are starting in September 2018, please refer to 2018/19 Tuition fees.


We offer a wide range of scholarships to our undergraduates, including both home/EU and international students. The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That's why we've invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding in recent years.

RUK Access Bursary 2018 Entry

The bursary supports talented students who might not be able to take a place at University for reasons of financial hardship and  available to new entrant full-time undergraduate students of the University of Glasgow who are fully registered for Session 2018-19 as being domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and paying annual tuition fees of £9,250 per annum.

More Information

RUK Excellence Scholarship 2018

The RUK Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained AAA or better in one sitting at A Level (or equivalent). 

More Information

African Excellence Scholarship (IE Abroad)

The University of Glasgow is offering 1 exclusive scholarship to students from either South Africa or Zimbabwe who have been supported in their application by our representative in these countries – IE Abroad.  The scholarship is available to students entering any of the University’s Colleges to undertake an undergraduate programme excluding Medicine or Dentistry.

More Information

Undergraduate Excellence Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has a total of 100 Undergraduate Excellence Scholarships available to new international students for 2019 entry. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fee discount of £5,000 per year of study and is subject to satisfactory progress for consecutive years of study.  

More Information

Beaconhouse Schools

The University of Glasgow offer a 15% discount on the first year of tuition fee to students from Beaconhouse Schools and who enrol on an undergraduate programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount does not apply to Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry programmes.

More Information

Thomas and Margaret Roddan Trust

The Thomas and Margaret Roddan Trust offers bursaries of £500-£3000 to students experiencing financial hardship. As a University of Glasgow student, you are eligible to apply if you have your ordinary residence in Scotland or outside the United Kingdom, and are either an undergraduate in your second year or above, or a postgraduate pursuing a taught or a research degree.

More Information

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

How to apply

If you’re seeking full-time study you must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

UCAS deadlines

The deadlines for applications to Medicine, Vet Medicine and Dentistry is 15 October each year. The deadline for applications to all other degree programmes is 15 January each year.

The University of Glasgow does not usually accept any applications after these UCAS deadlines. It is the applicants' responsibility to ensure the accuracy of their application prior to submission, and requests from applicants to correct erroneous application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these UCAS deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.

  • 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or applying to Oxford or Cambridge
  • 15 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
  • 30 June: international (non-EU) students.

Apply at www.ucas.com or through your school or college.
Contact UCAS on 0871 468 0468.

UCAS tariff points

The University does not frame its offers in terms of UCAS tariff points.

How soon will I receive a decision?

We will usually respond before the end of March.

If your qualifications meet our requirements and we believe you could benefit from study at Glasgow, you will receive an unconditional offer.

If you haven’t yet gained the necessary passes for entry to your chosen subject(s), we may look at the qualifications you are taking when you apply and make you a conditional offer.

Will I be interviewed?

An interview will be part of the selection process for: Community Development, Dentistry, History of Art & Art-world Practice, Medicine, Music, Nursing, Teaching, and Veterinary Medicine & Surgery. You may also be interviewed if you’re applying for entry into Year 2 in any subject.

Is deferred entry available?

For Dentistry, Nursing and Veterinary Medicine programmes we are unable to consider applications for deferred entry. In other cases deferring may be possible but it’s not granted automatically.

University Transfers

Transfers from another University to the University of Glasgow will only be considered under the following circumstances:

  1. The applicant has a genuine personal circumstance (illness, bereavement or other family situation) which requires the student to move back to their home town to be closer to family; AND
  2. The applicant would have met the University of Glasgow entrance requirements at the time he/she went to the other institution. In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted if he/she was marginally below the University of Glasgow entrance requirements, and they have performed above average at the other institution.

Widening participation

We want to help talented applicants from all backgrounds to study at Glasgow. See our range of widening access pre-entry programmes at Widening Participation.

Apply at www.ucas.com or through your school or college.
Contact UCAS on 0871 468 0468.


Music students think staff are good at explaining things

Data published by Unistats, March 2018
study abroad plane