BA Mathematics and Music

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As a Birmingham Music student, you will benefit from a rich tradition of music making and have access to outstanding facilities, including the Bramall Music Building, practice rooms, electro-acoustic music studios, early instruments, computer workstations, and the Barber Institute Concert Hall and Library. Birmingham itself is world renowned for its music, and our links with the city and its rich musical culture include instrumental lessons for all our students at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

Your Mathematics studies are designed to help you develop many of the skills you would get studying Single Honours Mathematics. This includes the ability to formulate and tackle problems, to think logically, to use technical language and to express complex ideas clearly and accurately.

Mathematics and Music is a complementary combination of studies that makes you very attractive to employers. Maths and Music graduates from Birmingham benefit from a higher than average rate of employability for the subject, with 95% of Music students and 85% of Maths students going into work or study within six months of graduation.

Student satisfaction amongst our Music and Maths students is very high. In the most recent National Student Survey, 89% of Music students and 93% of Maths students reported that they were satisfied with the quality of their degree programme.

Course fact file

UCAS code: GW13

Duration: 3 Years

Typical Offer: AAB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September

Details

In this programme, you study half of your modules (60 credits) in Mathematics and half in Music (60 credits)

First year

Music: Your foundation courses will include History and Analysis, Tonal Harmony and Counterpoint, and optional unassessed Instrumental or Vocal Performance (10 hours). If you are interested in composition, you may be able to sit-in the Paper and/or Studio Composition modules, depending on place availability. You will also have an opportunity to participate in ensemble performances.

Mathematics: The first two years are carefully designed to allow you as much choice as possible in your final year. In the first year, you take core calculus and algebra together with either applied mathematics or discrete mathematics and statistics.

Second year

Music: In this year, you will choose one of the core modules (either Critical Musicology or Analysis). In addition, you have a wide choice of optional modules, ranging from aspects of western art music, through to modules such as Sound Recording, Baroque Performance Practice, Art Music in the Movies, and Conducting. You may also continue to study Individual Performance (including fully funded instrumental lessons), and/or Composition, if prerequisites are fulfilled.

Mathematics: You take modules in advanced calculus, pure mathematics, and management mathematics. Your computer skills are developed with an introduction to programming.

Final year

Music: While taking more of the optional modules, you can specialise in solo performance by giving a recital, in composition by preparing a portfolio, or in musicology by writing a dissertation, or in any two of these.

As a final-year student you are required to take an independent study module, unless you take one in Mathematics. You can choose one of the three main disciplines: musicology, composition, or performance. You can also put a particular stress on one of these three subjects, choosing it as a Special Subject module.

Mathematics: The final year offers you a choice of modules with the opportunity to study subjects such as number theory, numerical methods or the history of mathematics.

Why study this course

If you come to Birmingham to study music you will be taught musicology (music as an academic discipline), performance and composition. You will have access to outstanding facilities and benefit from a rich tradition of music-making.

Our facilities include practice rooms, electro-acoustic music studios, early instruments, computer workstations and the Barber Institute Concert Hall and Library. Our musical traditions include the University Music Society's choirs, orchestras (including two symphony orchestras) and jazz, wind and brass bands; the Barber operas and international concert series; the students' own summer festival; our New Music Ensemble; and the annual Birmingham Early Music Festival.

Our links with the city and its rich musical culture include instrumental lessons for all our students at the Birmingham Conservatoire; the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group as ensemble in association; University concerts held in the internationally acclaimed Symphony Hall; and access to open rehearsals from the likes of Thomas Ad?s, Sakari Oramo and Sir Simon Rattle. Instrumental and vocal lessons may also be taken through the Centre for Early Music Performance and Research.

  • The appointment of Sir Edward Elgar as the University of Birmingham's first Professor of Music led to the creation of one of the country's leading music departments.
  • The University has invested £16 million in an impressive new Bramall Music Building which is located in the centre of the University campus. You will benefit from some of the most versatile and technologically advanced facilities in the UK. The building is centred around the state-of-the-art Elgar Concert Hall which can seat 450 people. The building also contains purpose built facilities including a large rehearsal room, a suite dedicated to study a performance of early modern music and five electroacoustic studios.
  • Music is joint second out of all the UK's music departments in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise.
  • We currently rank 6th overall in the Guardian University League Table for Music.
  • The Barber Music Library is one of the best in the country, with Special Collections centred on 20th-century English music (including Elgar - diaries, manuscript scores and early editions) and Baroque music.
  • All undergraduates receive a scholarship for lessons on two instruments. We enjoy close relations with the Birmingham Conservatoire, where many University students receive their practical tuition.
  • The University has two symphony orchestras, a jazz orchestra, new music ensemble, choirs and many other ensembles, run by the Department and the University Music Society.

Music open day talk

The Mathematics half of the programme is carefully designed to give you access to as many topics in later years of the programme as possible. It will help you to develop many of the skills you would get studying just Mathematics, such as the ability to formulate and tackle problems, to think logically, to use technical language and to express complex ideas clearly and accurately. Combined with the complementary skills offered by your Arts studies, a Joint Honours degree makes you very attractive to employers.

Joint honours open day talk

[Video above - Dr Craig Blunt delivers an undergraduate open day talk about studying Joint Honours at the University]

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 
Learn more about fees and funding
 
Scholarships
Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: AAB

Required subjects and grades: A level Music grade A. A level Maths grade A

Additional information: Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements

International students:

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com

Learn more about applying

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

Learning and teaching

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and welfare advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Transition review - you will undergo a formal transition review during your first year with an academic member of staff. They will see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support.
  • Academic Skills Centre - the centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

Seminars, workshops and studio work are interactive sessions that develop subject-specific skills such as harmony, counterpoint, composition, analysis and historical understanding, as well as generic skills such as communication and essay writing.

Instrumental and vocal lessons are one-to-one and usually take place at the Birmingham Conservatoire. All our students receive a scholarship for lessons on two instruments.

Assessment methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

To test your knowledge and develop your core skills we use a range of different assessment methods, including essays, compositions (on paper and in electronic files), teacher reports, instrumental/vocal recitals, end-of-year examinations, listening tests, critical reports on concerts and programme notes

Employability

Mathematics

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers and Employability Service can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV's and job applications will help give you the edge.

If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Music

Our Music graduates have a range of general skills that are highly prized by graduate employers. The study of musical performance and musicology develops analytical skills, lateral thinking and your creative imagination. The process of performing itself helps to develop skills in personal organisation, event management, teamwork and entrepreneurship to succeed in a competitive field. You will have the opportunity to take a practical module in Arts Management which has a strong focus on employability. Subjects covered include marketing, project management, fundraising and finance, programming and contracts. Guest lecturers are invited including previous music graduates and professionals from the University Cultural Partnerships.

Music graduates often go on to pursue highly successful careers with employers including: City of London Sinfonia, CBSO, Purcell School, the Royal Academy of Music, local government, schools, colleges and universities. Many have taken management jobs in orchestras, music venues and other arts and performance organisations, with specific job titles including Accompanist Composer, International Events Manager, Lecturer Music Teacher, Orchestra Administrator, Trainee Orchestra Manager, Performance Music Assistant, Piano Teacher and Professional Musician. Some also decide to pursue graduate study in music and other fields.

The University of Birmingham's music graduates are very successful after graduation. 95% of our Music graduates go into work or study within six months of graduation. This is well above the national average.

Famous former Music students of University of Birmingham include:

  • Natasha Marsh, BA Music and Drama, 1996 - highly regarded and well-known operatic soprano
  • Gabriel Prokofiev, BMus Music, 1997 - well-known composer and DJ with works performed at the Proms (Sergei was his grandfather)
  • David Murray, BMus Music, 1975 and 2012 Honorary Graduate - Director of the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales

Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal. This is a unique careers guidance service tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team who can give you expert advice. This includes individual careers advice and events to give you insight into the professions and employers of interest to arts graduates, and access to internships (including some at summer music festivals) and job vacancies.

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include:
    • Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
    • Birmingham REP
    • Birmingham Royal Ballet
    • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
    • Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust
    • Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law undergraduate research scholarship scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.