BA Mathematics and Music

Start date
September
Duration
3 Years
UCAS code
GW13
Course Type
Undergraduate, Joint Honours combined
Fees

We charge an annual tuition fee.
Fees for 2020/21:
£9,250 (Home/EU)
£19,320 (Overseas)
More detail.

There is a deep historic affinity between the disciplines of Mathematics and Music. Both involve patterns and structures; and notions such as octaves, chords, scales, and keys are all based in mathematics.

Music at Birmingham has evolved throughout the past century to give you unparalleled facilities, opportunities and student experience - blending tradition with fearless exploration of contemporary developments. You will benefit from some of the best facilities for music study and practice in the country, including our state-of-the-art Bramall Music Building and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, with its magnificent Art Deco concert hall.  This student experience is complemented by a diverse and eclectic array of music venues in the city of Birmingham, and music-making opportunities in abundance through our active Music Society, the university's largest and oldest society. 

Meanwhile, your Mathematics studies are carefully designed to give you access to as many topics as possible. You will develop skills such as the ability to formulate and tackle problems, to think logically, to use technical language and to express complex ideas clearly and accurately.

My favourite aspects of music at the University of Birmingham are the course’s variety and the facilities in which we get to learn. The course is accompanied by brilliant extra-curricular opportunities that are available in the University of Birmingham Music Society!

Ed

Why Study this Course?

  • Exceptional facilities - You will benefit from some of the best facilities for music study and practice in the country, including state-of-the-art facilities in our Bramall Music Building and the magnificent Art Deco Concert Hall in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. You will also have access to practice rooms, electro-acoustic music studios, computer workstations and early instruments. Alongside listening booths and extensive audio collections, our library also houses an impressive text collection, including manuscript scores and early editions, Elgar diaries, and Baroque music. 
  • Plentiful performance opportunities - You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to making music. You will have access to a wide variety of choirs, orchestras, ensembles, music groups and musical theatre organised by the Department of Music, University Music Society and the Guild of Students.
  • Excellent employability development - 100% of our Music students enter work or further study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017). Our Music and Mathematics graduates have a range of transferable skills which are highly prized by graduate employers.
  • Opportunity to apply for a year in Computer Science  - You can apply to take an intercalated year in Computer Science in-between your second and final years to gain in-depth knowledge of computing and enhance your work-based skills.
  • Birmingham: the city of music festivals - Alongside the Music Department's student-organised Summer Festival of Music, the University also hosts its annual Valefest - the largest student-run charity Music festival in Europe. The city of Birmingham itself is home to an eclectic offering of annual music festivals and a diverse local music scene.

Open day talks

Two videos on YouTube of recent open day talks relevant to this course:

Modules

Please note: You will take 120 credits of modules in each year of study. The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2020. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Joint Honours flexibility for programmes involving Mathematics

Every degree programme at the University is divided into 120 credits of study for each year of the programme. In the first year and second year of a Joint Honours programme with Mathematics, you will study 60 credits in each subject as you learn the core elements of your disciplines. We recognise that students on Joint Honours programmes might come to favour one subject slightly more than another. To account for this, we have added more flexibility into the final year of our programmes involving Mathematics. In your third year, you can stick with the 60-60 split between the two subjects or shift to a 80-40 credit weighting, effectively a major/minor combination.

Year 1

Compulsory Modules

Music

  • Music History I (20) and II (20)
  • Tonal Harmony and Counterpoint I and II (20)

Detailed descriptions of Year 1 Music compulsory modules

Optional unassessed Instrumental or Vocal Performance (10 hours) is also available. Composition is not possible as part of this programme. 

Mathematics:

  • Real Analysis and the Calculus (30)
  • Vectors, Geometry and Linear Algebra (20)
  • Mechanics (10)

Detailed descriptions of Year 1 Mathematics compulsory modules

Year 2

Compulsory Modules

Music

  • Music Analysis (20) OR Critical Musicology (20)

Detailed descriptions of Year 2 Music compulsory modules

You will also take 40 credits of optional modules

Mathematics:

  • Multivariable and Vector Analysis (20)
  • Linear Algebra (10)
  • Probability and Statistics (10)
  • Algebra and Combinatorics 1 (20)

Detailed descriptions of Year 2 Mathematics compulsory modules

Year abroad

You can apply to study abroad for a year in an approved university around the world. If you achieve a grade of 2.1 or above in your first year then you will be invited to apply for a Year Abroad in your second year. If your application is successful, you will go abroad in your third year and return to us for your final year. Find out more.

Final year

Compulsory Modules

Music

  • 80 credits - Independent Study Module (20-40)
  • 60 credits - Independent Study Module (20-40 - if not taken in Mathematics)
  • 40 credits - No compulsory modules, students will use their Music credits in optional modules

Detailed descriptions of Final Year Music compulsory modules

You will spend your remaining Music credits on optional modules

Mathematics

  • 80 credits - Independent Study in Mathematics (20)
  • 60 credits - Independent Study in Mathematics (20 - if not taken in Music)
  • 40 credits - No compulsory modules, students will use their Mathematics credits in optional modules

You will fill your remaining Mathematics credits with optional modules. As you will have gained a thorough grounding in many aspects of Mathematics during Years 1 and 2, you will be able to choose from an incredibly wide range of final year modules. Modules may include topics such as 'Research Skills in Mathematics', 'Mathematical Finance', 'Differential Equations' and 'Computability and Logic'.

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:

  • Home / EU: £9,250
  • Overseas: £19,320

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.


For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in September 2020, and will continue to have access to financial support available via student loans for the duration of their course. For more information take a look at the gov.uk website.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as home/EU for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as overseas for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

How To Apply

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB
Required subjects and grades:
A level Mathematics grade A. A level Music grade A. Where applicants are not taking Music at A level then ABRSM grade 7-8 theory is acceptable in addition to the three A levels at AAB.
General Studies:
Not accepted.

Please note:

  • Grade 7 or 8 ABRSM Theory qualification will be accepted as a substitute for the Music A level (provided you have attained AAB in 3 other A levels, including an A in Mathematics);
  • Music Technology A Level or any Music BTEC qualifications will not be accepted as a substitute for Music A level (however, they will be accepted as part of your wider offer if you are studying Music A level as well);

IB Diploma:
6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM, plus AA at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Diploma: DD, plus AA at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AA at A-level in the required subject/s mentioned above.

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 one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

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 advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Wellbeing officers - We have dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
  • 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.

During your first year it is important that you have a smooth transition into university. You will be able to talk to your tutors about this and discuss if there are particular areas where you need support.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

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.

Contact hours

Although the contact hours vary by year of study in Music, over the course of your degree you can expect an average of 11 contact hours per week, comprising of a mixture of lectures, seminars and one-to-one tutorials, plus a further average of 6 hours per week spent in ensemble rehearsals.

In Maths, you can expect around 6 hours of lectures, 1 hour of an exercise class / tutorial, 2 hours in computer labs and 1 hour feedback with a personal tutor.

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

Year one

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

Year two

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

Year three

The above data provides an indication of the type of activity a student is likely to undertake during a typical pathway on their chosen programme of study. The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. 

For a detailed breakdown of the contact hours associated with each module available on this programme, please visit:  https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/as/registry/policy/programmemodule/handbook/index.aspx 

 

Our Mathematics and Music graduates have a range of skills that are highly prized by graduate employers. Over 90% of our students entered work or study within six months of graduation (DLHE 2017).

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. Your mathematics studies develop skills in the application of logical thinking, statistical or strategic analysis. You will also acquire skills such as analytical thinking, problem solving, independent research, report writing and the use of technical language.

Employers include:

  • City of London Sinfonia
  • CBSO
  • Pricewaterhouse Coopers
  • Deloitte
  • HSBC
  • Purcell School
  • KPMG
  • Cartwright Communications
  • Royal Opera House
  • Royal Academy of Music
  • local and central government
  • Schools, colleges and universities both in the UK and internationally

Specific job titles include:

  • Accompanist Composer;
  • International Events Manager;
  • Actuary
  • Associate Auditor
  • Financial Analyst
  • Lecturer Music Teacher;
  • Orchestra Administrator;
  • Trainee Orchestra Manager;
  • Performance Music Assistant;
  • Piano Teacher;
  • Film Composer;
  • Marketing Assistant;

Events are organised whereby graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the wide variety of roles available to both Mathematics and Music graduates.  The annual Mathematics Careers Fair involves employers coming to campus who are specifically interested in mathematics graduates. We are also home to the Centre for Early Music Performance and Research (CEMPR); the Centre for Composition and Associated Studies (COMPASS); and Birmingham Electroacoustic Music Studios (BEAST).

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.