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BMus Music

Start date
3 years
UCAS code
Course Type
Undergraduate, Single Honours

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25:
£9,250 (UK)
£23,640 (International)
More detail.

An undergraduate Music degree at the University of Birmingham gives you access to unparalleled facilities, opportunities and student experiences, inviting you to study a course that blends tradition with fearless exploration of contemporary developments.

Your Music degree will encompass musicology, performance and composition, with opportunities to specialise in one of these disciplines. 

In addition, you will choose from a variety of optional modules in second and third year, which may include:

  • Music and Gender 
  • Film Music Techniques and History 
  • Arts Management  
  • Music Education
  • Music, Protest and Social Activism  

All undergraduate students receive a scholarship for lessons for up to two instruments (including voice) working with tutors at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire or tutors employed directly by the Department of Music, some through the Centre for Early Music Performance and Research.  

I’m loving my time on the Music programme at Birmingham, mainly due to the diverse range of module options. In particular, I have found the performance aspect of the course incredibly rewarding and it pairs so well with the many high-level ensembles, which you can also manage or conduct. This also makes it a really sociable course with a tight-knit cohort!


Why study this course?

BMus Music is right for you if... 

  • You’re seeking a variety of performance opportunities – 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. 
  • You want world-class teaching facilities – Our newly built, £16 million, Bramall Concert Hall hosts audiences of up to 450 people. Enjoy access to practice rooms and electro-acoustic music studios, as well as a library full of resources from listening booths to manuscript scores and early editions. 
  • You’d like to explore your niche – The Department of Music houses a Balinese Gamelan and a large collection of Early Instruments, upon which it is possible to receive tuition. 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)
  • You want a degree with real world relevance – Participate in our vocational modules such as Arts Management in Practice, enhancing your professional experience and joining our 100% of undergraduate Music graduates who enter work or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2022). 
  • You’d like to live and study in a city full of music – At the University of Birmingham you’ll work exciting performances and festivals - both on the stage and behind the scenes. Get involved with a diverse and eclectic array of music venues in the city of Birmingham, from  Symphony Hall to The Sunflower Lounge and everything in between. 


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 2025. 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.

First year

Compulsory modules

  • Music and its Cultures I and II
  • Music and Ideas I and II
  • Tonal Harmony and Counterpoint I and II
  • Solo Performance 
  • Paper Composition 
  • Studio Composition 

Detailed description of Year 1 modules

Second year 

Compulsory modules

  • Critical Musicology (20 credits)
  • Analysis of Music (20 credits)

Detailed description of Year 2 compulsory modules

Optional modules (you will choose 80 credits)

 List of Year 2 optional 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, you will be eligible 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.

More about a Year Abroad

Final year

Compulsory module

Students may take two Independent Study modules OR one Special Subject module.

Students may also take 60 credits of independent study if they wish (one Special Subject and one Independent Study module). NB You may not take the same Special Subject and Independent Study other than Musicology If Special Subject and Independent Study are taken in Musicology, topics must be well contrasted.

  • Independent Study in Musicology, Studio Composition, Solo Performance or Paper Composition (20 credits)

Detailed descriptions of final year independent study modules

You may also put a particular emphasis on one of these subjects by choosing it as a Special Subject module (40 credits)

Detailed descriptions of final year special subject modules

Optional modules (you will choose 60-100 credits)

List of final year optional modules


For UK students beginning their studies in September 2024, 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 2024/25 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,250
  • International: £23,640

Eligibility for 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.

Tuition fees when studying abroad

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

  • Students who are classed as UK for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as International 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.

Additional Course Costs

Students who choose to study Music will be expected to purchase a pad of music manuscript paper. For the compulsory Studio Composition module headphones are required for work in the cluster both during class and independently.

How To Apply

Standard offer

International Requirements

Number of A levels required:
Typical offer:
General Studies:
Not Accepted.

Required subjects and grades

2024 Entry:
AAB with 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. Applicants with equivalent Trinity or LCM music theory qualifications will also be considered. 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).

 2025 Entry:
ABB with A level Music grade A. Where applicants are not taking Music at A level then ABRSM Grade 6 Theory or Grade 8 Performance is acceptable, in addition to the three A levels at ABB. Applicants with equivalent Trinity or LCM music theory qualifications are still considered. 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).

We will also consider applications from candidates who do not meet the standard requirements for A Level Music, graded Theory or Performance exams on a case-by-case basis. Following your application you may be invited to an interview/audition.

IB Diploma

2024 Entry:
6,6,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall including HL 6 in Music.

2025 Entry:
6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall including HL 6 in Music.

BTEC qualifications:

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

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

Alternative offers through our Pathways to Birmingham programmes and our Contextual Offer scheme

Students who are eligible and successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme will receive special consideration from admissions tutors and an alternative offer (typically two grades below the standard offer). In addition, our Contextual Offer Scheme recognises the potential of students whose personal circumstances may have restricted achievement in school or college. If you are eligible to benefit from the contextual offer scheme, you will receive an offer which is one grade lower than the standard offer.

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.


You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to higher education when you start at Birmingham. 

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 –You will also have access to 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 to talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond if you need it.

Our Academic Skills Centre helps you to 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.

The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) provides guidance on writing essays and dissertations if you need it. You can receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects too.

Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They offer research opportunities, study skills support, and help you prepare for your post-university career. They also organise social events, including trips.

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

All Birmingham degrees are set within a credit framework designed to measure your academic achievements. We expect all students to accumulate 120 credits in each full year of study which is equivalent to 40 hours of learning a week. Learning is considered to include contact learning (lectures and seminars), private study, revision and assessment.

For this programme, those 40 hours are estimated to be broken down and split into lectures, seminars and other guided teaching opportunities and independent study. This is a general rule across the entire academic year and may change week by week. 

Year 1: 20% Lectures, Seminars or similar, 80% Independent study
Year 2: 15% Lectures, Seminars or similar, 85% Independent study
Year 3: 10% Lectures, Seminars or similar, 90% Independent study

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 exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within three 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

100% of Music students enter work or further study within 15 months of graduation (Graduate Outcomes Survey 2022). 

Our Music graduates have a wide range of skills that are highly valued by employers in many sectors, such as:

  • Communication
  • Lateral thinking
  • Creativity
  • Personal organisation
  • Event management
  • Teamwork
  • Entrepreneurship to succeed in a competitive field
  • Analytical skills
  • Researching, analysing and interpreting information
  • Handling complex information
  • Forming concise and articulate arguments
  • Time management and workload prioritisation

Our graduates become professional musicians, pursue postgraduate study, or progress to highly successful careers. Employers include:

  • City of London Sinfonia
  • Faber & Faber
  • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO)
  • The BBC
  • Purcell School
  • KPMG
  • Island Records UK
  • Cartwright Communications
  • Royal Opera House
  • Royal Academy of Music
  • Government
  • Education institutions

Many take management jobs in orchestras, music venues and other arts and performance organisations. Job titles include:

  • Accompanist Composer
  • International Events Manager
  • Lecturer Music Teacher
  • Orchestra Administrator
  • Trainee Orchestra Manager
  • Performance Music Assistant
  • Piano Teacher
  • Film Composer
  • Marketing Assistant

Famous alumni include:

  • Natasha Marsh, BA Music and Drama, 1996 - operatic soprano
  • Gabriel Prokofiev, BMus Music, 1997 - 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

Graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the wide variety of roles available in the industry. Recent speakers hold positions such as Teacher; Jazz Festival Manager at Cheltenham Festivals; Music Therapist at Music Therapy Works; Customer Service and Admin Assistant at DanceXChange; and Assistant Registrar at the University of Birmingham.

Developing your career

The University of Birmingham is the top choice for the UK's major employers searching for graduate recruits, according to The Graduate Market 2024 report. Our Careers Network are here to offer you tailored, expert advice on your career plans and support you with finding and applying for jobs, internships and further study. There are hundreds of events to help you meet potential employers and learn more about the breadth of opportunities and career sectors available to you.

Support will be offered to you covering the whole job application process, including CVs, LinkedIn, application forms, interviews and assessment centres.  You can also email our experienced Careers Advisors and College Teams to review your applications or answer any careers related question, alongside our on campus and online 1:1 appointments.

We have a number of exclusive Internship Programmes such as our Cultural Internship, which will give you paid, professional experience to set you apart in the graduate market. We also offer work experience bursaries, which allow you to apply for funding to support you during any unpaid internships. 

First years can take part in The Birmingham Project, with themes including celebrating arts and culture and shaping a global society. There’s also a successful Mentoring Programme, where you can gain access to experienced Mentors who can empower, inspire and inform you about their experiences.  As a University of Birmingham student you will also be given access to LinkedIn Learning giving free access to real world training courses to kick-start your careers.

If you want to earn money WorkLink advertises convenient part-time job opportunities on campus to fit round your studies.  

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you may want to engage in extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and your network of contacts. Our employer-endorsed, award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme.

There are more than 500 student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students (our Students’ Union) so you’re bound to find activities that you want to be involved in whilst meeting friends who share your interests.