We use cookies on our website to provide you with the best possible user experience. Disabling these cookies may prevent our site from working efficiently. To find out more about our cookies read our privacy policy.

Music Composition MA,PgDip,PgCert

MA Music Composition

The Course Programme Structure Staff Profiles Why YSJ ? Student Voices


What will I study?

The curriculum, which also supports awards at Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma levels, is uniquely designed and focused on developing artists' abilities and capacities for professional and academic innovation. We emphasise relationships between composition, reflection, practice and dissemination. Teaching, learning and research on the programme will enable discovery of the variety of ways in which composition, creation and dissemination in music composition has evolved into its present media and forms.

This degree enables students who already have some experience of music composition to expand their artistic horizons, develop their reflective abilities and expand their portfolio as thinking practitioners.

You will follow two strands of modules through the programme:


Practice, Reflection, Dissemination

This strand, consisting of two 40-credit modules, is designed to enhance your abilities as a self-reflective practitioner. It recognises the deep interrelationship between composition, reflection and dissemination, in terms of the development of an artist's work and its function and operation within critical and public domains. You will be introduced to the variety of ways in which composition, creation, dissemination has evolved into its present media and forms. These modules will be primarily focused around your own practice, contextualised by examination of various key practitioners, modes or theories.


Creativity & Knowledge

This strand, consisting of two 20 credit modules, is designed to deepen students’ understanding of key interdisciplinary questions, concepts and methodologies in the arts.

Creativity and Knowledge 1 invites students to interrogate a range of key themes relating to the relationship between art and the wider cultural, social, economic circumstances of its production and reception. Creativity and Knowledge 2 consists of investigation into concepts of practice-based research in the arts and the examination of the epistemological and ideological implications of the widening of traditional concepts of research that such developments entail.

This strand of modules is taught cross-disciplinarily with students on the MA programmes within Creative Practice.


Masters Independent Project

Together these taught elements lead MA candidates into the final Independent Project module, where you will undertake an extended period of supervised practice-based research which is expected to draw together and implement the resources provided earlier in the programme.


Why study MA Music Composition?

  • Your own practice is at the centre of the programme
    The MA programme is built around deepening and extending your own composition practice. You will take practice-based modules throughout the degree, whether you are enrolled full-time or part-time.
  • Fluid interrelationship between theory and practice
    Delivery of the degree programme will make use of workshop, studio, seminar and virtual environments, providing an opportunity to explore the interrelationships between practice, reflection and knowledge.
  • Opportunities for cross-disciplinary work
    The existence of parallel MA Fine Arts and MA Performance programmes will provide you with opportunities to develop cross-disciplinary awareness and practices.
  • Focus on reflection and dissemination
    The programme is designed to enhance the reflective strategies you employ in your creative decision making and your awareness of issues of dissemination within your present and future practice.


How can I study?

You can study the MA programme:

  • Full-time: One year
  • Part-time: Two years

The programme begins in September each year. The taught modules will normally consist of weekly sessions scheduled on one day a week. There may also be the occasional intensive weekend session.


Will I get any practical experience?

The MA programme is built around deepening and extending your own composition practice. You will take practice-based modules throughout the degree, whether you are enrolled full-time or part-time.


What skills will I acquire?

You will acquire advanced skills in compositional practice and develop your understanding of how this relates to questions of knowledge, creativity and dissemination.


How will I be assessed?

Assessment is through a variety of forms, including portfolio of work, public performances, critical essays and annotated reflective document.


Can I get involved with departmental activities?

The MA community at York St John integrates closely with the Faculty of Arts as a whole, most explicitly through a regular series of lunchtime talks.


Degree programme information

Programme specifications »