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Postgraduate course

Music Composition MA

Investigate the interrelationships between your own practice and art, composition and dissemination in performance.

student playing piano

This Masters course is aimed at both graduates of and practitioners in music production. The programme will allow you to build a strong and increasingly confident practice through awareness and interaction with current contexts of professional practice and research.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 years full-time | 2 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2022
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum Entry Requirements

    2:1 in Music or another related subject

    Interview and a portfolio of work

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021-22 £6,500 full time

    International 2021-22 £12,750 full time

Course overview

You will be given the opportunity to develop your compositional practice, as well as thinking and provide you with a platform from which to disseminate your work. Whilst your focus will be on Music Composition, there will also 

be opportunities for cross-disciplinary study and collaborative practice. This course shares delivery of core curriculum, practice-led research methodologies with parallel Masers Degrees across the University.

Course structure

Level 1


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Explore and test the connections between theory and practice. You will examine the possibilities for generating and communicating knowledge through practice. Become a practitioner who can communicate research through their practice.

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

This module will reinforce your knowledge of compositional techniques and methods of analysis. You will develop advanced compositional strategies which will support your creativity throughout the course. Explore dissemination and audience in the context of your composition. We will provide an environment where you'll progress as a confident, reflective practitioner.

Credits: 120

Compulsory module

Compose a body of work that represents your skills, knowledge and creativity. This project will consist of practical and written elements. The written part will be reflective and critical. It aims to communicate your understanding of the practical element. An academic supervisor will support you throughout this module.

Teaching and assessment

Applicants are considered on the combination of all elements of their application, including existing compositions, awareness of musical compositional techniques of the last 50 years, evidence of critical and reflective engagement and academic qualifications.

For all candidates, there will be an interview and consideration of a portfolio of work; this is a central element of our consideration of applications and also an opportunity for you to find out more about the programme. In interviews, all candidates will be asked to give a presentation. The criteria for this are:

  • Demonstration of readiness to undertake graduate-level practice
  • Evidence of engagement with critical thinking

We are happy to arrange interviews by Skype for overseas students. Applications from candidates with disabilities are always considered and assessment of their abilities and needs are undertaken sensitively. The safety of the potential student and our ability to fulfill their learning needs and experiences are important in the decision to offer a place on the programme.

Entry requirements


Minimum Entry Requirements

    2:1 in Music or another related subject

    Interview and a portfolio of work


Entry onto this postgraduate course requires a minimum of a 2:2 undergraduate degree in a related subject.

If your undergraduate degree is not in a related field but you have extensive experience of arts practice, your application will be considered.

International Students

If you're an international student, you'll need to demonstrate experience, or qualifications equivalent to those above.

If your first language is not English you must show evidence of English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

Interview and portfolio

Entry onto this postgraduate course is subject to attending an interview.

At interview you will be asked to give a presentation which should:

  • Demonstrate your readiness for graduate level practice
  • Show evidence of your engagement with critical thinking.

You will also be asked to complete a portfolio. This portfolio should show examples of previous and current practice.

We are happy to arrange interviews via Skype for overseas students.

APEL policy

If you can't meet these minimum requirements it may be possible to take into account evidence of Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) as an alternative method of meeting the programme’s entry requirements. In such a case, appropriate references and records of employment might be presented to support the applicant’s case for admission.

Fees and Funding

UK and EU 2022 - 2023

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this postgraduate course is £6,500 for full-time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

For UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students studying part time, the tuition fee for 2021 entry to this postgraduate course is £3,250 per year.

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master’s course. Find out more about postgraduate funding opportunities.

International (non-EU) 2022 - 2023

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this postgraduate course is £12,750 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, international students on a Student Visa must be studying full-time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

More information about funding your studies is available on our International Fees and Funding page.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021-22 £6,500 full time

    International 2021-22 £12,750 full time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are an alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for Alumni

Additional costs and financial support


Whilst studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.


View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Apply for this course

You can apply directly to the course via our Apply Now links. Please select the variant of the course that you intend to undertake (e.g. full-time or part-time) as the link will take you to a customised form for the specific course. You will need to create a login and password and complete the online form. Please contact two referees in advance of submitting your application as an automated request will go out as soon as you submit, and your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

Apply Now: Full-time

Apply Now: Part-time

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