Postgraduate study

Composition MMus

Awards: MMus

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Composition

Music at Edinburgh has a long history of excellence in composition. This programme aims to support you in the exploration of your musical horizons, your musical language and your relationship to currents in the wider compositional world. Many contemporary styles are supported through a range of skills-development courses that explore concepts of timbre, structure, digital audio, computer-based composition, instrumental composition, improvisation and studio craft.

This programme is delivered by a team of active composers, whose significant reputations as both artists and teachers in the world of composition will prove inspirational and invaluable. You will also have the chance to work with digital designers, sound designers, other musicians and a host of other disciplines taught at Edinburgh College of Art.

This programme combines courses that will help you to hone your craft, and your thinking about composition in the wider sense. You will develop a range of individual project work and collaborate with other creative disciplines.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MMusComposition1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MMusComposition2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

Students who successfully complete the programme will:

  • develop an understanding of historical and contemporary trends in music
  • develop their own practice and aesthetic
  • gain a secure understanding of the context of their work
  • have a professional approach to the presentation of performing materials and the management of the relationship with performers

This taught programme deliberately aims to expand your potential to work across the field of contemporary music composition. While here, you’ll develop your individual compositional voice, be this as a sonic artist or instrumental composer.

Highly competitive, the world of music composition is also highly rewarding. As well as instilling and developing the skills you need to realise your creative potential, this programme will provide you with a valuable network of like-minded creatives. This will help you to find a place within the musical world – invaluable when looking to gain a foothold in the industry. In addition, you will have gained transferable skills (such as realising and performing pieces, organising events and collaborating with others). Such skills map valuably across the culture sector.

Composers graduating from the University of Edinburgh have gone on to make music for computer games, for major international festivals, completed PhDs in composition, worked in community music, developed software tools and systems and composed music for film.

Normally a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in music.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. Your portfolio should include three samples of your composition work. Instrumental works should be in the form of a written score. For studio-based work (electro-acoustic, sample-based, or synthesised) audio files alone are acceptable.

If you do not meet the academic entry requirements, we may still consider your application on the basis of your portfolio.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MMusComposition1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MMusComposition2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Postgraduate Office, The University of Edinburgh
  • David Hume Tower, George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JX

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit one reference with your application.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. You won't be able to submit your portfolio immediately, but you'll receive an email prompt within a few days of submitting your application that will explain how to upload your portfolio. If you plan to submit audio files, please upload these to an online sharing website and add the link to the portfolio upload section of your online application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Postgraduate Office, The University of Edinburgh
  • David Hume Tower, George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JX