Postgraduate study

Composition for Screen

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Composition for Screen

Please note that programme structure and course availability is subject to change.

This is a one-year, research and compositional performance-based MSc with a focus on practices for composing music and sound for the screen.

The focus of the in-depth compositional investigations will include film/TV music as well as current computer multimedia production practices, such as for music videos, commercials, video games and web pages. You will become proficient in the theoretical, technical, artistic and intellectual demands of composing music and sound for use in TV/radio/ film and other media environments. You will be able to experiment with new styles in media, and receive practical experience and timely feedback in collaborating with others.

The programme also provides an opportunity for you to enhance your business and management skills in the media industry as they pertain to music and sound.

The Edinburgh Film Music Orchestra, an ensemble run by students and staff of the programme, currently performs film music and often features performances of compositions by MSc Composition for Screen students.

This programme is structured around four compulsory courses and two option courses. You will also complete a final project by creating a music composition for a screen-media environment, along with an accompanying written essay component.

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
MScComposition for Screen1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2018/19
MScComposition for Screen2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2018/19

Goals and outcomes of the programme include:

  • Development of compositional skills, especially those related to musical/dramatic association with the screen.
  • Update and enrich student’s current electronic music and media skills, including notational software, sequencer software, hardware and mixing, and media synchronisation and production methods.
  • Develop a portfolio and demo reel for scoring work through experience in media music projects.
  • Become familiar with collaborative processes when working with others in a media music environment.
  • Learn to observe and research processes in media music and improve abilities to communicate those processes with others.
  • Develop a resourcefulness and self-sufficiency that will enable you to undertake music for screen projects in a professional atmosphere.

The rise of the internet and other multimedia platforms for film has significantly improved career prospects for composers. This programme will not only set you apart from the competition, it will also provide you with a network of peers and industry professionals who can assist you in getting your work to the screen.

Normally a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a sound-related discipline such as music, sound engineering, acoustics, film, animation or art/design.

We may also consider your application if you have a background in another relevant discipline, such as computer science, architecture, education, cognitive science or psychology.

You must have significant experience in composition of a musically related creative activity (e.g. improvisation, sound installation or creative DJing).

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. Your portfolio should comprise two or three samples of your compositional work for screen. At least one of those works should also demonstrate your experience in composing for instruments (or in a hybrid score along with electronics). Submission of the related score is preferred. Audio files alone are suitable as long as they represent compositional control of dramatic elements.

If you do not meet the academic entry requirements, we may still consider your application on the basis of your portfolio and/or relevant professional experience.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): 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

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • Programme Director, Mr Yati Durant
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 2421
  • Email: y.durant@ed.ac.uk
  • 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 a reference with your application.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. You will not be able to upload your portfolio immediately; you must wait for the email prompt, which will come within a few days and will explain how you can 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

  • Programme Director, Mr Yati Durant
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 2421
  • Email: y.durant@ed.ac.uk
  • 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