Postgraduate study

Composition for Screen MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Composition for Screen

As a composer for screen at Edinburgh you'll explore a range of musical contexts from film and documentary right through to game audio. Along the way we help you to develop your studio and recording skills, your approach to using both acoustic and electronic instruments and your intellectual abilities as an interpreter of other media.

We don't teach specific genres or styles and we don't endorse any one particular approach to screen composition, rather we challenge you to develop your voice as a composer and your craft as a sonic artist across the screen-based media that interest you.

Studying at ECA, you will be part of a very large community of creative practitioners who are developing new work in documentary, animation, experimental media and game design. Based at the Reid School of Music, you'll share classes with students on Master's-level programmes in Sound Design, Musicology and Acoustics and Music Technology. By crossing disciplinary boundaries you'll thoroughly explore what you can bring to this exciting and expanding area.

*(This programme record was revised on 14 October 2019 to reflect slight updates to all aspects of programme information.)

You will select six taught courses from a range of relevant areas. In the first semester our courses help you to up-skill and expand your compositional approach. You'll develop your audio craft and the ways you use sound to shape time in interpretation of visual media. In the second semester, we challenge you to use these skills in more applied projects be these experimental media art, game music or film-based activities.

These taught modules form the foundations on which you'll shape your final project. This will consist of a substantial body of compositional work for screen that you can use to launch the next stage of your career.

Please be advised that programme structure and course availability is subject to change based on staff availability each academic year.

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 2019/20
MScComposition for Screen2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

On this programme you will

  • Develop your compositional voice in areas that are likely to be new to you
  • Consolidate a wide-range of compositional skills spanning instrumental and electronic formats.
  • Have in-depth experience of collaboration with other sound-based practitioners and media artists across Edinburgh College of Art.
  • Learn about professional standards demanded in your craft and gain a deeper appreciation for the context in which your own work belongs.

Composition for screen media is a global field and graduates of this programme will be competent to work for national broadcasters, in small production houses and as sole traders.

The programme will involve you in a network of peers and industry professionals who can become long-term collaborative partners. The degree will also arm you with a wide range of adaptable and transferable skills that are prised across the media industries.

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

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.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScComposition for Screen1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScComposition for Screen2 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:

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU

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.

You must submit one 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

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU