Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

BSc Mathematics and Music

UCAS code: GW13

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Mathematics

College: Science and Engineering

Study abroad

Introducing BSc Mathematics and Music

Explore the historic connection between these two disciplines by studying elements of both mathematics and music. During your programme you will take compulsory mathematics courses, and study some of the theoretical and cultural aspects of music, such as listening and musicianship, music technology and composition.

Year 1

You will take the compulsory courses Introduction to Linear Algebra, Calculus and its Applications, and Proofs and Problem Solving. These are common to all our programmes and will take up half of your timetable. In them you will build on your knowledge of pure mathematics in a formal way and be introduced to the ways of mathematical thinking required at university level.

Some students will also take our online course, Fundamentals of Algebra and Calculus. This is an introductory course in university mathematics that provides extra preparation in key topics from advanced high school-level mathematics which have not been covered previously.

You will also take music courses such as Popular Music History, Musical Acoustics and Psychology of Music. If you are interested in following the composition pathway in later years, you can also take a course in Creative Musicianship.

You will be able to get support from MathsBase, our popular walk-in help centre and from our Student Learning Advisor.

Year 2

You will spend up to two thirds of your time on mathematics. You will take compulsory courses in pure mathematics, extending your knowledge of calculus, probability and analysis, and will be introduced to the abstract ideas of group theory. Other optional topics include statistics and applied mathematics.

You will continue to take courses in music. Year 2 topics vary and current options include Music and Ideas from the Middle Ages to Viennese Classicism, Thinking About Music, and Sound Recording.

From this year onwards you can use the MathsHub, our student-run facility in the James Clerk Maxwell Building, which is both a social centre and a work space.

Year 3

You will focus on the main subjects of your programme. You will receive an excellent grounding in advanced mathematics, preparing you for the options available later in your programme.

During this year, you will study two of the compulsory mathematics Honours courses, and a compulsory music course (Research Methods in Music), but will also have the option to start to specialise within your degree.

From this stage onwards, there are options for you to combine maths and music together by studying topics such as Algorithmic Composition, Musical Applications of Fourier Theory and Digital Processing, and Physics-based Modelling of Music Instruments.

There are also music courses available which do not directly link to mathematics, a current example being Film Music to 1950.

Year 4

You will have a wide range of mathematics courses to choose from and you can follow a programme that suits your particular interests and career aspirations. We offer a large selection of courses in pure and applied mathematics, statistics and operational research.

You can take options in areas such as mathematical education, financial mathematics and mathematical biology. Current courses include Fundamentals of Optimization, Algebraic Geometry and Entrepreneurship in the Mathematical Sciences.

There are further music courses available in composition and analysis. You will also complete a substantial project in either mathematics or music, or a composition, which will account for a third of your final year.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2018/19)

Our facilities

In Year 1, mathematics classes typically take place in the University's Central Area. In subsequent years, teaching will take place at the School of Mathematics, located at the University's King's Buildings campus.

In addition to the University's extensive libraries and computer facilities, you will have access to the School of Mathematics’ facilities across two campuses: MathsBase in the Central Area and MathsHub at King’s Buildings.

Much of our music teaching takes place at the Reid School of Music in Alison House, in the University's Central Area, or at the Reid Concert Hall or St Cecilia’s Hall, and at other locations across Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). Teaching also takes place in other Central Area locations.

You will have access to the School’s practice rooms and recording studios, and to the Musical Instrument Museum at St Cecilia’s Hall.

Furthermore, the University is investing in the ECA estate and facilities to further develop our flexible, stimulating, supportive and sustainable learning and research environment for students and staff.

Further information is available on the ECA website.

ECA facilities

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad through Erasmus or University-wide exchange programmes. Students from the School of Mathematics have recently completed placements in California, Sydney and British Columbia.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught mainly through lectures, workshops and tutorials. In Year 1 lectures are usually interactive; lecturers use online voting systems and encourage small group discussion to improve your understanding of core material. You can also work with other students in the MathsBase, with tutors on hand to answer questions, and there are also regular MathPALs study sessions led by higher-year students.

We encourage students to work together throughout their studies and to engage with lecturers and tutors outside of timetabled classes. Our Student Learning Adviser will offer advice on study skills throughout your programme.

How will I be assessed?

Most courses involve regular coursework as well as a final exam, while some will involve producing a group report or giving a presentation. Some will be assessed entirely by coursework.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme details (2018/19)

Our graduates have a range of careers open to them. The logical and analytical abilities, together with the presentation and practical problem-solving skills you will develop, are sought by employers.

Many recent graduates have been employed by large firms in the financial sector. Others have gone into fields including software engineering, logistics, education and civil service.

We regularly invite alumni back to the School to share their experiences with students and to showcase the breadth of careers available to maths graduates.

There are many opportunities within the School for you to develop your skills and enhance your CV. Share your love of mathematics by working with the wider community as a member of our Outreach Team; join our team of Student Ambassadors and enthuse prospective students; become a MathPALs leader and support Year 1 students; or apply for a project scholarship and work with a lecturer during the summer.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA - AAAB by end of S5. If you haven’t achieved this by the end of S5 we may consider your application based on a strong performance in S6. A minimum of BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: A*AA - AAB in one set of exams.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL - 32 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: AABB by end of S6, with a minimum of BBB achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB.
  • IB: 32 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Higher: Mathematics at grade A, Music is recommended. We strongly recommend that you study Advanced Higher Mathematics.
  • A Levels: Mathematics at grade A. Music and Further Mathematics are recommended.
  • IB: HL: Mathematics (from 2021, Mathematics: Analysis and approaches only) at grade 6. Music is recommended.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section

  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component

  • PTE Academic: Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

About English language requirements

SQA, GCSE and IB

For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 Grade C

  • SQA Standard Grade 3

  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A

  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C

  • GCSE Grade C or 4

  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C

  • IB Standard Level Grade 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Unistats data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BSc Mathematics and Music

Additional costs

You should expect to purchase necessary textbooks for some compulsory and optional components of your programme.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding

More information

How to apply

School: Mathematics

College: Science and Engineering