Undergraduate study - 2018 entry

MA Music

UCAS code: W300

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Music

If you’re passionate about music and would like to focus on it through a mix of academic and creative study, the MA (Hons) programme is for you.

You will explore the role, value and diversity of music in modern society and consider the relationship of music to the other arts and examine it from a creative, scientific, critical and historical perspective.

Throughout the programme you will be ideally placed to study the interaction between music and other arts, such as film, animation and installation and to participate in collaborations across Edinburgh College of Art.

After graduating, you will be ready for a whole range of music-related careers in the creative arts, education and media.

Year 1

You will study analysis (Ways of Listening), performance (Intercultural Musical Performance) and cultural studies (Instruments, Music and Technology). Performance skills are taught in practical workshops in areas such as North Indian music and contemporary improvisation. Cultural studies develop your understanding of the relationship between music technologies and culture from the Renaissance to present day. You will also choose options from music and other subject areas.

Year 2

Cultural studies continue including psychology of music, or the history and practice of music festivals. Alternatively you may study a foundation in digital music (Theory & Practice of Music Technology), or, if you have an A in Higher or A level Music, to pursue music history and analysis options. You will also choose options from music and from other subject areas.

Year 3

You will take Research Methods in Music, and choose from specialist courses including Music, Style and Identity, or Improvisation as Social Process. You will choose from specialist music options or other subjects.

Year 4

In your final year, you will complete a dissertation or major performance or installation (Environmental Music), and continue to study advanced options. You can select specialist music options, and from other subject areas.

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 (2017/18)

Our facilities

The majority of teaching takes place within the Reid School of Music in Alison House, located within the University's Central Area, as well as Edinburgh College of Art. You will have access to the School's practice rooms and recording studios, as well as all the University's computing facilities and libraries.

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.

Facilities and resources at ECA

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad through Erasmus or the University's international exchange programme.

Guaranteed study abroad funding for students required to complete a year abroad

How will I learn?

Most courses are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, practical classes and workshops. The small class sizes create an informal and supportive learning environment.

A feature of teaching at Edinburgh is project-based work in Years 1 and 2, where the year group will work together for a whole week to master one particular skill, for example writing for a resident ensemble such as The Edinburgh Quartet.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through coursework, exams, projects, portfolios and, in your final year, a dissertation, performance or portfolio of compositions (including the option of electro-acoustic compositions).

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 (2017/18)

Our students go on to diverse careers in music and our alumni include composers, performers, conductors, music teachers, community musicians, recording engineers, DJs/music producers, venue managers, musical directors, music therapists, arts administrators, writers, and academics at universities around the world.

Typical offer

The typical offer is likely to be:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 39 points (grades 666 at HL).

Minimum entry requirements

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or ABBBB/AABB from S4-S6, with a minimum of BBB achieved in one year of S4-S6. National 5: English at Grade C and Mathematics or an approved science at Grade C.
  • A Levels: ABB. GCSEs: English at Grade C or 4 and Mathematics or an approved science at Grade C or 4.
  • IB: Award of Diploma with 34 points overall and grades 655 in HL subjects. SL: English at 5 and Mathematics or an approved science at 4.

Additional requirements

Additional requirements

A demonstrable commitment to music.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

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

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

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
  • Pearson Test of English (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


For SQA and GCSE 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
  • IB Standard Level Grade 5

Our decision to offer a place is based on the information supplied in your UCAS application and we expect to see a demonstrable commitment to studying Music in your UCAS personal statement. We may also invite you to tell us more about your musical experience (for example, background in performance or creative practice, repertoire list, and/or SoundCloud or YouTube content).


The Reid School of Music does not interview or hold auditions. We scrutinise your application and request further performance background information if we require it. This process ensures that we offer places to students who show the ability to meet our high standards, and that applicants from all backgrounds have the same opportunity to demonstrate their potential.

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 MA Music

Additional costs



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