Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

BMus Music

UCAS code: W302

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing BMus Music

Music is an incredibly rich and diverse subject. It is a creative and aesthetic practice, a social and cultural phenomenon, and can be studied as a scientific object.

Our BMus programme embraces this disciplinary breadth. You will develop your creative musicianship skills. You will acquire the tools to engage critically with diverse musical repertoires and media. You will study how music is shaped by and shapes the social, cultural, and political environments in which it is produced, and you will be introduced to the psychology of music and its potential therapeutic effects.

The BMus programme is flexible and welcomes students from different backgrounds and musical experiences. It is designed so that you can tailor a pathway that bests suits your musical interests and strengths.

You can focus on the cultural, sociological and historical contexts of music. You can specialise in composition and performance. You can choose to focus your studies entirely on music, or you can select up to a half of your courses in each of Years 1 and 2, and a third of your courses in Years 3 and 4 from subjects outside of music.

Students taking performance receive an annual bursary for instrumental tuition.

Year 1

You will take three compulsory courses. Popular Music History offers an overview of popular music history since 1800. You will look at canonical artists, genres and events in popular music, and will explore how popular music has been affected by broader historical changes.

Thinking about Music, focuses on music as an aesthetic and cultural phenomenon. Here, you will develop your critical and analytical skills, and will be introduced to some of the key issues in contemporary and historical thought concerning a broad spectrum of music.

Finally, Creative Musicianship will develop your creative, practical and listening skills through an integrated approach to the different facets of musicianship.

If you haven’t studied music theory at a high level before (A at A level or Advanced Higher), you will also take Fundamentals of Music Theory, an intensive music literacy course.

You can also take option courses in Music Psychology, Musical Acoustics, and Performance, if you are of Grade VIII standard or equivalent on your first instrument. Alternatively, any of these option courses can be replaced with courses from outside music (up to 60 credits).

Year 2

You will study Music and Ideas from the Middle Ages to the Present Day, two music history courses that explore the aesthetic, social, political, and cultural contexts of western classical music.

You will develop your musicianship skills by taking one or both of Applied Analysis, which provides a grounding in the analysis and compositional techniques of 18th and 19th-century music, and Sound Recording, which introduces you to microphone techniques, room acoustics, field recording, and production.

You will be able to take options in Composition and Creative Music Technology and if you studied Performance in Year 1, you can continue with Performance in Year 2. You can also choose up to 60 credits from subjects outside of music.

Year 3

You will have the freedom to choose from a diverse range of courses spanning acoustics, composition, film music, music analysis, music in the community, music psychology, music technology, popular music studies, sound design, options in Scottish traditional music, and a range of music history courses.

All honours teaching is research-led and reflects the expertise and interests of individual lecturers.

You will take Research Methods in Music, a course which provides training in many aspects of music research. You can also choose up to 40 credits in subjects outside of music.

Year 4

You will select courses that build on your choices in Year 3, and can choose up to 40 credits in subjects outside of music.

You will also undertake one or more of a 40-minute recital, a portfolio of compositions, a creative practice music project, a dissertation, or an edition.

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

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

You will have access to our practice rooms and recording studios, the Musical Instrument Museum at St Cecilia’s Hall, and to the University's extensive computing facilities and libraries.

In addition, 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


The Music in the Community options in Years 3 and 4 involve weekly placements across the social and educational sectors in Edinburgh.

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?

Courses on the BMus are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, practical classes, workshops, and computer labs as appropriate.

You will be taught by staff who are experts in their fields and will also have the opportunity to work with professional musicians and ensembles such as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through coursework, exams, projects, portfolios and, in Year 4, you will undertake a dissertation, recital, portfolio of compositions, creative practice project, or a technology project.

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)

This programme provides the breadth and depth needed to pursue a wide variety of careers in music, the creative arts, education and the media.

Our graduates go on to forge successful careers in a diverse range of areas including performance, composition, teaching, academia, arts management, curation, community music, music therapy, print media, film, radio, television, animation, and the games industry.

Typical offer range

The typical offer is likely to be:

  • SQA Highers: AAAB - ABBB.
  • A Levels: AAA - ABB. (Revised 2/6/18 to provide more accurate information).
  • IB: 37 points (grades 665 at HL) - 34 points (grades 655 at HL). (Revised 2/6/18 to provide more accurate information).

Access threshold

The access threshold for a contextual offer is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points (grades 655 at HL).

Find out more about access thresholds and contextual offers

Detailed requirements for all applicants

To be considered for an offer of a place all applicants must meet the following 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. (Revised 22/10/2018 to reflect that we no longer require Mathematics or an approved science.)
  • A Levels: ABB. GCSEs: English at Grade C or 4. (Revised 22/10/2018 to reflect that we no longer require Mathematics or an approved science.)
  • IB: Award of Diploma with 34 points overall and grades 655 in HL subjects. SL: English at 5. (Revised 22/10/2018 to reflect that we no longer require Mathematics or an approved science.)

Additional requirements

A demonstrable commitment to music. You will not be interviewed. All applicants are required to enrol in the 'Fundamentals of Music Theory' course unless they offer a grade A in Advanced Higher /A level Music. Applicants wishing to take Performance 1 will need to hold Grade VIII ABRSM or equivalent on their main instrument by the time they arrive in Edinburgh.

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
  • 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, 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)

We may invite you to provide a short statement about your musical experience. This additional evidence (e.g. performance background or repertoire list) is important to us if you have not taken ABRSM grade exams, for example, and it provides an opportunity for you to express your own personal commitment to studying music at Edinburgh.


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 BMus Music

Additional costs

If you are taking performance courses, you should expect to pay for instrument consumables and maintenance, as appropriate, as you would have done prior to attending university.

Other costs include basic stationery provisions and support for technology such as memory sticks/cards.


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