Undergraduate study - 2024 entry
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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
  • studiable as a scientific object

Our BMus programme embraces this disciplinary breadth.

Initially, you will develop your creative musical skills and acquire the tools to engage critically with a variety of musical repertoires and media.

You will also:

  • study how music is shaped by (and shapes) the social, cultural, historical, and political environments in which it is produced
  • be introduced to the psychology of music and its potential therapeutic effects

A flexible programme

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.

For example, you can decide to:

  • focus on the cultural, sociological, and historical contexts of music
  • specialise in composition and/or performance
  • focus entirely on studying music courses
  • study a mix of music courses and courses from subjects outside of music


Students taking performance receive an annual bursary for instrumental tuition.

Year 1

You will take three compulsory courses:

  • Topics in Popular Music
  • Thinking about Music
  • Creative Musicianship

Topics in Popular Music

This course introduces various themes and theoretical frameworks for the study of popular music.

Using American popular music of the late 19th and 20th centuries as a case study, you will consider a range of issues, including:

  • technology
  • genre
  • race
  • gender
  • capitalism
  • colonialism

Thinking about Music

This course focuses on music as an aesthetic and cultural phenomenon.

You will:

  • develop your critical and analytical skills
  • be introduced to some of the key issues in contemporary and historical thought concerning a broad spectrum of music

Creative Musicianship

This course will develop your creative, practical, and listening skills.

You will take an integrated approach to studying the different facets of musicianship, including:

  • written and aural analysis
  • composition
  • performance

Other courses

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

You can also choose from music options such as:

  • Introduction to Musical Instruments
  • Music Psychology
  • Musical Acoustics
  • Sound Recording

If you have achieved Grade 8 standard or equivalent on your first instrument by the time you start the programme, you can also take Performance (see Additional Requirements, Music Requirements).

Any of these optional 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.

Music history courses explore contexts of western classical music, including:

  • aesthetic
  • social
  • political
  • cultural contexts

You will develop your musicianship skills by taking one or both Musical Analysis courses. This provides a grounding in the analysis and compositional techniques of 18th and 19th-century music.

You will also study Sound Recording, which introduces you to:

  • microphone techniques
  • room acoustics
  • field recording
  • production

Optional courses

All students can take Composition and Creative Music Technology.

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 range of courses, including:

  • acoustics
  • composition
  • screen music
  • music analysis
  • music in the community
  • performance
  • music psychology
  • music technology
  • popular music studies

Other examples include courses in:

  • sound design
  • options in Scottish traditional music
  • music history

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

You may also take a 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
  • choose up to 40 credits in subjects outside of music

You will also complete at least one of the following:

  • 40-minute recital
  • portfolio of compositions
  • creative practice music project
  • dissertation
  • 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 (2023/24)

Our facilities

Much of your teaching will take place at the Reid School of Music in Alison House. This is in the University's Central Area.

You will also learn at:

  • the Reid Concert Hall
  • St Cecilia's Hall
  • other locations across Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and the University's Central Area

You will have access to:

  • our practice rooms and recording studios
  • the Musical Instrument Museum at St Cecilia's Hall
  • the University's extensive computing facilities and libraries

Investing in our learning environment

The University is investing in Edinburgh College of Art's estate and facilities. This will further develop our supportive, stimulating, and sustainable learning and research environment.

You can find out more on the ECA website.

Facilities and resources at ECA

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at our music facilities and explore our campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.

Take a virtual tour of our music facilies


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

Study abroad

In Year 3, you will have the opportunity to study at one of the University’s partner institutions around the world.

Our music-specific partners include:

  • University of Oslo
  • Aix-Marseille Université
  • HKU Utrecht
  • Conservatorio Niccolò Paganini, Padua

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught through:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • practical classes
  • workshops
  • computer labs

As well as our expert staff, you will have opportunities to work with:

  • professional musicians
  • the School’s own Ensemble in Residence
  • musicians from ensembles such as the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through:

  • coursework
  • exams
  • projects
  • portfolios

In Year 4, you will complete at least one of the following:

  • dissertation
  • recital
  • portfolio of compositions
  • creative practice project
  • technology project

This programme allows you to pursue a variety of careers in:

  • music
  • the creative arts
  • education
  • the media

Our graduates go on to forge successful careers in a range of areas, including:

  • performance
  • composition
  • teaching and academia
  • arts management
  • curation
  • music therapy
  • film, radio and television
  • print media
  • animation and the games industry

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.

Additional requirements

Music Requirements

You must have 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 have an A in Advanced Higher or A Level Music, or IB HL Music at grade 6.

If you are an offer holder, and wish to study the Performance 1 course, you need to have achieved Grade 8 (ABRSM or Trinity) or equivalent in your main performance specialism (instrument or voice). If you choose to accept your offer you should email a copy of your Grade 8 certificate(s) to the Music Office no later than 30 August.

If you are an offer holder, and do not hold formal performance qualifications but are confident in your ability, you should record an audition video of no more than ten minutes duration. If you choose to accept your offer you should email your video to the Music Office no later than 30 August. The video should contain scales in two different keys across the full range of your instrument or voice and two contrasting pieces of music at Grade 8 (ABRSM or Trinity) standard.

If you are unfamiliar with Grade 8 standards you should consult the ABRSM and Trinity grade syllabi for your chosen performance specialism in order to familiarise yourself with the required level of technical and musical skills.

Contact the Music Office

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

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.


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 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 54 in each component.

(Revised 29 August 2023 to remove PTE Academic Online)

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements


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 Discover Uni 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.

Other costs include:

  • basic stationery provisions
  • support for technology such as memory sticks or 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