PhD/MA by Research On Campus Online

Musical Composition

12 months
19800 GBP/year
4596 GBP/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The research degree in Musical Composition from University of Birmingham aims to foster your skills as you navigate an exciting new musical world, which combines tradition and innovation, bringing together instruments and the latest in high technology.


On this Musical Composition programme from University of Birmingham, you can create musical and sonic artworks using electroacoustics and computer technology, traditional (and not so traditional) instrumental and vocal composition, or a combination of these aspects. Projects involving interactive systems, multimedia, and sound installations are also welcome, and you are encouraged to find your own individual path.

MA by Research – the portfolio should have a total duration of between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the nature and size of the forces used, to be agreed with the supervisor. For those following this programme, it is possible to upgrade to a PhD.

Why study this course?

  • Workshops and visiting performers: The Department of Music is host to a range of ensembles and activities which provide workshop and performance opportunities for postgraduate students. For example, the Department hosts workshops with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (our ‘Ensemble in Association’), while the Department’s New Music Ensemble has a history of presenting student works. We also offer other workshops with visiting performers and ensembles (e.g. Fidelio Trio, Bozzini Quartet, Ligeti Quartet in recent years). Students have the opportunity to work with the internationally recognised BEAST system (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre; arguably the best system of its type in the world) which also presents student works in concerts with up to 100 loudspeakers in Birmingham and when possible abroad (e.g. Berlin, Copenhagen, Basel).  Opportunities for workshops and performances vary from year to year, and spaces available are limited, so the Department cannot guarantee that all applicants will be accommodated for any given opportunity. The Department runs an open call which aims to allocate places fairly, although some workshops or activities are associated with particular modules, and students enrolled on those may be prioritised. Students interested in instrumental composition workshops should expect to be offered a place at least once in their studies.
  • Excellent opportunities: Our postgraduate laptop ensemble, the Birmingham Ensemble for Electroacoustic Research (BEER), provides opportunities to explore advanced aspects of live electroacoustic performance such as controller integration, network music, and live coding.
  • World-leading research: The Department celebrated excellent results in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF), where 50% of research outputs (which measure the quality of published research produced by academics) for Music were top 4* rated as ‘world-leading'. This output score was one of the leading scores in the country.

Programme Structure


  • Musical Composition
  • Musical Performance Practice
  • Musicology

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 12 months

Start dates & application deadlines

More details

Start date: Year-round. Major intakes in September and January.


On Campus, Online

Academic requirements

GPA admission requirements GPA
Upper Second Class

Student insurance

Make sure to cover your health, travel, and stay while studying abroad. Even global coverages can miss important items, so make sure your student insurance ticks all the following:

  • Additional medical costs (i.e. dental)
  • Repatriation, if something happens to you or your family
  • Liability
  • Home contents and baggage
  • Accidents
  • Legal aid

We partnered with Aon to provide you with the best affordable student insurance, for a carefree experience away from home.

Get your student insurance now

Start from €0.53/day, free cancellation any time.

Remember, countries and universities may have specific insurance requirements. To learn more about how student insurance work at University of Birmingham and/or in United Kingdom, please visit Student Insurance Portal.

Other requirements

General requirements

Applicants must submit sample compositional work in the form of scores and/or recordings (as appropriate to specialty). These can be submitted by mail, or (preferably) electronically, using wetransfer or similar or a weblink.

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree in Music or a related subject, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK.
  • If you are applying for a PhD then you will usually also need to hold a good Masters qualification in Music or a related subject.

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    19800 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 19800 GBP for the full programme during 12 months.
  • National

    4596 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 4596 GBP for the full programme during 12 months.
  • UK: £4,596 full-time, £2,298 part-time
  • International: £9,900 part-time (distance learning only)

Living costs for Birmingham

765 - 1134 GBP /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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Musical Composition
University of Birmingham


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