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Composition BMus

Placement Offered This course has a Professional Placement option
Available in Clearing Apply Full Time via UCAS


Brunel University London’s impact on the future wages of its graduates is among the best in the country compared to other universities, according to a new analysis of government data by The Economist (2017).

About the course

Music at Brunel is ranked 5th in London for student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2016)

This programme is aimed at students who wish to study musical composition to an advanced level. It provides a grounding in the main compositional techniques of the 20th and 21st centuries, and helps you to use this understanding in your original work. There are regular opportunities to hear your work played, you will be free to pursue options in performance, sonic art, and musicology in addition to your compulsory composition modules.

Practical music-making

Brunel’s Department of Arts and Humanities has a strong tradition of practical music-making and there are a number of ensembles that you can participate in, including the New Music Ensemble, Jazzbridge, Brunel Vox and New Noise. The Brunel Arts holds regular lunchtime and evening concerts featuring visiting performers, music students and staff.

Music at Brunel also has a number of artists and ensembles in association: currently these are Apartment House, Piano Circus, and Leafcutter John.


The skills and experience gained during this course will be useful to anyone wishing to become a composer, whether of concert music or for broadcast, theatre or education.


Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)

Course Content

The degree course is modular. Modules are worth 20 or 40 credits and you must complete 120 credits for each year of your degree programme.

All music students take the same modules in Year 1 (Performance I can be taken in a variety of ways and does not necessarily require a solo performance).

In years 2 and 3 you will have a wide range of optional modules to choose from; some of these topics can be taken at either Level 2 or Level 3. The final year project requires you to carry out in-depth research on a topic of particular interest to you - many composition students choose a composition project for this.

The BMus consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Level 1


  • Composition I
  • Musicianship
  • Materials of Music
  • Musicology I: Histories, Forms and Structures
  • Sound Recording and Sonic Arts
  • Performance I

Level 2


  • Composition II


  • Musicology II: Genres
  • Performance II (Classical or Experimental)
  • Performance II (Popular Music or Jazz)
  • Sonic Arts II
  • Conducting and Realisation
  • Instrumentation and Orchestration
  • Music and Perception
  • Popular Music Studies
  • Stylistic Improvisation
  • Free Improvisation
  • Jazz and Pop arranging
  • Professional Development

Level 3


  • Composition III

Special Project


  • Psychogeography
  • Musicology III: towards the new music
  • Performance III (Classical or Experimental)
  • Performance III (Popular Music or Jazz)
  • Sonic Arts III
  • Conducting and Realisation
  • Instrumentation and Orchestration
  • Music and Perception
  • Popular Music Studies
  • Stylistic Improvisation
  • Free Improvisation
  • Jazz and Pop Arranging
  • Professional Development

Read more about the structure of undergraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.


Brunel’s music courses help develop a wide range of vocational, collaborative and transferable skills that are highly attractive to employers in the industry.

Students have the opportunity, for example, to develop IT ability and highly sought-after presentation and communications skills.

Many of our students go on to perform at prestigious festivals and venues in the UK and abroad as well as well received albums spanning many genres. You'll find Brunel graduates at the Arts Council, Universal (Decca) and the English National Opera to name just a few.



A high proportion of our Music graduates have either progressed to postgraduate study at a university or conservatoire or have entered the music profession as performers, composers, teachers and technicians. Others have entered arts administration, publishing, the media and management.

Graduates have gone on to work for prestigious companies, within a broad range of careers, such as:

  • Universal (Decca)
  • English National Opera
  • Chief Executive, Shoreditch Town Hall, London
  • Music Therapist, Music for Health Research Centre
  • Freelance Bassist
  • Sound editor for Hollywood movies
  • Teacher, Head of Music
  • Admin Producer, London Sinfonietta
  • Arts admin at the Arts Council
  • Performing/Recording artist
  • Librarian, Royal Opera House
  • Venue Management Assistant, 606 Jazz Club
  • Singer-Songwriter
  • Systems Engineer for Apple, New York

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Entry Criteria 2017/18

  • GCE A-level BBB-BBC, including Grade B in A-level Music (all subjects  considered)

           Performance at a Selection Day will influence the level the offer is set at.

  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma DDD in Music.
  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma DD in a related subject, with A-Level Music at grade B.
  • BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma D in a related subject, with A-Levels grade BB including Music.
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma 30 points, including Higher Level 5 in Music.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma Complete and pass Access to Music course with 45 credits at level 3 with Merits in all units.

All applicants are required to attend an audition as part of the selection process before a formal offer is made.

5 GCSEs to include Maths at Grade C and English Language at Grade C are also required.

Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants as well as our full GCSE requirements and accepted equivalencies in place of GCSEs.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU Entry Requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 5.5 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 55% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English. Find out more information about English course and test options.

Teaching and Assessment


The music staff includes some of the country’s leading composers and performers, with teaching and research strengths in composition (both acoustic and studio-based), performance, musicology and socio-critical musicology. Modules on the course reflect the expertise of the staff and focus on technique and interpretation in contemporary music performance, as well as relevant cultural and historical issues.


Each subject employs a wide range of assessment methods including coursework, individual and group projects, oral presentations, practical work and some written examinations.

Special Features

  • Music at Brunel is ranked 9th in UK and 4th in London (The Guardian 2018).
  • With so many world-class musicians amongst our array of teaching talent we give students real insight into how to develop their relationship with music from a first love into a career.
  • There is a vibrant student performance culture on campus comprising several ensembles performing contemporary and classical music, improvisation, jazz, and live electronics.
  • You will be part of a highly dynamic music department with a strong profile in the Greater London area. The University hosts weekly recitals and concerts, and our new Arts@Artaud series showcases new performance work by students, staff and visiting artists in the newly refurbished surroundings of the Antonin Artaud building.
  • Facilities include a computer suite fully equipped for sound design and notation, studios for individual work, individual practice rooms and larger spaces for group rehearsals.

Facts and Figures

Brunel has an unequalled concentration of contemporary music practitioners of national and international reputation, including the composers John Croft, Carl Faia, Christopher Fox, Harald Muenz, Colin Riley, Jennifer Walshe and Peter Wiegold, the pianist Sarah Kingdom, the jazz musician Frank Griffith, and the musicologist Bob Gilmore.

The presence of associate artists and ensembles including Piano Circus and Distractfold provides an incomparable resource that few institutions can match.

Fees for 2017/18 entry

UK/EU students: £9,250 full-time; £6,935 part-time; £1,000 placement year

International students: £14,400 full-time

Additional course related costs

See our fees and funding page for full details of scholarships available to Brunel applicants