Staff & Students

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Overview

The BMus in Music is designed for students who wish to develop a deep understanding of music in the broadest sense whilst honing their specialist skills to professional standards. Staff with international reputations in performance, composition and musicology provide training that enables young musicians fully to exploit their talents. The degree includes studies in musicianship, harmony, music history and a range of associated skills that provide a well-rounded set of transferable skills such as problem-solving, communication and teamwork. This ensures that graduates in music are equally employable in graduate jobs as they are in musical careers.

Available areas of study are very broad. In addition to core topics, students can opt for optional modules in areas such as music psychology, disco culture, music and film, early music, opera studies and modules that develop software and studio skills.

Music Degree highlights

QS World University Ranking recently placed Queen’s University Belfast in the top 50 universities worldwide for the performing arts.

Global Opportunities

  • Students may opt to spend a semester studying abroad. The School has links with a number of international institutions including Oberlin College, Ohio, Capital University, Ohio and University of Groningen.

Professional Accreditations

  • The School is an Avid Learning Partner and Avid-accredited courses in Pro Tools for music and audio production are embedded into the curriculum.

Industry Links

  • The School benefits from strong industry partnerships including BBC NI, Ulster Orchestra, Opera NI, Hard Rain Soloist Ensemble, Cathedral Arts Festival, Moving on Music, Diatribe Records, DTS and Dolby.

World Class Facilities

  • The Music Department is one of the largest and best-equipped institutions in the UK working in the field of music and sound. Students on the BMus in Music have access to state-of-the-art performing and rehearsal spaces that includes two concert spaces that are used for public concerts. The department comprises two buildings: the Music building is a beautiful older building with several stunning teaching spaces; the Sonic Arts Research Centre is a world-leading facility that includes the Sonic Laboratory – a unique performance space capable of three-dimensional sound projection

Internationally Renowned Experts

  • Many of our staff are leading international experts in their fields of research. Additionally, the School employs a number Industry Fellows – internationally renowned professionals in their fields of composition, performance, song-writing, sound engineering and music production.

Student Experience

  • Northern Ireland has an exceptional track record for producing outstanding musical talent and has a unique identity within the global music industry. Belfast is the creative hub of the Northern Irish music industry and students on this programme will contribute to the vibrant musical life of both the University and the wider city.
“The teaching I have received here has been amazing. In particular, one-on-one attention to the individual student has been important. Contact with groups such as the Ulster Orchestra, Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble and the Royal String Quartet has proven to be beneficial to my music performance and composition and has pushed
me to reach my goal of being a performer one day myself."
Hannah Murray, Third Year BMus Music (2017)

Course content

Course Structure

Course Content
As a basis for specialisation in performance, composition and musicology, students take modules in music history, harmony and analysis.

Level 1 Includes five core modules: introduction to music, fundamental harmony, music in history, composing music and musicianship. Students choose one optional module from topics including: performance, ensemble performance, ethnomusicology, and a range of music technology modules.

Level 2 includes two core modules in analysis and critical writing skills, plus four optional modules chosen from: performance, composition, improvisation, scoring and arranging, musicology (at least 3 modules offered), and a range of modules that focus on music technology.

At Level 3, students take at least one module in a music history special subject, plus a range of options that will include: composition, dissertation, musicology, performance, work placement, composing for screen. (Up to two optional modules may be in another subject).

People teaching you

Dr Simon Mawhinney
Head of Area - Music
Music
Simon Mawhinney is a composer who writes regularly for leading contemporary music performers across Europe. He teaches composition, performance, history and theory at undergraduate level. At postgraduate level he supervises work in composition (instrumental and computer music.)

Contact Teaching Times

Large Group Teaching
6 (hours maximum)
hours of lectures
Medium Group Teaching
6 (hours maximum)
hours of practical classes, workshops or seminars each week
Personal Study
24 (hours maximum)
22–24 hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including guided study, composition, performance rehearsal, online activities, etc.
Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial
2 (hours maximum)
hours of tutorials (or later, project supervision) each week

Learning and Teaching

Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this courses are:

Read more

E-Learning technologies

Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example: interactive group workshops; podcasts and interactive web-based learning activities; on-line assessment; opportunities to use software applications associated with design in practicals and project-based work etc.

Lectures

Introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).

Personal Tutor

Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during Stages 1 and 2 who meets with them regularly during the year to support their academic development.

Practicals

Provide opportunities for the development of technical skills and the application of theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts.

Self-directed study

This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, performance practice, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback and assignment research and preparation is carried out.

Supervised projects

In final year, all students take a ‘Professional Practice’ module which provides the opportunity to develop a body of artistic work in a professional context. Each individual or group will be assigned a member of staff to act as a mentor. Mentors and students will meet fortnightly to review work in progress and to discuss practical concerns.

Work placements

Students have the opportunity to undertake a work placement in Year 3. This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity.

Assessment

Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

Read more

The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module. Many Music modules are assessed solely through practical project work, continuous assessment or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Module Outline Document which is provided to all students at the beginning of each teaching semester.

Feedback

As students’ progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:

Read more

Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.

Face to face comment. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.

Placement employer comments or references

Online or emailed comment.

General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.

Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time.

Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.

Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.

Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.

Facilities

The Music Department at Queen’s is one of the best equipped in the UK. Our music degrees are housed in two striking buildings: the elegant, historical Music building and the world-leading Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC). SARC contains the unique Sonic Lab, a concert hall with variable acoustics and facilities for immersion in 360º sound. The Music building houses the Harty Room, a concert hall that is regularly used for public performances. The department also houses state of the art recording studios (for both ‘pop’ and ‘classical’ music), plus studios for surround sound and post production. There are also a large number of practice rooms, including three acoustically isolated rooms, and three suites of iMac computers.

Entry Requirements

Entrance requirements

A level requirements
BBB including A-level Music.

Where A-level Music is not offered then A-level grades BBB plus Grade VIII Theory of Music (ABRSM, Trinity-Guildhall or LCM (not Popular Music Theory)) would be acceptable. AS-level Music is not acceptable in lieu of A-level Music.

Irish leaving certificate requirements
H3H3H3H3H4H4/H3H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H3 in Music.

Where Higher Level Music is not offered then grades H3H3H3H3H4H4/H3H3H3H3H3 plus grade VIII Theory of Music (ABRSM,Trinity-Guildhall or LCM (not Popular Music Theory)) would be acceptable.

Access/Foundation Course
Certificate in Foundation Studies in Music with an average of 65%.

Further information
If an applicant has successfully completed a Grade VIII Practical Music examination this may be taken into account in August when deciding borderline cases. Applicants should indicate in the 'education' section of the UCAS application if they have, or intend to complete, a Grade VIII Practical examination, specifying the instrument and the awarding body.

Selection Criteria

In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance notes on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application. The information relates to 2017 entry and will be updated for 2018 entry as soon as possible.

How we choose our students

Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by individual University Schools. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.

Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form, which is considered by the Selector for the Bachelor of Music degree along with a member of administrative staff from the Admissions Service. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.

For last year's intake, applicants for the BMus must have had, or been able to achieve, a minimum of five GCSE passes at grade C or better (to include English Language). Performance in any AS or A-level examinations already completed would also have been taken into account and the Selector checks that the specific entry requirement of A-level Music (or Grade VIII Theory of Music) can be fulfilled.

Offers are normally made on the basis of three A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The offer for repeat candidates is set in terms of three A-levels and may be one grade higher than for first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.

Applicants offering other qualifications, such as a BTEC Extended Diploma, Higher National Diploma, the International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate or an Access course, will also be considered.

The same GCSE profile is usually expected of those candidates taking a BTEC Extended Diploma. A BTEC Extended Diploma in Music (180 credits at Level 3) is required for entry to this degree and offers are currently conditional on successful completion of this Extended Diploma with 100 credits at Distinction and 80 credits at Merit.

For those offering a Higher National Diploma, some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile but, to be eligible for an offer, the grades obtained in the first year of the HND must allow the overall offer to be achievable. A relevant HND in Music is required for admission to this degree and offers for Stage 1 entry are currently conditional on successful completion of this HND with 9 Merits and 7 Passes overall. Applicants with sufficiently high grades in the first year of a relevant HND in Music may be considered for entry to Stage 2 and, where offers are made, these are currently conditional on successful completion of this HND with 12 Merits and 4 Passes overall, with Merits in specified units.

Candidates offering Access/Certificate in Foundation Studies courses will be considered individually on their own merits, provided the subject requirements for entry to Music can also be met. Where offers are made, these are conditional on both achieving an average of 65% in the Access course and meeting the entry criteria for Music.

The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of the BMus degree, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.

Candidates applying for the BMus should ensure that information on the highest grade achieved in Practical and Theory Music exams is included in the 'qualifications completed' section of their UCAS application. Details of any Practical or Theory exams which are to be undertaken prior to admission should be included in the 'qualifications not yet completed' section.

A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking four A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.

Candidates who have been made an offer will be invited to visit the School of Arts, English and Languages, and will be given an opportunity to demonstrate their performance skills.

If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions Service (admissions@qub.ac.uk), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

  • English for University Study: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS - FOUNDATION AND INTERNATIONAL YEAR ONE PROGRAMMES

INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.

These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.

INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

Careers

Career Prospects

Introduction
The programme prepares students for a wide range of possible career paths and graduates in Music at Queen’s have found success throughout the UK and internationally in both musical and non-musical careers including orchestral playing, opera singing, solo artist careers, performance, composition, teaching, media employment and arts administration. Others regularly move into a wide range of graduate employments such as accountancy, banking, publishing and marketing.

Employment after the Course
Graduates in Music at Queen’s have found success throughout the UK and internationally, in both musical and non-musical careers. Our graduates have worked as professional musicians in a wide range of specialisms, including orchestral playing, opera singing, solo artist careers, and composition. Many of our graduates have enjoyed successful careers in teaching and arts administration. Many graduates have used the distinctions of a Bmus from Queen’s to enter into non-music graduate careers.

Alumni Success
Colin Stark – member of Ulster Orchestra
Niamh McGowan – Ulster Orchestra
Chris Day, professional trombonist in Germany
Eugene Montieth, conductor
Marcella Walsh – singer, Scottish Opera
Elaine Pelan – singer
Nathan Morrison – singer
David Stockard – performer and composer
Paul McBride – school headmaster
Kevin Donnelly – project manager for Trocaire projects in Africa

Professional Opportunities
The Stage 3 Work Placement course is an excellent opportunity for students to gain real-world employment experience. Some of the organisations our students have completed placements with include: The Mac, Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast Music Society, Fleming Fulton Special Needs School, JAM (Junior Academy of Music), and a large number of local secondary and primary schools.

The programme prepares students for a wide range of possible career paths including performance, composition, teaching, media employment and arts administration. Music graduates regularly move into a wide range of graduate employments such as accountancy, banking, publishing and marketing. Companies and institutions currently employing our graduates include the BBC, UTV, The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, EDRON Academy (Mexico City), Weller Media Agency, Start Together Studios, PSAV, The Mac, Pi Communications, The Nerve Centre, Steven’s Institute of Technology, Trinity College Dublin, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University.

Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

Prizes and Awards(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Fees and Funding

Tuition Fees

The tuition fee rates for undergraduate students who first enrol at the University in the academic year 2018-19 have not been agreed. Tuition fees for 2018-19 will be based on 2017-18 levels, normally increased by inflation and these are set out below.

Northern Ireland (NI) £4,030
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £9,250
Other (non-UK) EU £4,030
International £15,100

Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Read more

Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.

If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.  

Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.  

Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Music costs

The School is an Avid Learning Partner and optional courses providing Avid certification in the use of ProTools are available as part of the programme. The cost of these courses ranges from £20 to £90 per course.

How do I fund my study?

There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.

Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.

Scholarships

Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.

* information shown is for 2017-18 and should be used as a guide until 2018-19 scholarships are confirmed.

How and When to Apply

How to Apply

Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).  Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/apply.

When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2018 from 1 September 2017.

Advisory closing date: 15 January 2018 (18:00).

Late applications are, in practice, accepted by UCAS throughout the remainder of the application cycle, but you should understand that they are considered by institutions at their discretion, and there can be no guarantee that they will be given the same full level of consideration as applications received by the advisory closing date.

Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.

The Institution code for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.

Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/

Apply via UCAS
After an offer is made this will be notified to applicants through UCAS. Confirmation will be emailed by the Admissions and Access Service and this communication will also include Terms and Conditions (www.qub.ac.uk/Study/TermsandConditions) which applicants should read carefully in advance of replying to their offer(s) on UCAS Track.

Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students

  1. Applying through UCAS
    Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2018.
  2. Applying direct
    The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
  3. Applying through agents and partners
    The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.

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