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BMus Bachelor of Music (UCAS Code: W302)

BMus in Music

School of Creative Arts

Degree Selected

BMus Bachelor of Music (UCAS Code: W302)

Degrees Offered

  • BMus Bachelor of Music (UCAS Code: W302)
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Contact Information

For entrance requirements
T: +44 (0)28 9097 3838

For course information
Dr Aidan Thomson
BMus Programme Convener
School of Creative Arts
T: +44 (0)28 9097 5337

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Entrance Requirements and Selection Criteria


  • Bachelor of Music 3 yrs (W302)

How We Choose Our Students

In addition to the entrance requirements below, it is essential that you read the How We Choose Our Students pdf prior to submitting your UCAS application.

Entrance Requirements

A-level: BBB including A-level Music. Grade VIII Theory of Music (ABRSM, Trinity-Guildhall or LCM (not Popular Music Theory)) is acceptable in lieu of A-level Music. AS-level Music is not acceptable in lieu of A-level Music.

Irish Leaving Certificate: B2B2B2B2CC/B2B2B2B2B2 including Higher Level grade B2 in Music. Grade VIII Theory of Music (ABRSM or Trinity- Guildhall) is acceptable in lieu of Higher Level Music.

Further Information
Applicants should indicate in the 'education' section of the UCAS application the highest grade achieved in Practical and Theory Music examinations as well as any such exams they intend to complete. If an applicant has completed Grade VIII Practical this may be taken into account in August in deciding borderline cases.

International qualifications
For information on international qualification equivalents, please click on Your Country in the International Students website.

For students whose first language is not English
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:

If you are an international student and you do not meet the English Language requirements, you should consider a preparation course at INTO Queen's University Belfast, which will develop the language skills you need to progress. INTO Queen's University Belfast is based on the University campus and offers a range of courses. For a full list click here

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The Subject

The study of Music encompasses performance, music history, composition, theory, analysis, music technology and ethnomusicology. The School of Creative Arts at Queen's has a rich tradition of high quality teaching and research in all these areas.

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Course Content

As a basis for specialisation in performance, composition and musicology, students take modules in music history, harmony and analysis, which support the development of a thorough understanding of core areas of music.

Level 1
Level 1 includes four core modules in harmony and music history, and two optional modules chosen from Performance, Composition, Music Technology, Ethnomusicology, or another subject altogether.

Level 2
Level 2 includes two core modules in analysis and history, and four optional modules chosen from Composition, Ethnomusicology, Musicology, Music Technology, Performance and Traditional Irish Music. Up to two modules may be in another subject.

Level 3
At Level 3, students take at least one module in a music history special subject, plus a range of options chosen from Composition, Dissertation, Ethnomusicology, Musicology and Performance. Up to two modules may be in another subject. With Composition, Dissertation and Performance, it is possible for modules to be double weighted.

Types of assessment include written exams, recitals, composition portfolios, dissertations, projects, listening tests and learning journals. Students may also undertake a work placement in a musically-related field.

Click here for access to the online Module Descriptions

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Learning and Teaching

At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable student to achieve their full academic potential.


On the Bachelor of Music degree a range of learning experiences are provided which enable students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. More specifically, the BMus lays a firm foundation for students who wish to pursue a career in music such as performing, composing, researching, teaching and many others. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:


  • Lectures: introduce basic information and ideas 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 receive advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
  • Practicals and Workshops:  where you will have opportunities to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts.  The most common example of this is in performance modules, where, in addition to your one-to-one lessons, you will gain vital experience by performing in front of your classmates and, in the case of workshops, in front of leading professional instrumentalists and singers. If you choose to take a performance module, you will be expected to attend a platform or seminar class every week, at which you will perform at least 3 times per year, on top of which there are plenty of opportunities during the year for public recitals. Composition students also have the chance to get their works performed by professionals from their first year onwards.
  • 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 in a flexible learning space; podcasts and interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to use IT programmes associated with design in practicals and project-based work, etc.
  • Seminars/tutorials:  Significant amounts of teaching are carried out in small groups (typically 10-20 students).  These provide a vital opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers.  You should also expect to make presentations and other contributions to these groups: being able to speak in public, and to defend your arguments, is an important skill irrespective of your future employment.
  • Self-directed study:  This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out. The amount of self-directed study required varies from module to module, but typically amounts to 8-10 hours per week per module. Music students taking performance modules should allow extra time for practicing their instrument or singing.
  • Work placements:  Students may opt for a Work Placement module in Year 3.  This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity.
  • Supervised projects:  In final year, you have the opportunity to carry out a significant piece of research on a topic or practical methodology that you have chosen, whether in the Dissertation or Special Project modules, or in a Directed Study.  You will receive support from a supervisor who will guide you in terms of how to carry out your research and will provide feedback to you on at least 2 occasions during the write-up stage.
  • Personal Tutor:  Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during all three years of their degree who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development. 
  • Study Abroad: There are a number of opportunities for studying abroad, both in Europe (Erasmus) and the US

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Assessment and Feedback

Assessment: The ways in which you are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module.  Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments.  Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations, which, in the case of Music, may take the form of a listening test.  Practical modules include an end-of-year performance which, in the case of Year 3 students, takes the form of a public recital. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Module Outline Document which is provided to all students


Feedback (general):  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:


  • 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. 

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Studying for a BMus degree at Queen’s will assist you in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions.  Graduates from this degree at Queen’s are well regarded by many employers and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline. 

BMus graduates have found employment in many different fields within music.  These include performance, composition, teaching, academia, arts administration, music therapy, journalism, broadcasting and publishing.

Due to the diverse range of skills developed on the BMus, graduates are also highly sought after in professions unrelated to music. Recent graduates have embarked on careers in fields as varied as finance, public relations, and charity work overseas. Many students also apply the skills they develop through the degree entrepreneurially to create their own work opportunities and the University runs a number of extra-curricular programmes in entrepreneurship.


Placement Employers


Our past students have gained work placement with organisations such as:



  • Arts Council of Northern Ireland


  • Ulster Orchestra




  • Wallace High School







Graduate Careers and Achievements


Our graduates have gone into a diverse range of careers, including the following:


  • Jim Samson, Professor of Music, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Gráinne Hambly, Irish harpist
  • Carol McGonnell, clarinetist
  • Deirdre Gribbin, composer
  • Marie-Claire Doris, Producer at BBC
  • Noreen McFarland, Education and Outreach Officer, Ulster Orchestra
  • Karen Diamond, NI Music Therapy Trust
  • Angela Haley, Events and Conferencing Manager, Eventus
  • Caroline Simpson, Online Marketing Executive, i3


You should consult, and the Prospects website for more information concerning the types of jobs that attract Music graduates.

Further study, including Masters programmes, is also an option.


Other Career-related information: Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers.  Queen’s students will be advised and guided about career choice and through the Degree Plus initiative, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer.  See Queen’s University Belfast fullEmployability Statementfor further information.

Degree Plus and other related initiatives:  Recognising student diversity, as well as promoting employability enhancements and other interests, is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s.  Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements and other work experiences (at home or overseas), Erasmus study options elsewhere in Europe, learning development opportunities and involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies, and sports.


Queen’s actively encourages this type of activity by offering students an additional qualification, the Degree Plus Award (and the related Researcher Plus Award for PhD and MPhil students).  Degree Plus accredits wider experiential and skill development gained through extra-curricular activities that promote the enhancement of academic, career management, personal and employability skills in a variety of contexts.  As part of the Award, students are also trained on how to reflect on the experience(s) and make the link between academic achievement, extracurricular activities, transferable skills and graduate employment. Participating students will also be trained in how to reflect on their skills and experiences and can gain an understanding of how to articulate the significance of these to others, e.g. employers.


Overall, these initiatives, and Degree Plusin particular, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies.  These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers.

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Special Features

Facilities: the School of Creative Arts has two recital venues, which are major centres for performance in Northern Ireland, excellent recording facilities, a collection of percussion and keyboard instruments, and electronic and computer music facilities, which are among the best in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Partnerships: the School has partnerships with the Ulster Orchestra, the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, and the Moving on Music initiative. The School also organises the Sonorities Festival of Contemporary Music, one of the key new music festivals in Europe.

Placement: past students have gained work placement with organisations such as the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Wallace High School and the Ulster Orchestra.

Study Abroad: the School has an exchange programme with the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.


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Student Work


Students performing at their recital concerts: