Music Composition & Technology

BA/BSc (Hons)

2017 entry

Music Composition and Technology is an exciting addition to the portfolio of courses offered at UCA Farnham.

On this course you'll determine your degree award (in consultation with your tutors) in the second term of your second year when you decide whether you wish to take the more technical unit: Designing Interactivity (BSc) and the subsequent (BSc) units or Linear Brief (BA) and subsequent (BA) units.

On either award and related units you might be working as a composer or a sound designer or both but is the application of skills and knowledge to the different technological demands of the environments that determines the (BSc) or (BA) award.

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Length of study:

Three years full-time


September 2017


UCA Farnham

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Course overview:

In the sound and music business the boundaries between what has traditionally been seen as two distinctive disciplines is rapidly breaking down. A state of fluidity is now the norm with practitioners often working in a multidisciplinary way across a range of arenas as composers, sound designers, musicians, fine artists etc.

Our Music Composition and Technology course has been designed to reflect this need for flexibility driven by the changing nature of the industry, and the course design accommodates the changing needs of the students. For example, as students’ progress through the course they may discover that they are interested in applying their technical or ‘craft’ skills to an interactive environment, which by its nature requires a more technical approach. Or perhaps they might be more inclined towards a more linear environment, where technology is employed in sound design or composition to enhance environments. The common thread that the course addresses is how the ability to manipulate sound and music is applicable to a range of current and emerging media.

This increasingly fluid nature of the professional media environment affords tremendous opportunities for students to develop their craft, enabling them to fashion beautiful musical creations and soundscapes whilst also taking risks. The course explores innovative and emerging approaches to product, process and technology and provides students with opportunities to challenges existing conventions, while they learn the transferable skills that will enable them to excel both as individuals and as part of a creative team.

Integral to both the (BSc) and the (BA) is the need for students to have an understanding of the relationship between personal ambitions and the demands of business and how to mediate the two to build a lasting career.

In Sound Advice in Year 2 and The Sound Business in Year 3 students are introduced to the music and sound business and begin to understand how the business works and how to make it work for them. This underpinning of the curriculum with strategies for employability and professional practice is embedded from Year 1 and will support students to make and sustain professional careers in the industry.

A key feature of the course is the cross-disciplinary collaborations available across the range of media subjects at UCA Farnham.

Course content - 2017 entry

In the first year, you'll be introduced to the University and the technical workshops and facilities available to you. On the course you’ll learn the technical and conceptual skills that will give you a solid foundation from which to explore your areas of specialist activity.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Adventures in Sound and Music

    Introduces you to location sound recording, writing music, sound design and building a soundscape.

  • Exploring Narrative

    Composing music or building a sound track for a three minute animation.

  • Sonic Art

    Sound and music as mediated through personal and public environments.

  • Studio Toolkit 1

    Introduction to basic audio engineering and digital programmes such as: Logic Pro, Ableton, Sound Forge, Protools etc.

  • Beats and Bleeps 1

    History and theory of electronic music and sound design.

The second year focus is on finding your own specialist way of working and you’ll be encouraged and supported to start working more independently. During this year you may also have the opportunity to complete an industry work placement or even study abroad.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Studio Toolkit 2

    Advanced studio recording and mixing techniques, and interactive programming applications such as Max MSP etc.

  • Linear Brief (BA)

    Composing a music score or soundtrack for a narrative film.

  • Designing Interactivity (BSc)

    Composing a music score or sound track and sound design for a computer games design or interactive production.

  • Sound Advice

    Introduction to the music and sound business and building a CV/online presence

  • Beats and Bleeps 2

    Further explorations of the history and theory of electronic music, sound design and developing a dissertation proposal or research project for Year 3.

  • Self-Generated Project or Work Experience

    Working with Acting and Performance students to compose music or a sound track for a performance festival.

The third year will see you achieve a greater level of independence with self-managed research, study and practice, resulting in a final major project and a written dissertation.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Dissertation or Practice as Research

    You’ll undertake an extended piece of writing that explores in-depth an area of interest or alternatively develop a practice based project that is supported by extensive research.

  • The Sound Business

    Preparing for a career in the music and sound industry. Updating and populating your online profile.

  • Showreel

    Up to 25 minutes of music composition or sound design for a range of mediums working primarily linearly (BA) or interactive (BSc).

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

How to apply - 2017 entry

I am a UK or EU citizen ...

I am not a UK or EU citizen ...

Entry requirements - 2017 entry:

As a leading creative arts university, we want to attract the best and most creative minds in the country – so we take a balanced approach to candidate assessment, taking both individual portfolios and exam results into account. 

That’s why your portfolio is an especially important part of your application to study with us – and we can help. Our academics can offer you expert advice on how to showcase your creative work and build a portfolio that will make your application stand out. More advice on how to create an exceptional portfolio is also available here.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 280 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2)

And additionally applicants will normally be expected to have A level in music or music technology Or Grade 5 Theory (ABRSM, LCMM, Trinity College, Rockschool or others recognised by Ofqual).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance, and who were expected to achieve higher results.

New UCAS tariff

UCAS has made changes to its tariff system.

Find out how these changes will affect you

Your portfolio

While a portfolio is not required for this course, if you choose to bring one it should it be on DVD or USB stick and consist of up to five minutes of original composed music or sound work. Be prepared to talk about your interests in music or sound and why you wish to pursue this course with us.

Fees & finance

Uncover all the costs involved, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations.

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