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Composition for Screen at UCA

Study and create music surrounded by like-minded peers, from animators and actors to filmmakers and game designers, and collaborate on exciting projects, on our BMus (Hons) Composition for Screen degree course at UCA Farnham. 

On this course, you’ll enjoy a wealth of interdisciplinary opportunities, become skilled in using the latest technologies, and enjoy building industry connections through live briefs and a work placement. 

This course has contemporary practice embedded throughout, and you’ll also be encouraged to consider your work in the context of global audiences, exploring artistic practices from different cultures and countries. 

Through lively and exploratory lectures, small group seminars, and one-to-one tutorials, you will be supported to develop your work and produce it professionally, and you’ll have the opportunity for it to be performed by professional musicians.  

 

Course entry options

Select from the following options to find out more about the different study options available for this course:

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Institution code
C93
UCAS code
W300
Campus
UCA Farnham
Start date(s)
September 2024, September 2025
Duration
3 years full-time
Entry requirements

112 UCAS points

International equivalent qualifications

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Institution code
C93
UCAS code
W30A
Campus
UCA Farnham
Start date(s)
September 2024, September 2025
Duration
4 years full-time
Entry requirements

32 UCAS points

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Institution code
C93
UCAS code
W30C
Campus
UCA Farnham
Start date(s)
September 2024, September 2025
Duration
4 years full-time
Entry requirements

12 years of schooling (with good grades)

Close
Institution code
C93
UCAS code
W301
Campus
UCA Farnham
Start date(s)
September 2024, September 2025
Duration
4 years full-time
Entry requirements

112 UCAS points

International equivalent qualifications

Close
Institution code
C93
UCAS code
W30B
Campus
UCA Farnham
Start date(s)
September 2024, September 2025
Duration
5 years full-time
Entry requirements

32 UCAS points

Close
Institution code
C93
Campus
UCA Farnham
Start date(s)
September 2024, September 2025
Duration
5 years full-time
Entry requirements

12 years of schooling (with good grades)

Accreditations, partners and industry connections

Steinberg Certified Training logo

Steinberg Certified Training

Steinberg is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of audio software and hardware. UCA is certified to deliver training in using its products.

AVID (Learning Partner) logo

AVID (Learning Partner)

UCA is officially certified as an AVID learning partner, meaning it can train students across our film and media courses to use AVID’s range of products, including Pro Tools, and Media Composer.

British Film Institute (BFI) logo

British Film Institute (BFI)

The BFI is a charity and the UK’s leading organisation for film and moving image. It promotes and supports British film from newcomers to established makers, and cares for the BFI National Archive, the world’s largest film and television archive.

ARRI logo

ARRI

ARRI is a leading designer and manufacturer of camera and lighting systems for the film, broadcast, and media industries. The ARRI Certified Film School accreditation is awarded to institutions that meet rigorous standards of technical excellence, creative education, and professional development.

National Theatre logo

National Theatre

The National Theatre has been sharing unforgettable stories for more than 50 years. In its role as the leader of theatre in the UK, it works tirelessly to bring theatre to audiences around the world and encourages the art of theatre through commissioned work, learning programmes and strategic partnerships.

What you'll study

What you'll
study

The content of the course may be subject to change. Curriculum content is provided as a guide.

UCA’s Integrated Foundation Year is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and more.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated Foundation Year

For our students coming from a non-UK educational background, UCA has launched an Integrated International Foundation Year, based at UCA Farnham to bring students from around the world to one hub of creativity.

This year of preparatory study is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and the English speaking and writing skills you’ll need to succeed.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated International Foundation Year

Launch Week
Your Launch week is a chance to get to know students from other year groups through a series of activities, including an “audio treasure hunt” and a mentoring programme. At the end of the week, you'll write to your future, graduate, self. You'll also contribute anonymously to "a box of hopes and fears" which will be shared with next year's freshers after they themselves have written theirs.

Analogue A: Early Explorations in Physical Sound
Analogue A introduces you to the fundamental concepts, technologies and music theories that are derived from the analogue domain. Focusing mainly on music from the first half of the 20th Century, you’ll learn to use analogue studio equipment, gain a foundational understanding of music theory including physics, acoustics and standard western notation, and music philosophy.

Equality Diversity and Inclusion
This is a chance for you to explore what is meant by equality, diversity, and inclusion and the implications of these concepts for creative practice. It will equip students to understand how our social identities (such as gender, race/ethnicity, class, disability, sexual orientation, and religion) contribute to the inclusion and/or exclusion of individuals in creative spaces. Students will develop an understanding of the theoretical and practical issues around equality, diversity and inclusion through research into the contexts of contemporary issues in creative disciplines.

Analogue B: Application of Early Sound Techniques
Following Analogue A, this unit is about deconstructing analogue music. You’ll analyse existing compositions, including your own, and mix and remix them using analogue workflows.

Opportunity
Opportunity Week features a series of talks, masterclasses and workshops from industry professionals for all year groups.

Digital 0: Fundamental Production Techniques
You’ll examine the role of computer technology in the fields of music, film and research, and become familiar with computer software to gain insight into how digital technology can be incorporated into the processes of music composition, recording and sound design.

Professional Development
You’ll be introduced to current working structures and operations of the UK and global music and media industries, giving insights into how music producers, film/media producers and businesses interact with each other on a creative and commercial basis. You will also look critically at how the music and media industries shape, and are shaped by, changing culture, technology, political and economic processes. You’ll also be introduced to professional practices and opportunities associated with working and contributing to the creative industries.

Digital 1: Fundamental Production Techniques
Digital 1 is a deconstruction of digital music. You will analyse existing compositions, including your own, and mix and remix them using digital workflows. You’ll also look at the interface of composition for screen with music theory and explore unusual film scores and game music.

ATOM Activities
ATOM activities are tiny pieces of individual learning that facilitate interdisciplinary exposure across the university. Collectively they form a small fraction of your curriculum that is determined through your own personal choice and interest.

PLE Digital Outcome
In this unit you will collate a digital record, reflecting on your learning journey through the first year of your degree. You will be identifying key points and developments within all units undertaken. We are interested in seeing a detailed account of your academic, technical and creative progress and development.

Launch Week
Your Launch Week for Year 2 is an intensive course on narrative composition. Creating music quickly and to a brief is an essential part of being a modern media composer or sound designer. Writing cues, working from a script, and working in time-constrained settings will simulate ‘real world’ scenarios where music creation is reflexive and fast.

Space: Sound and Acoustics
You’ll explore the relationship of sound and music to space. You’ll learn the technology required to record, mix and reproduce sound in the three dimensions of space, consider spatial relationships in composition, and develop a philosophical outlook on sound and music through various lenses, such as Semiotics, Acoustic Ecology and Cybernetics. Through this, you’ll create a new piece of sonic art that emphasises, highlights and explores the listeners’ relationship to space, and by extension, place.

The Conscious Practitioner
This unit aims to promote progressive values and attitudes to diversity and inclusion in creative practice. You’ll have the opportunity to explore global perspectives and influences on creative practice, drawing upon interactions with varied identities, cultures, politics, and histories. You’ll explore how beliefs, values and attitudes drive behaviour and practices. You’ll reflect on the development of their own creative influences, perspectives, practices, and sense of belonging as developing creative professionals in global and contemporary spaces.

Opportunity Week
A series of talks, masterclasses and workshops from industry professionals; All year groups.

Time: Organising Sound for Screen
You’ll explore the relationship of sound and music to time in this unit, using technology to manipulate recorded material using various techniques in the time domain, develop more advanced notational techniques related to rhythm and tempo, and explore philosophical theories relating to the movement of time as we are making and listening to music, including investigating artists who incorporate concepts of time into their music.

Placement / Live Brief
You’ll research, negotiate and undertake a self-initiated work experience placement opportunity – or you’ll undertake a live brief related to the music, sound or media industries. You will be expected to reflect on your work experience or professional interactions critically and apply your experience to theoretical concepts covered on your course and begin to build a personal strategic plan to develop yourself and your skills towards a chosen career path and profession.

ATOM Activities
This unit is an extension of your Year 1 ATOM Activities.

PLE Digital Outcome
You’ll build your industry community and professional networking footprint, creating a digital folder evidencing that you are actively engaging in sustainable professional development. You’ll showcase current and newly established professional networks and identify common interests.

Elective units
You'll also undertake two elective units across the year - choose from:

  • Applied Skills for a Sustainable Media Industry - UCA is a founder member of the albert Education Partnership from BAFTA, which brings together Film and TV course providers from across the country and empowers their students to consider and help alleviate the screen industry’s impact on the climate crisis. Upon successful completion of this unit, you will achieve certification as an ‘albert Grad’, signalling your achievement of highly employable skills for a sustainable industry.
  • Audio World Building - Sound design can have an enormous impact on any moving image project. This unit will encourage you to explore the way sound can be used to underpin action, describe the unseen, establish an environment, set a tone, depict a mood or even to directly elicit an emotional response from an audience. 
  • Cinematography - This unit is essential if you want to develop yuor skills in visual storytelling and creating compelling visuals for film and video. By taking this unit, you will learn the principles of cinematography and gain hands-on experience using industry-standard equipment to create professional quality visuals.
  • Consent, Intimacy and Stage Combat - This unit focuses on the fundamental skills and principles required for performing effective, believable, and safer intimacy and unarmed (hand to hand) combat for stage and screen.
  • Film Production - This unit is designed to provide learners with practical skills and knowledge in film production, with a focus on collaboration, professionalism, and self-reflection. The unit will culminate in a group film production project, where learners will have the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge.
  • Immersive Production - You will explore cutting edge and future focused technology to gain a broad comprehension of the expertise and skills required if you want to delve further into immersive media production. The unit will enable you to get a strong understanding of where the production industry is heading and allow you to pitch a concept using these technologies for a television production brief.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborations in Music and Theatre - This unit encourages interdisciplinary collaboration between Music, Acting & Performance, and Design for Theatre & Screen to plan, rehearse and deliver a live performance piece to an audience of peers and the public. This project puts music performance at the centre of the collaboration. 
  • Loops and Micro Format Films - You’ll discover the creativity and versatility of the simple animated (or live action) loop for use on your website as a showcase to promote your own work or engage your ‘brand’, and create three loops to upload to your websites or use in social media for self-promotion.
  • Motion Capture & Green Screen - Motion capture is a technique used to capture the movements of actors or objects in digital form. Green screen is a technique used to composite two or more images or video streams together by replacing a specific colour (usually green or blue) with another image or video stream. In this unit you’ll learn about how both these things can work in the VFX industry.
  • Physical Theatre Production - You’ll work together with students from a wide range of courses to make a live physical theatre production. This could be further augmented by animated material or filmed material. TV or film students may also be involved capturing or streaming the performance.
  • Postproduction Editing - This elective unit is essential if you want to become proficient in the art of post-production film editing. Using industry-standard software - Avid Media Composer (Davinci Resolve, and Premiere Pro) – you’ll create a professional quality scene and have analysed and evaluated professional editing and sound design workflows.
  • Prestige Television - Starting with the claim that television reaches more people than any other cultural form, this unit examines and articulates the meanings of ‘Quality’ and ‘Prestige’ as they relate to Television, and why these genres of ‘Prestige’ have become dominant.
  • Screen Writing - You’ll be introduced to a range of creative writing skills and, in particular, the highly visual medium of writing for film and television. You will view and compare the work of some of the industry’s most accomplished contemporary screen writers, learn how to present and format a script and write your own story outline for a short film, series or screenplay.
  • Shakespeare Festival - In this unit you will stage an abridged version of a Shakespeare play in an outdoor festival setting at sites around UCA Farnham campus. A director will help you shape the play and actors, composers and designers will work together to rehearse and run the festival events. 
  • TV in the Age of Digital Disruption - This unit examines and critically interrogates the changing dynamics of television production, distribution, textual analysis and audience engagement in an age of ‘digital disruption’, particularly following the rise of streaming services.
  • Verbatim - You will explore Verbatim texts and performance practices including ‘headphone’ theatre and documentary theatre practices. The unit will culminate in small group films/performances using the practical techniques studied.
  • Virtual Production - Virtual production has emerged as a cutting-edge technology that revolutionizes the way film and television productions are made. You’ll gain the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to use virtual production tools and techniques to create immersive and interactive digital content.

If you opt to complete a professional practice year, this will take place in year three. You will undertake a placement within the creative industries to further develop your skills and CV.

While on your Professional Practice Year, you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee for that year. This fee will be determined using government funding regulations. Based on current regulations, we expect this to be a maximum of 20% of the tuition fee rate that you are charged for your second year of study. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during this year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this as you approach your Professional Practice Year.

Please note: If you are an international applicant, you will need to enrol onto the course ‘with Professional Practice Year’. It will not be possible to transfer onto the Professional Practice Year after enrolment

Launch Week
Your final Launch Week is about listening and sharing. Each day we will listen to an important and significant musical work in its entirety together. From contemporary albums with amazing production values, to opera, electroacoustic music and everything in between. At the end of the week, you’ll create a mixtape of your own eclectic interests to share and sustain you throughout the final year.

Dissertation
Your dissertation is documentation of a sustained academically rigorous argument. This is normally through a written and referenced piece of writing, as might appear in a peer-reviewed journal. It may be possible to do a multimedia submission, depending on your area of focus. You’ll develop and research an area of enquiry from which your question and title are formed. Sound and music cannot exist in a vacuum, so an interdisciplinary approach to your methodology is encouraged.

Music Business
Develop the strategies, plans and pragmatic information you’ll need for your next steps in the music business. You’ll create a dossier, which evidences the steps taken to prepare yourself for the future, including details on your online presence, your biography and artist statement, your CV and more. By embracing preparedness and flexibility, this unit will help provide you with the tools needed to plan and evolve with the changing landscape of the music business.

Opportunity Week
A series of talks, masterclasses and workshops from industry professionals for all year groups.

Final Major Project
The Final Major Project is a culmination of your skills, passions and creativity. If you are working as part of a wider collaborative team, then a defined role within the group will also be negotiated. The brief and role description set the parameters in which your final major project will develop. It should be ambitious but achievable and framed within how you want to promote yourself as a composer, musician or music producer.

Examples might include:

  • Creating and implementing sound design for a project with games
  • Scoring a film or animation
  • Working with an external partner
  • Working with other composers on a joint project


Alongside the project, you'll compile a showreel of work to showcase your compositions. Your course will conclude with a festival that celebrates the compositions and projects completed for this unit.

This course is designed to offer you (if eligible) the opportunity to study part of your degree aboard at a UCA partner university, while still earning credits towards your UCA degree.

For more information please visit the Study Abroad section

Industry placement
offer

Preparing graduates for successful careers underpins everything we do, and all students on this course may be offered support to identify and prepare for an industry placement according to their individual needs. We’ll draw on our wide range of contacts within the creative industries to help provide you with opportunities that align with your interests and future career aspirations.

Course specifications

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change in line with our Student Terms and Conditions for example, as required by external professional bodies or to improve the quality of the course.

Explore our gradshow

Each year, we’re privileged to be able to share our graduates’ incredible work with the world. And now’s your chance to take a look.

Visit the online showcase
Fees & funding

Fees & financial support

Tuition fees - 2024/25 entry

  • Integrated Foundation Year: £9,250
  • BMus course: £9,250

If you opt to study the Professional Practice Year, for 2024 you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee of £1,850. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during your Professional Practice year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this.

Tuition fees - 2024/25 entry

  • Integrated International Foundation Year: £9,250 (see fee discount information)
  • BMus course: £9,250 (see fee discount information)

If you opt to study the Professional Practice Year, for 2024 you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee of £1,850. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during your Professional Practice year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this.

Tuition fees - 2024/25 entry

  • Integrated International Foundation Year: £16,950
  • BMus course: £17,500

If you opt to study the Professional Practice Year, for 2024 you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee of £3,390. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during your Professional Practice year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this.

Please note: The fees listed on this webpage are correct for the stated academic year only, for details of previous years please see the full fee schedules.

UCA scholarships and fee discounts

At UCA we have a number of scholarships and fee discounts available to assist you with the cost of your studies.

Financial support

There are lots of ways you can access additional financial support to help you fund your studies - both from UCA and from external sources. Discover what support you might qualify for please see our financial support information.

Additional course costs

In addition to the tuition fees there may be other costs for your course. The things that you are likely to need to budget for to get the most out of a creative arts education will include books, printing costs, occasional or optional study trips and/or project materials.

These costs will vary according to the nature of your project work and the individual choices that you make. Please see the Additional Course Costs section of your Course Information for details of the costs you may incur.

Facilities

Our teaching spaces have a mixture of analogue and digital equipment. We have sound editing, recording and mixing suites with software such as Avid Pro Tools, Steinberg Dorico and Cubase, Ableton Live, Max/MSP, Logic Pro and the Vienna Symphonic Library. The media store has a good supply of equipment to hire, specialist music equipment includes: Ableton push controllers, amplifiers, midi keyboards and high quality microphones such as the Neuman U87 and AKG 414. You'll also have access to the Grove Music dictionary and Naxos Music Library.

View 360 virtual tour

Sound editing suite, UCA Epsom

Recording studio, UCA Farnham

Pro-tools room, UCA Farnham

Foley studio, UCA Epsom

Arusik Nanyan

"I really enjoy the availability of being creative and making any of your crazy ideas become reality. Here at UCA you are provided any kind of assistance, equipment, time and space you need."

Arusik Nanyan

Entry & portfolio requirements

Entry & portfolio
requirements

BMus (Hons) course
BMus (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements* for these courses are one of the following:

  • 112 UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level, see more information about IB entry requirements

And A-level in Music / Music Technology Grade B, or Grade 5 Music Theory, or a music portfolio at an equivalent standard**

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

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.  

Portfolio requirements

These courses require a submission of a portfolio of musical work. We’ll invite you to attend an Applicant Day so you can have your review in person, meet the course team and learn more about your course. Further information will be provided once you have applied.

We are not necessarily looking for a polished production but rather something that you feel demonstrates your musical and sonic interests. It could include a video of a performance, the music to a short film, a piece of sound design, a score, graphic score or lead sheet of original work. It could be a mix or remix in any style and might include a description of your technical or artistic process. In other words, it should represent you, your interests and your process. We recommend you keep your work to less than 5 minutes in total. 

 


BMus (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year
BMus (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements* for these courses are one of the following:

  • 32 UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Pass, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 32 UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 24 points from the International Baccalaureate, see more information about IB entry requirements.

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

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. 

Portfolio requirements

These courses require a submission of a portfolio of musical work. We’ll invite you to attend an Applicant Day so you can have your review in person, meet the course team and learn more about your course. Further information will be provided once you have applied.

We are not necessarily looking for a polished production but rather something that you feel demonstrates your musical and sonic interests. It could include a video of a performance, the music to a short film, a piece of sound design, a score, graphic score or lead sheet of original work. It could be a mix or remix in any style and might include a description of your technical or artistic process. In other words, it should represent you, your interests and your process. We recommend you keep your work to less than 5 minutes in total. 

 


**We understand that not all applicants have the opportunity to formally study music. In place of an A2 Grade B in Music or Pass in Grade 5 Theory, we request to see an equivalent level of skill demonstrated through portfolio contents upon application. This would include wide-ranging portfolio contents suitable for the course applied for.

*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. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades -  in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

BMus (Hons) course
BMus (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

The entry requirements for these courses will depend on the country your qualifications are from, please check the equivalent qualifications for your country:

For this course you also require an A-level in Music / Music Technology Grade B, or Grade 5 Music Theory, or a music portfolio at an equivalent standard.

Any additional entry requirements listed in the UK requirements section, e.g., subject requirements, work experience or professional qualifications, also apply to international applicants applying with equivalent qualifications.

Portfolio requirements

These courses require a submission of a portfolio of musical work. You can upload a portfolio digitally via your UCA Applicant Portal. Further information will be provided once you have applied.

We are not necessarily looking for a polished production but rather something that you feel demonstrates your musical and sonic interests. It could include a video of a performance, the music to a short film, a piece of sound design, a score, graphic score or lead sheet of original work. It could be a mix or remix in any style and might include a description of your technical or artistic process. In other words, it should represent you, your interests and your process. We recommend you keep your work to less than 5 minutes in total. 

 


BMus (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year
BMus (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

For these courses you need to have completed 12 years of schooling (with good grades) and show strong evidence of your ability to successfully complete the programme and progress onto your chosen degree.

Any additional entry requirements listed in the UK requirements section, e.g., subject requirements, work experience or professional qualifications, also apply to international applicants applying with equivalent qualifications.

Portfolio requirements

These courses don't require a portfolio of musical work.

 


English language requirements

To study at UCA, you'll need to have a certain level of English language skill. And so, to make sure you meet the requirements of your course, we ask for evidence of your English language ability, please check the level of English language required:

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry pathways:

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