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Music and English BA

UCAS code WQ33
Year of entry 2017
  View 2018 entry »
Course Length 3 years full time
Department Music »
English »

This Joint Honours course combines the practical and theoretical study of Music with the study of English literature.

Studying Music at Royal Holloway allows you to tailor your studies to your own interests and passions.

We have expertise spanning traditional, modern and world music. Through studying musical texts, practices, cultures and institutions you will explore issues in history, sociology, ethnology, and philosophy covering an exceptional geographical and chronological range. You will also be able to gain practical skills in composition, music technology and performance.

You will join a music department that is among the very best in the country, ranked third in the UK for research quality (REF 2014) and the only music department in the country to hold a prestigious Regius Professorship.

  • You will have access to well-equipped studios and recording facilities as well as incredible performance spaces including the Windsor Auditorium, Boilerhouse Theatre, Victorian Picture Gallery and College Chapel.
  • Our well connected department means you have the opportunity to make valuable music industry contacts. Our staff are connected with musical networks such Wigmore Hall, the BBC Proms, Royal Opera House.

From Beowulf to the Booker Prize, English offers you the opportunity to study the full historical range of literature in English as well as the latest developments in the field, and even to pursue your own creative writing.

You can discover the earliest works in English, deepen your knowledge of Shakespeare, find out what is great about Renaissance literature, darken your view of the 18th century, and unpack the Victorians. The course's structure allows you to develop a sound understanding of key periods, genres, authors, and ideas as well as choosing from a huge range of options. You can study Modernism, Postmodernism and American literature, explore literary criticism, develop your own creative writing, and analyse the latest developments in global literatures in English.

  • You will gain a solid knowledge of the whole range of English literature from its beginnings to its latest developments, ranging from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and Salman Rushdie.
  • Study unusual, non-traditional subjects such as the body in the 18th century or time in modern literature or courses incorporating visual arts and cinema.

A joint degree allows you to study in depth two complementary subjects that you really love but without double the amount of work.  Best of all, you’ll have the opportunity to develop a wider range of skills and your employability, as a joint honours graduate, will be boosted – according to graduate destination surveys.

Join a Music department known for leading the country in research, for its range of choice, and creative collaborations with other departments. Through the course you'll work in the unique studios and performing spaces at Royal Holloway and have the chance to make invaluable industry contacts – our staff are connected with musical networks like Wigmore Hall, the BBC Proms, Royal Opera House. You'll study in a department known for its commitment to working with different communities (including communities at risk), NGOs, governments and social initiatives in and beyond the UK. So, as well as performing and composing, you'll learn about issues which shape music, like politics, urban development, gender and globalisation. 

With our English department, you'll learn alongside staff who are practising writers, novelists and poets, and you'll come away thinking more clearly and thoroughly – and with more curiosity. We'll give you the chance to explore the earliest works in English literature, the latest developments and even pursue your own creative writing. At the end of your studies, you'll have the chance to work on a dissertation on any subject you want. You'll also have access to 11 Bedford Square, Royal Holloway’s campus in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury, a hub for creative work.  

Core modules

Year 1

English: Critical Foundations - Thinking as a Critic

The aim of this module is to help you make the transition into university level work by introducing you to reading, writing and thinking as a critic. The module focuses on developing the abilities and skills of literary criticism and introducing the concepts, ideas and histories that are central to English as a discipline, including questions about interpretation, periodization, form, genre, canon, value, intention, narrative, voice, framing and identity. 

English: Re-orienting the Novel

This module introduces you to the origins, developments and innovations of the novel form through a range of contemporary, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels. Organised thematically, the module considers earlier novels in relation to contemporary examples. 

English: Introduction to Poetry

This module is designed to introduce you to a variety of major poems in English from the Renaissance to the present day. By the end of the course you will be able to demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a wide range of poems from Shakespeare to the present; a familiarity with a variety of poetic forms; an understanding of how poetry functions; and the necessary skills for analysing poetic technique.

Year 2

All modules are optional

Year 3

All modules are optional

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Music: Theory and Analysis

Music: Practical Musicianship

Music: Creative Composition Techniques

Music: Practical Composition Skills

Music: Very Short History of Music

Music: Introduction to Historical Musicology

Music: Introduction to World Music

Music: Contemporary Debates in Music

Music: Solo Performance

Music: Creative Ensemble Performance

Year 2

Music: Studies in Music Analysis

Music: Studies in Composition

Music: Studies in Music History

Music: Studies in Ethnomusicology

Music: Studies in Music, Media and Technology

Music: Practical Performance

Music: Solo Performance

Music: Ensemble Performance

Music: Composition Portfolio

Music: Ensemble Performance in World Music - Andean Band

Music: Choral Conducting

Music: Baroque Performance Practice

Music: Composing with Technology

Music: Composing with Technology

Music: Sounds and Cultures in East Asia

Music: Introduction to Jazz

Music: Popular Music and Musicians in Post-War Britain and North America

Music: Orchestral Conducting

Music: Orchestral Performance

Music: Practical Ethics

Music: Wagner's Ring

Music: Issues in Sound, Music and the Moving Image

Music: Sibelius and Music of Northern Europe

Music: Music in the City

Music: Music, Environment and Ecology

Music: Music, Power and Politics

Music: Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze

Music: Silent Film Performance

Music: Music and Gender

Music: Debussy and French Musical Aesthetics

English: Introduction to Medieval Literature

This module introduces you to the earliest literary writings in English, covering a span of eight hundred years, from 700 to 1500. You will cover an extensive range of genres and texts - from Beowulf to Arthurian romance, and dream vision to religious drama, and think about issues of vital concern and interest to medieval writers and audiences: religion, love, violence, the supernatural, and kingship and society.

English: Shakespeare

This module facilitates a deeper - as well as a more pleasurable and rewarding - understanding of the range of Shakespeare’s work. You will be encouraged to think about the plays as theatre as well as printed literature, although a main feature of the course will be its close attention to the extraordinary fertility and force of Shakespeare’s dramatic language. While paying close attention to Shakespeare’s very different historical context in the Renaissance, the module will be equally concerned with the question of whether the plays are still relevant to us today.

English: Middle English Poetry

English: Medieval Drama

English: Tolkien's Roots - Old English Poetry and Modern Medievalism

English: Medieval Dream and Vision

English: Medieval Epic and Romance

English: The Gawain-Poet

English: Myths of Origin in Old English Literature

English: Old English Riddles

English: Love, Honour, Obey' - Literature, 1525 to 1670

English: Intensive Shakespeare - Comedy, History, Tragedy

English: Witchcraft and Drama, 1576 to 1642

English: Theatre and The City, 1590 to 1625

English: Early Modern Bodies

English: Paradise in Early Modern Literature

English: Gender and Writing in the Eighteenth Century

English: Eighteenth Century Bodies

English: The Age of Oppositions - Literature, 1660 to 1780

English: Tristram Shandy and the Experimental Novel

English: Fictions of Sensation

English: Victoria Literature

English: Romanticisms

English: Creative Writing - Structure and Style

English: Writing Migrant Identities

English: Enivornmental Literatures

English: Four National Poets: Gillian Clarke, Carol Ann Duffy, Liz Lochhead and Paula Meehan

English: Literature of The Fin de Siècle

English: British Drama from Shaw to Priestly

English: Dark Reform - Scandal and Satire in American Culture

English: Contemporary Debates in Literary and Critical Theory

English: Modernist Literature

Year 3

Music: Studies in Music Analysis

Music: Studies in Composition

Music: Studies in Music History

Music: Studies in Ethnomusicology

Music: Studies in Music, Media and Technology

Music: Practical Performance

Music: Solo Performance

Music: Ensemble Performance

Music: Composition Portfolio

Music: Ensemble Performance in World Music - Andean Band

Music: Choral Conducting

Music: Baroque Performance Practice

Music: Composing with Technology

Music: Composing with Technology

Music: Sounds and Cultures in East Asia

Music: Introduction to Jazz

Music: Popular Music and Musicians in Post-War Britain and North America

Music: Orchestral Conducting

Music: Orchestral Performance

Music: Practical Ethics

Music: Wagner's Ring

Music: Issues in Sound, Music and the Moving Image

Music: Sibelius and Music of Northern Europe

Music: Music in the City

Music: Music, Environment and Ecology

Music: Music, Power and Politics

Music: Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze

Music: Silent Film Performance

Music: Music and Gender

Music: Debussy and French Musical Aesthetics

Music: Practical Performance 2

Music: Composing with Technology 2

Music: Special Study - Dissertation

Music: Special Study - Theory and Analysis

Music: Special Study - Performance

Music: Special Study - Composition

English: A Marriage of Minds?

English: Special Author Project - Joseph Conrad

English: Special Author Project - Virginia Woolf

English: Special Author Project - Chaucer - The Canterbury Tales

English: Special Author Project - The Brontes

English: Special Author Project - John Donne

English: Special Author Project - Charles Dickens

English: Special Author Project - Thomas Hardy

English: Special Author Project - J.M. Coetzee

English: Special Author Project - Samuel Beckett

English: Special Author Project - Christopher Marlowe

English: Special Author Project - Oscar Wilde

English: Of Circumference - Reading Emily Dickinson

English: Rewriting Mythologies in 20th Century Literature

English: Character - Literary Persons, Selfhood and Interiority in Early Modern Literature

English: Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture

English: Special Topic - The Girl in the Book

English: The Post-Colonial Novel - the Art of Resistance

English: The Pre-Raphaelite Movement in Art and Literature

English: Byron, Modernity and Europe, 1780 to 1830

English: Sex, Death and Celebrity - Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Drama

English: African-American Literature

English: Science Fiction

English: The Literature of Chicago

English: Theatre and the City - 1590 to 1730

English: Visual and Verbal in the Long Nineteenth Century

English: The New York Schools - Poetry, Painting and Music in the 1950s

English: The Nineteen Thirties, Fiction and the Road to War

English: Vernacular Writing

English: Tolkien's Roots - Old English Poetry and Modern Medievalism

English: Old English Riddles

English: Witchcraft and Drama, 1576 to 1642

English: Paradise in Early Modern English Literature

English: Middle English Poetry

English: Medieval Epic and Romance

English: Beowulf and The Critics

English: Literature and Philosophy

English: Fictions of Sensation

English: Writing Migrant Identities

English: Advanced Romanticism - The 18teens

English: Children's Literature

English: The Art of Noise

English: A Year in the Life of Victorian Fiction - 1855

English: The Lives of Writing

English: Ethics and Aesthetics in the novels of J.M. Coetzee

English: Reading Beowulf

English: Medieval Drama

English: Old English Literature

English: Advanced Shakespeare - The Problem Plays

English: Early Modern Bodies

English: Medieval Dream and Vision

English: Painting / Writing

English: Gender and Writing in the Eighteenth Century

English: Tristram Shandy and the Experimental Novel

English: Everyday Literature

English: Queer Histories - Contemporary Gay and Lesbian British and Irish Fiction

English: Odysseus' Scar - Time in Modern Literature and Film

English: Pastoral

English: Visual and Verbal in the Long Nineteenth Century

English: The Great American Novella

English: Exploring James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake

English: Tragedy

English: Literatures of Genocide and Atrocity

English: Shakespeare in Stages - Shakespearen Adaptation across Four Centuries

English: Shakespearean Echoes, Off shoots and Responses

English: Special Topic: Ideas in Contemporary Fiction

English: Poetic Practice

English: The Brontës

English: Reading The Waste Land

This course has a modular structure, whereby you take 12 course units at the rate of four per year. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering flexibility and choice.

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and instrument/vocal lessons. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University's comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Advisor in Music every week, and each course unit is supported by weekly tutorials in small groups of ten to twelve students.

In year one in the Department of English, you will also work in small groups of just four or five students focusing on study skills such as close reading, essay writing and presentation and self-editing. As you progress throughout your degree, these tutorials focus on your own personal development, for instance working on your CV.

You will also take a study skills course during your first year, designed to develop the writing and research skills you will need to be successful in your degree. This course does not count towards your final degree award but you are required to pass it to progress to your second year.

Assessment is carried out by a combination of examinations, which take place in the summer term, along with extended essays, assessed coursework, recitals and portfolios of compositions and other practical work, and performance recitals.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels

AAB-ABB

The offer given will take into consideration:

  • subjects taken at A level
  • the educational context in which academic
  •  achievements have been gained
  • whether the Extended Project Qualification is being taken
Required/preferred subjects

Required: 

  • A Level Music Grade A or Music Theory Grade 8 Pass
  • A Level English Literature or English Language & Literature 
  • Five GCSEs graded A*- C including English and Maths
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate

6,5,5 at Higher Level including 5 in Higher Level English, 6 in Higher Level Music and 32 points overall. If Music is not taken then Grade 8 Music Theory is accepted instead.

BTEC Extended Diploma

Distinction Distinction Distinction in relevant subject plus A Level English Literature or Lang/Lit Grade A and evidence of A Level standard Music proficiency Grade A equivalent, or Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass

BTEC National Diploma

Distinction Distinction in relevant subject, plus two A Levels including English Literature or Lang/Lit Grade B and A Level Music Grade A.  If Music is not taken then Grade 8 Music Theory is accepted.

BTEC Subsidiary Diploma

Distinction plus A Level Music Grade A and A Level English Literature or Lang/Lit Grade B or Distinction, plus A,B at A Level including English Grade A, plus Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass.

Welsh Baccalaureate

A non-subject specified A Level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate

Scottish Advanced Highers

AB at Advanced Higher Level inc Music at A and English Literature at B plus Higher Level requirements. If Music is not taken Grade 8 Music Theory is accepted.

Scottish Highers

AABBB at Higher Level plus Advanced Higher Level requirements

Irish Leaving Certificate

H2,H2,H3,H3,H3 at Higher Level including H2 in Music at Higher Level and H3 in English at Higher Level. Pass at Grade 8 Music Theory accepted in place of Music at Higher Level.

Access to Higher Education Diploma

Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit and Distinction in all level 3 English units, plus evidence of A Level standard Music proficiency Grade A equivalent or Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass. The Access to Higher Education Diploma is only acceptable if you have had a considerable break from education

Other UK qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below



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International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore. For equivalencies please see here.

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. Royal Holloway offers an International Foundation Programme and pre-sessional English language courses, allowing students to further develop their study skills and English language before starting their undergraduate degree.

You'll come away from our course with industry contacts, insider knowledge of music networks in London and specific practical skills in performance, composition and production. Our recent graduates have gone into a wide range of careers including roles as musicians, composers and performing arts teachers, but also technicians, publishers, managers, lawyers and policy makers –they've taken away transferable skills like communication, teamwork, time management, commercial awareness and critical thinking.

Find out where graduates from our department are going.  

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £15,600

Other essential costs***: £50

How do I pay for it? Find out more.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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