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Music with Political Studies BA

Please note that information shown below may be subject to change.

UCAS code
Year of entry
View 2019 entry »
Course length
3 years full time
Music »
Politics and International Relations »

This course combines Music (75% of your course) and Political Studies (25%), enabling you to study these two subjects together.

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.

Political Studies at Royal Holloway invites you to explore the ideas and ideologies, as well as the processes, institutions and issues that are fundamental to understanding the politics of our times. You will gain a solid foundation in politics and political theory and as you progress, the flexible nature of the course allows you to specialise in fields such as European integration, democratic theory, British and American politics and political communication. You will develop your understanding of power relations at all levels of social life and gain insight into the role of identity, ideology, interests and institutions in shaping the modern world.

  • Ours is an active and engaged student community, and there are opportunities to take part in debating, Model United Nations and party political societies on campus
  • We offer students research placement opportunities with our staff, gaining valuable experience of working at the forefront of political enquiry

Chat with a current student

Core modules

Year 1

The core module in Political Studies is:

Introduction to Politics and Government

This module will introduce you to the academic study of politics and to the ‘real world’ of contemporary politics. As a foundational course, it will give you all the essential tools to understand the nature of politics and analyse the way different political systems work. You will be introduced to key concepts such as politics, power, rights, ideologies, democracy and representation, and will learn about the different actors, institutions and processes that make up politics today.

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

Optional modules in Music include:

Theory and Analysis


Practical Musicianship


Creative Composition Techniques


Practical Composition Skills


Very Short History of Music


Introduction to Historical Musicology


Introduction to World Music


Contemporary Debates in Music


Year 2

Optional modules in Music include:

Studies in Music Analysis


Studies in Composition


Studies in Music History


Studies in Ethnomusicology


Studies in Music, Media and Technology


Practical Performance


Solo Performance


Ensemble Performance


Composition Portfolio


Ensemble Performance in World Music - Andean Band


Choral Conducting


Baroque Performance Practice


Composing with Technology


Composing with Technology


Sounds and Cultures in East Asia


Introduction to Jazz


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


Orchestral Conducting


Orchestral Performance


Practical Ethics


Wagner's Ring


Issues in Sound, Music and the Moving Image


Sibelius and Music of Northern Europe


Music in the City


Music, Environment and Ecology


Music, Power and Politics


Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze


Silent Film Performance


Music and Gender


Debussy and French Musical Aesthetics


Optional modules in Political Studies include:

European Union - Politics and Theory


Comparative Foreign Policy


International Relations Theory


Democracy in Britain


Contemporary Political Theory


International Political Economy


Politics of Migration


Empire and Decolonisation


Political Behaviour


War and Security in World Politics


Modern Political Thought


Cold War International Relations


The Politics of Human Rights


Introduction to Political Communication


Year 3

Optional modules in Music include:

The Music-Film


Baroque Performance Practice


Intercultural Performance - Theory and Practice


Composing with Technology 2


Silent Film Performance


Optional modules in Political Studies include:

Political Sociology


India and Pakistan


Politics of the Internet


The Politics of Modern Germany


Radical Political Theory


Nietzsche and Foucault


The British in India


The Politics of Toleration


Social Justice - Theory to Practice


Great Powers and Debates


Contemporary Middle East Politics


Comparative Democracry and Elections


US Foreign Policy


Issues in Democratic Theory


Thinking Green - Global Governance


Making of Modern South Asia


The Politics of Africa


Thinking Security - The Theory


War and its Aftermath


Chinese Foreign and Security Policy


Visual Politics


Undergraduate Dissertation


You will 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.  

The results of the first year qualify students for entry to the second year but do not contribute to the final degree award. The second and final year results do contribute to the final degree result, with the final year work counting for a larger proportion of the result.

In music, you will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and instrumental/vocal lessons. You will also have the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of musical activities supported by the department, including performances by orchestras, choirs and other ensembles. 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 to support you academically and personally.

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

In your political studies modules, you will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and seminars. Outside class teaching,you will work both independently and collaboratively with other students, researching topics in the in preparation for class discussion and producing your assessed coursework. 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.

Most modules contain an element of assessed coursework, such as an essay, a report, group work, a research blog, or a presentation, which contributes to the final examination mark awarded.

Study time

Proportions of study time will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

You will spend 20% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 80% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 23% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 77% in guided independent study.

Year 3

You will spend 18% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 82% in guided independent study.


Proportions of assessment types will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

Written exams account for 50% of the total assessment for this year of study, 9% will be assessed through practical exams, and 41% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 2

Written exams account for 19% of the total assessment for this year of study, 18% will be assessed through practical exams, and 63% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 3

Written exams account for 31% of the total assessment for this year of study, 12% will be assessed through practical exams, and 57% will be assessed through coursework.

Typical offers

Typical offers

How we assess your application:  predicted grades lower than our typical offers are considered.  Read more about what we look for here.

  • Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required.
  • Socio-economic factors which may have impacted an applicant’s education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.
Required/preferred subjects

Required subjects: 

  • Grade A in Music A level or Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass
  • Preferably Grade 7 ABRSM (or similar practical exam)
  • Five GCSEs graded A*- C or 9-4 including English and Maths
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate

6,5,5 at Higher Level including 6 in Music at Higher Level or Grade 8 Music Theory with a minimum of 32 points overall plus Grade 7 practical.

BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction*, Distinction*, Distinction in a relevant subject plus evidence of A-Level standard Music proficiency grade A equivalent or Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass plus preferably Grade 7 practical.

Distinction, Distinction in a relevant subject plus A- Level music grade A or Distinction Distinction in a relevant subject, plus 1 A-Level grade A and Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass.

BTEC National Extended Certificate

Distinction plus A-Level Music grade A and one further A-Level grade B or Distinction plus A,B at A-Level and grade 8 Music Theory at Pass.

Welsh Baccalaureate Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.
Scottish Advanced Highers

AAB-ABB with  A in Music or Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass.

Scottish Highers

AAABB with  A in Music A in Music or Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass.

Irish Leaving Certificate H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level inc H2 in Music at Higher Level or H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level with Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass 
Access to Higher Education Diploma

Pass with at least 24 level 3 credits at Distinction, and the remaining level 3 credits at Merit, 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 the applicant has had a considerable break from education.

Other UK qualifications

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

Please select a qualification

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International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language

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. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Our outstanding record of success for work and further study puts Royal Holloway in the top 10 for graduate career prospects (Complete University Guide, 2015). It goes to show that our degree programmes not only promote academic achievement but also the means to hone the life-skills necessary to excel, post-graduation.

Choosing to major in Music at Royal Holloway will equip you with specific practical in performance, composition and production and for a wide range of careers including roles as musicians, composers and performing arts teachers, as well as technicians, publishers, managers, lawyers and policy makers. Many graduates also go on to advanced study in a variety of fields. To find out more about what graduates from our department are going now, please visit the department’s website.  

Choosing to add a politics based degree into your studies at Royal Holloway provides you with a wide range of important transferable skills, enabling you to approach problems in a rigorous, analytical and critical way and to communicate clearly and concisely in both speech and writing. Our graduates leave us with skills and knowledge that not only makes them attractive to employers in a broad spectrum of careers, but prepares them for further advanced study and research. Many of our graduates also go on to further study, entering postgraduate programmes both at Royal Holloway and at other prestigious institutions around the world.

Graduates of the Politics department have secured jobs in a wide range of professions, such as the law, the civil service, accountancy, management, journalism, broadcasting, teaching, international development and diplomacy .  In fact, six-months after graduation, 90% of our most recent graduates are enhancing their skills with further study or forging careers in companies and institutions such as:

  • Bloomberg
  • The Church of England
  • Citigroup
  • The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  • The Conservative Party
  • Ernst & Young
  • The European Commission
  • Global Capital
  • HM Treasury
  • The Henry Jackson Society
  • House of Commons
  • Ipsos MORI
  • The Labour Party
  • NATO Headquarters
  • Oxford Business Group
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Quadrangle
  • Save the Children 


Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2018/19**: £17,500

Other essential costs***: £50

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations, and for students starting a degree in the academic year 2018/19 will be £9,250 for that year. The UK Government has confirmed that EU students starting an undergraduate degree in 2018/19 will pay the same level of fee as a UK student for the duration of their degree.

**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and 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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