We use cookies on this site. By browsing our site you agree to our use of cookies. Close this message Find out more

Home > Courses > Undergraduate > Music and English
More in this section Music

Music and English BA

UCAS code WQ33
Year of entry 2018
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.

Core modules

Year 1

The core modules in English Literature are:

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. 

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. 

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

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

 

Solo Performance

 

Creative Ensemble Performance

 

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

 

The core modules in English Literature are:

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.

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.

Optional modules in English Literature include:

Middle English Poetry

 

Medieval Drama

 

Tolkien's Roots - Old English Poetry and Modern Medievalism

 

Medieval Dream and Vision

 

Medieval Epic and Romance

 

The Gawain-Poet

 

Myths of Origin in Old English Literature

 

Old English Riddles

 

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

 

Intensive Shakespeare - Comedy, History, Tragedy

 

Witchcraft and Drama, 1576 to 1642

 

Theatre and The City, 1590 to 1625

 

Early Modern Bodies

 

Paradise in Early Modern Literature

 

Gender and Writing in the Eighteenth Century

 

Eighteenth Century Bodies

 

The Age of Oppositions - Literature, 1660 to 1780

 

Tristram Shandy and the Experimental Novel

 

Fictions of Sensation

 

Victoria Literature

 

Romanticisms

 

Creative Writing - Structure and Style

 

Writing Migrant Identities

 

Enivornmental Literatures

 

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

 

Literature of The Fin de Siècle

 

British Drama from Shaw to Priestly

 

Dark Reform - Scandal and Satire in American Culture

 

Contemporary Debates in Literary and Critical Theory

 

Modernist Literature

 

Year 3

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

 

Practical Performance 2

 

Composing with Technology 2

 

Special Study - Dissertation

 

Special Study - Theory and Analysis

 

Special Study - Performance

 

Special Study - Composition

 

Optional modules in English Literature include:

A Marriage of Minds?

 

Special Author Project - Joseph Conrad

 

Special Author Project - Virginia Woolf

 

Special Author Project - Chaucer - The Canterbury Tales

 

Special Author Project - The Brontes

 

Special Author Project - John Donne

 

Special Author Project - Charles Dickens

 

Special Author Project - Thomas Hardy

 

Special Author Project - J.M. Coetzee

 

Special Author Project - Samuel Beckett

 

Special Author Project - Christopher Marlowe

 

Special Author Project - Oscar Wilde

 

Of Circumference - Reading Emily Dickinson

 

Rewriting Mythologies in 20th Century Literature

 

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

 

Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture

 

Special Topic - The Girl in the Book

 

The Post-Colonial Novel - the Art of Resistance

 

The Pre-Raphaelite Movement in Art and Literature

 

Byron, Modernity and Europe, 1780 to 1830

 

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

 

African-American Literature

 

Science Fiction

 

The Literature of Chicago

 

Theatre and the City - 1590 to 1730

 

Visual and Verbal in the Long Nineteenth Century

 

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

 

The Nineteen Thirties, Fiction and the Road to War

 

Vernacular Writing

 

Tolkien's Roots - Old English Poetry and Modern Medievalism

 

Old English Riddles

 

Witchcraft and Drama, 1576 to 1642

 

Paradise in Early Modern English Literature

 

Middle English Poetry

 

Medieval Epic and Romance

 

Beowulf and The Critics

 

Literature and Philosophy

 

Fictions of Sensation

 

Writing Migrant Identities

 

Advanced Romanticism - The 18teens

 

Children's Literature

 

The Art of Noise

 

A Year in the Life of Victorian Fiction - 1855

 

The Lives of Writing

 

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

 

Reading Beowulf

 

Medieval Drama

 

Old English Literature

 

Advanced Shakespeare - The Problem Plays

 

Early Modern Bodies

 

Medieval Dream and Vision

 

Painting / Writing

 

Gender and Writing in the Eighteenth Century

 

Tristram Shandy and the Experimental Novel

 

Everyday Literature

 

Queer Histories - Contemporary Gay and Lesbian British and Irish Fiction

 

Odysseus' Scar - Time in Modern Literature and Film

 

Pastoral

 

Visual and Verbal in the Long Nineteenth Century

 

The Great American Novella

 

Exploring James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake

 

Tragedy

 

Literatures of Genocide and Atrocity

 

Shakespeare in Stages - Shakespearen Adaptation across Four Centuries

 

Shakespearean Echoes, Off shoots and Responses

 

Special Topic: Ideas in Contemporary Fiction

 

Poetic Practice

 

The Brontës

 

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.

Study time

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

Year 1

You will spend 22% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 78% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 21% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 79% in guided independent study.

Year 3

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

Assessment

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

Year 1

Written exams account for 67% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 33% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 2

Written exams account for 25% of the total assessment for this year of study, 20% will be assessed through practical exams, and 55% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 3

Written exams account for 6% of the total assessment for this year of study, 29% will be assessed through practical exams, and 65% will be assessed through coursework.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels

AAB-ABB

  • 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: 

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

6,5,5 at Higher Level including Higher Level English, 6 in Higher Level Music and 32 points overall. If Music is not taken then Grade 8 Music Theory plus Grade 7 practical is required.

BTEC Extended Diploma

Distinction* Distinction* Distinction in relevant subject including Distinction in all essay units plus Grade A in GCSE English Literature. Evidence of A-Level standard Music proficiency Grade A equivalent, or Grade 8 Music Theory at pass plus preferably Grade 7 practical.

BTEC National Extended Diploma

Distinction Distinction in relevant subject,  including Distinction in all essay units plus Grade A in GCSE English Literature  and A-Level Music Grade A.  If Music is not taken then Grade 8 Music Theory at pass plus preferably Grade 7 practical and A-Level English Literature or Lang/Lit at Grade B.

BTEC National Extended Certificate

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 B, 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

AAB-ABB Incuding Music at A and English Literature at Grade B. If Music is not taken Grade 8 Music Theory at pass is accepted.

Scottish Highers

AAABB Incuding Music at A and English Literature at Grade B. If Music is not taken Grade 8 Music Theory at pass is accepted.

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 24 level 3 credits at Distinction and remaining 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



Please select a qualification

Please select a qualification



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. 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.

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*: £9,250

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

Other essential costs***: £50

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

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year, and is shown for reference purposes only. The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates starting their degrees in 2018 is controlled by Government regulations, and details are not yet known. The UK Government has also announced 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. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our  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.

Back to course search results

 
 
 

Comment on this page

Did you find the information you were looking for? Is there a broken link or content that needs updating? Let us know so we can improve the page.

Note: If you need further information or have a question that cannot be satisfied by this page, please call our switchboard on +44 (0)1784 434455.

This window will close when you submit your comment.

Add Your Feedback
Close