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Music with Political Studies

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  1. Royal Holloway's institution code: R72
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    • Music with Political Studies BA - W3L2
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Music with Political Studies


Key information

Duration: 3 years full time

UCAS code: W3L2

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

The course

Music with Political Studies (BA)

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
  • Pursue performance and composition or explore other elements of music.
  • Experts with a wide range of political and musical expertise.
  • Increasingly flexible syllabus as you progress.
  • The opportunity to join our many ensembles.
  • Choral, organ, orchestral and music scholarships.

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Core Modules

Year 1
  • 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

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules 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
  • This course aims: 1. to develop basic music-analytical literacy, 2. to introduce basic concepts concerning counterpoint, harmony, melody and form that underpin the analysis of music, 3. to put these concepts into practice in the analysis of pieces from a variety of repertories. The course addresses the contrapuntal, melodic, harmonic and formal elements of tonal music. Weekly lectures, in which students are introduced to analytical concepts and then practise deploying them, through listening, score study and the completion of practical exercises, are supplemented by private study based on Moodle and recommended readings, to consolidate concepts learnt in the lectures and provide further opportunities to practise new skills.

  • This course introduces students to some fundamental techniques of music composition. The precise topics taught may change depending on the research interests of the staff responsible for teaching the course, but typically include:

    • Soundworlds and scale formations

    • The vertical dimension: chords and simultaneities

    • The horizontal dimension: melody and voice leading

    • Developments in rhythm

    • Developments in harmonic vocabulary and tonalities

    • Form in contemporary composition

    • Acoustic timbre and texture

  • This course introduces a wide range of repertories within the history of music. It stimulates students to relate features of musical compositions and performances to their wider historical contexts and gives students a fundamental knowledge of specific musical cultures. It provides students with opportunities to develop skills in research and information retrieval and in critical reading of primary and secondary literature, to receive formative feedback on those skills, and to build a foundation for higher-level study. The course will offer students a conceptual map of musical styles, composers and practices by introducing them to a wide chronological range of repertories, from early music to music of the twentieth century. It will emphasise questions of change, interaction and transmission through the study of specific forms and repertories in their historical context. Lectures will be designed around major repertorial moments (e.g. Stravinsky in 1910) or problems (e.g. the post-Beethovenian symphony), to bring together questions of form, style, performing practice and historical context.

  • This course introduces concepts underlying the historical and critical study of music. It enables students to begin thinking critically about the priorities that underlie historical texts from different intellectual traditions and stimulates them to relate features of musical compositions and performances to wider historical contexts. It provides students with opportunities to develop skills in research and information retrieval and in critical reading of primary and secondary literature, to receive formative feedback on those skills, and to build a foundation for higher-level study. This course introduces students to the different kinds of historical question that we can ask about music, and interrogates some of the terminology and categories frequently used in the secondary literature (e.g. canonisation, reception, tradition, nationalism, exoticism, the work concept). Case-studies are used to illuminate specific topics and problems in the historiography of a wide variety of musics.

  • This course introduces students to the socio-cultural contexts, functions, philosophies, techniques, and organising principles of a variety of musics of the world; musics from at least three continents will be studied. These musical traditions will be approached from both theoretical and practical perspectives, also giving a variety of opportunities for hands-on experience. Course content will vary from year to year according to staff interests, availability of musicians to provide workshops, and to ensure freshness of approach. A typical curriculum might cover the following regions and theoretical themes:

    • World Music - Introduction (culture, contact & concepts)
    • South America: Andes to Amazon (exchange)
    • Africa: Jaliya and Mbira (the musician)
    • Indonesia: Sundanese Gamelan (temporal organisation)
    • North India: The Classical Tradition (improvisation)
    • Papua New Guinea: The Kaluli (music and ecology)
    • Iran: The Persian Classical Tradition (music & religion).
  • This course introduces students to a range of key debates and issues in contemporary musicology and to a range of key issues concerning music in the contemporary world. It encourages students to think about music’s relation to social and cultural contexts and introduces them to unfamiliar musical styles and repertoires as well as broaden understanding of those closer to home. It hones students’ skills in reading a wide variety of critical and theoretical writing about music. This course will survey some of the key contemporary issues in music that have arisen from the changes of the modern world, as well as contemporary debates in musicology. The twentieth century in particular has seen a transformation of musical cultures across the world, and this course looks at a range of the issues and controversies that have emerged as a result. The study of music has broadened to include many more social, cultural and political. This course will introduce students to truly contemporary ways of studying music, combining approaches and issues traditionally associated with musicology, ethnomusicology and popular music studies, divisions which are becoming increasingly blurred. Lecture topics may include:

    • Ideas of ‘authenticity’ in music

    • Value judgements about music

    • Protection and preservation of music

    • Heritage and revivals

    • Music and tourism

    • New forms of fusion and hybridity

    • The idea of ‘world music’.

    • Music and identity

    • Music and gender

    • Music and race

    • Music and nationalism

  • This course aims to further students’ skills as performers through regular (typically weekly) one-to-one vocal/instrument lessons with an approved visiting teacher.  Students will be offered opportunities to perform in practical seminars where matters of interpretation and stage manner will be discussed.  Constructive critical feedback given as well as developing students' skills in delivering feedback. 

    Students’ will develop the capacity to reflect on what constitutes good programming and fine performance.  Participation in College music events is fostered through ensemble and other activities. 

     The course consists of regular individual instrumental or vocal lessons with a teacher approved by the Department.  A series of practical seminars is run in which students perform and discuss suitable repertory under the supervision of the course co-ordinator, develop skills in the writing of programme notes to a high standard as well as concert reviews and  engage with  'professional preparation’ consisting of the development of stage presence and other relevant concerns.

  • The module aims to develop a broad range of innovative, practical, creative and collaborative musical skills. It promotes student initiative and creativity, while developing focused, critical, technical and context sensitive perspectives on selected musical repertoires/traditions/genres. It seeks to explore, reflect upon, extend and/or challenge specific musical performance conventions. The module will commence with at least two plenary lectures/seminars at the start of term one, when the module aims will be clarified, followed by fortnightly workshops and plenary meetings through terms 1 and 2. A list of student performance interests/skills will be circulated immediately after the first meeting. Students will then be requested to form their own groups. Flexibility in membership will be permitted until the end of term one when students must commit to a group with whom to be examined. Any student not integrated in a group will be allotted to one by the module tutor. All students will be required to regularly document their experience of group participation and creative practice in a performance diary.

  • This module will provide the opportunity to develop skills in working with music technology, write music to a brief and develop skills in. independent creative work. The topics taught will include a selection from: introduction to media, film and game music composition; introduction to non-linear compositional techniques; the basics of digital audio; composing to a brief; interpreting images; and audio engines for games.

Year 2

Optional modules in Music may include:

  • The module introduces a range of important concepts for analysing music, and of the published secondary literature in music analysis. It puts these concepts into practice in increasingly sophisticated analysis of score-based and recorded pieces from the Western musical tradition and in the reading of more complex analyses. It lays foundations for further analytical and technical work in options modules and in final-year special studies. The analytical systems and repertories to be studied will vary from year to year, but students may expect to build on theoretical and analytical foundations established in the first year, by broadening their knowledge (through scores and recordings) of a wide range of Western musical repertoire, to learn and then apply standard analytical methods in order to gain a deeper understanding of the music's construction and expressive effect, and to learn the vocabulary and technical proficiency necessary for reading and evaluating analyses of music by scholars from those traditions. The module may address pre-tonal, tonal or post-tonal music.

  • This module will: develop your knowledge of a range of fundamental techniques of musical composition with particular focus on structure, harmonic control and the manipulation of rhythmic and melodic material provide an opportunity to practise the art of musical composition and to develop skills in creative work. Developing on areas covered in first-year Composition modules, this module will provide a framework in which you will be introduced to a number of techniques from diverse schools of composition in order to encourage you to explore and develop your own creativity. Key works from the past few decades will be studied and used as models or springboards for your own musical invention. You will create a portfolio of technical exercises and a short composition written in response to a given brief.

  • This module furthers students’ understanding of music history, by exploring two case-studies defined chronologically or thematically. It develops students’ ability to critically think and write about music in historical contexts that are both familiar and unfamiliar and explores more advanced concepts underlying the historical and critical study of music. It encourages students to put these concepts into practice in increasingly sophisticated historical and critical writing about music and it lays the foundations for further historical and critical writing in options modules and in particular for final-year special studies. This module will probe moments of music history that expose the complex relationship between musical repertories and historical contexts, or the nuanced processes of historical continuity, change, and cause and effect. The case-studies will vary year by year, but sample topics include: The Rise of Musical Notation in Medieval Europe; Music and the Reformation; Monteverdi: Between Renaissance and Baroque; Nationalism in Late Romantic Music; Popular and Art Music of the 1960s.

  • This module expands students’ knowledge of concepts characteristic of ethnomusicology and equips them with stimulating approaches to understanding, enjoying and studying their own music as well as that of others. It broadens students’ understanding of the possibilities of music as human activity and of the wider contexts in which music exists in the world. It raises issues concerning the political and ethical challenges involved with studying and writing about music across the globe, whether historically or in the contemporary world, and develops students’ ability to critically think and write about music in contexts that are both familiar and unfamiliar.

    This module will involve a combination of the study of musical repertoires from different parts of the globe and introduction to a range of methodologies that might be applied to a broad range of musics and contexts. Particular repertoires and areas will vary, but approaches and issues may include: the idea of music as culture/society; looking at music beyond concepts of ‘art’; understanding the strengths and problems of fieldwork as a methodology; looking at musical change and hybridisation; issues relating to music and gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity or religion; studying musical instruments; mapping music geographically, socially and historically; and the colonial legacy of ethnomusicology and ethical issues of contemporary research.

  • This module explores ways that electronic media and technology have brought about change in and opened up new possibilities for musical production, consumption, sounds, practices, experience, contexts and meanings. It considers the role of electronic media and technology in preserving and documenting musical culture as well as in changing it, and it examines how developments in electronic media and technology have affected and continue to affect dynamics of power in musical production and consumption across the world. The module explores the effects of electronic media and technology on popular, traditional and classical musics and introduces concepts and techniques for the study of the interaction of music, media and technology. It also encourages a deeper and more critical understanding of music, music making and musical culture through study in both familiar and unfamiliar cultures and contexts. The module will introduce students to a range of ways in which electronic media and technology have affected and transformed musical cultures across the world through their fundamental ability to: record and store musical sound; create new sounds, new ways of combining sounds and new ways of synching sound with other media; turn musical sound into a commodity; separate musical sound from live performance context; amplify music; mass produce music; mass disseminate music; and greatly alter dynamics of power in the production and consumption of music. The module will cover a range of key phenomena and issues in contemporary musical culture that are inextricably linked to electronic media and technology. Exact topics will vary, but may include: popular and mass-mediated music; recorded music; electronic music; the impact of technology on compositional practices; music industries; piracy; film music, video and multimedia; music and the Internet; globalisation; debates on the value of mass mediated music; and questions of power and representation.

  • This course will require the student to undertake the study of an instrument or voice, with the aim of developing technical ability and musical interpretation expressed through performance.  The student will consciously and actively address concerns such as the acquisition of technical competence in performance, the development of powers of interpretation, strategies of practice and performance, effective communication and so on.  These skills are further developed through the writing of programme notes, concert reviews and developing critical feedback skills in performance seminars.

    The course consists of the study of appropriate repertory with an individual instrumental or vocal teacher approved by the Department, the writing of programme notes and concert reviews, the development of ensemble musicianship and/or music-administrative skills through membership of college ensembles and/or the in-house concert administration team.

  • Ensemble Performance
  • Composition Portfolio
  • Practical and Creative Orchestration
  • Practical Conducting (Choral and Orchestral)
  • Composing with Technology 1
  • Introduction to Jazz: Theory, Practice and Contexts
  • Popular Music and Musicians in Post-War Britain and North America
  • Korean Percussion Performance
  • Practical Ethics
  • Musical Aesthetics
  • Mozart's Operas
  • Issues in Sound, Music and the Moving Image
  • Intercultural Performance: Theory and Practice
  • Music and Society in Purcell's London
  • Contemporary Music Performance
  • Music, Power and Politics
  • Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze
  • Music and Gender
  • Hearing the Orient: Critical and Practical Approaches to the Middle East

Optional modules in Politics may include:

  • In this module you will analyse the contemporary politics of the European Union and its institutions, amid the challenges of the triple crisis of economics, migration and Brexit. You will learn about the political history of European integration after 1949 and the contemporary theory of European integration. The first term will begin with an introduction to the European Union as a political system followed by an overview of the European Union's historical development. The second term will focus on contestation of the European Union and the theories that underpin this, in order to explain how the EU developed and the challenges that it faces. Topics will include Euroscepticism, party politics, public opinion, Brexit and EU-UK relations, and European Parliament elections. The theory sessions comprise of federalism, neo-functionalism, liberal intergovernmentalism and the new institutionalisms.

  • I in this module you will develop an understanding of contemporary British politics. You will look at the ways in which British government has evolved, how it continues to operate, and why it operates in the way it does. You will consider the causes and consequences of major political change in Britain and examine the underlying assumptions upon which theoretical disputes in political science are based.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of some of the key concepts in political theory today. You will look at political obligation, civil disobedience, democracy, citizenship, equality, global justice, human rights, and freedom and toleration. You will consider important theorists including Berlin Rawls, Nozick, Sandel, Okin and Pettit, examining the recent major theoretical perspectives in the context of contemporary politics.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the themes, arguments, and interpretations of major political thinkers from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. You will look at the works of Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, Mill, Marx and Nietzsche and consider how the ideas articulated by these thinkers continue to underpin contemporary debates about the nature of freedom, human rights, value pluralism, popular sovereignty, state legitimacy, and the modern condition. You will also examine how study of these thinkers illuminates contemporary debates even where these debates no longer make reference to them.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how citizens, politicians and the media interact across Western democracies during both electoral and governing periods. You will look at the production and consumption of political news, consider election campaigns and their effects, and examine contemporary debates in political communication, including ethical issues.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the most important features of the history of the development of the non-West. You will look at the distinctive political dynamics characterising the contemporary non-West and consider the thoughts of prominent non-Western political thinkers.

Year 3

Optional modules in Music may include:

  • Solo Performance
  • Ensemble Performance
  • Composition Portfolio
  • Practical and Creative Orchestration
  • Practical Conducting (Choral and Orchestral)
  • Composing with Technology 1
  • Introduction to Jazz: Theory, Practice and Contexts
  • Popular Music and Musicians in Post-War Britain and North America
  • Korean Percussion Performance
  • Practical Ethics
  • Musical Aesthetics
  • Mozart's Operas
  • Issues in Sound, Music and the Moving Image
  • Intercultural Performance: Theory and Practice
  • Music and Society in Purcell's London
  • Contemporary Music Performance
  • Music, Power and Politics
  • Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze
  • Music and Gender
  • Hearing the Orient: Critical and Practical Approaches to the Middle East
  • Practical Performance 2
  • Composing with Technology 2
  • In this module you will carry out independent research providing specialist insights into a topic of your choice from the field of ethnomusicology, film studies, historical musicology, performance studies, or theory and analysis. You will look at digital sources, secondary literature, and archive material on your chosen theme, and critically engage with new thinking in musicology. You will be guided by a supervisor who will advise on the planning, organisation, development and presentation of your dissertation, which will be between 13,000 and 15,000 words in length.

  • The learning objective is to write a detailed essay on a topic of a technical, analytical or theoretical nature relating to music.

    You will undertake an extended piece of academic work at the level appropriate to the final year of an undergraduate degree programme, carried out independently under the guidance of a supervisor, and laying the foundations for possible further work in the field at postgraduate level.

  • This course will develop and refine students’ abilities as solo performers at an advanced level through weekly seminars in which performances will be subjected to critical scrutiny by the course tutor and members of the class.  Students will develop the ability to manage the occasion of performance at a professional level and will engage in the study and performance of music by twentieth-century or contemporary composers writing in particularly challenging or complex musical styles.

    The course consists of regular instrumental or vocal lessons with a teacher approved by the Department, regular two-hour practical seminars in which students perform suitable repertory according to a rota that requires appearance in front of their peers at least twice a term, thereby gaining platform experience in preparation for the final recital.  ‘Professional preparation’, consists of the development of stage presence and other relevant concerns, such as preparation for an audition, performance practice, interpretation and communication.  Students share participation in a public lunchtime recital.  The dates of the recitals are arranged by the Concert Office in the preceding summer vacation.

    The writing of programme notes and concert reviews to professional standard as well as the development of ensemble musicianship and/or music administration and concert management skills are key requirements.

  • This module develops students' knowledge of advanced compositional techniques with particular focus on structure, harmonic control and the manipulation of rhythmic and melodic material. It provides opportunities to practise the art of musical composition and to develop skills in independent creative work and increases students' awareness, knowledge and understanding of issues related to contemporary composition practice in a variety of contexts. Developing on areas covered in MU2213 Composition Portfolio, the module will provide a framework for you to further explore the possibilities in your own compositional method. You will complete a structured portfolio that will properly demonstrate your increased awareness, knowledge and understanding of contemporary art music and related compositional issues. You will be assisted in acquiring a deeper confidence in experimenting with a range of compositional methods and techniques whilst being encouraged to explore the possibilities of your own compositional voice in the hope that this trend will continue into your professional life. During workshops you will be given the opportunity to have your work rehearsed and recorded by professional musicians. It is hoped that through these workshops you will discover more about the possibilities of instrumentation and the many practical compositional issues facing composers today. You should also seek to develop your own opportunities for the performance of your music in order to develop your confidence and professional activity.

Optional modules in Politics may include:

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of regulation in the European Union, including delivery of policy and administration. You will look at how the world's largest market operates, with a focus on EU public policy, including de-regulation, re-regulation, budgets and spending. You will examine the concept of the single market, the Euro and its crisis, justice, home affairs and counter-terrorism, the EU budget, agriculture, regional development, and social and environmental policies.

  • Radical Political Theory
  • Young People's Politics
  • Leadership, Power and the British Prime Minister
  • Visual Politics
  • American Political Development
  • The Politics of Russia and Eastern Europe
  • The Politics of International Development
  • Issues in Democratic Theory
  • Political Theories of Freedom
  • Party leaders, and their public image, are increasingly considered important for a party’s electoral success, for the smooth running of government and for regime legitimacy. Perhaps the most important variable for successful politicians is their ability to effectively communicate and connect with their audiences. This module will first, show you the techniques most frequently used my politicians, communicators and speechwriters to effectively deliver their messages in different contexts and settings. Next, you will analyse how these techniques have been used by the greatest leaders in the word to justify their regimes. By the end of the module you will be able to evaluate leadership styles during and after elections and design communication strategies that will deliver political messages effectively.


  • This module examines both the domestic and international politics of the environment. The first part of the module consists of defining the environmental problems faced globally, highlighting similarities and differences to other issues. This part also identifies the key actors, interests, and institutions that are necessary to understand the politics of climate change. The second part of the module focuses on three varieties of theories of environmental politics: collective action problems, distributional politics, and ideational conflict. The third part then examines a variety of topics in environmental politics, building upon the analytical approaches outlined in the first two parts of the course. The chosen topics allow for both understanding how politics shapes environmental outcomes, for example through international agreements, as well as how climate change and the environment affects political outcomes, for example by fostering political conflict.



  • This final-year half module offers students the opportunity to obtain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the British parliament and its place in British democracy. It will help you to evaluate the work and role of Parliament and parliamentarians, appreciate ongoing debates about contemporary legislative practice, and engage critically with previous academic scholarship in this area. It will also help you to develop you own awareness and experience of conducting research.

  • This module is designed to introduce advanced undergraduates to the major themes of contemporary Latin American politics and, consequently, democracy and political development. Although the module does not assume that you already have knowledge of the region, you are expected to be familiar with basic concepts of comparative political analysis. While the module stresses the political aspects of the developmental process, its objective is to show the linkages between economic, social, cultural, and political variables--both at national and international levels.



  • This module examines the contemporary literature on gender and politics, with a particular focus on women’s participation and representation in British politics. It introduces you to feminist theories of representation, debates over women’s interests, and feminist institutionalism. It applies these frameworks to consider why the number of women in our parliaments might matter and what difference – symbolic, substantive and affective – sex and gender make to elected political institutions, the policy process, political outcomes, and healthy democracies.

  • The politics of South Asia – India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh - are central to understanding some of the themes at the core of modern politics: poverty and development, security and warfare, migration and transnationalism, decolonisation and postcolonialism, the international economy and globalisation. This module deals with the social and political development of these countries since independence from British rule in 1947. We will analyse issues including caste politics, the role of religious violence and the place of women in politics and society. Sources will come from a range of disciplines – politics and IR, history, sociology, anthropology, novels and films. We will study regional cooperation and conflict including the troubled relationship between India and Pakistan over Kashmir and their nuclear status. By the end of the module you will have a specialised understanding of the major social, economic and political developments in the region.


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.

A Levels: ABB-BBB

Required subjects:

  • A-level Music or Grade 7 Music Theory at pass
  • Applicants without A-level Music or pass in Grade 7 Music Theory may be eligible for the Intensive Theory entry. This requires Music GCSE grade A/7 or equivalent, plus performance at Grade 7 level. In term 1 you will be required to take Fundamentals of Music Theory, an intensive music literacy course.
  • Students wishing to take Solo Performance options will need to be of Grade 8 level in performance at point of entry.
  • Five GCSEs graded A*-C or 9-4 including English and Maths.

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. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university, you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.


We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:

  • AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
  • AAA – Distinction
  • BBB – Merit
  • CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
  • DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)

Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.

English language requirements

All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.

The scores we require
  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
  • TOEFL iBT: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26.

Country-specific requirements

For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.

Undergraduate preparation programme

For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, for this undergraduate degree, the Royal Holloway International Study Centre offers an International Foundation Year programme designed to develop your academic and English language skills.

Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.

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 courses both at Royal Holloway and at other prestigious institutions around the world.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £23,800

Other essential costs***: £50

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.

*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25, the fee is £9,250 for that year.

**This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25

Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees annually for overseas fee-paying undergraduate students, based on the UK’s Retail Price Index (RPI). Please therefore be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.


in the UK for research intensity

Source: Complete University Guide, 2020 (Music)


in the UK for performing arts

Source: QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2019 (Music)


say staff have made the subject interesting

Source: National Student Survey, 2019 (Music)

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones.

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start.

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help.

Discover more about our academic departments and schools.

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway.

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future.

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today.

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable.

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today.