Taught course

Composition (Instrumental and Vocal)

The University of Manchester · Graduate School of Arts, Languages and Cultures

Entry requirements

A First or Upper Second Class Honours degree, or its overseas equivalent, in a relevant subject (normally Music, or with music as a substantial component of the programme). In the case of mature students, we may consider appropriate professional experience as an alternative route to entry.

Months of entry


Course content

This course offers intensive training for composers and provides excellent preparation for doctoral work or a career in the professional world. With a strong focus on practical music making and supported by an outstanding programme of workshops and performances by professional musicians, it offers an invaluable opportunity for composers to hone their skills and develop their personal voice.

What makes us distinctive?

· Links to ensembles as an integral part of the course.

· Interaction with the music profession, including the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata.

· Opportunities to develop professional skills, for example through collaborating, rehearsing and networking with professional musicians; learning to arrange/orchestrate; undertaking outreach opportunities; and collaborating in the creation of performances.

· Flexibility to develop your own compositional and research interests.

· Close ties with electroacoustic composers in NOVARS, and the flexibility to combine electroacoustic course units with those for instrumental and vocal composition.

· Integration into the active research culture of the University of Manchester, through research seminars, performance workshops and concerts.

In addition to the submission of a final Portfolio of Compositions, all instrumental and vocal composition students take the core course unit Composition Project and the further compulsory taught course unit, Compositional Etudes. Optional course units normally include Contemporary Music Studies, Advanced Orchestration, Fixed Media and Interactive Music, Aesthetics and Analysis of Organised Sound, and Historical or Contemporary Performance.

Profiles of individual members of staff, including information about their research and teaching specialisms, may be found here:


Information for international students

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to obtain: Overall IELTS score of 6.5 or higher overall, or a TOEFL score of 92 or higher overall (internet-based test).

Fees and funding

Scholarship and bursary awards can be applied for from the University, the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, and the department of Music. Further details can be found on the University website.

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate Admissions Administrator
+44 (0)161 275 0322