facebook MA/MRes Composition – Bath Spa University

Key facts

Award
MA/MRes Composition
School/s
Bath School of Music and Performing Arts
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
One year full time or two years part time.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for our postgraduate courses vary. We are generally looking for a good honours degree or equivalent.

Some courses also require an interview or the submission of a portfolio of work.

Please contact our admissions team for more information: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

A diverse music Composition degree designed to prepare you for a varied and creative career.

  • Develop your music alongside experienced composers and creative practitioners.
  • Hear your music played by professional musicians and fellow students.
  • Work to professional standard and understand contemporary music contexts.

During the Master’s in Composition, you’ll develop your skills as a composer and deepen your understanding of current artistic and professional trends in music.

You’ll be supported through weekly seminars, tutorials, and workshops with professional musicians. You’ll also work on your creative and technical skills, commenting critically on your own and others’ work.

This is a broad Music Master’s with a strong focus on experimentation within your areas of interest as a composer. Our aim is to inspire, support, and enrich your knowledge while you pursue your own unique interests. We set this against a wider consideration of current music and developments in contemporary musical thought.

"The course definitely built up my confidence and helped to define my voice as a composer. It also helped me enhance the skills that I would need to move forward in the industry as a composer."

Lois Wyatt, Composition student
Headshot image of Lois Wyatt

What you'll learn

Overview

We want you to graduate as a skilled composer with a deep understanding of contemporary music.

We’ll support developments in your creative practice through practical consideration of both your professional and academic skills, to help you:

  • Improve the way you promote your work and plan projects
  • Understand Composition as an academic discipline.

You’ll develop creative and technical skills throughout the course, alongside the ability to think critically about composition.

You’ll have opportunities to collaborate with other creative artists, such as choreographers, filmmakers and theatre practitioners, through joint projects and seminar discussion.

The MA and MRes Composition pathways offer a different emphasis. MRes Composition provides an opportunity to conduct an extended, focused composition project, combining both creative work and academic research. MA Composition provides a space to explore a wider range of approaches and to experiment with new ideas. Composers on both pathways are taught together and work with Bath Spa’s wider Music and Performance community.

Course structure

Tutorials
We’ll meet with you on a one-to-one basis through weekly tutorials to help you develop your work technically and aesthetically.

Seminars
We’ll discuss broader issues in groups through weekly seminar sessions. Topics could include particular composers or approaches, compositional problems, or explorations of professional contexts.

Workshops
We organise rehearsals and workshops with visiting professional musicians and fellow students. This enables you to hear your work played live and to make changes based on discussion and feedback.

Students of MA Composition and MRes Composition participate in the same seminars and workshops.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the programme document (below the main image on this page) for more details on which modules are core, required or optional.

MA Composition

  • Portfolio One
  • Portfolio Two
  • Major Project
  • Research Methodologies and Context
  • Professional Practice

MRes Composition

  • Research Methodologies and Context
  • Professional Practice
  • Research Project

Optional

  • Intercultural Musicology
  • Performance Two
  • Sound Production and Creative Project
  • Intertextuality in Sound Production
  • Sonic Architecture
  • Visual Music
  • Sound Design Practice
  • Post Production

How will I be assessed?

The majority of assessment is based on your creative work, including compositions for specified visiting musicians and projects where you decide what to write. You’ll also produce work that assesses your professional and academic skills, including making a website, preparing a funding application, and researching an area of practice that links to your work.

If you take take the MA Composition pathway, you'll typically produce a varied portfolio, inspired in part by the opportunities and experiences afforded by the course, as well as your individual interests and future plans.

MRes composers will typically produce a portfolio of work articulated as a single project that is supported by a clear research context.

How will I be taught?

Each module has a weekly seminar which is either specific to the MA/MRes Composition or, for core skills, shared by all Composition students. You’ll also have a weekly tutorial during teaching weeks.

Throughout the year, we bring in visitors to talk about their work through the Creative Sound Forum, plus industry professionals, to deepen your knowledge and understanding of current contexts. We also bring in professional musicians to play one of your compositions.

“Bath Spa University have given me the knowledge, support, and inspiration that I needed to take my creative work to levels I never thought possible. The experience has been fun, rewarding, challenging, moving, and memorable.”

Eldred Stevenson, Composition graduate.

Opportunities

Work placements, industry links and internships

We have good links with the UK contemporary music scene, and have regular visits from performers, composers and other industry speakers during the year. Recent visiting performers who have played student work include Plus Minus Ensemble, Kreutzer Quartet, Ensemble Bash, Christopher Redgate, Alexandra Wood, New London Chamber Ensemble and Darragh Morgan.

Composers and sound artists who have visited us to talk about their work include Peter Ablinger, Joanna Bailie, Laura Bowler, Gavin Bryars, Kim Cascone, Cathy von Eck, Jem Finer, Graham Fitkin, Bryn Harrison, Kathy Hinde, Tom Johnson, Liza Lim, Anton Lukoszevieze, Thomas Meadowcroft, Cassandra Miller, Claudia Molitor, Phill Niblock, Tim Parkinson, Michael Pisaro, Matthew Shlomowitz, Howard Skempton, Atau Tanaka, Jennifer Walshe, Michael Winter, Amnon Wolman.

We also run a regular series of presentations by visiting composers that brings together MA and PhD students with staff and colleagues from other disciplines. Industry and academic speakers also present their work at the commercially-orientated Music Think Tank (recent speakers include Paul Brindley, CEO at Music Ally; Paul Gray, Musicians' Union; Vick Bain, BASCA; Chris Carey from EMI; Will Page, chief economist PRS for Music; John Minch, CEO of Boosey and Hawkes/Imagem).

Careers

You’ll develop a broad range of intellectual, practical and transferable skills. We’ll help you prepare for a portfolio career built around your creative practice, drawing in other related areas of work such as:

  • Teaching
  • Editing
  • Performing
  • Work in other areas of the creative industries.

Our aim is that when you graduate from the Composition degree, you'll have developed core problem-solving, analytical, and critical skills to support you in the ever-evolving music and composition landscape.

Composition tutors at Bath Spa are internationally-recognised composers, digital sound artists, professional music-makers and active researchers. 

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

Based at Newton Park’s Michael Tippett Centre, you’ll have access to a range of University services, venues and facilities (plus further specialist music resources) including:

Resources

As an MRes / MA Composition student, you'll have access to networked music technology labs with highly specified workstations, running core software including Pro Tools, Logic, MAX/MSP, Macromedia suites, and Final Cut.

We also have five purpose-built digital recording studios, featuring:

  • A variety of portable sound-recording equipment and digital cameras
  • A purpose-built concert hall with excellent acoustics and PA
  • 17 practice rooms, three with electronically variable acoustic
  • Large, well-stocked library of books, periodicals and CDs
  • A wide range of medieval, Renaissance and Baroque instruments, and a large collection of percussion and orchestral instruments
  • A Javanese Gamelan.

Fees

UK and EU students full time

Course fees
2020/21 entry £7,600
2021/22 entry Published Jan 2021
2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022

UK and EU students part time

Fees shown below are for part time study over two years, although some courses may be available over longer periods.

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £3,800
Year 2 Published Jan 2021

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2021
Year 2 Published Jan 2022

2022/23 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023

International students full time

Course fees
2020/21 entry £14,700
2021/22 entry Published Jan 2021
2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We’re looking for students with an enquiring approach to music. You’ll be interested in developing your practice and exploring the many contexts in which it is situated.

We support work in a wide range of styles and genres, while maintaining an experimental and exploratory approach.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the 'apply now' button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply pages.

Interview and portfolio guidance

You should submit a portfolio with your application, comprising no more than three pieces of representative work. The form of this portfolio will depend on the music you make, but is likely to contain scores and recordings.

We’re happy to receive links to online material, CDs, DVDs, printed scores, documentation of performances or installations, as appropriate. If you need guidance on this, please contact the course leader.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Email: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk
Course leader: James Saunders
Email: j.saunders@bathspa.ac.uk

Website feedback to web@bathspa.ac.uk