MMus in Composition

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department

Course overview

The MMus in Composition fosters your ability to compose and notate music, and to develop your own personal musical language. 

You explore a wide range of technical procedures for contemporary composition and engage intellectually and critically with related theories and concepts.

There are many practical opportunities to work with performers, including the Department of Music's ensemble-in-residence, and other artistic collaborators.

The composition pathway appeals to composers interested in a wide range of contemporary music including Boulez, Stockhausen, Birtwistle, Carter, Xenakis, spectral music and improvised music.

There's a focus on fundamental issues concerning pitch, time and pulse, and covers topics such as orchestration, advanced instrumental techniques, large-scale structure.

Composers taking this pathway may elect to take options in studio-based composition, providing they have the requisite prior experience.

There are also opportunities to work with visiting professional musicians and meet visiting composers, which have included Harrison Birtwistle, Michael Finnissy, Brian Ferneyhough and Jonathan Harvey.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Roger Redgate

Modules & structure

Core modules

Module title Credits
  Compositional Techniques 30 credits
  Material, Form and Structure 30 credits

Option modules

Choose two modules from a selection that currently includes:

Module title Credits
  Audiovisual Composition 30 credits
  Philosophies of Music 30 credits
  Sound Agendas 30 credits
  Composition and Moving Image Media 30 credits
  Contemporary Music: Practices and Debates 30 credits
  Research Through Musical Performance 30 credits
  Studio Practice 30 credits
  Interactive and Generative Music 30 credits
  Interpretation, Meaning and Performance 30 credits

Creative project

Module title Credits
  Creative Project 60 credits

Download the programme specification for the 2018-19 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.


Music at Goldsmiths is ranked: 12th in the UK for the quality of our research* 22nd in the world for performing arts**


From opera to electronica, and from Errollyn Wallen to James Blake, music studies at Goldsmiths are unique and different. Firmly rooted in the 21st century, our programmes entwine academic with practice-based study, and historical with contemporary repertories.

Performance opportunities

We’re committed to high quality, ambitious and innovative performance, and we have a wide range of ensembles that you can join, including:

  • Goldsmiths Sinfonia
  • Chamber Choir
  • Contemporary Music Ensemble
  • Lunchtime and evening recitals
  • Music Collective
  • Studio Laptop Ensemble
  • Goldsmiths Vocal Ensemble
  • Plus student-led ensembles: Chamber Orchestra, New Music Ensemble, Big Band and Film Orchestra
  • Goldsmiths Gamelan Group

These culminate in our end-of-year degree show and public music festival PureGold, which in recent years has launched at London’s Southbank Centre.


We have excellent rehearsal and performance facilities including:

  • Goldsmiths Music Studios
  • Electronic Music Studio
  • Sonics Interactive Multimedia Laboratory
  • Council Chamber (with its Steinway Model D)
  • Two suites of practice rooms

Find out more about the Department of Music.

*Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
**QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017


Find out more about staff in the Department of Music.

Skills & careers


You'll develop strategies and methodologies for creative practice, critical reflection and evaluation and skills in the contextualisation of creative work.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.

Student profiles


"Goldsmiths and London life have afforded me more life-changing experiences and relationships than I ever could have asked for."

"I spent the past five years attending university and later working in the Chicago area. One of my mentors at university mentioned his ties to Goldsmiths so I decided to research it. What I found was an exciting and comprehensive programme in one of the most culturally vibrant cities on earth. I had treasured the opportunities afforded to me by living so close to Chicago. Imagine what London would hold! I quickly applied, got accepted, and began navigating the visa process.

When American students travel, it’s usually a backpacking trip with friends or a very sanitised term abroad with American peers. My experience has been quite different. I didn’t know a single soul at Goldsmiths and was completely immersed in authentic English culture.

Getting to know the faculty and my peers has been an experience of deepening my perspective, both culturally and musically, leading to numerous musical opportunities as well as a complete paradigm shift in how I approach my discipline as a classical composer.

I now run a weekly lecture series on contemporary music with my colleagues. A friend and I are starting to write music for a play to be premiered in Edinburgh later this year. A group of us do regular improvisation concerts around the city.

Even as I continue to be amazed by it, Goldsmiths and London life have afforded me more life-changing experiences and relationships than I ever could have asked for."

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in Music or a relevant/related subject. Your qualification should comprise a substantial practical/creative element relevant to the pathway. A detailed transcript of your degree is preferred. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
  • A short portfolio that provides selected examples of your recent creative work (eg musical scores, CD, DVD, as appropriate); these examples should be relevant to the focus of the pathway

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

Related content links