International Foundation Certificate in Music Computing

  • Length
    1 year full-time
  • Department
    English Language Centre

Course overview

This one-year programme gives you the opportunity to develop your English language, become familiar with UK academic culture, and prepare to study for a BMus/BSc in Music Computing.

The International Foundation Certificate (IFC) programme is aimed at undergraduate students who need a year to:

  • develop or consolidate their language skills in academic English
  • undertake preliminary study in the subject areas they would like to study at undergraduate level
  • familiarise themselves both with ways of working in British academic culture and in the standards required at degree level

Half of the programme will focus on the four core modules of language development:

  • Academic Writing
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Speaking

The other half of the programme will introduce you to the historical and cultural context of music studies and the foundations of computing programming. 

You will have a personal tutor, who you meet in small groups or on a one-to-one basis to discuss progress on the course, general approaches to study, and ways of maximising language learning. Tutors will also support you in finalising your plans for future study. 

You are encouraged throughout the programme to work independently and in particular to use the resources available in the Goldsmiths Library.

Guaranteed progression

If you pass the programme at the required level (a pass in all modules with an overall score of 50% or more), you are guaranteed a place on a related Goldsmiths degree programme:

  • BMus/BSc Music Computing

Alternatively you may choose to continue your studies at another university. 

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Admissions Tutor, Timothy Chapman

Modules & structure


The programme is made up of the following modules: 

  • English for Academic Purposes (2 x 30 credits)
  • Department of Music foundation modules (2 x 15 credits)
  • Department of Computing foundation module (1 x 30 credits)

English for Academic Purposes modules (30 credits each)

Students on all IFC Pathways take both of these core modules, designed to develop your ability and confidence in the four key areas of writing, reading, listening and speaking.

Academic Reading and Writing

The module covers the key aspects of writing an essay. These include features of academic style, the planning process, structuring an argument, summarising, paraphrasing techniques, referencing, avoiding plagiarism, and drafting and editing. Emphasis is given to the logic underlying Western academic writing conventions, rather than simply looking at the procedural aspects. This is supported by work on the main areas of English grammar, with a focus on improving grammatical range and accuracy in your writing. Reading skills are also developed.

Textual analysis helps you learn about cohesion, extend your vocabulary, read for gist and specifics, infer meaning, as well as develop summary skills. The texts generally focus on a background to Western thought and culture, taking into account ancient Greeks and Romans, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the influence of modernity, feminism and Marxism. There is an emphasis on how to use reading in writing – learning from other writers’ style and using their points as evidence for your arguments.

Academic Listening and Speaking

To enhance listening skills, the module makes use of a wide range of texts, drawing firstly on commercially produced EAP materials to help you acquire the skills of listening for gist and specific information, and taking useful notes. Later, the module moves on to recordings from Goldsmiths library as well as BBC radio shows. You are exposed to a range of challenging and interesting recordings related to the arts, current affairs, media, education and aspects of British culture.

Many of the recordings are relevant to subjects studied at Goldsmiths, for example race and ethnicity, representation, identity and culture. Where possible, the recordings are exploited for vocabulary development. To develop speaking skills, you will research and give seminar presentations and lead the class through discussion of your chosen topic. You will receive input on effective seminar techniques and functional language.


The Music Computing Pathway

You take all three of the following modules – two in the Department of Music and one in the Department of Computing.

Western Art Music in Context (15 credits)

The module introduces you to the development of Western art music in historical and cultural context. It presents a general survey of music from the late Renaissance to the present day. It focuses on the stylistic/formal changes, and particular attention is given to the establishment, transformation and disintegration of tonality.

As part of the module you will be expected to develop your understanding and aural perception of musical style, and to develop your ability to read various types of scores.

Topics in Music Studies (15 credits)

This module will develop your understanding of music studies, and introduce you to a series of established musical works that have acquired importance in Western culture. The works will be chosen to demonstrate a variety of forms, performance forces, styles and cultural functions. You will reflect on why these works have become accepted in the way they have, and whether things might have been different.

As an integrated part of this module, you will be expected to develop your English skills to the standard appropriate for entry to the BMus course by writing and speaking about music in a coherent, informed way. At the end of the module, you are expected to hand in a research project on a topic of your choice as the result of the learning process.

Foundations of Computer Programming (30 credits)

The module provides you with the background you need to use a computer to develop and execute simple software programs in a manner that will prepare you for the programming modules in the first year of a computing degree programme. This module is appropriate for everyone, including those with no knowledge of programming.



The English for Academic Purposes and the computing modules of the programme are assessed by a mixture of coursework, written examination and presentation. The music modules will include a research project and a listening assessment. 

Successful completion at the required level will guarantee you a place on a relevant Goldsmiths degree programme.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

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

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for the International Foundation Certificate in Music Computing are:


A good high school leaving certificate or equivalent academic study with some evidence of learning in relevant subjects.

You should also demonstrate numeracy skills at, or equivalent to, grade C in GCSE Mathematics. 


Evidence of English language proficiency:

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) IELTS 5.0. 

If you have a lower English language score you may be accepted after successfully completing one of our Pre-sessional English courses. 


You must normally be 17 years of age or above. 

Country of residence and nationality

Only international students can apply. Applications from home/EU students will not be accepted.

If you are not sure which type of IELTS test you need to take, contact our Immigration Advisory Service ( 

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above.

If your qualifications are from another country, 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 5.0 with 5.0 in writing

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

Read more about our general entrance requirements


The English Language Centre
specialises in teaching English language and academic writing

English Language Centre

Come and learn from a dedicated team of specialists. Some of our team have worked in this area for over 20 years.

We offer courses for:

  • students with English as a second language
  • native English speakers who are keen to develop their skills in academic writing

These courses range from standalone foundation years and pre-sessional courses right through to in-sessional courses that you complete during your degree programme.

It’s also possible to book an appointment with our resident Royal Literary Fund Fellows – professional writers who can help you improve your essay-writing skills.

Find out more about the English Language Centre.

Student work

Students from the International Foundation Certificate programme made this film about studying at Goldsmiths

Fees & funding

How to apply

As part of your application you'll need to include: 

  • A reference
  • English Language certificates
  • Transcript or student record

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