BMus Music

General

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time


This programme is a unique opportunity to study the musical traditions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and their global diasporas. Students are taught the basic principles of ethnomusicology and survey a variety of Asian and African music. In years 2 and 3 they are encouraged to focus on the music of specific regions and to consider cross-regional themes. Performance is a central component of the degree. Students have the opportunity to develop expertise in a great variety of musical performance traditions.

SOAS has the only Music department in the UK devoted to the study of world music. We have a very active musical life, including concert series, student ensembles and a successful summer school in which students can become involved. Students are taught in the heart of London, home to many vibrant and diverse communities and to a breath-taking array of world music concerts, workshops and festivals. Our students actively participate in this rich and varied musical scene.

Graduates of the BMus Music possess not only musical and cultural expertise but also a portfolio of widely transferable skills sought by employers in professional and creative industries. The programme leads into careers and vocational pathways including arts management, festival administration and curating, music journalism, teaching, performing and composing, album production, and management and consultancy within the music industry in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Music at SOAS can also be studied as part of a two-subject degree leading to the award of a BA. This option allows more scope for studying a language or other non-musical aspects of particular cultures. The single-subject degree allows greater concentration on music, including Western music and Performance.

Employment

As a graduate who specialised in Music at SOAS, you will have gained competency in one or more world music performance traditions, intercultural awareness and understanding of global music and the world music industry. Familiarity with a specific region will have been developed through the study of its music. You will have the opportunity to develop practical vocational skills in sound recording and radio presenting. Graduates leave SOAS not only with musical and cultural expertise but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and creative capacities, including interpersonal skills, communication skills, focus, teamwork, passion and dedication.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • AKTC
  • Davies Arnold Cooper LLP
  • EFINST
  • PPP Company Limited
  • Fundamental Frequency Productions
  • Golden Feathers - Alice Myth
  • Indigenous People
  • Music For Change
  • T&T Productions
  • Whitefield School
  • DfID World Music Matters

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

  • Musicologist
  • Trainee Solicitor
  • English Teacher
  • Proofreader
  • Composer/Producer
  • Musician
  • Marketing Officer
  • Project Manager
  • Head of CSL Products
  • Musician
  • Translator
  • Director
  • Music Therapist

Structure

General Structure

Occasionally the availability of optional modules changes as a result of staffing and other circumstances. Students who had signed up for such modules will be notified as soon as possible and given the opportunity to choose from available alternatives.

First-year modules cover the basic principles of ethnomusicology and survey a variety of Asian and African music. Students additionally receive aural training (e.g. in transcription) and follow lessons in one or more Asian or African performance traditions. The Department is linked with nearby King’s College, University of London. Qualified SOAS students may take up to 30 credits in Western music at King’s, and King’s students may take modules in ethnomusicology at SOAS, subject to approval from the appropriate tutors.

In Years 2 and 3, the student is encouraged to focus on the music of a selected region or regions through “area” modules focussing on Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Jewish world. A number of non-regional “thematic” modules and independent research projects are also available. Modules in other departments (“open options”) may be taken as appropriate, once the Music requirements have been met.

Degree Detail

Please note that a 15 credits module corresponds to a 0.5 unit (taught over one term) and a 30 credits module corresponds to a full unit (taught over both terms).

Students are required to take modules to the total value of 360 credits over the duration of their degree, 120 credits per year. A 30 credits module will be taught over both terms, while a 15 credits module is taught over one term.

Up to 90 credits may come from "open option modules" (modules outside of this programme - e.g. language or non-music modules), but only 30 credits of open option modules may be taken in each year.

SOAS Music undergraduates may take selected Western music modules at King's College, with the approval of the module tutor, as open option modules. Many of King's modules are taught during one term only, and term and exam dates may differ from SOAS. In particular, some exams are held in January.

Year 1

Single-subject students take six compulsory 15 credits modules (90 credits in total) in the "Compulsory Modules" listing below. Their remaining 30 credits may be an "open option" module.

Compulsory Module

  • Sounds and Cultures
  • Great Works: art, films, literature, music
  • Writing Across the Arts
  • Introduction to Music Analysis
  • Performance 1a: gamelan
  • Performance 1b: ensembles

and

Open Options

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits.

  • Language Open Option Modules
  • Non-Language Open Option Modules

or

Guided Options

Students can take the following two guided option modules:

  • Decolonising Pop: K-Pop and Beyond
  • Studying Popular Music

Year 2

Single-subject students take the compulsory 15 credits module Ethnomusicology Themes & Variations. They must also take 30 credits modules chosen from the "Area modules" list. Remaining modules can be selected from any of the modules groups, with up to 30 credits from an open option module, or music modules at Kings College London.

Compulsory Module

  • Ethnomusicology: Themes and Variations

and

Choose a compulsory module(s) from the List of Area Modules below to the value of 30 credits.

and

Guided Option

Choose a module(s) from the List of Modules below to the value of 45 credits.

and

Open Option

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits.

  • Language Open Option Modules
  • Non-Language Open Option Modules

or

Guided Option

Choose a module(s) from the List of Modules below to the value of 30 credits.

or

From the list of Music modules at King's College London at 30 credits.

Year 3

Single-subject students take the compulsory 15 credits module Urban Soundscapes. They must also take 30 credits chosen from the "Area Modules" list below. Remaining modules can be selected from any of the modules groups, with up to 30 credits from an open option module, or music modules at Kings College London.

Compulsory Module

  • Urban Soundscapes

and

Choose a module(s) from the List of Area Modules below to the value of 30 credits.

and

Guided Option

Choose a module(s) from the List of Modules below to the value of 45 credits

and

Open Option

Choose related Language or Non-Language open option modules to the value of 30 credits

  • Language Open Option Modules
  • Non-Language Open Option Modules

or

Guided Option

Choose a module(s) from the List of Modules below to the value of 30 credits

or

From the list of Music modules at King's College London at 30 credits.

List of modules (subject to availability)

Year 2 and 3 Area Modules

  • Classical singing in India: Continuity and change
  • Mughal Arts: Sound, Text, and Image
  • Music and travel on the Silk Road
  • Music in Africa: Critical Listening - The Mande World
  • Music in Africa: Musical crosscurrents in East Africa and the Indian Ocean
  • Music, Religion and Society in the Middle East and North Africa
  • Music, Religion and Society in South Asia
  • Musical Traditions of East Asia
  • Raga: concept and practice
  • Jaffa: Music and Urbanism in the Contested Middle East
  • Pop and Politics in East Asia
  • The World of Cuban Music
  • Klezmer Music: Roots and Revival

General Modules

  • Arts, Culture and Commodification: Themes in the Global Creative and Cultural Industries
  • Composition
  • Critical Readings in Arts and Cultures
  • Curating Global Arts
  • Gender and Music
  • Directed Study in Creative Industries
  • Global Hip-Hop
  • Introduction to Sound Recording
  • Presenting World Music On Radio

Project Modules

  • Extended Essay
  • Independent Study Project in Music

Performance Modules

  • Performance 2
  • Performance 3

Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

To apply for an undergraduate degree at SOAS (including students wishing to transfer from another university) you must apply through the UK's central universities application organization, UCAS. An application form and details of courses can be found on their website. UCAS charges an applicant's fee for handling the application.

You can apply to up to five choices of higher education institutions or course on the UCAS form. How you utilise the choice is up to you. In other words, you could apply to do the same subject, for example, economics, at five different universities, or five different courses at the same university, or any combination of subject and institution. Nor do you have to use up all five choices. Whatever you choose you should list your choices in the order they appear in the UCAS handbook.

Entry Requirements

  • Subjects Preferred: A level Music or equivalent is required for the single-subject degree. A level Music is not required for the combined Music programme, but evidence of both academic ability and active involvement in musical performance or composition is essential.
  • A-Levels: AAB-ABB
    IB: 35 (665 at HL)
  • Interview Policy: Candidates not normally interviewed but encouraged to attend Open Days or contact the Department with enquiries.

Alternative entry requirements

  • BTEC: DDM
  • Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB
  • Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
  • Advanced Placement: 4 4 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
  • Euro Bacc: 80%
  • French Bacc: 14/20
  • German Abitur: 2.0
  • Italy DES: 80/100
  • Austria Mat: 2.0
  • Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects.

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated October 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read less
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