Institution / University College Cork
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Music - Composition

This course is for those undertaking creative work involving sound, including notated or recorded compositions; improvisations; sound art; visual art with a sound component; music theatre; performance art; installations etc. It includes studies in technique; repertoire; artistic ideas; working with instruments and performers; audio/video technology and practical issues in bringing your creative work to performance.

The course welcomes students from a remarkably broad range of backgrounds, and creative work produced for it can be extremely diverse. You are encouraged to experiment with a huge range of possibilities. Staff have specialisms in concert music; dance music; experimental music and art; video art with sound; improvisation. Some musical skills are expected, including the ability to read music and a working knowledge of basic music technology.

Entry requirements

You will have a 2.2 BA degree or equivalent in Music, plus demonstrated experience in creating music.

In order to be permitted to proceed to the MA in Composition, a candidate must hold an Honours Bachelor's degree in Music, with a grade of Second Class Honours, Grade II or higher, and demonstrate experience in the creation of music;

Candidates with an Honours degree in another subject, Second Class Honours, Grade II or higher, and a demonstrable experience of composing music may also be eligible.

Applicants with an appropriate professional equivalent (e.g. professional musician or other artist of high standing, etc.) will also be considered.

All applicants will be required to submit a portfolio of compositional work in whatever form is suitable (scores, recordings, videos, computer programmes, etc.) and may also be required to attend an interview with members of the programme team.

Final acceptance is subject to approval by the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, UCC.

If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please see course webpage (link below) to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests.


1 year full-time
2 Years Part Time

The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours over 2 years.

Careers or further progression

The course offers you the opportunity to gain skills applicable to a wide range of artistic work, plus essential experience as a foundation for a PhD.

Further enquiries

Dr. John Godfrey
P: + 353 21 490 4534 / 4904530

Subjects taught

The MA in Composition is a one-year full-time course, involving both taught components and a portfolio of independent, supervised creative work, totaling 90 credits.

The programme can also be taken part-time over 24 months (by day). The course structure for part-time students would be subject to agreement with the Department of Music.

Students take 90 credits as follows:

Part I

MU6030 Research Skills (5 credits)
MU6038 Noise (5 credits)
MU6039 Praxis 1(10 credits)
MU6040 Praxis 2 (10 credits)
MU6041 Agora (5 credits)
MU6031 Sound Studies and Musicology (5 credits)

20 credits of elective modules from the following list, or from elsewhere in the university, subject to the agreement of the programme co-ordinator.

MU6007 Digital Music and Media Composition and Orchestration I (10 credits)

MU6008 Digital Music and Media Composition and Orchestration II (10 credits)
MU6035 The Body in Creative Arts Practice (10 credits)
MU6036 Music and Popular Culture (10 credits)
MU6037 Music and Cinema (10 credits)
MU6034 Multidisciplinary Debates in Ethnomusicology and Musicology (5 credits)
MU6004 Performance Practice (15 credits)
MU6026 Performance Workshop (15 credits)

Part II

MU6024 Portfolio (30 credits)


Unique Aspects of the Course.
The only MA in Composition in Ireland designed to be open to composers from an extremely broad set of backgrounds. Caters for those working on instrumental concert music, experimental and electronic musics, graphic scores, improvisation, video art, sound art, installations and more. Not only offers opportunities in styles not usually catered for, but also creates an exciting atmosphere in which students mix with others from a wide range of backgrounds.

Assessment method

The taught courses are assessed through several assignments undertaken during and after the courses. The portfolio consists of several compositions/artworks submitted in September.

Application date

Applications for 2017-18 intake are now open.

While UCC operates a rounds system for Postgraduate Taught courses (detailed below) we would advise you to apply as soon as possible.

Deadline for receipt of Applications: Offers will be made:

For all completed applications received by January 16th 2017 Offers will be made by January 30th 2017

For all completed applications received by March 1st 2017 Offers will be made by March 15th 2017

For all completed applications received by May 1st 2017 Offers will be made by May 15th 2017

For all completed applications received by July 3rd 2017 Offers will be made by July 17th 2017

Late applications may be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for any courses that have remaining capacity for places.

Non-EU Applicants:

Please visit the following page for further information for Non EU applicants

Course fee

2017/2018 Irish/EU Fee: €6,000 full-time, €3,000 per year part-time.
(Extras: Purchase of books, optional purchase of software, optional purchase of specialist equipment)

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: 11 September 2017

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