Introduction

This degree is a perfect combination for students who have a strong interest in music; perhaps more specifically music production. Understanding key computing courses such as programming will offer students the chance to move in to careers like music production and sound engineering, where strong computing skills will be of benefit.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
IW13
Degree marketing image

This programme offers up a range of computing and music courses whilst still delivering some key core courses. In computing, core courses remain in areas of Computer Programming Principles and Computer Architecture, Data Management and Software Engineering, to name a few. Music related choices come in the form of courses such as; Fundamentals of Music Theory, Fundamentals of Music Harmony and Performance.

Our Music staff are active as musicologists, composers and performers and their work is recognised and valued throughout the world, both in research communities as well as in the concert hall and via broadcast media.

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses
Academic Writing for Language & Literature (AW1008)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

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Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

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Programming 1 (CS1032)

15 Credit Points

This course will be delivered in two halves. The first half will provide a self-contained introduction to computer programming. It will be accessible to all undergraduates. Students will be exposed to the basic principles of computer programming, e.g. fundamental programming techniques, concepts, algorithms and data structures. The course contains lectures where the principles are systematically developed. As the course does not presuppose knowledge of these principles, we start from basic intuitions. The second half will be particularly of use to those studying Science and Engineering subjects, broadly interpreted, as well as Computing and IT specialists. It will include a gentle introduction to professional issues and security concepts.

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Modelling and Problem Solving for Computing (CS1029)

15 Credit Points

This course will introduce students to techniques that support problem solving and modelling with computers, and concepts and methods that are fundamental to computing science. The techniques and concepts will be illustrated with numerous computing examples.

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Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony (MU1037)

15 Credit Points

In this course, basic concepts of Western tonal music such as primary triads, cadences, idiomatic chord progressions, and voice leading are taught using exercises in harmonic analysis, figured bass, and part writing. More advanced concepts such as secondary dominants and chromatically-altered chords are also introduced. In parallel to lectures and seminars, students will work with software designed to reinforce key concepts such as clefs, intervals, key signatures, and scale structures.

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Computer Systems and Architecture (CS1533)

15 Credit Points

This course provides an introduction to computer systems. It includes an introduction to computer architecture and organization, and an introduction to operating systems.

The course is taught without prerequisites; students are taught with plenty of exercises from lectures, tutorials, practical and tests every week.

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Object - Oriented Programming (CS1527)

15 Credit Points

This course will build on the basic programming skills acquired in the first half-session and equip the students with advanced object oriented programming knowledge, implementation of data structure and algorithms, and basic software engineering techniques. The students will be challenged with more complicated programming problems through a series of continuous assessments.

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Optional Courses

Select AT LEAST ONE of the following

  • Performance 1 (MU1051)
  • Key Moments 1 (MU1035)
  • Performance 2 (MU1551)
  • Key Moments 2 (MU1535)

Plus, select 30 credit points from courses of choice.

NOTE: Please note that performance courses are available only after successful audition. MA students audition at the beginning of an academic session, and should ensure that they select an audition time when registering online, or contact the Music Office (MacRobert, room 003) to arrange one.

Performance Studies 1 (MU1051)

15 Credit Points

MU1051 is structured to develop, in tandem, students' individual instrumental/vocal and ensemble skills. Entrance to this course for non BMus students is by audition only. Students must be of ABRSM Grade 8 (or equivalent) standard or above before they can be considered for audition. Students must also be fully proficient in reading music and have a reasonable standard of music theory knowledge.

For non BMus students, auditions are arranged by the student contacting the Music Department during Induction Week. Prospective students will be asked to prepare one 5 minute piece for the audition which demonstrates their best abilities, and they will be asked to perform some sight reading. All students on the BMus Ed programme must undertake additional study in Piano Keyboard Skills. These additional study sessions will focus on the development of relevant vocational skills. First study pianists will also be required to take these additional study sessions.

Timetables will be arranged on an individual basis with instrumental / vocal tutors on commencement of the course.

View detailed information about this course
Performance 2 (MU1551)

15 Credit Points

MU1051 is structured to develop, in tandem, students' individual instrumental/vocal and ensemble skills. Entrance to this course for non BMus students is by audition only. Students must be of ABRSM Grade 8 (or equivalent) standard or above before they can be considered for audition. Students must also be fully proficient in reading music and have a reasonable standard of music theory knowledge.

For non BMus students, auditions are arranged by the student contacting the Music Department during Induction Week. Prospective students will be asked to prepare one 5 minute piece for the audition which demonstrates their best abilities, and they will be asked to perform some sight reading. All students on the BMus Ed programme must undertake additional study in Piano Keyboard Skills. These additional study sessions will focus on the development of relevant vocational skills. First study pianists will also be required to take these additional study sessions.

Timetables will be arranged on an individual basis with instrumental / vocal tutors on commencement of the course.

View detailed information about this course
Key Moments 1 (MU1035)

15 Credit Points

This course covers five key moments from Western music history, giving students both a clear and broad grasp of the shape of musical, cultural and intellectual history along with much more detailed studies of individual musical works.

The coverage will not be encyclopaedic and will instead seek to help students develop a sense of a musical period through more engaged explorations of a small number of key musical works.

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Key Moments 2 (MU1535)

15 Credit Points

This course covers five key moments from Western music history between 1300 and 1800, giving students both a clear and broad grasp of the shape of musical, cultural and intellectual history along with much more detailed studies of individual musical works.

The coverage will not be encyclopaedic and will instead seek to help students develop a sense of a musical period through more engaged explorations of a small number of key musical works.

View detailed information about this course
Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses
Software Programming (CS2020)

15 Credit Points

This course is concerned with tools and techniques for scalable and dependable software programming. It focusses primarily on the Java programming language and related technologies. The course gives extensive programming practice in Java. It covers in depth features of the language and how best to use them, the execution model of the language, memory management, design principles underpinning the language, and comparisons with other languages. Tools for collaboration, productivity, and versioning will also be discussed.

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Databases and Data Management (CS2019)

15 Credit Points

Databases are an important part of traditional information systems (offline /online) as well as modern data science pipelines. This course will be of interest to anyone who wishes to learn to design and query databases using major database technologies. The course aims to teach the material using case studies from real-world applications, both in lectures and lab classes.

In addition, the course covers topics including management of different kinds of data such as spatial data and data warehousing. The course provides more hands-on training that develops skills useful in practice.

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Introduction to Musicology (MU2023)

15 Credit Points

Students will explore a range of elementary issues in musicology relating to some of the following: music history, theory and analysis, sociology of music, psychology of music, aesthetics, ethnomusicology, world music, early music, opera, concert music, jazz, popular music, music in film and television, musical performance, composition, music technology and the economics of the music business.

The course will consider a range of music taking into account the kinds of methodologies and discourses in which this music is discussed.

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Human - Computer Interaction (CS2506)

15 Credit Points

This course looks at why a computer system that interacts with human beings needs to be usable. It covers a set of techniques that allow usability to be taken into account when a system is designed and implemented, and also a set of techniques to assess whether usability has been achieved. Weekly practical sessions allow students to practice these techniques. The assessed coursework (which is normally carried out by groups of students) gives an opportunity to go through the design process for a concrete computer system, with a particular focus on ensuring usability.

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Mathematics for Computing Science (CS2513)

15 Credit Points

This course provides an introduction to areas of Discrete Mathematics that are used extensively in Computing. The course covers three topics: (1) formal languages and machines; (2) formal logic; (3) probability and statistics. Applications of these in Computing are indicated throughout.

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Algorithms and Data Structures (CS2522)

15 Credit Points

This course provides the knowledge needed to understand, design and compare algorithms. By the end of the course, a student should be able to create or adapt algorithms to solve problems, determine an algorithm's efficiency, and be able to implement it. The course also introduces the student to a variety of widely used algorithms and algorithm creation techniques, applicable to a range of domains. The course will introduce students to concepts such as pseudo-code and computational complexity, and make use of proof techniques. The practical component of the course will build on and enhance students' programming skills.

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Optional Courses

Select 15 credit points from first semester courses of choice, plus 15 credits from level 2 courses in Music in the second semester.

Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses
Principles of Software Engineering (CS3028)

15 Credit Points

Students will develop large commercial and industrial software systems as a team-based effort that puts technical quality at centre stage. The module will focus on the early stage of software development, encompassing team building, requirements specification, architectural and detailed design, and software construction. Group work (where each team of students will develop a system selected using a business planning exercise) will guide the software engineering learning process. Teams will be encouraged to have an active, agile approach to problem solving through the guided study, evaluation and integration of practically relevant software engineering concepts, methods, and tools.

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Software Engineering and Professional Practice (CS3528)

15 Credit Points

In this module, which is the follow-up of CS3028, students will focus on the team-based development of a previously specified, designed, and concept-proofed software system. Each team will build their product to industrial-strength quality standards following an agile process and applying the software engineering concepts, methods, and tools introduced in CS3028. The course includes a series of mandatory participatory seminars on professional and management issues in IT and IT projects. Students will be expected to relate their engineering work to these issues.

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Optional Courses

Select ONE of the following:

  • Artificial Intelligence (CS3033)
  • Operating Systems (CS3026)

Plus, select ONE of the following:

  • Languages and Computability (CS3518)
  • Distributed Systems (CS3534)
  • Enterprise Computing and Business (CS3525)

Plus, select a further 60 credit points from level 3 courses in Music.

Artificial Intelligence (CS3033)

15 Credit Points

The course provides an introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI). It discusses fundamental problems of AI and their computational solution via key concepts.

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Operating Systems (CS3026)

15 Credit Points

This course discusses core concepts and architectures of operating systems, in particular the management of processes, memory and storage structures. Students will learn about the scheduling and operation of processes and threads, problems of concurrency and means to avoid race conditions and deadlock situations. The course will discuss virtual memory management, file systems and issues of security and recovery. In weekly practical session, students will gain a deeper understanding of operating system concepts with various programming exercises.

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Languages and Computability (CS3518)

15 Credit Points

This course provides a basic-level introduction to computability via the notion of a Turing Machine. Some familiarity with imperative programming (e.g., in JAVA) and with the basics of set theory (e.g., the notion of a bijection) is assumed. The Functional language Haskell (familiar from earlier courses, including CS2013) is used to explore the concepts of infinity, recognisability and decidability, which are crucial to computability.

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Distributed Systems (CS3534)

15 Credit Points

This course discusses core concepts of distributed systems, such as programming with distributed objects, multiple threads of control, multi-tier client-server systems, transactions and concurrency control, distributed transactions and commit protocols, and fault-tolerant systems. Weekly practical sessions cover a set of techniques for the implementation of distributed system concepts such as programming with remote object invocation, thread management and socket communication.

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Enterprise Computing and Business (CS3525)

15 Credit Points

This course provides insight into the business reasons for large software systems such as loyalty card systems, backend systems integrating firms and their suppliers and larges systems that integrate payroll, finance and operational parts of a business. You also learn the entrepreneurial aspects of business during the practical sessions where you explore and develop your own business application idea using service design and lean startup approaches centred around customer development, which you will find useful in any future work. This course is open to anyone across the university and requires no programming experience.

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Year 4

Year 4

Compulsory Courses
Joint Honours Computer Project (CS4525)

30 Credit Points

Consists of a supervised project which provides experience of investigating a real problem in computing science, or a computing application/technology. Learner will apply knowledge and skills gained earlier in their degree programme, and seek to go even further. Managing the project and presenting the results obtained are an integral part of the investigation.

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Optional Courses

Plus further credit points from level 4 courses in Computing and Music to gain a total of 60 credits in each discipline.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

A degree in Computing and Music is taught via a selection of compulsory and optional courses to enhance your learning and prepare you for a future career or further study. In each year you will take courses adding up to 120 credits. Depending on the number of compulsory and optional courses offered by your degree, you can also choose other eligible courses which fit your timetable.

Learning Methods

  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Computing and Music?

Why Computing

  • Flexible degrees available, including; Single/Joint Honours BSc, MA or MSci degrees.
  • Extra-curricular activities - Studying Computing is not just about programming. We run a variety of social and professional events regularly including; ACM programming Contest, Code The City and Global Service Jam.
  • Aberdeen Software Factory - students get paid to work on client projects as a means to develop their software development skills.
  • We run a hugely successful Computing Student Society, where students socialise and enhance their communication skills, and knowledge of hardware and software.
  • Students are given the opportunity to develop their transferable skills and abilities as independent learners.
  • Prizes for academic excellence are awarded in each year of study. These are sponsored by O’Reilly, the British Computer Society, CGI, EDS and Amazon. Projects are often successfully entered for national competition.
  • Industrial Placements – about 50% of our students took part in placements, receiving very good feedback from the employers.
  • We are a very close knit department of students and staff and you will be given the freedom to develop your skills and learning whilst being supported along the way.
  • Our research expertise in Data Science and Data Analysis is at its strongest when we work in close partnership with other disciplines, such as Physics, Maths, Geography, Health and Biology.
  • The Department of Computing Science is a thriving centre of teaching and research, particularly in areas related to Artificial Intelligence and Knowledge-Based Information Management.

Why Music

  • Our academic staff are internationally recognised experts in composition, performance, musicology, music education and music and communities, including royal composer Paul Mealor and other rising stars.
  • The University has a full Symphony Orchestra, Chamber and Chapel choirs with growing international reputations, Choral and Opera Societies, and consorts and ensembles across all instruments.
  • Specialist facilities include state-of-the-art studios for electroacoustic music, as well as a collection of historic instruments including a 1771 Kirkman harpsichord.
  • Excellent performance venues and opportunities, with our early sixteenth-century Chapel often used for services and performances of sacred and concert music, with a magnificent Aubertin organ - the first in the UK.
  • Opportunities to perform at ceremonies, graduations, recitals, and the annual May Festival for talented students in Scottish traditional and classical instruments, and vocalists.
  • The prestigious Ogston Music Prize, and a range of scholarships and special support for students with outstanding talent.
  • Three state-of-the-art Electroacoustic Composition studios as well as a number of Music Technology workstations.
  • Aberdeen city known as a lively centre for music, with links to the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Aberdeen City Music School, North East of Scotland Music School, and the region's growing Sound festival.
  • Masterclasses with leading musicians and the annual May Festival which showcases Aberdeen talent welcomes internationally acclaimed choirs, orchestras and musicians to campus every spring.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


General Entry Requirements

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2021/22
EU / International students £18,000
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Students Admitted in 2021/22

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Undergraduate EU Scholarship

The Aberdeen Global Undergraduate Scholarship is open to European Union (EU) students.

This is an £8,000 tuition fee discount available to eligible self-funded Undergraduate students who would have previously been eligible for Home (Scottish/EU) fee status.

View Undergraduate EU Scholarship

Careers

Computing graduates develop an ability to understand new and complex computer systems. Our graduates can choose from a variety of employment opportunities and mainly find employment as programmers, web developers, systems analysts, and in jobs involving user support.

At the University of Aberdeen, we give you every opportunity to broaden your horizons and develop the professional and personal skills and attributes you will need to build a successful career. The high quality of our degrees combined with our strong focus on employability opens up a wide range of career options

Career Opportunities

  • Engineer
  • IT Service Manager
  • Illustrator
  • Programmer
  • Software Engineer
  • Systems Analyst
  • Writer

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Facilities

Image for Aberdeen Software Factory
Aberdeen Software Factory

Aberdeen Software Factory

The Aberdeen Software Factory is a student-run software house. Students can gain experience working on larger software projects and benefit from work experience, while clients will benefit from a flexible, cost effective solution to suit their needs.

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Image for Sir Duncan Rice Library
Sir Duncan Rice Library

Sir Duncan Rice Library

The University’s award winning Sir Duncan Rice Library is listed in the “Top 20 spellbinding University libraries in the World”. It contains over a million volumes, more than 300,000 e-books and 21,000 journals.

Find out more
Image for Computing Placements
Computing Placements

Computing Placements

Placements are encouraged and available within a range of computing firms - summer months, between second and third year, or between third and fourth year.

Discover Uni

Discover Uni draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX