English with Music Studies at Aberdeen gives you the unique experience of exploring literature, language and creative writing inspired by internationally acclaimed authors and poets, while also learning alongside world-renowned composers and musicologists. You will grow your academic, writing and performing skills, kick start a sparkling career across the arts and creative industries, or use your sought-after transferable skills as your passport to many other options.
This programme is studied on campus.
Aberdeen is a leading centre for the study of literature, language and creative writing, rated second in the UK for its research output. You will study poetry and prose through the dynamic relationship between author, reader and literary text, covering every period from Chaucer to contemporary English, Scottish, Irish, European and American writing and the cultural and critical impact of powerful and controversial modern works.
You will be inspired by enthusiastic teachers and researchers, themselves acclaimed authors and poets and be encouraged to develop your own creative writing skills.
Aberdeen is also the perfect environment and location in which to study music, with 500 years of musical history and heritage and a vibrant cultural identity which celebrates the traditional while embracing the modern.
Music Studies at Aberdeen means studying, composing and performing with established and up-and-coming composers and musicologists, working in all genres, styles and periods with unrivalled opportunities to grow as a musician and performer. You will study performance, composition and theory, musicianship and a broad overview of music history.
This subject combination prepares you for a wide variety of careers not specifically in music but also in education, media, business, publishing and widely across arts and heritage.
Key Programme Information
At a Glance
- Learning Mode
- On Campus Learning
- Degree Qualification
- 48 months
- Study Mode
- Full Time
- Start Month
- UCAS Code
What You'll Study
- Year 1
- 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.
- Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)
This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.
- Acts of Reading (EL1009) - 15 Credit Points
This course introduces students to the study of English by exploring the dynamic relationship between author, reader and text in a series of classic works of fiction and poetry. It covers a broad historical range (from Folk Tales and ballads to 21st century postmodernity) and offers a basic grounding in key elements of literary theory, literary history and the varieties of literary form.
- Controversial Classics (EL1513) - 15 Credit Points
Literature can provoke, offend and disturb as well as entertain. This course considers some of the most powerful and controversial works of modern literature. It examines the circumstances of publication, the nature of the controversy, and the cultural and critical impact of each work. The course shows how poems, plays and novels can raise searching questions about national, racial and personal identity, and looks at the methods used by writers to challenge their readers, as well the responses of readers to such challenges.
At least two of the following are required for MA with Music, subject to pre-requisites and diagnostic tests:
- Key Moments 1 (MU1035)
- Performance 1 (MU1051)
- Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony (MU1037)
- Music, Theory and Harmony (MU1038)
- Key Moments 2 (MY1535)
- Performance 2 (MU1551)
Plus, select further credit points from courses of choice to a total of 120
- 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.
- Performance 1 (MU1051) - 15 Credit Points
MU1051 is structured to develop, in tandem, students' individual instrumental/vocal and ensemble skills.
Entry to the course for non BMus students is by audition.
- Introduction to Music Theory and Harmony (MU1037) - 15 Credit Points
This course will begin with the fundamentals and quickly move to a higher standard. Early weeks will cover key concepts such as note names, clefs, octaves and note values. This will lead on to governing concepts of Western tonal music - primary triads, cadences, chord progressions and basic voice leading. The course will progress on to the beginnings of more complex harmony, counterpoint and stylistic study. At all times these fundamentals will be accompanied by contextual information - both historical and cultural - aiming to create an initial appraisal of musicology and its place in musical study.
- Music, Theory and Harmony (MU1038) - 15 Credit Points
This course will assume a good, base understanding of the fundamentals of music theory and will quickly move to a higher standard. Early weeks will cover key concepts in Classical harmony such as modulation, secondary dominants and good fourpart writing and voice leading. This will lead on to a strong understanding of Classical style with emphasis on piano textures and string quartet writing. The course will progress on to complex Romantic harmony and concepts such as Neapolitan Sixths, Continental Sixths and Diminished Sevenths as well as stylistic awareness of Romantic genres such as lieder.
- Key Moments 2 (MU1535) - 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.
- Performance 2 (MU1551) - 15 Credit Points
MU1551 is structured to develop in tandem students individual instrumental/vocal and ensemble skills. Entry to the course by audition for non BMus students.
- Year 2
- Encounters with Shakespeare (EL2011) - 30 Credit Points
So you think you know Shakespeare? This course invites you to think again. Studying a range of plays we get behind the mythology of Shakespeare, and rediscover the dynamic inventiveness of the Elizabethan theatre. Shakespeare and his contemporaries were the principal players in a period of literary experimentation that reinvented the possibilities of literature. Encounters with Shakespeare is your chance to find out more.
- 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.
- Analysing Music (MU2523) - 15 Credit Points
Students will develop a critical awareness of form and structure in music both aurally and by means of studying various approaches to musical analysis which will draw on a range of analytical methods and musical genres. The analysis of musical scores will be related to music as experienced aurally in performance.
- The Tragedy of Knowledge (EL2512) - 30 Credit Points
This course traces the use of key Western myths from antiquity to the present to examine the way knowledge is often presented as both dangerous and compelling. As well as introducing students to a range of historical, social, and formal variations on the theme of knowledge, the course also highlights the role of storytelling and adaptation in the formation of knowledge and understanding.
- Select a further 30 credit points from courses of choice
- Year 3
Select a total of three courses from the following groups, each from a different group:
Group 1: Medieval/Renaissance
- EL30DQ: Knights, Virgins and Viragos, Chaucer and Medieval Writing
- EL35CP: Page and Stage: Renaissance Writings 1500-1640
Group 2: Romantic/Victorian
- EL30GK: Mind and Monstrosity: Realism and the Gothic in the Long 19th Century
- EL3009: American Innovation
- EL35XR: Romanticism
Group 3: Contemporary/Modern
- EL30IH: States of Mind: Contemporary Irish and Scottish Writing
- EL30JS: Anglo-American Children’s Literature
- EL30FF: Modernism: Make it New
- EL35KM: Perversion of the Interior: Women’s Fiction 1925-1975
- EL35UT: Art and Atrocity: Representations of Violence and Trauma
Plus, select a further 30 credit points from level 3 courses in Music
- Knights, Virgins and Viragos: Chaucer and Medieval Writing (EL30DQ) - 30 Credit Points
An introduction to late medieval-literature, challenging modern assumptions about the medieval and exploring the diverse range of medieval literary culture, from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to the autobiographical narrative of Margery Kempe and surprising profanity of medieval lyric.
- Page and Stage: Renaissance Writings 1500 - 1640 (EL35CP) - 30 Credit Points
This course explores the poetry, drama and prose of a period often referred to as the golden age of English literature. The period saw Shakespeare and his contemporaries produce innovative new literary works in which the language of desire took centre stage.
- Mind and Monstrosity: Realism and the Gothic in the Long 19th Century (EL30GK) - 30 Credit Points
Exploring connections between Gothic monstrosity and psychological realism, this course investigates an exciting range of texts and contexts from the long nineteenth century. Focusing on novels from 1789-1914, with some attention to other genres and adaptations, we ask what it means to be human, and how cultural anxieties and scientific/technological developments have affected literature (and vice versa). From doubling to degeneration, madness to the metropolis, villain to vampire, empire to the threat of extinction, we examine the work of writers such as Mary Shelley, Dickens, Poe, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Bram Stoker and H.G. Wells.
- American Innovation (EL3009) - 30 Credit Points
This level-three course offers an introduction to American literature and culture between 1850 and 1950, a century in which the United States was transformed from a rural economy to an industrialised super-power. You will learn about the key writers of this period, the issues that sparked their imaginations, and the literary strategies which they adopted, or at times invented, to express their response to the changing world around them. This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars.
- Romanticism (EL35XR) - 30 Credit Points
The Romantic movement of the late 18th and early 19th century transformed received modes of writing, redefined the role of literature, and gave new prominence to ideas of originality, creativity and self-expression. This course traces the development of the Romantic aesthetic in the context of the social and political upheavals of the Age of Revolution. Analysing the work of major poets – Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Byron and Keats – as well as political writers, novelists and essayists such as Burke, Paine, Wollstonecraft, Austen, and De Quincey, the course examines the literature and thought of Romanticism across a range of genres.
- States of Mind: Contemporary Irish and Scottish Writing (EL30IH) - 30 Credit Points
This course explores a range of contemporary Scottish and Irish texts and looks at the key developments in the literatures of the two nations; indeed, new modes of urban writing, working-class writing and women's writing have altered the landscapes of Scottish and Irish literature. The course looks at 'states of mind' in a dual sense: imaginative projections of the 'nation' and psychological explorations of the mind.
- Anglo - American Children’s Literature (EL30JS) - 30 Credit Points
From the picture book to the dark fairy tale, literature for children offers a wide range of literary (and visual) modes of engaging with questions of human becoming and beguiling. This course explores American and British children’s literature from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century (with a focus on the twentieth century). We will look at a range of genres including poetry, the school story, the adventure story and fantasy, as well as examining the construction of children’s literature as a genre of its own, including issues of authorship and readership. We will engage in close reading, examining literary features of the texts, and consider historical and social context and questions of gender, race and sexuality. Authors studied include: Louise May Alcott, Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Sherman Alexie, Ursula K. Le Guin, E Nesbit, Frances Hodgson Burnett, R. L. Stevenson, C.S. Lewis, Susan Cooper, Neil Gaiman, Melvin Burgess, Jamila Gavin, Jackie Kay and others.
- Modernism: Make IT New (EL30FF) - 30 Credit Points
The early twentieth century was a time of great literary experimentation as literary modernists rose to the challenge to make it new. We will explore modernism’s stylistic experimentation while also considering the social contexts and changes that shaped this literature. The course will examine a range of writers, genres, movements and locations which prompt us to consider what, when and where was modernism.
- Perversion of the Interior: Women's Fiction 1925 - 1975 (EL35KM) - 30 Credit Points
Gothic, Romance, Autobiography: these are the central topics of mid-twentieth-century fiction by and for women, and yet have often been critically neglected. Looking at a range of women's fiction in this period, including popular and middlebrow titles as well as literary classics, this course looks at what women wrote, what women read, and who deemed these works important. This course especially focuses on the relation between physical space (the home, the village) and psychological space (including representations of mental illness) in order to discuss the space of women's writing.
- Art and Atrocity: Representations of Violence and Trauma (EL35UT) - 30 Credit Points
How is the artist to respond when the virtual becomes the real and when words cannot carry the weight of trauma? How can an author avoid the accusations of voyeuristic prurience or crass opportunism when he or she attempts to re-present events of public violence? This multi-disciplinary course examines work from a wide range of modes, including fiction, poetry, film and graphic art, and looks at the difficulties of inscribing trauma and the ethics and praxis of remembrance. Key events covered include the Holocaust, the Sabra and Shatila massacre, 9-11, the Gulf War and the conflict in the Balkans.
- Year 4
- English Dissertation (EL4502)
- Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 courses in English (listed below)
- Select a further 60 credit points from level 3 and 4 courses in Music Studies
- Dissertation in Music (MU4049)
- Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 courses in English (listed below)
- Select a further 30 credit points from level 3 and 4 courses in Music Studies
- English Dissertation (EL4502) - 30 Credit Points
Students will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing within English literature.
- Dissertation in Music (MU4049) - 30 Credit Points
This course will entail research work which will contribute to musicological understanding (at undergraduate level). Students will research a topic of their own choice (subject to approval), demonstrating knowledge and understanding of their chosen subject matter in the form of a 10,000 word dissertation.
- Staging the City: Renaissance Urban Drama (EL40AD) - 30 Credit Points
Drama was the entertainment phenomenon of the early modern period: a popular art form that developed swiftly and attracted mass audiences. London was both the city that played host to this new cultural form, and the subject of much of its output. The course will examine the relation between life in the early modern city and the great flowering of drama by celebrated authors of the period. Using works by well-known writers such as Middleton, Jonson and Shakespeare, as well as lesser known authors, we will explore how the plays of the period engage with key concerns of urban living.
- Controversy and Drama: Marlowe to Revenge Tragedy (EL40CT) - 30 Credit Points
This course begins by considering the theatre that gave us Marlowe and Shakespeare, among other major dramatists, as an institution actively engaged in the controversies of politics and religion of the age. Part 1 of the course focuses on the plays of Christopher Marlowe, whose controversial life is unusually well documented and whose plays starkly anticipate later tensions in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama . Part 2 considers how those tensions in politics and religion developed in later drama, giving particular attention to the genre of revenge tragedy.
- The Short Story as A Literary Form (EL40DR) - 30 Credit Points
This course examines the development of the short story during the last two hundred years, e.g. from Washington Irving, Hawthorne, and Melville, through Hemingway, Joyce, Lawrence, Woolf and Mansfield, to Raymond Carver and a selection of contemporary writers. The course will consider the distinctiveness of the short story as an art form, its techniques and applications, and the factors that have influenced its evolution.
- Spenser (EL40ES) - 30 Credit Points
The module looks at a wide range of Spenser's work in different genres, including a substantial proportion of his epic poem, and studies this in the contexts of contemporary political history, Spenser's biography, and the literary traditions stemming from Virgil and Petrarch.
- Writing in A Free State (EL40FI) - 30 Credit Points
This course addresses Irish writing produced, in or out of the country, between the revolutionary period (1916-1922) and the establishment of the Irish Republic in 1949. Political ferment was matched by a remarkable surge in literary production, in drama, fiction and poetry. We will examine the ways in which writers responded to (and helped shape) political change, while also staging literary revolutions of their own in the bold experiments of Ulysses and other landmark texts.
- Horrible Histories: Violence and Trauma in the Scottish Novel (EL40QV) - 30 Credit Points
Scotland's history is one of violence, bloodshed and trauma. This is reflected in its literature, above all in the fiction of the nineteenth century. Focusing on pivotal moments of upheaval in Scotland's past such as the Covenanting Wars and the Jacobite Risings this course will explore the ways in which these violent events are reflected in the works of writers such as Walter Scott, James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson and those in the modern period who have inherited their legacy. Exploring key concepts such as how the novel might approach and engage with the past, the extent to which it may operate as a form of commemoration and the limits which traumatic events place upon forms of narration, the course will examine the ways in which we can comprehend and remember a nation's violent history through the form of the novel.
- Amnesty, Amnesia, Archive (EL40UU) - 30 Credit Points
From 1968-1994, Northern Irish writers and visual artists found themselves addressing key questions: what is the role of the artist in a divided society, and must s/he engage with political events? This course considers how the artists framed these dilemmas and how they have been framed by them. Following the outbreak of peace in the province, the role of artists changed: their work now focused on the victims of violence and to demand justice. This course examines the different approaches taken to remembrance by writers/artists and explores the ways in which memory and trauma are framed in their work.
- All for One: the Politics of Love and Friendship in Medieval and Early Modern Literature (EL40WH) - 30 Credit Points
This course focuses on the emphasis on sameness in conceptions of love and friendship within medieval and early modern literature, exploring its implications for the history of sexuality, and its impact on political ideology.
- Creative Writing: the Writer's Voice (EL40YL) - 30 Credit Points
Creative Writing: The Writer's Voice will focus on the crucial and often complex role of voice in fiction and poetry, considering both theoretical and practical aspects. It offers students the opportunity to develop their creative processes and practical literary skills in a supportive, constructive learning environment. Teaching consists of carefully targeted critical advice and guidance from the class tutor and peer evaluation from class members in a workshop environment. Examples of writing by recognised authors and class members will be used to enhance students' awareness of the key role of voice in imaginative writing, leading to practical application in their own creative work.
- The Gilded Age: American Literature 1865 - 1929 (EL45BT) - 30 Credit Points
The Gilded Age was a time of glamour, hardship, renewal and corruption in American society. This fourth-year course looks at the literature of this formative period in the history of the United States, between the Civil War in the 1860s and the Great Depression in the 1920s. It explores how the writers of this period helped to shape, but also at times resisted the formation of a modern American identity.
- All too Human: Animal and Posthuman Relations (EL45KP) - 30 Credit Points
The question of the human is at the forefront of contemporary philosophical and cultural enquiry. Looking at a range of popular and literary texts, as well as recent theoretical writings, this course investigates the relation between the human and animal and the representation of human transformation and adaptation in order to study contemporary approaches to the body, language, and suffering.
- A Tale of Two Thomases: the Poetry and Prose of Dylan Thomas and R S Thomas (EL45SU) - 30 Credit Points
This course takes a look at the contrasting visions of Dylan Thomas and R. S. Thomas, two Welsh writers born a year apart who made a major contribution to twentieth century poetry but whose achievement as prose writers has perhaps been undervalued. Between them, these profoundly different writers display not only contradictory aspects of their own small country but intriguingly divergent understandings of the possibilities of literature in the modern world.
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
- Individual Projects
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 they learn on the course; and
- Written examinations at the end of each course.
The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.
Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.
Why Study English with Music Studies?
- Rated second in the UK for the quality of Aberdeen research in English language and literature in the 2014 REF national assessment of research quality at UK universities.
- Scotland's top centre for creative writing in the Complete University Guide rankings for 2017.
- An international profile through major literary projects such as the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen and the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels of Sir Walter Scott.
- The WORD Centre for Creative Writing, promoting creative projects in fiction, non-fiction and collaborative mixed-media in all the languages of northeast Scotland (from Doric to Polish).
- The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, home to literary treasures collected over 500 years, charting the power of the written word from ancient papyri and medieval manuscripts to contemporary e-books and other media.
- Historic collections including rare printed books, the 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary, MacBean Stuart and Jacobite Collection, the novels of Sir Walter Scott, and an exceptional collection of Charles Dickens' first editions.
- A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers and the annual May Festival which welcomes internationally acclaimed authors to campus every spring to discuss literature, including European writers.
- Research centres include the nationally recognised Centre for the Novel, the Centre for Modern Thought, and the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies.
- 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.
You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, changing your subject, offers and advanced entry.
SQA Highers - AABB
A Levels - BBB
IB - 32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL
ILC - 5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)
Further detailed entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees.
English Language Requirements
To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.
Fees and Funding
You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.
For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.
Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.
|Home / EU||£1,820|
|Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year|
|Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year|
International non-EU Applicants
- 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.
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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.
Key Information Set (KIS)
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You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.
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