University undergraduate studying in the Monica Partridge building lecture theatre. Friday November 5th 2021.Francis Adam

Music and Philosophy BA

University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK

Course overview

If you're a keen musician who wants to explore the exciting world philosophy offers then this is the course for you.


There's always been a common bond between the subjects:

  • contemporary composers Philip Glass and Steve Reich both have philosophy degrees
  • renowned philosopher Schopenhauer considered music the highest art, playing the flute his whole life.

The flexible nature of the course means there are opportunities to link the subjects together as well as studying both as separate passions.

Indicative modules

Mandatory

Year 1

Elements of Music 1

Mandatory

Year 1

Elements of Music 2

Mandatory

Year 1

Mind, Knowledge, and Ethics

Mandatory

Year 1

Reasoning, Argument, and Logic

Optional

Year 1

Aesthetics of Electronic and Computer Music

Optional

Year 1

Ensemble Performance

Optional

Year 1

Global Music Studies

Optional

Year 1

Performance 1

Optional

Year 1

Repertoire Studies 1: Music Before the 20th Century

Optional

Year 1

Repertoire Studies 2: 20th-Century Music

Optional

Year 1

Skills in Composition

Optional

Year 1

Creative coding

Optional

Year 1

Gender, Justice, and Society

Optional

Year 1

History of Philosophy

Optional

Year 1

Metaphysics, Science, and Language

Optional

Year 1

Philosophy and the Contemporary World

Optional

Year 1

Philosophy of Religions

Optional

Year 2

Film Music

Optional

Year 2

The Broadway Musical

Optional

Year 2

Conducting

Optional

Year 2

Creative Orchestration

Optional

Year 2

Performance 2

Optional

Year 2

Contemporary Approaches to Music Education

Optional

Year 2

Revolutionary Opera

Optional

Year 2

Sound Design and Synthesis

Optional

Year 2

Music and Society in Tudor England

Optional

Year 2

Islamic Theology and Philosophy

Optional

Year 2

The Nature of Meaning

Optional

Year 2

Normative Ethics

Optional

Year 2

Mind and Consciousness

Optional

Year 2

Knowledge and Justification

Optional

Year 2

An Introduction to Metaethics

Optional

Year 2

Continental Philosophy

Optional

Year 2

Social Philosophy

Optional

Year 2

Freedom and Obligation

Optional

Year 2

Being, Becoming and Reality

Optional

Year 2

Philosophy of Art

Optional

Year 2

Ancient Greek Philosophy

Optional

Year 2

Intermediate Logic

Optional

Year 2

Space, Time and Motion

Optional

Year 2

School of Humanities Work Placement

Optional

Year 2

Digital Composition

Optional

Year 3

Digital Composition

Optional

Year 3

Composition Portfolio

Optional

Year 3

Dissertation or Editorial/Analytical Project

Optional

Year 3

Performance 3

Optional

Year 3

Recording Studio Practice

Optional

Year 3

Music and Mixed Reality

Optional

Year 3

Film Music

Optional

Year 3

The Broadway Musical

Optional

Year 3

Creative Orchestration

Optional

Year 3

Performance 3

Optional

Year 3

Music in Asia

Optional

Year 3

Music Production

Optional

Year 3

Sound Design and Synthesis

Optional

Year 3

Contemporary Approaches to Music Education

Optional

Year 3

Revolutionary Opera

Optional

Year 3

Black Female Stardom - research seminar

Optional

Year 3

Advanced Logic

Optional

Year 3

Buddhist Philosophy

Optional

Year 3

Communicating Philosophy

Optional

Year 3

Dissertation in Philosophy

Optional

Year 3

Free Will and Action

Optional

Year 3

Marx

Optional

Year 3

Philosophy of Criminal Law

Optional

Year 3

Taking Utilitarianism Seriously

Optional

Year 3

Philosophy and Mortality

Optional

Year 3

Environmental Ethics

Optional

Year 3

Advanced Topics in the Philosophy of Mind

Optional

Year 3

Advanced Topics in Aesthetics

Optional

Year 3

Language, Metaphysics, and Metametaphysics

Optional

Year 3

Knowledge, Ignorance and Democracy

Optional

Year 3

Subjectivism and Relativism in Ethics

Optional

Year 3

Philosophy of Education

Optional

Year 3

Play, Games and Recreation

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About modules

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer, but is not intended to be construed or relied on as a definitive list of what might be available in any given year. This content was last updated on Tuesday 13 February 2024.

As you you'd expect from a music degree there's so much more than lectures and seminars.

Our workshops with professional musicians and composers give you industry insights, practical experience and networking opportunities. These workshops are usually professionally recorded and can be added to your portfolio.

Collaboration is encouraged. Groups of students often work together across modules - one composes, a second performs while a third produces a recording. This helps you to work on real projects and demonstrates strong team working skills to employers.

We record all of our lectures. This allows you to catch important points again, review your notes and catch up if life means you can't attend in person.

Teaching quality and support

We work hard to provide meaningful and stimulating teaching:

  • over 95% of students agree that staff are good at explaining things (National Student Survey 2022)
  • all of our teaching staff have nationally recognised teaching qualifications

If you have worries about your work we won't wait for them to become problems.

You'll have a personal tutor who will support your academic progress and help find solutions to any issues.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Placements
  • Workshops

A combination of essays and exams are the norm for most modules. Weekly reading summaries, presentations and online quizzes and tests may also be used by individual lecturers.

Depending on the modules you take you will also be assessed through:

  • recital performances
  • composition portfolio
  • sound recordings
  • conducting performances

Assessment methods

  • Commentary
  • Dissertation
  • EssayIn-class test
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Presentation
  • Reflective review
  • Written exam

 

We provide a structure of lectures, seminars and tutorials around which you organise other study and commitments.

Our minimum expected contact time with you is:

  • Year one - at least 12 hours
  • Year two - at least 10 hours
  • Year three - at least 8 hours

Weekly tutorial support and the accredited Nottingham Advantage Award provide further optional learning activities, on top of these class contact hours.

In addition, your lecturers can be available outside your scheduled contact time to help you study and develop. This can be in person and online.As well as your timetabled sessions you’ll carry out extensive self-study. This will include course reading, seminar preparation and group study with course mates.

As a guide 20 credits (a typical module) is about 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-study).

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A popular lecture may have up to 200 students attending while a specialised seminar may only contain 10 students.

Your lecturers will usually be from our academic staff in Music and Philosophy many of whom are internationally recognised in their fields.

Music performance tuition

All students taking solo performance modules will receive fully-paid tuition with one of our experienced instrument and vocal tutors. The allocations are generous:

  • Year one - 16 hours
  • Year two - 18 hours
  • Year three - 20 hours

Additionally, for each assessed recital performance, students will receive a bursary to support practice with an approved accompanist.

Many of our performance tutors are happy to provide additional paid-for support.

This joint honours degree can help you get started in a particular career. It can also open the door to a wide range of professions!

You'll develop key skills in:

  • analytical reasoning
  • articulating complex arguments and lines of reasoning
  • constructive criticism and reflection
  • presenting and persuading
  • creativity and innovation
  • independence and collaboration
  • planning and organising

The skills you develop will make you:

  • resilient - as the nature of work changes you can adapt
  • flexible - you can choose across different sectors as you develop and grow and opportunities arise

Our music graduates progress to a wide range of successful careers both within and outside the music industry.


Recent graduates have gone to work at:

  • the BBC
  • London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Boosey and Hawkes
  • Harrison Parrott Artist Management
  • Oxford University Press Music
  • Blackheath Halls

 

Many have also gained employment in:

  • businesses such as KPMG, Deloitte UK, PwC, Deutsche Bank, Charles Russell LLP, Citigroup, Christie's
  • education and other public sector organisations including King’s College London, Arts Council England, Royal College of Music and schools across the country

Graduate profiles

See what some of our recent graduates say about the skills they gained and how the degree has helped their careers.


Specialist careers support

Our Careers and Employability Service has specialised information and support for music students.


Key fact

Only 14% of employers state that specific degree subjects are a selection criterion. (Institute of Student Employers recruitment survey 2019)

Average starting salary and career progression

78.8% of undergraduates from the Faculty of Arts secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual starting salary for these graduates was £23,974.

HESA Graduate Outcomes (2017 to 2021 cohorts). The Graduate Outcomes % is calculated using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

Trent Building in sunshine  June 2nd 2020 by Lisa Gilligan-Lee

Studying music and philosophy at Nottingham opened up opportunities for learning which I never expected. The enthusiasm and friendliness of the lecturers enabled me to gain the richest understanding of every topic. 

Alice Roberts

BA Music and Philosophy

Course data