Music - BMus (Hons)

Programme video: Music - BMus (Hons)


Who should study the BMus in Music?

If you are a performing musician with a desire to develop your intellectual and creative potential, this is the degree for you.

In first and second year, you will take courses in composition, performance, and historical studies that will advance both your practical musicianship and your academic understanding of music. You will receive a bursary for tuition in two instruments.

In third and fourth year, you will have the freedom to specialise. We offer a diverse range of courses, including electroacoustic and algorithmic composition, popular and film music, and music in the community.

Final-year students undertake at least one of a portfolio of compositions, a dissertation, an edition or a recital.

Join a vibrant creative community

The Reid School of Music is part of a world-leading university in a capital city with a dynamic cultural scene.

We have over 25 musical societies, orchestras, ensembles and choirs, and host a great year-round programme of concerts and performances, from classical and jazz to contemporary and electronic.

You can collaborate with students on our MA (Hons) Music and Music Technology programmes, with taught and research-led postgraduates, and with students from a range of creative disciplines across Edinburgh College of Art and the wider University.

The city itself is home to the world’s largest arts festival and a range of top-flight venues, including the Usher Hall, Queen's Hall, Festival Theatre and Summerhall.

Leading creative thinkers

You will be taught by academics who are at the forefront of their fields, and will be supported throughout your studies by a personal tutor.

Our teaching involves a combination of lectures, seminars, and tutorials.

We place considerable emphasis on student participation and small-group teaching, an approach that is facilitated by our low staff-student ratio. 

Skills and careers

The skills that you will acquire on the BMus will equip you for a wide range of careers, both in the arts and in other areas.

Many of our students undertake advanced study in performance, teaching or research. Our alumni include composers such as James MacMillan, Rebecca Saunders and Max Richter.

Recent graduates have also gone on to successful careers in journalism, the culture industries, music therapy, and librarianship.

Matt Peacock, for example, founded the Streetwise Opera charity and was made an MBE for services to music and homelessness in 2011.

Top five reasons to choose the programme

  • An extraordinary place to study music: Edinburgh has a vibrant and inspirational music and arts scene. It's home to the world’s largest arts festival, and a world-class orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and hosts performances by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera and a wide range of inspiring bands and performers across all genres of music.
  • A unique combination of tradition and innovation: We put core musical skills at the heart of our work. We also seek to develop an innovative approach to contemporary musical practice.
  • Ranked among the best: The Reid School of Music at Edinburgh College of Art is currently the Guardian University League Table’s top-placed institution in Scotland for the undergraduate study of music, and is ranked second in the UK.
  • Access to leading creative thinkers: Our staff are world leaders in a wide range of musical areas including musicology, musical acoustics and music technology, composition, improvisation and community music.
  • Diversity and focus: Our four-year degree structure means that you will have the opportunity to gain an in-depth education in core music skills, before going on to tailor a study programme to suit your own individual aims and interests.

View the programme handbook (login required) >


Dee Isaacs, Programme Director | View staff profile >

Dr Matt Brennan | View staff profile >

Dr Jenny Nex | View staff profile >

Dr Noel O'Regan | View staff profile >

Dr Katie Overy | View staff profile >


Everything you need to know about finding perfect student accommodation.

Six purpose-built, acoustically-treated music studios, with tie-lines to a shared recording space.

A fully operational, entirely student-run 90-seat theatre housed in a neo-gothic church.

Recording equipment is available to students through BookIt, the online booking system.

Get information, advice and guidance about your career options.

The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) is the main space for anyone using the University of Edinburgh’s historic collections.

Work spaces are available across the University. ECA's computers include software tailored to the disciplines studied here.

At the heart of the Evolution House Learning and Research Zone, the ECA Library provides an innovative environment for learning, teaching and research resources in art and design.

ECAfé provides a full catering service to all staff, students and visitors to Edinburgh College of Art.

Edinburgh Global's mission is to encourage internationalisation, enhance the student experience, create and develop partnerships.

EUSA represent the student voice. They provide services, run events, and facilitate student societies.

Information and guidance on financial matters for all students of the University of Edinburgh.

A Georgian garden that doubles as a venue for performances in the centre of the city.

The primary collection of books, periodicals, manuscripts, and research material.

Edinburgh is home to a number of musical societies, bands, orchestras and dance troupes.

17 practice rooms equipped with pianos, ideal for students requiring a private place for music practice.

A technical support team is on hand to help you with any studio or equipment queries.

Information on the equipment available to students in the music studios and editing suites.

Nearly 1,000 items including stringed, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.

Includes organs, harpsichords, and instruments from the Musical Instruments Museum.

By day, a café, bar and study space, and by night a club venue. Potterrow’s dome is also home to the Advice Place and the Potter Shop.

A 218-seat Victorian venue built in 1859. Used for regular orchestral and choral rehearsals and performances.

Located beneath Reid Concert Hall, this studio is built to record live performances in the venue.

The neo-classical Sculpture Court in the ECA Main Building is home to the many pieces from the Edinburgh Cast Collection, and is regularly used for student exhibitions.

Studio equipment and software tailored for music students to be able to record, edit, and experiment with their work.

Caters to a diverse range of users from occasional exercisers to international athletes.

The oldest purpose-built concert hall in Scotland. Used for concerts and part of the Musical Instruments Museum.

Offering counselling services for students, workshops, consultation and training for staff.

Supporting students with dyslexia, mental health issues and students on the autistic spectrum, as well as those who have physical and sensory impairments.

Talbot Rice Gallery is the public art Gallery for the University of Edinburgh.

Home to six distinctive bars, Teviot is the oldest purpose built students' union in the world.

A hub for the University Societies and setting regular live music, comedy, spoken word and poetry nights.

Over 25 choirs, dance societies, musical theatre and film groups, orchestras, bands and world music groups.

A bar at the Lauriston Campus which hosts regular events including club nights and gigs.

Scholarships & bursaries

Access Awards are non-repayable support based on criteria such as income, background and personal circumstances, and in some cases geographical area.

Awarded to final year students who have made an outstanding contribution to the musical life of Reid School of Music or the wider Edinburgh community.

Open to any full-time undergraduate student in the Reid School of Music. Awarded to the best dissertation. (Amount variable)

Awarded to postgraduates and 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year undergraduates for travel and study abroad during the academic year or summer vacation. (c. £100-£1,000)

Awarded to a matriculated student or graduate of music. Preference will be given to an organist preparing for the Diploma of ARCO or FRCO (£500)

Awarded to a member of EUMS who demonstrates an aptitude in the development and conducting of a choral ensemble. (Amount variable)

For current full-time music students. Students wishing to enter the competition must present a programme of organ music lasting 35-40 minutes. (£1,000)

Awarded to the 2nd year Undergraduate in Music who shows the greatest promise and all-round ability in organ/piano performance. (£1000)

Nominations by music staff (final year student dealing with 'Early Music before 1750').

Awarded as part of a first year undergraduate music competition to the student who shows all-round excellence in piano performance. (£500 per annum)

Awarded to the first year undergraduate in Music who achieves the best all-round academic performance in the May examinations. (£500)

Awarded annually to first year undergraduates on the basis of their end of year examination results (not including pianists and singers). (£1000)

Awarded to music student who shows the greatest promise in composition or performance.

News & events

Music Alumni Day 2016.jpg

The participants for the Music Alumni Day
Clockwise from top left: Vicky Arlidge, Isobel Waller-Bridge, Christopher Bell, Peter Nelson, organiser Katie Overy and Suzanne Parry

Alumni talked about their careers, lives and approach to work since they graduated.

We've been finding out what our graduates from the Class of 2015 have been getting up to in their first year since graduating.


College of Humanities & Social Science Undergraduate Admissions Office


Tel: +44 (0)131 650 3565