English and Music BA

Year of entry

UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
AAB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB at A Level including English and Music and pass Access to Leeds.
Full entry requirements

Course overview

English and music

English and Music is a diverse degree that allows you to engage with a variety of literature and music spanning a broad range of periods, cultures and themes. The combination of these two subject areas will allow you to develop advanced academic skills including critical analysis, interpretation and research. You'll also have the chance to enhance practical skills in music composition, performance and creative writing.

You'll study a wide variety of texts, both fiction and non-fiction, developing an understanding of the relationships between meaning, interpretation and language. You will also have the opportunity to focus on areas of music such as musicology, performance, composition or music technology.

Our impressive range of academic expertise means that you have the opportunity to choose from a variety of optional modules, tailoring your degree to suit your interests and career aspirations. You could study historical literature from Medieval to Victorian, influential writers from Shakespeare to Jane Austen, or explore language in the context of power or gender. In music, you could choose to explore a musicology topic linked to an area of staff expertise.


We have plenty of resources to enhance your academic experience. Our world-class Brotherton Library boasts unique manuscript, archive and early printed material in its Special Collections. The University Library also offers a comprehensive training programme that will enable you to make the most of our extensive library resources.

Take a look around our libraries:

Brotherton Library
Laidlaw Library
Edward Boyle Library

The School of Music has purpose-built practice rooms, extensive rehearsal facilities, studio spaces, a music psychology lab, percussion instruments and plenty of specialist computing facilities. Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, also on campus, hosts a varied programme of concerts during term time, all free to students.

The University and School also have a close partnership with Opera North, as well as hosting the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition, and the University of Leeds International Concert Series.

Course details

A joint honours degree allows you to split your time equally between two subjects, advancing your knowledge and skills in both areas. You’ll spend your first year developing your academic writing skills and learning the foundations of English studies. In Music, you’ll choose from optional modules covering the role of music in history and culture, composition, theory, research skills, performance or the sciences of music.

Once you’ve established a good knowledge base, you’ll deepen your understanding over the next two years. In English, you’ll take core modules focusing on literature in your choice of time periods and choose from a wide range of optional modules, from medieval Icelandic literature to creative writing and post-Apartheid narratives.

At the same time, you’ll choose from modules covering topics like editing and source studies, aesthetics or music psychology, or you can choose to focus on composition or performance. Our world-leading research staff offer specialist topics in Music in Context modules, or you can experiment with Music in Practice.

You’ll complete an independent research project in your final year, to demonstrate the research, critical and analytical skills you’ve developed.

Year 1

You are required to take 120 credits, with a minimum of 40 credits in both English and Music.

Year 1 compulsory modules:

  • Reading Between the Lines (20 credits) - This module equips students with a critical vocabulary for sophisticated literary study, introducing the creative, argumentative and exciting discipline of ‘English Studies’. Through close analysis of specific texts across a range of periods and forms, students will encounter some of the varied theories that have shaped and continue to underpin the discipline. Students will find out how an English degree might change the way we read and see the world, while developing their academic skills through guided critical reading, collaboration with peers in group presentations and seminar discussions, and a variety of assignments designed to introduce them to the different formats of assessment required throughout the degree.
  • Writing Matters (20 credits) - Writing and communication skills are vital to most professional careers, but they are especially valuable in the field of English studies. This module explores debates around a canonical literary text, examining theoretical approaches and rhetorical strategies used to write about literature. Students will hone their own writing skills by engaging ethically with the text and the ideas of others, developing structured arguments, expressing ideas clearly and concisely, working with feedback, and practising writing as a process. As a result, students will cultivate a deeper understanding of how writing works, learn how to share insights with greater efficacy and sophistication, and practice how to transfer this knowledge to future workplace contexts.
  • Music and Society (20 credits) - This module supports the development of research and practice-research skills and sets you on the way to being a critical and creative thinker. Rather than offering a chronological overview of music history, the module provides a thematic exploration of music in historical and contemporary, Western and global contexts (including the specific and diverse musical culture of Leeds), and consideration of how musical practice reflects and shapes society. The development of academic research skills is integrated into this exploration, enabling you to engage in detail with the topics covered, and start to understand and address the challenges and arguments to which they give rise.
  • Materials of Music (20 credits) - This module brings music theory into the twenty-first century. You’ll encounter materials of music and music theory from across the globe in their cultural contexts – from jazz, popular music, and world musics (such as North Indian classical music and Indonesian gamelan) to Western art music. The module does not assume familiarity with Western notation and harmony. Instead, you’ll develop your listening skills to put theory into practice by learning the fundamentals of improvisation across a variety of musical traditions.

Year 1 optional modules:

  • Collaborative Performance (20 credits)
  • Composition (20 credits)
  • Film Music (20 credits)
  • Introduction to the Music Business (20 credits)
  • Introduction to the Psychology of Music (20 credits)
  • Performance Studies (20 credits)
  • Studio Recording (20 credits)
  • Talking About Pop Music (20 credits)
  • Modern Fictions in English (20 credits)
  • Race, Writing, Decolonization (20 credits)
  • Drama: Text and Performance (20 credits)
  • Poetry: Reading & Interpretation (20 credits)

Year 2

Year 2 compulsory modules:

  • Writing Environments: Literature, Nature, Culture (20 credits) - This module examines what it means to live as human beings on a more-than-human planet. We’ll investigate how literary texts from different times and places have understood the relationship between nature and culture. We’ll address human impacts on the environment in relation to historical phenomena such as colonialism. And we’ll explore the insights that literature can offer at a time of concern about climate change and other environmental issues.
  • Body Language: Literature and Embodiment (20 credits) - This module explores the relationship between embodiment, language and representation across a range of literary forms, genres, and periods, addressing questions such as: what does it mean to be ‘human’? Can technology change who we are? How do we navigate the relationship between the body and the mind? It examines how critical theorists and creative writers and life writers have treated and imagined this relationship between material bodies and literary representation, in order to better understand both the possibilities and limitations of literary expression.
  • Researching Music (20 credits) - Music is a multi-disciplinary subject, and musical research employs a diverse range of methods. On this module, members of staff draw on their own research projects to support your development of musicological (text-based, archival, analytical), practice-based (creative practice as research, applied research) and empirical (questionnaires, focus groups, interviews) research techniques, leading to you creating a proposal for your own research project.

You may select up to two further English option modules from the list below:

  • Medieval and Tudor Literature (20 credits)
  • Renaissance Literature (20 credits)
  • Modern Literature (20 credits)
  • Postcolonial Literature (20 credits)
  • The World Before Us: Literature 1660-1830 (20 credits)
  • Other Voices: Rethinking Nineteenth-Century Literature (20 credits)
  • American Words, American Worlds (20 credits)
  • Contemporary Literature (20 credits)

Optional modules in areas of music such as:

  • Aesthetics (20 credits)
  • Collaborative Performance (20 credits)
  • Contemporary Composition (20 credits)
  • Film Music (20 credits)
  • Music Business (20 credits)
  • Musicology (20 credits)
  • Music Psychology (20 credits)
  • Music Technology (20 credits)
  • Notation Studies (20 credits)
  • Performance (20 credits)

Year 3

Year 3 compulsory modules:

Final Year Project (40 credits) - This module, in either English or Music, encourages independent, self-directed learning, providing a culmination to the research strand emphasised in other modules. It fosters a wide variety of responses to the challenges it offers students, since any final year project might take one of a number of forms. Most importantly, it promotes academic creativity and the exploration of individual intellectual interests.

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below):

  • Analysing Music (20 credits)
  • The Supernatural in Opera (20 credits)
  • Music and Postcolonial Politics (20 credits)
  • Music as Performance: People, Bodies and Instruments (20 credits)
  • Composition (20 credits)
  • Ensemble Performance (20 credits)
  • Performance (20 credits)
  • Tragedy: Classical to Neo-Classical (20 credits)
  • Imagining Posthuman Futures (20 credits)
  • Theatricalities: Beckett, Pinter, Kane (20 credits)
  • Telling Lives: Reading and Writing Family Memoir (20 credits)

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

You’ll benefit from a wide range of teaching and learning styles across your two subjects, allowing you to make the most of your tutors’ expertise. Lectures, seminars and tutorials are among the most common methods used, as well as performance classes and ensemble rehearsals depending on the modules you choose. Independent study is also an important element of your degree, allowing you to build your skills and follow your own interests.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We also use different types of assessment. Written exams and essays are likely to be part of the mix, but coursework, project and composition portfolios, oral presentations, recitals and performances will also be included in some modules.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB including A in English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature) and B in Music.

Other course specific tests:

Normally students will have taken Music, but if you have not (especially if it isn’t taught at your school or college), you should have at least one essay-based subject, as well as a minimum ABRSM Grade 5 music theory and Grade 8 practical qualifications.

If you have taken Music, practical grades are not a requirement for this programme. However, if you want to study performance, you’ll need a minimum of ABRSM, Trinity Guildhall or Rockschool Grade 8 merit/grade 7 distinction (or demonstrate that you are of equivalent standard by the time you arrive in Leeds).

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be ABB at A Level including A in English and B Music and grade A in the EPQ.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may also be required. This course has additional subject specific requirements. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.


We will consider the level 3 QCF BTEC at Subsidiary Diploma level and above in combination with other qualifications. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D2, M2, M2, incl D2 in English and M2 in Music.

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall with 16 at Higher Level including 6 in English at Higher Level and 6 in Music at Higher Level

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 including H2 in English and H3 in Music

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

Scottish Highers accepted in combination with Advanced Highers. Contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course.

If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 80% including 8.5 in English and 8.0 in Music.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBB at A Level including English and Music and pass Access to Leeds.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £24,500 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of English
School of Music

Contact us

School of English Undergraduate Admissions

Email: undergrad-english@leeds.ac.uk

Career opportunities

A degree in English and Music equips you with a diverse range of skills that are valued by employers.

As well as your subject-specific knowledge and performance and composition abilities, you’ll have strong research, critical and analytical skills, and you’ll be able to work independently or in a team. You’ll also have the organisation and time management skills that go with handling two different subjects.

Graduates have gone into careers both within and outside of music and the arts. They’ve gone into areas like performance, composition, journalism, advertising and marketing, publishing, education and law. Many others have gone onto postgraduate study or further training.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.