Performance PGDip

Year of entry

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Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
24 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in Music or a related subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0
UK fees
To be confirmed
International fees
To be confirmed

Course overview

Student playing cello

This course offers you the chance to concentrate on your development as a performing musician, and benefit from studying with our expert professional instrumental/vocal teachers, our experienced performance staff and our resident repetiteur, to develop your skills in technical proficiency, presentation and interpretation in musical performance.

This flexible course enables you to enhance your technical prowess, expand your repertoire and hone your interpretative strategies as a performer, alongside developing your critical skills in commenting on your own performances and those of others. Through individual lessons, performance classes and masterclasses, you’ll prepare and perform a recital as the major part of your course. You’ll also choose one or two further modules offering opportunities to explore an extended work, undertake a distinctive applied performance study, engage with performance practice, or develop your understanding of relevant research methods and approaches in music to support your interpretation and discussion of performance. Depending on which performance options you select, you may also have the chance to expand your studies by choosing to do a Short Dissertation on a musicological topic of your choosing.

This course is ideal if you want to focus entirely on your performing interests by taking a smaller selection of modules than the more intensive MMus Performance course.

We have a variety of excellent facilities to support your learning, including a music psychology lab, rehearsal, performance and practice spaces, recording and electronic music studios, and five libraries that provide access to a wide range of books, periodicals, and online resources.

Take a tour of our School

Join School rep, Georgie, on a tour of our building and its specialist facilities to get a feel for life as a student in the School.

We have close working relationships with prestigious arts organisations: we host BBC Radio 3 concerts, Leeds Lieder and the Leeds International Piano Competition, and we engage with the flagship DARE partnership between the University and Opera North. We are also closely associated with Leeds Baroque and we engage with many other performing arts organisations in Leeds, which enjoys a thriving music and cultural scene.

Elements of local fieldwork may be embedded in modules that take you outside teaching spaces as part of the learning experience. You might undertake fieldwork as part of your Applied Performance Studies project, or in your 30-credit Short Dissertation (should you choose these modules), but this is not necessarily a requirement of these modules.

Course details

You’ll study core modules designed to support your development as a performer, and to enable you to place your performance activities and interests within broader contexts.

You will work closely with a specialist instrumental or vocal teacher and our resident repetiteur to develop your repertoire, leading to the performance of a substantial recital of your own devising for your Instrumental or Vocal Recital, the major project on this course. You’ll receive constructive feedback from academic staff and your peers on both of these modules through weekly performance classes, which will provide you with significant platform time as well as supporting the development of your repertoire.

You’ll choose one or two further performance-focused modules, enabling you to shape the course around your interests. If you choose to do Concerto/Song-Cycle/Extended Work you would work on developing a single large piece for performance, receiving additional instrumental/vocal lessons to support you work towards this recital. If you select Applied Performance Studies you will devise and undertake a performance-based project designed to enhance your professional competencies as a performer. Your project might focus on performance practice, pedagogy, ensemble work or another aspect of performance, and you will be supported on the module by workshops and supervisions, as well as some instrumental/vocal lessons as appropriate. On Researching Performance you would engage with and apply performance research methods, situating your performing activities within relevant academic contexts and cultivating your understanding of the impact of research on your development as an informed performer, while Performance Practices would introduce you to musicological issues that bear on your practical approach to concerts and recording.

If you only choose one performance-focused optional module, you’ll complete your course by doing a Short Dissertation on a musicological topic of your choosing.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Performance PGDip Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Performance PGDip Part Time in the course catalogue

Compulsory Modules

  • Instrumental or Vocal Recital (60 credits) - On this module you will have one-to-one lessons with a specialist instrumental or vocal teacher and be expected to contribute regularly to performance classes as a performer and through engaging in discussions with staff and students of your and others’ performances. You will develop your technical, interpretative and expressive performance skills and your professionalism, alongside building a significant body of repertoire that is or can quickly be brought to performance standard. You will present a substantial recital for which you will choose the repertoire and produce suitable programme notes.

Optional Modules

  • Concerto/Song-Cycle/Extended Work (30 credits) - Through this module, you will develop your instrumental or vocal technique and performance skills through the study of a specific concerto, song-cycle or (where these are not appropriate), an equivalent extended work (e.g. suite, sonata, extended stage role, etc.), usually with piano accompaniment. You will be supported to develop your performance and technique through one-to-one lessons with a specialist instrumental or vocal teacher, and performance classes.
  • Researching Performance (30 credits) - This skills-based module enables you to practically apply performance research methods to your performance interests. You will be introduced to a range of topics relating to performance research methods, including but not limited to practice-led research and archival methods. You will then have the opportunity to select appropriate methods to explore and investigate topics relevant to your repertoire enthusiasms and will develop an awareness of performance research issues and the ability to effectively communicate your research.
  • Applied Performance Studies (30 credits) - On this module you will be supported to identify and undertake a performance project activity that complements your repertoire interests or career goals, and situates your performance interests within wider musicological, historical, psychological, technological and cultural contexts. Your specific project should relate to your own approach and development, and might involve (but is not limited to) ensemble work, pedagogic studies, performance practice studies, work-based learning, work on doubling or second instruments, adaptation/transcription/editing, or creative exploration.
  • Performance Practices (30 credits) - This module aims to develop your familiarity with existing research in performance practice. Potential topics may range from improvisation in jazz and non-Western traditions to historically and culturally informed performance of Western art music from the Renaissance to the present. It introduces you to musicological issues that bear on your practical approach to concerts and recording, from areas like organology and aesthetics to studies of specific elements such as tuning and temperament, tempo, vibrato and portamento.
  • Short Dissertation (30 credits) - This module provides you with the opportunity to investigate a focused musical subject of your choice (subject to the approval of the module leader), and to present your findings in an essay of 6,000-8,000 words. Your supervisor will help you to define the scope and topic of your Short Dissertation, but it should be one which enables you to demonstrate focused criticality, the assimilation and synthesis of scholarly literature, and the confidence to work independently.

Learning and teaching

Academics in the School of Music are experts in their fields, and their activities inform their teaching directly. We use a range of inclusive, active and student-centred approaches to learning and teaching to engage you in your course and support you to develop your knowledge, understanding, and skills. Depending on the modules you choose, your learning and teaching methods may include rehearsals and performance classes, workshops, and practice-based sessions, as well as lectures, seminars, tutorials and other small-group learning classes. You will also have one-to-one instrumental/vocal lessons with a specialist teacher.

Taught sessions are only a part of University learning, and on many of our modules you’ll be supplied with online learning resources designed to work in tandem with classroom sessions. Some modules may require you to engage with videos, podcasts, readings, recordings or other activities before class sessions, with some of the classroom time devoted to debate, discussion and deeper learning based on how students have interpreted the online materials. Your learning experience will offer opportunities for collaboration, a key aspect of music and the arts, and peer learning, as well as fostering a culture of reflection and self-awareness. Independent study is also an important part of your course, and you’ll develop your critical, creative and research skills through time spent in the University Library and in practice and rehearsal rooms.

We support your learning in several ways. Resources are made available through our virtual learning environment, Minerva, you can seek assistance as required from our experienced technical staff and your Academic Personal Tutor, and there is extensive support for students offered through the academic skills programme at the University Library. Additionally, all staff have office hours when they are available should you have questions, or you need to ask for help. We also work closely with the University’s Language Centre to ensure that international students are fully supported and able to thrive on our courses.

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 use a variety of assessment methods, each of which is chosen to best measure your achievement of a module’s learning outcomes and associated skills, so you and we can understand and support your progress and development. Depending on the modules you choose, across your degree you are likely to encounter a mix of recitals and performances, written assignments (e.g. essays, reports, reviews, reflective logs), presentations, project work, and online assessments. Some assignments will be completed individually, some collaboratively, and some may require elements of group working leading to individual submissions.

You might be given a brief, question or problem to be addressed, or you may have scope to determine your own question or approach under the guidance of a member of staff. You’ll be given clear instructions regarding the assessment requirements and criteria, and you’ll receive feedback on your work to support your learning as you progress through your course. Assessments will usually require you to synthesise and evaluate learning from multiple taught sessions and learning resources (e.g. a module’s lectures, seminars, set readings and other online resources), and you should think of your course as a whole, and apply your learning across your modules. Creative and practical work may offer you the chance to take risks and experiment with new ideas and concepts, and in all cases we encourage you to challenge yourself, to think critically and creatively, to move as far beyond your comfort zone as you can, and to reflect on your working process and achievement.

Our assessments are designed to be fair and inclusive, to engage you intellectually and to help prepare you for life beyond University through the development of relevant skills, knowledge and experience.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in music or a related subject.

We may also consider relevant professional experience instead of formal musical qualifications, if you can demonstrate a good level of musical understanding or practical experience when you apply.

English language requirements

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

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. You could study a part-time online course starting in January, or a full-time course in summer. Find out more about online pre-sessionals.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

We will consider applications from 1 October – 1 September.

However, we recommend you apply as early as possible, especially if you are planning to apply for external funding. You will usually be expected to have an offer of a place on a course before you apply for funding.

You may also need to leave time to make arrangements such as visa applications or relocating to Leeds.

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Documents and information you need

  • Your degree certificate and transcript, or a partial transcript if you’re still studying. Please provide official translations if applicable.

  • If English is not your first language, you’ll need to provide evidence of your English language qualification.

  • A video recording of your performance that is up to 20 minutes of contrasting repertoire. Please also include programme information for the pieces performed in your video (you can provide a list of titles and composers for the repertoire performed, or you may wish to add captions to your video). The recording should be a true and accurate representation of your performing ability and should have been recorded within the last 6 months. In the recording we’ll expect you to demonstrate technical ability, thoughtful interpretation of the pieces, awareness of historical style, individual personality and flair. In this recording you should be demonstrating something of the style in which you feel you want to develop, and please make sure that your submission presents different aspects of your musicianship (e.g. tempo, key, style, language). If possible you can provide a link as part of your online application to a webpage or online drop box where your video recording can be accessed.

  • A personal statement in response to the questions asked in the supporting statement section of the application form.

  • If you are an international applicant and have previously studied in the UK on a Student Visa, please provide a copy of your Visa (and Residence Permit if applicable) to cover all the dates of your time in the UK, a copy of your CAS summary, and a copy of your completion/award certificate if applicable.

  • References may be requested.

  • Please note that there are some optional modules available as part of our courses for which new students may be required to provide an example of their work, audition, or liaise with the relevant Module Leader first in order to assess suitability for entry on to the optional module. Assessment for optional modules with pre-requisites is not part of the admissions process. Offer holders are normally contacted by the School of Music regarding optional modules in advance of their studies.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures receives very large numbers of high-quality applications and regrets that it cannot make offers to all of its applicants. Some particularly popular schools may have to reject many that hold the necessary academic qualifications.

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 Music

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Postgraduate Admissions



UK: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs of study that students need to cover. We estimate that these additional costs could be as described below, but this amount may vary depending on your chosen modules.

Equipment and materials costs

You’ll continue to be liable for covering ongoing costs of insuring and maintaining your own instrument and buying instrument-specific materials such as reeds, strings, etc. These costs are variable depending on the type of instrument and the nature of the maintenance required. You’ll have access to a good supply of sheet music that is available in the University libraries, but you might also need to purchase your own repertoire (costs for this are variable).

Reading materials

You’ll have access to a good supply of books, academic journals, periodicals, etc., that are available in the University libraries. You’ll also have online access to an extensive range of reading resources. You might decide, however, to purchase required books that are recommended on your programme.

Study trips and placements

There may also be the opportunity for optional study trips and individual projects / placements. Costs will depend on the project / placement undertaken, and on the nature and location of each trip.

There may be general additional costs related to being a student at the University of Leeds – you can read more about this here.

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 about additional costs.

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 may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.  Find out more at Masters funding overview.

Find out more about scholarships and funding opportunities available in the School of Music.

Career opportunities

A postgraduate degree in Music from the University of Leeds equips you with valuable subject knowledge, cultural and social awareness, and a strong balance of musical and transferrable skills. Skills such as communication, leadership, time and resource management, and the ability to work independently and collaboratively are particularly attractive to employers, and you’ll also be able to demonstrate the flexibility, resilience and confidence needed to adapt to new situations and environments.

Your subject-specific knowledge will bring your critical, creative, research and problem-solving abilities to the fore, and you’ll be able to articulate how the experience gained through your postgraduate study has prepared you for whatever comes next, be that work or doctoral research.

Our postgraduate courses equip our graduates to work in a wide range of areas within the music industry, including:

  • Music therapy

  • Arts research

  • Teaching, lecturing and coaching

  • Performing

  • Composing

  • Arts, artist, project and event management

  • PR

  • Music publishing and copyright

  • Marketing and digital marketing

  • Creative production

  • Theatrical stage direction and musical direction

  • Music supervision

Reach your potential

Hear more about the School and Faculty support you can access from our employability lead, Professor Karen Burland.

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.

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.

Student profile: Juan Daunesse

I enjoyed the freedom of choosing what I was going to perform in the different modules. The university offers performance opportunities too. I also enjoyed the feedback from my teachers before and after the examinations.
Find out more about Juan Daunesse's time at Leeds