SOAS University of London

Department of Music, School of Arts

BA Music and...

3 or 4 year degrees

Fees 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry Undergraduate Tuition Fees page

2017 Entry requirements

  • A level Music, or equivalent is required for the single-subject degree. A level Music is not required for the combined Music programme, but evidence of both academic ability and active involvement in musical performance or composition is essential.
  • Interview Policy: Candidates not normally interviewed but encouraged to attend Open Days or contact the Department with enquiries
A Levels:
including GCSE Music
31 (554 at HL)

View alternative entry requirements


Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction

Scottish Highers: BBBBB

Scottish Advanced Highers: BBB

Irish LC: 300 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above

Advanced Placement: 3 4 4 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0

Euro Bacc: 75%

French Bacc: 13/20

German Abitur: 2.5

Italy DES: 75/100

Austria Mat: 2.5

Polish Mat: Overall 70% including 3 extended level subjects

Featured events

  • Overview
  • Combinations
  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Employment
  • Apply


Mode of Attendance: Full-time


This programme is a unique opportunity to study the musical traditions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and their global diasporas. Students are taught the basic principles of ethnomusicology and survey a variety of Asian and African musics. In years 2 and 3 they are encouraged to focus on the music of specific regions and to consider cross-regional themes. Performance is a central component of the degree. Students have the opportunity to develop expertise in a great variety of musical performance traditions.

SOAS has the only Music department in the UK devoted to the study of world music. We have a very active musical life, including concert series, student ensembles and a successful summer school in which students can become involved. Students are taught in the heart of London, home to many vibrant and diverse communities and to a breath-taking array of world music concerts, workshops and festivals. Our students actively participate in this rich and varied musical scene.

Graduates possess not only musical and cultural expertise, but also a portfolio of widely transferable skills sought by employers in professional and creative industries. The programme leads into careers and vocational pathways including arts management, festival administration and curating, music journalism, teaching, performing and composing, album production, and management and consultancy within the music industry in Europe, Asia and Africa.

This two-subject degree allows more scope for studying language or other non-musical aspects of particular cultures than the single subject BA Music. See the ‘Combinations’ tab for the list of subjects that can be taken. Some two-subject programmes are completed in three years while others take four years and include a year abroad. The single-subject degree allows greater concentration on music, including Western music and Performance.


Key Information Set Data

Please see the Unistats data for the various combinations of this programme under the Combinations tab.


May be combined with:

Key Information Set data

Click on a combined programme to load KIS data


General Structure

First-year courses cover the basic principles of ethnomusicology and survey a variety of Asian and African musics. Students additionally receive aural training (e.g. in transcription) and follow lessons in one or more Asian or African performance traditions. The Department is linked with nearby King’s College, University of London. Qualified SOAS students may take one or two half-units in Western music at King’s, and King’s students may take courses in ethnomusicology at SOAS, subject to approval from the appropriate tutors.

In Years 2 and 3, the student will usually focus on the music culture of a selected area or areas: Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Jewish music. They may also choose from the general and performance courses on offer. 

Degree Detail

  • Students are required to take courses to the value of 12 units over the duration of their degree, or 4 units per year.  A full-unit course is taught over both terms, while a half-unit course is taught over one term only.  
  • Up to 2 units (for a three-year degree) or 3 units (for a four-year degree) may come from "open option courses" (courses outside of this programme - e.g. language or non-music courses).  However, open option courses may not be taken in year 1.
  • At least 5 units of Music courses must be taken in total.

Year 1:

Two-subject students take Sounds and Cultures 1, Music and Culture, Introduction to Music Analysis, and Performance 1a OR Performance 1b.

Year 2:

Two-subject students take the compulsory 15 credit course Ethnomusicology Themes & Variations. They must also take one unit chosen from the "Area Courses" list. Remaining units can be selected from any of the course groups listed below, with up to one unit from an open option course, or music courses at Kings College.

Year 3:

Two-subject students take the compulsory half unit course Urban Soundscapes. They must also take at least a half unit chosen from the "Area Courses" list. Remaining units can be selected from any of the course groups, with up to one unit from an open option course, or music courses at Kings College.

Course Details

Year 1 Compulsory Courses
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Introduction to Music Analysis 155800070 0.5 Unit Full Year
Music and Culture 155800060 0.5 Unit Term 1
Performance 1a 155800061 0.5 Unit Full Year
Performance 1b 155800062 0.5 Unit Full Year
Sounds and Cultures 155800071 0.5 Unit Term 1
Year 2 Compulsory Course
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Ethnomusicology: Themes and Variations 155800065 0.5 Unit Term 1
Year 3 Compulsory Course
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Urban Soundscapes 155800083 0.5 Unit Term 1
Area Courses
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Atlantic Africa: (P)Layers of Mediation in African Popular Music (UG) 155800079 1 Unit Full Year
Classical singing in India: continuity and change 155800093 0.5 Unit Term 2
Klezmer Music: Roots and Revival 155800074 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Music and Religion in South East Asia 155800080 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Music, Religion and Society in South Asia 155800086 0.5 Unit Term 1
Music in Africa 155800022 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Music of Central Asia 155800059 0.5 Unit Term 1
Music, Religion and Society in the Middle East and North Africa 155800092 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Musical Traditions of East Asia 155800078 0.5 Unit Term 2
Pop and Politics in East Asia 155800077 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Popular and Fusion Music in South East Asia (UG) 155800081 0.5 Unit Term 2
Raga: concept and practice (PG) 15PMUH020 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
The World of Cuban Music 155800058 0.5 Unit Term 1
General Courses
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Composition 155800082 0.5 Unit Full Year
Gender and Music 155800073 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Global Hip-Hop 155800084 0.5 Unit Term 2
Introduction to Sound Recording 155800069 0.5 Unit Term 1
Music, Shamanism and Healing 155800055 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Presenting World Music On Radio 155800076 0.5 Unit Term 2
The Music Business 155800053 0.5 Unit Term 2
Project Courses
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Extended Essay in Music 1 155800066 0.5 Unit Term 1
Extended Essay in Music 2 155800067 0.5 Unit Term 2
Independent Study Project in Music 155800026 1 Unit Full Year
Performance Courses
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Performance 2 155800042 0.5 Unit Full Year
Performance 3 155800045 1 Unit Full Year


Teaching and Learning

Year abroad

If you are studying a language as part of your combined honours degree, you will usually study for 4 years, with year 3 spent abroad.

Teaching & Learning

The Department of Music has been highly rated for teaching and research in all recent assessment exercises, and is regularly ranked amongst the top Music departments in the UK in Good University Guides.

Music students have access to the large Main Library of the School which holds numerous books, journals and recordings relevant to the study of ethnomusicology and world music, as well as the nearby British Library Sound Archive and other London libraries and museums.

The SOAS Library holds copies of standard reference works on music, such as the current edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. The Grove dictionary and the RILM database can also be accessed on line from computer terminals in the Library or elsewhere on the SOAS network. Listening facilities are provided in the Library, and most CDs are available on short loan. Among special items in the Department’s collections are:

  • field recordings, films and slides
  • a large working collection of musical instruments from Asia and Africa
  • extensive staff collections relating to specific research interests

Fees and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of undergraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Undergraduate Tuition Fees page.

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

BA, BSc, LLB £9,250 £16,575
BA/BSc Language Year Abroad £1,387.50 £8,288
Undergraduate Research Awards

Application Deadline: 2017-04-17 17:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


As a graduate who specialised in Music at SOAS, you will have gained competency in one or more world music performance traditions, intercultural awareness and understanding of global music and the world music industry. Familiarity with a specific region will have been developed through the study of its music. You will have the opportunity to develop practical vocational skills in sound recording and radio presenting. Graduates leave SOAS not only with musical and cultural expertise, but also with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and creative capacities, including interpersonal skills, communication skills, focus, teamwork, passion and dedication. Studying a combined honours degree gives students to blend a solid grounding in another discipline or subject area which enables them to place the knowledge they gain as part of their degree within a specific regional, cultural or disciplinary context.

Specific Graduate Destinations:

  • Nana Klimek (BA Music Studies) works at HeadNod Talent Agency in London.
  • Rick Wilson (BA Music Studies), among other activities, collaborates with former MMus student Sally Pomme Clayton, providing music for her story-telling performances.
  • Leni Koupis (BA Music Studies) is a fund-raiser and charity concert organiser for the Free Tibet Campaign.
  • Nami Morris (BA Music & Korean) works in the External Affairs Division of Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea.
  • Mira Sengupta (BA Music Studies) has composed music for three radio plays for LBC and has worked as a concert promoter.
  • Many other graduates proceed to postgraduate study at SOAS or elsewhere. Others return, enhanced, to previous careers: Nigel Gomme as a composer and arranger, Fiona West as a music producer, David Wright as a jazz saxophonist, etc.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

SOAS is a great place to study Ethnomusicology. It has the flavour of the world spread through the music made by the students, lecturers and guests.

Marina Di Giorgi


Find out more

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    Undergraduate course applications should be made through UCAS.

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