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Applying

School Selection Procedures - Music

All applications for a place on any of the Music degree programmes must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) application service. Applications can be made either in the English or the Welsh language. We recognise that if you are a Welsh speaker, you may feel more comfortable speaking to a Welsh speaking personal tutor. Provided there are Welsh speaking members of staff available, every effort will be made to allocate a Welsh speaker to you at any point of the application process.

After we have received and considered your details, we will normally invite single subject students to visit the School of Music. You will be given a guided tour of the School by current students, offering you the opportunity to find out what life as a music student at Cardiff is really like. Discussions with the Admissions tutor or another member of staff will enable you to raise any questions you may have and allow us the opportunity of finding out more about your interests and ambitions. You will also be auditioned as an instrumentalist or vocalist and will be asked to sit a short written test. If you are unable to accept our invitation on the date we suggest, an alternative date can usually be arranged. Joint Honours students will be invited to a convenient Humanities Open Day in the period January to March.

School Selection Criteria

The School of Music is looking for intellectually curious, lively students who are keen to explore music in all aspects. We look for evidence of potential for high academic achievement along with an enthusiasm and interest in Music which can be demonstrated by the applicant’s reference, and evidenced in the personal statement and the reference.

Admissions Tests

If applying for BMus Honours, BA Single Honours in Music and BSc Physics and Music you will be expected to take a written test. The written test consists of a choice of one of two musical extracts, which will be played twice, on which candidates are asked to write a general commentary concerning expression and meaning in the music. The Admissions Tutor will assess the written work on the basis of:

  • Clarity of expression and argument
  • Knowledge of style, music, history and theory

General ability to respond to the question

Selection Interviews

(For BMus Honours, BA Single Honours in Music and BSc Physics & Music)

The information provided by interviews and auditions is a crucial addition to that provided on UCAS forms, and they are an important means of identifying potential in individual candidates.

Candidates will be invited to attend one of five interview days that are held from November through to March. For each of these days, around 50 candidates attend. Applicants who do not attend will have their application rejected, unless they have contacted the School to make alternative arrangements, or to say that they are unable to attend for other reasons (e.g. distance to travel, exam commitments). In the case of exceptional mitigating circumstances, an offer can be made without interview.

The day will comprise an introductory talk from the Admissions tutor, a tour of the School of Music, a one-hour written test and a 15-minute interview/ audition with a member of staff.

Interviews and Auditions

Interviews are conducted by individual members of staff. Applicants will initially be asked to perform or sing for around 5 minutes. The choice of repertoire is left to individual candidates. Assessment of performance is based on overall expressive and technical standards.

The interviewer will then ask questions of a specific nature, possibly relating to the music performed, and more general questions about musical interests and experience. Candidates will be assessed in terms of their enthusiasm and commitment to the subject, their wider knowledge, and their ability to respond to issues which they may not have considered before.

The aim of the interview is not to test factual knowledge, or to judge candidates in terms of their likes and dislikes, but to encourage them in as relaxed a way as possible to talk about what they know and what interests them. The interviews are not designed to catch people out or expose their weaknesses, but it is expected that applicants will engage readily with the interviewer. Candidates may also ask the interviewer questions regarding the undergraduate programmes.

Members of staff involved in the interview process prepare written reports on each candidate. If the reports are unfavourable, a candidate’s application may be rejected, otherwise the comments will be compared to the test and UCAS form.

Use of Contextual Data

All suitable applicants who are eligible for additional consideration and are predicted a minimum of grades BBC (with a B in Music and working towards grade 8 on one instrument) will be guaranteed a typical offer on the School of Music undergraduate courses following successful interview / audition. Typical offers can be found here

For details of University policy on the use of Contextual Data, please click here.


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