Module Catalogue 2024/25

MUS3016 : Minor Specialist Study: Composition

MUS3016 : Minor Specialist Study: Composition

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Rob Mackay
  • Lecturer: Ms Nancy Kerr Elliott, Dr Mariam Rezaei, Dr Bennett Hogg, Dr William Edmondes, Mr Phil Begg
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Code Title
MUS2050Applied Song Writing and Composition (Folk and Modal Musics)
MUS2006Composing for Spaces and Places
MUS2048Free Music Practice: Experimental Pop & Interdisciplinary Performance
Pre Requisite Comment

60% or higher in at least one of the following modules: MUS2050, MUS2006, MUS2048.


Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



1. To engage in a substantial programme of original composition that sums up the student’s undergraduate learning in composition, exploring a range of creative problems

2. To cultivate a professional attitude to creative practice and its presentation

3. To embark on relevant activities associated with the chosen type of composition, in order to maximise preparedness for further work in the discipline

4. To promote awareness of acoustic and electroacoustic methodologies, modes of expression and artistic outcomes

5. To create an environment where composition for mixed-media acoustic/electroacoustic is seen as a natural choice for the student

6. To promote creative and cultural self-awareness in a contemporary context informed by the past

7. To encourage engagement with and understanding of relevant music

Outline Of Syllabus

You will be expected to apply the expertise you have acquired through your previous compositional studies, to develop critical and technical skills relating to your chosen area of composition and awareness of its wider relationship to contemporary music and culture. Under the guidance of your supervisor and in response to your artistic development you may be required to work in particular ways (e.g. to compose for designated forces to suit workshop opportunities, to work collaboratively, to use creative writing or other divergent strategies). Alongside developing your creative imagination you will be expected to cultivate a professional attitude to your practice and its presentation.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to:

1.       Understand issues associated with structuring composition, including organisation of time, idiomatic practice, harmonic process, timbral and textural process, stylistic control etc

2.       Be familiar with contemporary repertoire

3.       Understand appropriate modes of expression (eg notation, idiomatic characteristics, performance instructions, studio technique)

4.       Take a broad and intelligent approach to acoustic and electroacoustic musics

5.       Understand their own practice in a contemporary context informed by the past

Intended Skill Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to:

1.       structure new music from an informed perspective, engaging in a creative dialogue with music of the past - incuding the very recent past - the present and plausible scenarios for the future

2.       incorporate previous learning into original material, demonstrating significant development from previous stages of study and over the final year

3.       compose for a selection of forces, be it acoustic, electroacoustic or a combination of both

4.       demonstrate fluency in the use of appropriate modes of expression (eg notation, idiomatic approaches, studio technique)

5.       produce a performance and/or recording as appropriate

6.       work independently on a creative project

7.       Discuss their own practice, both verbally and in writing, in the context of contemporary culture informed by the past

8.       Discuss existing music, both verbally and in writing, demonstrating engagement with and understanding of relevant musical materials

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical24:008:00Optional 'occasional' project but open to all students
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching60:303:00PiP tutorials. But can be synchronous online if needed
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching82:0016:00PiP. But can be synchronous online if needed.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops52:0010:00PiP. But can be synchronous online if needed.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1163:00163:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
MUS3012Major Specialist Study: Composition
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars outline creative briefs, present models, encourage critical discussion and promotes the sharing of repertoire and student work

Tutorials monitor progress and secure the realisation of creative projects

Private study constitutes the bulk of the work, where students carry out their creative work

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2A90Portfolio of compositions.
Essay2A10Critical and contextual commentary on compositions submitted.
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Aural Examination1MThe composition(s) discussed in the Oral Presentation submitted for supervisor formative feedback
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Portfolio demonstrates skills outcomes 1-6
Supporting documentation demonstrates knowledge outcomes 1-5 and skills outcomes 7 & 8

SEMESTER ONE ONLY STUDY ABROAD: The coursework assessment needs an earlier submission date but otherwise remains unchanged


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Welcome to Newcastle University Module Catalogue

This is where you will be able to find all key information about modules on your programme of study. It will help you make an informed decision on the options available to you within your programme.

You may have some queries about the modules available to you. Your school office will be able to signpost you to someone who will support you with any queries.


The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.