MusB Music / Application and selection

Year of entry: 2023

How to apply

Apply through UCAS

Advice to applicants

What does Music mean to me? [Dominic]

Applying for both the MusB and the Joint Course with the RNCM

If you have applied for both the MusB course and the Joint Course, the Joint Course interview at the University will be used to determine your suitability for both the MusB and Joint Course applications (to save students attending interview twice).

Offers are made to Joint Course candidates only after a meeting of the RNCM and University admissions staff following all Joint Couse auditions and interviews.

Due to the highly competitive nature of the Joint Course, and the limited number of places available each academic year, it is common for excellent applicants who have not been successful with the Joint Course to nonetheless be offered a place for the MusB.

If a Joint Course applicant has not made a separate application to the MusB (through UCAS), they may still apply after the Joint Course application process has been completed.

Applicants are advised to apply for the MusB through UCAS by 15 January.

How your application is considered

In your UCAS application, we are looking to see evidence of why you wish to study Music at degree level and evidence of the skills and experiences that will help you to do this.

There is only so much that a UCAS statement and a list of qualifications can tell us about you. If your initial UCAS application has been successful, you will be invited to an applicant visit day.

Visit days

Visit days give you the chance to discover more about our course content, departmental life, and the student and professional music-making that takes place in the Martin Harris Centre (home of the Music department). It also gives you the opportunity to see our facilities, attend one of our weekly lunchtime concerts, and meet our academics and current students.

The day includes a short, 20-minute interview held with one of the department's academic staff. Your interview is an important part of our application process as it allows us a vital opportunity to see what motivates you as a student and musician (see the interview requirements section below for more details).

Please note, that we will not be able to offer you a place on your chosen course without your attendance at a visit day and interview.

A decision about an offer is made shortly after interview and we aim to inform applicants within one week of interview.


Unless you've already sat your A-levels (or equivalent qualifications) we make the standard conditional offer to most offer-holders.

Some exceptions do apply. For further details, please see entry requirements.

Skills, knowledge, abilities, interests

Associated Board (or equivalent examinations) grade VIII, preferably at Distinction, on an instrument or voice.

Interview requirements

Interview preparation

Your interview will be held with one of our academic staff and lasts for 20 minutes. The interview provides you with an opportunity to tell us more about your interests, ambitions and qualifications, and to ask our academics any questions you may have about the course, department and university life.

Experience tells us that applicants naturally get anxious about interviews. Please bear in mind, therefore, that this is a chance for you to find out more about Music at Manchester just as much as it is an opportunity for us to find out more about your interests and ambitions.

Interview materials

We ask you to bring evidence of written work where possible, including:

1)       An essay. It is important that you provide an example of how you have engaged with music in written form and/or an example that illustrates your best writing if you feel that your studies in music have not enabled you to do this.

2)       A piece of music analysis or a harmony exercise.  An analysis of one of your set works or any piece of music which you have analysed will suffice. You may be asked to discuss what your analysis reveals about the music, but not all interviewers will ask this.

Please bring either an analysis or a harmony exercise rather than both; a typical harmony exercise would be an example of a 4-part chorale in the style of Bach.

3)       An original composition (optional). This is required only if you have one and you are looking to direct your degree in composition.

Please note that there is no performance element to the interview, as we can ascertain your level from your ABRSM exam grades. You do not need to bring your instrument with you.

Joint Course with the RNCM: audition and interview

For those applying to the Joint Course with the RNCM, applications must be made via UCAS Conservatoires by 1 October for entry the following academic year. The application code is 399F.

If your submitted video or portfolio is shortlisted, you will be invited to an audition and interview during November. Please note that all correspondence takes place with the RNCM.

The audition takes place in the morning at the College. In the afternoon, you will be invited to the University to attend a lunchtime concert and take part in an interview with one of the University's Music academics.

In addition to the interview requirements set out above for the MusB course, Joint Course applicants are given unseen musical aptitude tests and asked to discuss their interests as appropriate.

Returning to education

We welcome applications from mature students and will consider them on an individual basis. We usually interview mature applicants with non-standard qualifications.


Deferrals are normally allowed; however, we do ask applicants to let us know as early as possible if they are intending to defer.  This helps us to adjust the number of offers we make, in order to achieve the required number of students in a given year.


If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry.  In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved.  We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.If you are applying for a place for the same year of entry through UCAS Extra, you should provide additional evidence of your suitability for the course. If you are applying through clearing you are required to meet the clearing requirements. In both UCAS Extra and clearing the places will be subject to availability.


Students wishing to transfer from other Universities will be considered on merit, providing we have enough places to accommodate them.  Enquiries should be made to the admissions administrator for the subject (see contact details).  We will require transcripts and a reference from your tutor.