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What A-levels do you need to study music?

Unsurprisingly a music A-level is a MUST for anyone wanting to take a music degree. But what other subjects should aspiring musicians consider for a tuneful combination? 

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A-level subjects for music

What A-level subjects are needed or essential for music?  

  • music and Grade VII/VIII for your main instrument (for most traditional courses).

Find out more about university entry requirements.

What A-levels are useful for music?

  • some universities have a preference for at least one essay-based subject such as history or English.

Choosing your A-levels? See where different combinations can lead with our Explorer tool.


Other typical A-levels taken by current music students

  • maths
  • French
  • physics 

Take a look at individual music courses on The Uni Guide to find out the most popular subjects students studied before taking a degree in music.

Which university do students rate as having the 'best creative scene'?

Which? University surveyed more than 8,000 undergraduates in the Which? University Student Survey to find out how they rate their university when it came to being arty and creative.

Whether it be an eclectic music scene, local galleries to lose an afternoon in, or societies to perform in on campus, these are the universities that let you express yourself. Find out here which university has the top-rated creative scene?


Examples of music degree requirements

Below is a range of Bachelor of music (with Honours) courses offered by different universities and the A-level entry requirements they ask for (as of 11 April 2018):

The University of Cardiff: ‘A,A,B-B,B,B. To include grade B in A-Level Music, excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking.

University of Oxford: 'A,A,A. A in Music Excluding General Studies (if taken).'

Royal Holloway, University of London: 'A,A,B-A,B,B. Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required. Socio-economic factors which may have impacted an applicant’s education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants. Required: Grade A in Music A-Level or Grade 8 Music Theory at Pass A Level English Literature or English Language & Literature Preferably Grade 7 ABRSM (or similar practical exam) Five GCSEs graded A* - C (or 9-4) including English and Maths'




Other similar degree subjects

These subjects may have slightly different A-level requirements to music, so if you want to keep your degree options open, be sure to check the entry requirements of specific courses before you finalise your choices.

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