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Music has been part of the intellectual and cultural life of Oxford for more than eight centuries.

Today, there are 15 academic staff in the Faculty (all professorial staff) all of whom have internationally distinguished reputations as musicologists, performers or composers. Their work is complemented by that of College Fellows and Lecturers, bringing the total staff number to about 30.

The large number of visiting speakers and performing ensembles adds further richness and enjoyment to the experience of being a music student here. The Faculty building includes practice rooms for solo, chamber and orchestral work; there is an electronic studio; and the library holdings of scores, recordings and books and other research materials are probably the most extensive in the UK. The world-famous Bate Collection of Musical Instruments is also housed within the building, and many of these historical instruments are available for use by students.

The Oxford course offers the advantage of a very broad base without compromising the possibility of increasing specialisation in one or more areas – from performance to history, composition to analysis – as the student proceeds. Combined with the rich opportunities for personal development which arise from the musical facilities and activities sustained throughout the collegiate University and the city, this course helps every student to graduate as a mature and well-rounded musician with an informed and lively sense of the contemporary study and practice of the subject.

The Music course lasts for three years, with formal university examinations at the end of the first and third years. Further details can be found here.

Tuition is by means of lectures organized by the Faculty of Music, and by tutorials (generally held in small groups) given by the Fellow in Music and other subject specialists. Financial assistance for those intending to take a performance exam is available from the Faculty for instrumental or vocal lessons.

Joint Schools

There are no Joint Schools for Music.

Professor Suzanne Aspden, Fellow and Tutor in Music at Jesus College, is a University Lecturer in the Faculty of Music, and teaches music history, criticism and aesthetics. Her research interests are in
eighteenth-century opera, Handel, nationalism and identity politics.

In a total College entry of about 100 undergraduates, 2 are offered places in a typical year to read Music.

Academic requirements:

Offers made to candidates will be conditional upon A-level results (AAA, with an A in Music, if your school offers it) or equivalent qualifications. Candidates for Music will normally be taking, or have taken, an A-level or equivalent level course in music; candidates not taking an A-level or equivalent-level music course (because it is not offered at their school) will also be considered, if appropriate musical knowledge can be demonstrated in other ways. More information can be found here.

Written work:

Candidates must submit two recent, marked essays (at least one of which should normally be on music) and one or two examples of teacher-marked harmony and counterpoint (e.g. Baroque chorale, 16th-century counterpoint, 2-part invention, string quartet, Romantic songs). Candidates may also submit one or two short examples of original composition, which should be in some form of notated score. The deadline to submit written work is 10 November 2021. Further information can be viewed here.

Shortlisted candidates will be asked to take a practical test in December. They will be asked to perform on an instrument of their choice or to sing.


The academic interview itself will focus on the candidate’s interests as developed both within the school curriculum and outside it (e.g. performance, listening to music, reading about music). Credit will be given for initiative in developing personal interests that go beyond the school syllabus, though this will be evaluated in the light of the opportunities available to the candidate. Candidates will be asked to comment on a text and a music extract after a brief period of scrutiny (without a piano): note will be taken of ability to engage in critical discussion about both extracts, and to comment
accurately and perceptively. Preparation for the interview is best undertaken by extensive listening to a wide range of music, backed up where relevant by study of scores and as much contextual reading as is practicable.

Deferred Entry:

You should be aware that applicants who are offered places for deferred entry will generally be among the strongest of the cohort for their subject. We would not usually offer more than one deferred place per subject in order not to disadvantage the following year’s candidates. You must apply for deferred entry at the time of application to Oxford: you cannot change your mind after an offer has been made. Please refer to departmental web sites for subject-specific advice. In some cases, an applicant for deferred entry may be offered a place for non-deferred entry instead. If you require any further advice, please contact the Admissions Officer via

Oxford has excellent facilities for graduate studies in music. The following degrees are offered at postgraduate level:

  • DPhil Music
  • MPhil, MSt in Music (Composition)
  • MPhil, MSt in Music (Musicology)
  • MPhil, MSt in Music (Performance)

Oxford graduates in Music enter many professions. Teaching and arts administration are among the more popular destinations, but others include broadcasting, publishing, politics and the civil service.
Many graduates choose to go on to postgraduate study, either remaining in Oxford or moving elsewhere. The best performers win coveted places at conservatoires in the UK and abroad.

A list of recommended books may be sent to successful candidates at a later stage. Further information about reading Music at Oxford can be found on the Faculty of Music website.

Information about Admissions is available here.

If you have any questions about our entrance requirements, or about applying to study at Jesus College, please contact the Admissions Officer: Tel: 01865 279721