The study of music at Oxford involves a rich process of harmonising a broad range of musical interests and activities. Whether one performs, composes, or analyses music, or engages with its history, we seek a critical engagement with music and its materials in which ideas and culture are as important as the notes on the page.

About the Course

At Magdalen we aim to produce ‘thinking musicians’ who can make music and interpret it with depth, knowledge and authority, never neglecting its intuitive and creative sides. Our students go on to music conservatoires here and abroad, to postgraduate university courses in musicology or composition, or to teaching jobs in the private or state sectors. Some even decide to pursue other fields of professional endeavour, undertaking conversion courses in law and medicine.

Magdalen has two Tutorial Fellows in Music and a Lecturer. There is superb attention to the needs of individual students and special support is available to attend courses in vacations. Most tutorials are based at Magdalen or in exchange arrangements with leading specialist tutors in other colleges. We admit up to six music undergraduates a year, including the academical clerks and organ scholars who study music.

Academic and Performance scholarships are awarded each year to undergraduates at the end of their first year. Academic awards are restricted to those reading Music; Music Scholarships are open to all undergraduates.

As one of the choral foundations of the University, Magdalen maintains a world-class choir which is composed of students (academical clerks) and pupils of Magdalen College School (choristers). Every year a number of places for academical clerks are available (but not restricted to music students); the organ scholar position is also available in some years. In addition, the chapel maintains an auditioning mixed-voice Consort of Voices, in which female students sing together with the clerks on some Saturdays in term.

The Music Society is one of Oxford’s most active, hosting weekly recitals in the Chapel and Auditorium, and termly orchestral projects. Practical music-making at all levels is strongly encouraged and the College offers two Music scholarships each year to instrumentalists or singers of exceptional ability.

Entry requirements


No written test, but candidates invited for interview can give a performance of a prepared piece and will undertake a short aural test. Those who have not taken Grade 5 piano or above may be asked to demonstrate their keyboard skills.

Written work

Two pieces of marked school or college work, one of which should be on music, some examples of marked harmony and counterpoint, and/or some examples of original composition.

Specific subjects

Candidates are expected to have Music to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or another equivalent. For those whose schools do not offer A-level Music, Grade 7 (or above) Theory and/or A-level Music Technology will be considered acceptable.

Deferred entry

Applications for deferred entry may be considered.