Image of Music image


  • Number of students per year: three to four
  • Typical offer: A*AA or equivalent (A* does not have to be in Music)
  • Essential subjects:  Music A-Level/ IB Higher Level Music OR ABRSM Grade 8 Theory at Merit or above
  • Desirable subjects: none 

Our Music course is designed to be both challenging and intellectually stimulating, and to provide skills that can be usefully developed in musical and non musical careers after graduation.

Teaching is provided through a mixture of Faculty lectures and small group supervisions, organised within the College. This combination will help you master everything in the course, including subjects which are new to you when you arrive.

Music students at Jesus come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and with very different kinds of previous musical experience; they also go on to pursue an equally wide variety of different careers when they leave.

While you're here we'll encourage you to develop your own interests through the course, and to take full advantage of the extraordinary musical resources that the College and the University have to offer.

The College offers a number of instrumental awards each year. These awards contribute towards the cost of instrumental tuition and applications are made at the start of your first term. For further information on the College Instrumental Awards please email

Find out more on the University webpage.
What we look for


Our conditional offers are usually for an A* and two A grades at A-Level or equivalent, although there's typically no requirement for the A* to be in Music.

We normally look for at least three academic subjects, including Music, at A-Level, although ABRSM Grade 8 Theory may be offered as a substitute for A-Level Music. Equivalent qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate and Scottish Advanced Highers, are welcomed. Music Technology is not normally accepted as a substitute for Music at A-Level.

You don't need to have particular ability on an instrument to apply to read Music, but keyboard skill at a level roughly equivalent to Grade 5 piano will be very helpful for certain parts of the course. Similarly, some experience in harmony and counterpoint will be useful in preparing you for the course, and will be tested as part of the interview process (see below), but is not an essential entry requirement. The admissions process for music is designed to form a wide-ranging impression of your skills, capabilities and potential, and it is understood that you will not excel equally across all areas.

Music test

There is a one hour test in Harmony for those applicants who are invited to interview. You'll be presented with the melody of a chorale, to which you will be invited to add alto, tenor, and bass parts in the style of J.S. Bach, without access to a keyboard.

Advance practice for this exercise is obviously desirable, but individual levels of experience and preparedness will be taken into account when assessing everyone. The test is intended to demonstrate an understanding of basic harmonic progressions, and an ability to hear melodies and harmonies in your head.

A full score of Bach's harmonisations for study purposes is available for download here.


In 2023-24, we’ll be interviewing shortlisted applicants virtually, with interviews taking place in December.

The interview process aims to assess your intellectual ability, potential, and commitment to the subject. Candidates are typically interviewed by at least three subject specialists, including the Director of Studies, and total contact time will be between 35-50 minutes in total. This could be in a single interview, or in two separate interviews. Further details will be made available to candidates closer to the time.

Interviews will include some aural tests and a general discussion of a variety of musical topics and their broader contexts, as well as a discussion of a brief musical score and a passage of academic prose on a musical subject, both of which you'll have the chance to study for 30 minutes before the interview.

Find out more about the interview process on the University website.

Written work

You'll be asked to submit a school essay or a coursework extract in advance of the interview, together with a musical composition or harmony exercise where appropriate. We may discuss your submitted work at interview: please keep a copy so you can review it before your interview.

Deferred and post A-Level entry

The College is happy to consider applications for deferred entry, as well as applications from those who have already achieved (usually) A*AA or above at A-Level or equivalent. You'll need to go through the normal competitive process with the other applicants.

Find out how to apply to study at Jesus.