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Unit information: Portfolio / Dissertation in 2020/21

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Unit name Portfolio / Dissertation
Unit code MUSIM0021
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Farwell
Open unit status Not open

Completion of relevant mandatory units in TB1 and TB2 and progress at the June Progress Board



School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The 'dissertation equivalent' assessment for the MA in Composition of Music for Film and Television (MACMFTV) is a portfolio of original media compositions. Students build their media portfolio throughout the year, but the main body of work is during the summer period following completion of the taught units. The portfolio often includes collaboration with film-makers taking the MA in Film and Television in the Department of Film and Television, and with a range of other internal and external collaborators in varied forms of screen media (for instance, optionally with students creating original computer games in the department of Computer Science). Guidance on the portfolio is provided by the Programme Director or other expert tutors.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. sophisticated compositional responses to a variety of screen forms
  2. nuanced choices in music selection and placement
  3. advanced skill in recording, sequencing, mixing and musical post-production
  4. advanced skill in the integration and delivery of the polished media product
  5. sophisticated understanding of up-to-date genres, practices and professional expectations for the media composer
  6. the ability to write cogent critical/descriptive prose accounts

Additionally, for the portfolio option:

A1. the ability to compose in varied musical styles and genres, at the same time as showing an original personal 'voice'

A2. the ability to create and nurture collaborative partnerships

A3. the ability to select and organise multiple elements into a compelling portfolio

Or, additionally for the film + dissertation option:

A4. critical engagement with a wide range of current literature, relevant to topic

A5. the ability to structure and sustain an extended scholarly argument, presented to high academic standards

Teaching details

Tutorials - supervision sessions. Students will discuss work in progress with tutors, collaborators and peers. They will typically make more works than are needed for the final portfolio, selecting from these to form the submission.

Assessment Details

  • a composition portfolio of productions with film or other visual elements, demonstrating a wide variety of visual and filmic styles, musical mediums and genres. The portfolio will typically comprise five to eight separate productions, and include 18-20 minutes of original musical content (ILOs 1-5, A1-A3)
  • and an accompanying short commentary that sets the overall context for the portfolio and key issues for each production, such as a depiction of the project brief, collaborative processes, creative and technical decisions, musical borrowings (ILOs 2, 5, 6, A2, A3)

Reading and References

Wide-ranging film, television and other screen-media viewing; study of scores and recordings; and reading as appropriate to individual portfolio / dissertation, under the guidance of supervisor.