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Undergraduate admissions at a glance

No. of students admitted per year

4

Entry requirements (A-Level or equivalent)

All entry requirements are A-Level standard or equivalent, unless otherwise stated.

Music (please note that Music Technology is not deemed to be an adequate substitute for Music A level), a good musical ear, some facility at the keyboard and proficiency in harmony and counterpoint. ABRSM Grade 8 Theory (Merit) can be offered as a substitute for A Level Music.

 

Typical offer

A*AA

For details of other examination systems please see our Offer Table

Interview arrangements

Usually 2 interviews, one general and one subject-specific. In addition, Candidates are asked to submit in advance of the interviews a recent essay and examples of recent work in Harmony and Counterpoint.

Applicants are normally asked to take a written harmony test and some ear tests.

For further information on how we select Music students, please see our Music Admissions page.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Tutorial and Admissions Office

Undergraduate

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+44 (0)1223 338972

Graduate

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+44 (0)1223 766673

Music

Why choose Girton?

Music thrives as an academic subject at Girton. In a typical year, four students are admitted to read Music (a higher figure than at most other colleges). What's more, for many years the academic results achieved by Girton Music students have been consistently far above the university average for many years. Their distinctions include the following:

  • In 2016 Girton students gained starred Firsts in both second- and third-year Tripos examinations; in fact, approximately half of the Music students were awarded either starred or 'ordinary' Firsts, and no-one received a class mark lower than an Upper Second.

• In 2014 a Girton student came top of the final-year Tripos examinations, gaining a starred First and the main University prize for Music.

• In 2013 a Girton student came top of the second-year Tripos examinations, gaining the main University prize for Music.

• In 2012 Girton achieved Firsts in each year of the Music course, with no class mark lower than a 2:1. Girton was the first college ever to achieve this feat, back in 2002.

• Also in 2012, Girton students gained the highest marks in both the first-year and second-year Tripos examinations.

• In 2009 a Girton student gained the highest ever mark in his Finals Recital, and another Girton student gained the highest ever mark in Practical Musicianship;

• In 2008 a Girton student gained the highest ever mark in the Mus.B. examination;

• In 2006 Girton students came top in both the M.Phil. in Musicology and the M.Phil. in Composition;

• In 2005 a Girton student achieved the highest ever First in Music. This achievement has still not been bettered.

Over the last ten years, Girton has consistently been among the top two or three colleges in the University for Music.

Girton College is keen to attract a wide range of applicants for Music. Potential students should have a serious interest in studying music within an environment that is primarily academic; however, the profile of individual students admitted to read the subject varies greatly. We have no preference for arts subjects over science subjects (or, indeed, vice versa) at AS or A2 levels; likewise, Girton has no particular views on gap years for Music students – applicants may choose to take a year out or not at their own discretion. Although the study of a foreign language (in particular, French, German or Italian) can be helpful to Music students, it is certainly not obligatory.

Most applicants will have facility on one or more instruments, but it is not expected that they will be specialist performers. Some undergraduates focus on composition, while others may be primarily interested in music history or analysis. It is one of the strengths of the Music Tripos that students can navigate a course through their Cambridge studies that reflects their personal interests. That said, it is a course that is best suited to well-organised students with a strong sense of self-motivation.

At Girton we are looking for potential as much as for past achievement. Clearly, excellent results in public examinations (as well as supportive references) will be viewed positively. However, successful candidates come from extremely different backgrounds and present themselves at interview with very different levels of attainment, although all will be expected to meet Girton's standard offer in the qualification system under which they are studying. Some candidates who have gone on to achieve first-class degree results showed very limited skills in keyboard harmony at the time of admission. Similarly, many of those who ended up at the top of their class-list arrived at interview with only a rudimentary knowledge of traditional Western harmony. This need not be a cause for concern, as harmony and counterpoint can be taught from scratch to those who have not covered the ground in their sixth-form work.

For more details about how Girton selects Music students see the side-bar to the right, and the Music Admissions page.

Undergraduate information

As well as offering highly motivating tuition, Girton provides an exceptionally rich environment for its Music students. No fewer than four senior members, including several figures of international reputation, contribute to its dynamic musical life. Music students are highly valued members of the College community: they are provided with a piano in their room free of charge for all three years of their undergraduate career, and the rooms assigned to them are among the best in the University. Though not required to perform as part of their degree, they often play a leading role in the practical music-making of the College (detailed elsewhere) and, as well as being eligible for the music awards available to all students, those reading Music are entitled to generous financial support towards music lessons.

In common with other colleges in the University, Girton offers both Choral Scholarships and Organ Scholarships.

Graduate information

Research and postgraduate students are admitted to the University by the Board of Graduate Studies and the individual faculties and departments. If you would like to pursue graduate work, you must therefore apply centrally, and not to the College. However, you must be admitted to a college to be able to study at the University; to ensure that this is Girton, you need to indicate this on your application form.

Career Destinations

Girton musicians go on to a wide variety of careers. Many pursue careers outside music, and those who continue with music often take very different paths. Recent graduates have become internationally acclaimed soloists, conductors, musicologists, composers, teachers, investment bankers, lawyers, and much else besides. In fact, the Cambridge music degree is a gateway to all sorts of careers; the rigorous training afforded by the degree is recognised by the University Careers Service as one of the most useful in terms of subsequent employment.


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