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MFA Professional Composition and Orchestration

You will acquire industry-ready professional skills, both creative and technical. The course will sharpen your powers of analysis and provide you with a much deeper and richer insight into both your own music and the work of others.

The MFA Professional Composition and Orchestration is in partnership with ThinkSpace Education and has been developed in close consultation with the industry to ensure you are learning the skills the industry requires.

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Entry Requirements

An honours degree at 2:2 or higher in a related discipline

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Student view

Jeton Murtishi
Composer for film, theatre and multimedia
Having researched all other post-graduate degree programs available to me, not a single option addressed the actual nuts and bolts of music composing as this program did.
Amory Leader
Composer for film and television

The ThinkSpace MFA is an inspirational and engaging environment for studying the craft of film scoring and I would recommend it to any composer who simply want to be better at their job, whatever their experience level.

Course content

The MFA Professional Composition and Orchestration is a course run by the University of Chichester and ThinkSpace Education. 

We train you for the industry of the future.

This is a course that combines advanced training in scoring and orchestration for film, games and other media with focus on both live and sampled orchestration. Course highlights include a recording session with a 50-piece professional film orchestra, recording sessions throughout the course with live musicians and a choice of inspiring real-world projects from film, television, games, animation and commercials. 

Visit the ThinkSpace website

A master’s degree from the University of Chichester & ThinkSpace Education is a prestigious qualification and a major personal achievement.

It is validation of your ability as a composer and an internationally recognized qualification that establishes both your technical and creative ability.

All of the materials for PCO can be accessed through our online student campus.

Here you can download all of the course materials to your computer, module by module (yes, ThinkSpace lets you keep all of the tuition content, unlike many other online music courses/colleges).

You can also submit assignments to your tutors for marking and get access to unlimited support from our team of knowledgeable and experienced professional composers via the support ticket system.

PCO also boasts over 80 hours of audio and video interviews with top composers, producers and orchestrators, featuring composers such as:

  • Nick Hooper
  • David Arnold
  • George Fenton
  • Keith and Matthew Strachan
  • Tommy Tallarico
  • Michael Nyman

Just as important are the interviews with producers and directors who tell you exactly what they are looking for and what they expect from the composers they work with.

For more information and details on how to apply please visit:  or email Tim Johnson:

Fees for 2016

UK: £13,750.00 - You can pay in one go, or pay a deposit of £1,000, then 24 monthly installments of £535.00.

US: $20,100.00 - You can pay in one go, or pay a deposit of $1,650, then 24 monthly installments of $770.00.

EU: €17,995.00 - You can pay in one go, or pay a deposit of €1,400, then 24 monthly installments of €695.00.

Orchestral Recording Session:  UK £1,650    US: $2,500     EU:€2,265  -  Please note that this is an estimated price as it may change year on year



Indicative modules

Modules and themes you may study include:

  • Writing in styles
  • Research and critical reflection
  • Writing to a brief
  • Writing to picture
  • Scoring drama
  • Elective
  • Writing for string and woodwind
  • Session preparation 
  • Writing for brass, harp and percussion
  • Scoring for orchestra 
  • Orchestration in practice
  • Major project 
  • Live orchestra sessions 

For more information, please visit ThinkSpace website

Teaching and assessment

Anyone hoping to enter the professional industry for the first time, or to uplift their career trajectory, needs careful guidance from people with knowledge of crucial developments, often completely invisible to those on the outside.

Every one of our tutors works in the industry, many at the cutting edge of innovation, working on major international productions in film, games and television.

In this creative and supportive environment, you have a unique opportunity to develop your own musical voice, a distinctive sound that can be key to unlocking your full potential.

  • Personal 1-to-1 tuition from top professional composers.
  • Work on over 30 projects. The workload is challenging but it’s only through hard work that you will truly reach the next level.
  • Detailed feedback from a range of tutors, online workshops and tutorial groups, forum discussions and exclusive webinars.
  • Same training system we use in house to train our assistants.
  • Telephone and direct email support

When you become a PCO student, our team of composers are here to support you through all stages of your career.

We can offer help looking over contracts, advising on finding work and setting rates, assisting new purchases (ThinkSpace students are also eligible for student discounts on many pieces of music software and samples), assisting with technical problems & studio setup, and pretty much anything else you can think of!

Time requirements

In the UK an MFA involves 240 academic credits and each credit represents a notional 10 hours of work. That comes to pretty close to a full-time working week for a year.

For Professional Composition & Orchestration there are 30 projects plus the Major Project at the end of the course.

Practice based creative degrees are notoriously difficult to quantify in terms of how long they take to complete. To a large extent it depends on how fast you write music. Some students write 5 minutes of music a day while others write 5 minutes a week. If you work reasonably productively, i.e. 2-3 minutes a day, which is probably average in the professional working industry, you would complete the work in much less time.

The headline figure of 10 hours per credit includes absolutely everything – time spent watching videos, reading, and discussions with tutors and support staff. It also depends on how widely you choose to read around the subject, the depth of your research, the number of additional films you choose to watch and the amount of private composition you do to support your formal projects.

A well organized person, working productively, might be able to complete the course in two or three days a week, whereas another working slower might take 5 days a week. Assume therefore that a full time course lies somewhere between 2 and 5 days a week depending on your work rate.

For more information, please visit the ThinkSpace website

Additional Costs

Include Additional Costs: 

Additional Costs