Careers and employability

Study Music at Manchester and you will receive excellent training for a host of careers, both within and outside of the music sector.

What you'll take away from Manchester

Our Music graduates tell us that our varied course units, supportive tutors, performance opportunities, stimulating environment and strong community were all crucial in developing the skills and experiences needed for their careers.

Feedback from companies such as RBS shows that employers particularly value Manchester’s Music graduates for their ability to think quickly and to connect with a wide range of people.

By studying Music at Manchester, your creativity and training will be nurtured in a friendly department with performance at its heart, at a research-intensive university with an award-winning Careers Service, and in a city with the creative industries at the heart of its vision for the 21st century.

Be creative

Music is an inherently multi-faceted degree that allows you to develop the full range of employability skills in both assessed work and extra-curricular participation. You'll acquire vital employability skills spanning:

Did you know?

Manchester is in the top five UK universities for graduate employability.

QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020
  • analysis and interpretation
  • reasoning and logic
  • creative problem solving
  • critique and reflection
  • attention to detail
  • teamwork and leadership
  • creativity and innovation
  • self-motivation and time management
  • innovative approaches to research methodologies
  • presentation of complex ideas.

In a fast-paced and changing labour-market - with increasing automation and an emphasis on flexibility and portfolio working - the training, skills and experiences gained in music and the performing arts will provide a superb foundation for you to pursue a whole host of careers where creativity in all its forms is of central importance. In the words of Trumpet virtuoso Allison Balsom, a degree in music "covers every area".  

What you could do after graduation

Within music

Our graduates include some of the country's leading new performers, composers, conductors, music scholars and music teachers.

For this reason, Manchester is often chosen as a destination by excellent performers who wish to gain an academic foundation in music before undertaking postgraduate studies at a conservatoire.

The list of professional ensembles Manchester graduates work with includes:

  • symphony orchestras (the Hallé, the BBC Orchestras, Manchester Camerata, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, CBSO and the orchestras of Bournemouth, Ulster, Reykjavik and Tucson);
  • opera companies (Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Glyndebourne, Carl Rosa Opera);
  • early music groups (Orchestra of the Renaissance, Gabrieli Ensemble, Monteverdi Choir, Rose Consort of Viols, English Baroque Soloists);
  • choirs (BBC and Swingle Singers);
  • string quartets (Brodsky, Sorrel, Bingham, Bridge, Archinto, Rivoli);
  • brass bands, jazz bands and popular music groups. 

Other industries

A degree in Music doesn't limit you to a career in music by any means. Employers know that Music graduates are dedicated, creative, versatile, excellent team members, natural leaders, highly organised, self-motivated and equipped with exceptional powers of concentration.

In addition, The University of Manchester is the most targeted university in the UK for top graduate employers, according to High Fliers Research.

Some of our Music graduates go into sectors such as:

  • accountancy
  • advertising
  • armed services
  • banking and finance
  • civil service
  • computing
  • healthcare
  • human resources
  • journalism
  • law
  • librarianship
  • medicine
  • publishing
  • senior administration and management
  • social work.

What our graduates are doing now

You can read profiles of some of our previous students to find out how their degree helped them into their current jobs. Find out more on the Graduate profiles page.

You can also read updates about some of the notable things that our graduates are doing on our News page.

How we can help you into your perfect career

You will have various opportunities to gain professional and practical experience as part of your course.

Work placements

You can apply to spend a year gaining valuable workplace experience on a work placement as part of most undergraduate courses at the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures.

Music Society

The Manchester University Music Society (MUMS) is one of the most active student-run music societies in the country, with over 700 members, offering a huge range of musical and work experience opportunities.

"Studying Music at Manchester enabled me to differentiate myself from the competition through the many opportunities to broaden my musical knowledge."

Emily Mitchell / Music Supervisor, PlayNetwork (MusB Music, 2013)

MUMS members have had their high standard of music making publicly recognised throughout the world.

Find out more on the Music Society page.

Go beyond your subject

Many employers seek graduates who have skills in multiple fields of expertise to demonstrate their adaptability and resourcefulness.

Our Flexible Honours option may allow you to study another subject within arts, languages and cultures as a minor in addition to your major within Music.

Alternatively, you could study selected course units from other courses around the University through the University College for Interdisciplinary Learning.

University-wide careers and employability initiatives

You will be able to access a rich variety of volunteering opportunities that help students build transferable skills and form part of the University's Stellify initiative.

In addition, Manchester's Careers Service is a great starting point for discovering the wide range of opportunities and activities available across the University and beyond to help you develop your employability and transferable skills alongside your studies, including:

  • internships and other forms of work experience;
  • work experience bursaries;
  • part-time, casual and holiday work;
  • overseas opportunities, for example, our Global Graduates scheme;
  • networking events, talks and workshops;
  • mentoring.

Students and new graduates have access to a full range of in-person and online help, including careers guidance and CV and applications support.