The revised Music Tripos seek to “improve the student experience by clarifying the structure of Part IA, including more options and flexibility, and guarding against unreasonable student workload.”Cajeo Zhang / Unsplash

The General Board of the Faculties, acting on the recommendations by the Faculty Board of Music, has approved a revised Music Tripos to take effect from 1 October 2021. 

The changes address issues raised by students and staff of the Faculty published in the Teaching and Learning Review of 2016 and seek to “improve the student experience by clarifying the structure of Part IA, including more options and flexibility, and guarding against unreasonable student workload.” 

Professor Katharine Ellis, Chair of the Faculty Board of Music, commented that the new Music Tripos “stems from over three years of consultation with students and colleagues within the Faculty and across the Collegiate University.” She described the result as “a more flexible and diverse degree that preserves core skills and extends into new areas.”

Key changes will include revisions to the eligibility criteria for Part IB, with students who obtained Honours in another degree able to qualify for transfer to the second-year course.  

While course content will remain the same, with a two-year Part I and a one-year Part II, core papers will be provided alongside optional ones for Parts IA and IB, following recommendations published in the Teaching and Learning Review

In 2016, the Review Committee noted that “the wide range of subjects covered by the relatively small Faculty of Music in a complex, diverse and expanding field” stretched existing resources. It suggested that the Faculty “consider streamlining their undergraduate provision by reducing the number of papers offered, rather than aiming for anything close to full coverage of the subject.”


Mountain View

The winners of tripos hopping

Next academic year’s revisions will allow more papers to be assessed in two forms from a list of: “an examination; a paper for completion within a specified period; a coursework portfolio; an extended essay or project; a video submission; a recital; or practical tests.” This includes the two new forms of assessments of video submissions and projects. 

Some unseen essay-based examinations will also be substituted by timed open-book examinations. 

These revisions “take account of the new directions in which Music is going but protect the traditional strengths of the Cambridge course”, and will apply to students enrolled starting from 2021, taking examinations for Part IA in 2022, Part IB in 2023 and Part II in 2024.

Ellis told Varsity that the Faculty hopes to evaluate the revisions by monitoring statistics on undergraduate applications, and on the uptake of new and adapted courses. Internal reviews including Staff-Student Committee feedback and regular internal surveys will also be conducted.

She further stated that new staff in music and science, and in popular music, have been appointed. They will begin in Michaelmas 2021 and Lent 2022 respectively. The Faculty hopes to further expand their staffing in composition in line with their 75th anniversary in 2022.