Course Location
Sydney On-Campus
2018 Graduate Certificate Screen: Music
Postgraduate (AQF Level 8)
Delivery Mode
32 weeks / 2 semesters. Semester starts week commencing February 267, 2018
Course Fee
Compulsory on campus Orientation week commencing Monday February 19, 2016. Further details will be provided post-enrolment.
Attendance Pattern
Two evenings per week for 24 weeks plus 14 Saturdays per year (see Indicative Timetable for more details)


Story is at the heart of creative and screen business practice. Invest in your Graduate Certificate to contribute to shaping our culture through storytelling.

Discover your voice as a storyteller by applying your composition skills towards scoring music for the screen. Deepen your professional knowledge, skills and practices in screen music.
In the context of a conceptual and theoretical framework, this practice-based course provides you with experience in composition of music for the screen. While investigating the art and craft of screen composition through practice you will:

  • gain an insight into how music works in screen narratives;
  • analyse and evaluate how music affects an audience, how composers work with other key personnel, and how scores are organised;
  • investigate theories, techniques and technologies of screen music; and
  • apply your musical ability to the development of screen-based productions.
An essential component of this course is cross-disciplinary collaboration. You will explore the different perspectives of cinematic storytelling and engage in collaborative exercises to build your network.


The Graduate Certificate Screen: Music is a part-time postgraduate course, which is delivered across two semesters, on evenings and/or weekends, at the AFTRS campus. The course is structured so that you can maintain your employment while you gain your qualification.


This course will appeal to:
  • emerging screen composers who want to elevate their practice;
  • composers or musicians who are committed to acquiring the knowledge and skills of screen music (composers for other formats, music production and recording, music education songwriting, web design and development); and
  • higher education graduates looking for the next step in their career path.

For the musician the study of music never ends. Devised by working film composers, the AFTRS Graduate Certificate Screen: Music, offers you a unique opportunity to engage with the very specific art of music for the screen. You will develop your score writing through analysis of the repertoire, technical training, coursework on current work practices, and constant composition; while your skills in working ‘to a brief’ will be tested in collaborative exercises with other students. By the end of the year you will have a very strong foundation from which to explore your film music ambitions.

AFTRS has a long and successful history of postgraduate study. It is consistently rated as one of the top 15 film schools in the world by industry publication The Hollywood Reporter, the only Australian education institution on this list. AFTRS works closely with industry to ensure its courses are relevant and future-focused. Our graduates are sought after by industry across the country and around the world and have won and been nominated for a slate of Academy, Golden Globe, Emmy, BAFTA and AACTA awards.

FEE HELP APPROVED For details of help to pay for your fees, please refer to the Study Assist website.

Contact our Student Centre or call 1300 131 461 or (02) 9805 6444 with any questions or to learn more about your study options. You can also contact the Indigenous Unit. Change in circumstances may impact upon the accuracy or currency of information. While AFTRS takes all due care to ensure that the information is accurate, it reserves the right to vary any information described here without notice. Last updated October 16, 2017



Semester 1

Screen Music 1:
21 evening classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-9pm over the semester plus 4 x Saturdays, 9.30am to 5.30pm

Collaborative Practice 1:
4 Saturdays per semester from 9.30 to 5.30pm.
Currently scheduled on March 3, April 7, April 28 and May 26, 2018 from 9.30am to 5.30pm

Semester 2

Screen Music 2:
23 evening classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-9pm over the semester plus 3 x Saturdays, 9.30am to 5.30pm

Collaborative Practice 2:
4 Saturdays per semester (dates to be confirmed) from 9.30am to 5.30pm.

Disclaimer: Please note this indicative timetable is subject to change.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Produce an effective and engaging music score for a short screen narrative.
  2. Differentiate the functions and conventions of music for various forms of narrative and analyse how music achieves its effects.
  3. Demonstrate a thorough grounding in selected music technologies and methodologies and apply to own work.
  4. Demonstrate teamwork skills in the collaborative process of creating screen content.
  5. Apply problem-solving techniques in managing the music workflows.

Access to AFTRS equipment and facilities is determined by the specific requirements of the course learning outcomes.

Admission Requirements

Places in this course are competitive and are based on merit selection.

Candidates are required to submit the following:

1. Prerequisites

Applicants to postgraduate programs are required to hold a relevant undergraduate degree at bachelor level, or to have completed equivalent work experience and/or training.

The typical duration of a bachelor degree is 3-4 years, and candidates applying by degree equivalence are required to demonstrate they have achieved corresponding learning outcomes by completing a similar volume of relevant work experience and/or training. If you wish to apply for admission to a postgraduate program by degree equivalence, please contact the Student Centre.

You should have a basic understanding of a digital audio work station such as Protools, Cubase, Logic or Digital Performer.

2. Application Task​s

2.1 Personal Statement

We are looking for a sense of you as a unique individual and how your distinctive and significant experiences, background, values and creative influences have shaped who you are and what you want to say as a musical storyteller. You can submit your statement in one of the following ways: ​
  • in written form of no more than 300 words (submit as PDF file); or

  • audio-visual form of no more than 2 minutes.

2.2 Your Musical Response to a Scene

Music is the medium on which the emotional message of the narrative is carried. View the clip provided via this link and provide a clear musical response that conveys the emotional centre of the scene (submit as media file).

2.3 Creative Work

Submit your creative work of up to 15 minutes. It can be either screen-based work or a musical work that demonstrates your talent and its potential for the screen.

3. Uploading your Documents and Media File

You will be able to upload your written documents and media file/s as part of the application process. Ensure you conform to the required file type and size specified as follows:

  • Written documents can be uploaded to the application portal and have a maximum of 10MB in size;
  • Media files under 50MB can be uploaded to the application portal.
When you are uploading your application in the AFTRS portal you will be able to upload PDF documents and some media files directly into the portal. Any media files larger than 50MB must be uploaded as follows:
  • Creative work must be uploaded to a dedicated, secure AFTRS Dropbox folder online. A hyperlink will be provided to you in an email when you complete the online application process.
  • Once you have uploaded your creative work to the Dropbox folder it will automatically be transferred into our database leaving the Dropbox empty. Do not upload the files again. Student Centre staff check all applications and will contact you if there are any files missing.

Go to this link if you need information on how to compress a media file.

4. Resume and Educational Qualifications

Provide a one-page list of your achievements, educational qualifications and work experience.

You must also provide a certified copy​ of your highest education level as detailed on the How and When to Apply​ page on the AFTRS website.

Use the link provided for information on how to certify documents.

5. Proof of Residency

Ensure you submit a certified copy​ of your birth certificate or passport as detailed on the How and When to Apply​ page on the AFTRS website. Use the link provided for information on how to certify documents.

Selection Criteria

Places in this course are competitive and are based on merit selection. The selection criteria are:
  • Evidence of a creative voice.

  • Evidence of musical storytelling ability for screen.

  • Demonstrated ability to use music to convey emotional dynamics.


Subject 1: Screen Music 1

​Three key topics will be taught in this semester - Screen Music Practice, Composition Workshop and Music Technologies.

​Subject 2: Collaborative Practice 1

​Through a series of practical exercises you will examine cinematic storytelling and related practices through the lens of other disciplines; evaluate and reflect upon your own practice within screen arts; and apply your understanding of interdisciplinary collaborative work practices.

​Subject 3: Screen Music 2

Topics explored in Semester 1 - Screen Music Practice, Composition Workshop and Music Technologies - will be investigated in greater depth with a focus on building a portfolio and consolidating knowledge of current industry standards and practice.

​Subject 4: Collaborative Practice 2

Developing your work in Semester 1, you will continue to demonstrate your capacity to create relationships between content, form and audiences in this interdisciplinary context.


The Australian Film Television and Radio School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.