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Music Industries with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry. Switch to 2022/23 Entry

This degree will put you at the heart of music in the UK, with coursework designed to equip you with the skills, knowledge, and experience, not just to work in, but to shape the music industries. Music is one of the UK’s biggest cultural exports. It’s worth an estimated £5.2bn to the UK economy, and sustains almost 191,000 jobs....

  • Level Foundation
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School Birmingham School of Media
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

This degree will put you at the heart of music in the UK, with coursework designed to equip you with the skills, knowledge, and experience, not just to work in, but to shape the music industries.

Music is one of the UK’s biggest cultural exports. It’s worth an estimated £5.2bn to the UK economy, and sustains almost 191,000 jobs.

The programme is tailor made for anyone seeking to develop a career in music, or with an interest in music as relating to wider creative and cultural industries.

Studying in our industry-standard media centre in the heart of Birmingham, you’ll develop skills through a combination of hands-on learning, supported by critical investigation into the creative cultures, fans, and practices that make the UK music industries world-leading. You will have the opportunity to apply these skills and knowledge through work placements with key organisations within the UK music industries.

About foundation courses

After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree programmes within Birmingham School of Media.

Why study a degree with a foundation year?

Foundation years are a great option if you have the talent, ambition and potential to thrive at Birmingham City University, but do not meet the entry requirements for your preferred course. It’s ideal if:

  • You want the flexibility of a year’s study on a more general course to find out the best degree choice for you.
  • You have changed your mind about your career since you chose your A-levels or BTECs and need to improve your skills in a different subject area.
  • You would like extra time and support to help you build your knowledge, skills and confidence before starting a full degree.
This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

You will develop and work on real-world music industries projects with clients, enabling you to add professional jobs to your portfolio. Our learning and teaching is informed by the changing demands of a vibrant and dynamic music industries, to make sure that you are industry ready.

If you want to take an in-depth look at promotion, music PR and music media, running a record label or producing music videos and websites, then this is the ideal course for you. It will help you to position yourself at the forefront of creating and developing innovative ideas, and exploring niche markets within the music industry.

While studying with us, you’ll have the opportunity to set up a record label, promote artists or organise a music event for a paying audience. You will develop practical business know how, applying your skills to a creative music enterprise project, as well as exploring music entrepreneurship, music online, music promotion and PR, music video, and television and music programming.

In your final year of study you will complete a final major project, drawing together the strands of knowledge, skills, and experience that you gained during your time with us.

Whilst I was studying, I carried out placements in music industry corporations such as Kerrang!, IFPI and BPI. I also set up my own promotions company on the side to gain extra experience before entering into the real world. Work placements and networking is extremely important in this industry and led me to gaining my first full time job in the Content Protection team at BPI right after I finished my studies. I’ve now worked at BPI for two years.

2015 School of Media graduate

Why Choose Us?

UK Music logo

  • As a BA (Hons) Music Industries student you will benefit from our membership of UK Music’s Music Academic Partnership.
  • You will be taught by staff with extensive experience of both industry and education. You will also have access to a well-established research culture based around music industries and popular music. The Popular Music Studies research group within the School of Media promotes new and innovative approaches to the study of popular music that are relevant to academics and practitioners, as well as anyone interested in popular music.
  • We provide specialised, sophisticated equipment for every area in our £62 million home, The Parkside Building, including six radio studios, four TV studios, one of the largest free-standing green screens in Europe, editing suites, music production studios, a new media suite, a newsroom and photography studios (including a half and a full infinity cove).
  • You will have the opportunity to expand your professional network through a range of relevant field trips and industry conferences. In recent years our students have attended We Are Robots in London, Liverpool Sound City, and Off the Record Manchester.
  • You will have the opportunity to gain real-world experience and develop industry contacts and experience through work placements and collaborative projects with our industry partners in Birmingham’s expanding music sector.
  • Keychange logoThe BA (Hons) Music Industries course is really proud to be a signatory of Keychange, an international gender equality movement advocating for equal representation in the music industries. Our course is committed to 50% women and gender minorities in our student cohort, guest speakers, industry mentors and course content.

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Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area in our course talks.

Next Open Days: Autumn 2022

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Essential Requirements

80 UCAS points

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish National 5
  • English Language at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
IELTS 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • CDD / 80 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.
AS and AS VCE Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 80 pts
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3.
  • Arts, Media and Publishing subjects preferred but other subjects also considered
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
MMP
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)
  • Pass
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 pts
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 11 points or above from two Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications to obtain 80 pts
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
International Baccalaureate Diploma
  • Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers) Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 80 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma MMP
Scottish Advanced Higher
  • Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades DDD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of DD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of DD in two Highers).
T-Levels Pass overall (C or above on the core)
UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology Merit overall
UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts Merit overall
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS

6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • TBC

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Production costs (optional)

For some production work you way mish to hire venues, equipment or performers which will have associated professional fees.

Personal stationery and study materials (optional)

For this course it would be useful to have an SD card, a USB stick (minimum 16GB) and external hard drive (minimum 40gb), as well as over the ear headphones. Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £30 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Guidance for UK students

UCAS

UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Portfolio Guidance

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

Course in Depth

Foundation year

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Year one

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Year two

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year three

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Download course specification

Download now

This pathway is focused on music enterprise and entrepreneurship, encouraging you to be creative and innovative.

While developing skills to enable you to work in a number of areas of the music industries, the focus on entrepreneurship reflects the current industries landscape where the music industries is looking towards Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to provide niche products and services to the wider music industries.

Across each of the undergraduate degree routes there is an equal emphasis on production, theory and professional studies.

Classroom activities and projects

During your studies you will have opportunities to undertake a range of learning activities that include producing music media content and writing reports and essays that are informed by research. These include such activities as setting up a record label, putting on live music events, developing and delivering a music industries conference. Working collaboratively with local and international industry and academic partners. Conducting academic and industry facing research into the contemporary music industries and their cultures. 

Birmingham School of Media also has an established and inclusive research culture that promotes dialogue and collaboration between staff and students. The Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) in the School of Media welcomes visiting researchers from across the world and holds regular research seminars which mix presentations from staff, PG students and speakers from a range of our collaborative partnerships. BCMCR welcomes all students to research seminars, which are free to attend.


Trips and visits

Over the course of your studies you will have the opportunity to attend a range of music industries conferences and events. In recent years music industries students have had the chance to attend Liverpool Sound City – one of the UK’s biggest music industries professional conferences – We Are Robots – a conference and festival based in London’s Brick Lane which discusses and explores the increasing influence of digital technologies on music, and Off the Record – a multi-venue live music event and conference in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

Each year we offer the George Jackson Travel Bursary to an outstanding graduate from across our courses that puts forward an interesting proposal to travel. Past winners include Laura Stubbs, a graduate with a passion for Eastern European puppetry, film-making and animation, who visited the Czech Republic to help gain an understanding of the surroundings that have influenced some of the country's greatest animators.

Employability

Enhancing your employability skills

DHLE data indicates that the average rate for those studying Music Industries in the Birmingham School of Media in employment or further study was 90% between 2011/12 and 2015/16.

Previous students have gone on to a number of roles within the music industry including work with music collection agencies, industry support bodies, live music promoters, record labels, and within music journalism and music media broadcasting. 

Organisations include: NEC group, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Group, Nuclear Blast Records, Punch Records, Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham Symphony Hall, O2 Arena, Birmingham International Jazz festival, Shambala Festival, Supersonic Festival, Swingamajig, British Phonograph Industry, Sony Music, PPL PRS Ltd, Radio 1, Radio 1 Xtra.

As well as gaining course-specific skills, you could also gain broader tools through our Graduate+ programme, which will help enhance your employment options by helping with careers development, employability activities, volunteering and part-time work experience.

Allied with these course-specific experiences, you will also have access to a range of support staff and services from the University’s Careers Service, who can help with:

  • Reviewing CVs, covering letters and application forms
  • Career planning and decision making
  • Preparing for interviews and assessment centres
  • Developing portfolios
  • Networking with employers
  • Advice about self-employment and entrepreneurship

Links to industry

UK Music logoAs a BA (Hons) Music Industries student you will benefit from our membership of UK Music’s Music Academic Partnership. As one of only 17 institutions nationally, our MAP status is designed to maximise the employability of students; and future-proof the music industry by ensuring new entrants have the right mix of experience and skills most needed. As a MAP member, our curriculum is shaped and informed by the needs and wants of the industry itself, to ensure that you are developing the right skills, knowledge, and experience for a career in music.Through our membership, you will gain access to masterclasses from leading industry professionals, opportunities to get involved in industry research, networking and information events and input and support into your future career.

Birmingham Music Coalition

We play a key role within the Birmingham Music Coalition (BMC), a music industries lobbying group made up of, and linked to, a number of influential local, regional and national music industries organisations. We also have an industry advisory panel whose membership includes international music industries professionals from Warner Music UK and Kobalt Music Group. They advise and inform us of current music industries developments and practices, to ensure our students are developing the skills, knowledge and experiences that are sought by industry employers.

Placements

Placements and work-experience are a core part of BA (Hons) Music Industries, and the ethos of the Birmingham School of Media more broadly. As a student on the course you will be required to source and undertake relevant placements (supported and guided by our tutors and professional networks), and to draw upon these experiences in the work that you are producing within your taught modules.

In recent years our students have secured work placements with a range of key music industries organisations including:

  • Sony Music Group
  • Universal Music Group
  • Warner Music UK
  • O2 Academy
  • BPI
  • Ticketmaster
  • Association of Independent Festivals
  • NEC

As well as innovative and exciting local businesses such as:

  • Punch Records
  • Supersonic Festival
  • Birmingham International Jazz
  • Blues Festival
  • Birmingham Music Archive
  • Home of Metal

More about our placement opportunities

Our Graduates

Tanyel Gumushan- Music Industries graduate

Tanyel Gumushan, graduated in 2018

Live Music Adviser, PPL PRS Ltd and winner of the UK Music Outstanding Graduate of the Year Award 2019


"Since graduating I’ve continued my freelance writing and have been contributing to Clash and tmrw magazine, where I secured cover interviews/photo shoots with Niall Horan and Little Mix whist working as Music Editor.  

I now work at PPL PRS Ltd as a Live Music Adviser, ensuring venues are correctly licensed. This involves collecting royalties for events that they host by conducting research, collecting setlists, and cracking down on secondary ticketing by auditing online. Though I work full-time I still make time to freelance for the PR team at Universal Music and create press releases and biographies for new artists. A recent example is Ramz, whose single topped the Spotify new release charts off the back of the campaign.”


Stephanie Evans- Music Industries employability tab

Stephanie Evans, graduated in 2019

Marketing Intern at Music For Nations, Sony Music UK


"My role involves working with other departments within the label to keep up-to-date on current signings and releases within music. I also help with compiling digital assets and digital marketing initiatives, and suggesting creative content and ideas for artist campaigns, as well as general administrative tasks. I love getting to be involved with alternative music, which was already my passion, and being part of the creative team that works closely with artists I love. My degree gave me so much experience in how the media industry works and taught me how to approach and interact with media professionals, which was a huge benefit when looking for work post-graduation."

Find out more about Stephanie's role

International

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Facilities & Staff

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses.

With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

State-of-the-art facilities

You will learn in our state-of-the-art facilities - including the £62m fully-digital Media Centre - located on the City Centre Campus. You will enjoy access to extensive studio and workshop space including four TV studios, six radio studios and broadcast-standard edit suites, as well as cutting-edge equipment and software.

Facilities include the largest TV floor of any university in the UK, a ‘green screen’ and the MILO motion control camera - we are one of just two universities in Europe to offer MILO technology.

Our staff

Ellie Tomsett

Lecturer – Course Director for Foundation in School of Media

Ellie is a lecturer in media and course director for the School of Media's Foundation Programme. Before joining BCU Ellie worked in Higher Education for four years. Ellie taught film studies and screenwriting students at Sheffield Hallam University and contextual studies to filmmakers, animators and photographers at Manchester School of Art....

More about Ellie

Robin Kay

Lecturer

Robin is a Lecturer in Media and Communication with a New Media specialism. He has a background within the music industry having worked for several notable record labels and industry organisations including: Ministry of Sound Recordings, Defected Records, Sanctuary Records and PRS. He has extensive experience within education and teaches creative...

More about Robin

Dave Harte

Deputy Head of School and Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies

Dave Harte is Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies. He researches the emerging trend of local community ‘hyperlocal’ news websites and has published widely on the subject. Within the School of Media he leads on teaching and learning initiatives and teaches modules on Journalism Studies, Social Media, and Alternative and Community...

More about Dave

Dr Sarah Wood

Head of Birmingham Institute of Media and English

Sarah Wood holds degrees from JMU, the University of Liverpool, and Birmingham City University, where she gained her PhD. Her research interests are in feminism and science fiction. She has an article on Octavia Butler forthcoming in FEMSPEC and is working on further studies of Butler as well as of Nalo Hopkinson and slave narrative.

More about Sarah

Ross Hawkes

Ross leads the journalism pathway. He was previously a sports writer, sub-editor, page designer, news reporter, web editor, features writer and editor, before leading Trinity Mirror's digital programme in the Midlands. He also founded and currently runs award-winning hyperlocal website, LichfieldLive, which has been used an example of...

More about Ross

Hilary Weston Jones

Lecturer Professional and Academic Development

Hilary spent 24 years working as a Production Manager in broadcast television. Eight of these years were spent at the BBC in Birmingham. Her credits include working on documentaries (Panorama, Dispatches), magazine series (Countryfile), reality (Big Brother), children’s (Dog and Duck), ob doc series (Trawlermen), as well as drama, cookery and make...

More about Hilary