Popular Music - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
W342
Attendance:
Full Time (3 years)
Starting:
September 2020
Campus:
South and City College Birmingham

Please note

This course and the information on this page is indicative based on the 2019/20 academic year. The final details for this course starting in 2020/21 may be subject to change and will be confirmed in June 2019.

The Popular Music degree course provides the training and skills necessary for a wide range of careers within the music industry. 

You will develop understanding of the global commercial music sector, study musical output and techniques, and improve your creativity, professionalism and practical musicianship to a level needed for graduate employment. 

This full three-year Honours degree develops both the practical and transferable skills required to make you industry-ready, and the contextual understanding and academic rigour inherent in high-level study. 

Subject to Updates

As part of BCU’s commitment to providing excellent student experience, the content and structure of this course is being refreshed to ensure that it continues to meet the highest educational standards. This page will be updated with the revised course documentation by 30 June 2019.

What's covered in the course?

Awarded by Birmingham City University, this is a high level course with experienced staff and excellent resources. With 3 recording studios, 7 rehearsal rooms, 2 sequencing suites and a 600-capacity working venue on site, you will enjoy the exciting, creative opportunities and supportive environment. 

Your principal study can be in performance, music technology, live sound or composition. The course takes a holistic approach to musical study, with every student developing a broad range of skillsets required to become a successful music professional. Assessments are varied and innovative, and often modelled on real industry practice. 

You will study the theory, wider contexts and contemporary issues surrounding the global music industry and there will be regular visits from industry experts and artists. You will also develop the musical and creative skills required by a performer, composer or producer, learn how to work well in teams and demonstrate leadership, organisation and decision-making skills. This course will help you to develop a profile suitable for an artist looking for employment within the music industry, and to develop a clear conceptual understanding of connected issues and narratives, researching deeply into current musicology and practice.

Why Choose Us?

  • The main areas of the course – Performance, Production, Live Sound and Composition – reflect the reality and scope of the commercial music industry in which you can aim for a variety of roles.
  • South and City College Birmingham’s advanced facilities, including a 440- seat auditorium, as well as specialist recording studios and music technology suites, put you in a professional working environment from day one.
  • You get the chance to work with current music industry professionals and possibly undertake a relevant commercial placement.
  • Developing your creative, practical and professional skills, the course shows you how products such as performances, tours, CDs and radio shows are put together.
  • The college has Customer Service Excellence status, and is one of only a handful of training providers to achieve the government’s Training Quality Standard in three or more sector areas.
  • With a highly supportive and experienced staff team, excellent levels of contact time and quality resources, you will feel valued, encouraged and stimulated to do your best.
  • The industry focus of our training prepares you well for a career in music, or for a wealth of graduate opportunities.

This course is open to International students

Niamh

Discover South and City College

Visit our South and City College's website for extra information about the Digbeth campus, where thic course is based.

Visit the college website

Entry Requirements

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

Essential Requirements

96 UCAS tariff points.

Typical Offers (UK students)

At the point of enrolment, you must have GCSE at Grade 4 or above in English Language. Equivalent qualifications can be considered in lieu as long as the required subject is covered.

Plus, you must have achieved or be completing one of the following:

A level  CCC. Music at Level 3. A maximum of three subjects are considered. Other 6-unit qualifications can be considered in lieu of one or two A-level subjects.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

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Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

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Access to HE Diploma Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2, including merit or higher in 18 credits at Level 3.

Scottish Advanced Higher

Achieve a minimum of 96 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Obtain a minimum of 24 points 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.

Further information

As part of the application you will also need to undergo an audition, qualification check and supply suitable references. Students with significant, relevant experience in place of formal qualifications may be accepted onto the course subject to a successful audition.

International applicants will be asked to demonstrate equivalents of the above qualification levels and an IELTS score of 6 or above.

Worried? Don't be!

Worried about exams? Don't be.

We've put together a whole host of resources including student tips and expert advice to help you nail your exams. You can even get a free revision guide.

Get exam and revision help

Don’t meet our entry requirements?

You could apply for a foundation course or a course at our International College. These routes have lower entry requirements and act as the bridge to a full degree. To find out more, please select your status:

Home student International student

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2020 FT 3 years
TBC
Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2020 FT 3 years
TBC
Register your interest

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

UK and EU 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

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Portfolio Guidance

You will be asked at interview to prepare two pieces for live performance and/or recorded tracks of music technology work.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Worried about personal statements?

Worried about personal statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

MIDI, Audio and Studio Techniques (M.A.S.T.)
20 credits
Working Live (Performance or Live Sound)
20 credits
Contextual Study in Action
20 credits
The Music Industry
20 credits
Technical Development (Instrument, Music Technology or Composition)
20 credits
Creative Portfolio
20 credits

Year two

Production Cycle (creative group commission)
20 credits
Music Business and Personal Development Portfolio
20 credits
Technical Development 2
20 credits
Music Critique and Analysis
20 credits
Promoted Showcase/Product
40 credits

Year three

Music as Art
20 credits
Advanced Techniques for Emerging Artists
20 credits
International Music Business Realisation
20 credits
Major Project
60 credits

How you will learn

You will learn through workshops, lectures, recording sessions, seminars and tutorials.

All students receive weekly one-to-one instrumental sessions, delivered by our highly qualified visiting instrumental specialists on vocals, guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards.

Much of your work will be geared towards the development of professional products, such as performances, tours, album production or radio shows. 

The course will help you to develop your own professional profile and explore your individual artistic identity. You’ll also collaborate with others and explore all aspects of the contemporary music industry. 

There are four areas of concentration: Performance, Production, Live Sound and Composition. Each of these will enable you to understand a key area and to develop new skills. Undertaking work in each area reflects the reality of the commercial music industry where practitioners may perform a variety of roles.  After an initial year grounding you in all disciplines, you will be encouraged to specialise in specific areas in order to develop more advanced skills. Much of the work in the final year is self-directed and always takes place in professional-standard environments.

Further Study

You may also choose to progress to postgraduate level study at Masters level at BCU or another institution. A PGCE in Music Education is one example, which equips you to teach at primary, secondary or post-compulsory schools and colleges nationally.

Graduates from this degree course benefit from a wide range of career opportunities through professional graduate training programmes, and by demonstrating high-level employability through the academic, creative and transferable skills developed during the course.

In the music industry itself, SCCB graduates have progressed successfully to work with BBC Radio 1/1Xtra, BBC Introducing, Craig David, Sydney Opera House, X-factor, the Royal Variety Performance, Urban Audio, Blitz Games, music management and a range of ongoing corporate and independent music opportunities.

Graduate Opportunities

Graduate opportunities include studio engineer, live sound engineer, stage manager/tour staff, session musician, media music composer, independent freelance musician. Also you can progress to graduate placements/training in education, finance, public services etc. utilizing the transferrable and creative skills developed on the course.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Firewalking

BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

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:

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations

The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.

The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Facilities

This course is delivered at South and City College Birmingham's Digbeth Campus.

Find out more about Digbeth Campus

Staff

  • Dr Simon Lesley PhD MMus BMus (Hons) FHEA: Graduate of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the University of Birmingham.
  • Nils Edstrom BA (Hons) PG Cert Ed: Three-time gold disc winner for million-selling records, producer of 100 professional albums and audio technician for TED and Channel 4.