Popular Music - BA (Hons)
- UCAS Code: W342
- Level: Undergraduate
- Starting: September 2021
- Study mode: Full Time (3 years)
- Location: South and City College Birmingham
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
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.
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.
Our next Open Day is taking place in Saturday 26 June. It's the perfect opportunity to tour our facilities, hear from some of our staff and get a feel of what it's like to study at BCU.
This course is open to International students
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
96 UCAS points
This is a franchise course at South and City College and applicants are auditioned and interviewed by the college.
It is recognised that some learners may have significant relevant work experience or other professional qualifications and therefore may be admitted to the programme through an auditions process.
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)
|See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details|
Scottish National 5
|IELTS||Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.|
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A Level and Advanced VCE||
AS and AS VCE
Access to HE Diploma
Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)
|Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 96 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
Scottish Advanced Higher
|Pass overall (C or above on the core)|
UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design
UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology
UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts
|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.
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 6.0 with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £7,500 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 3 years
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. 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
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
There are three ways to apply:
1) Direct to the University
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.
You will be asked at interview to prepare two pieces for live performance and/or recorded tracks of music technology work.
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:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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: 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.
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.
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 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.
This course is delivered at South and City College Birmingham's Digbeth Campus. Take a look around some of the facilities by clicking the links below.
1 of 3 recording studios
A specialist 600-capacity working commercial music venue
1 of 2 Mac programming suites
1 of 6 rehearsal rooms
- 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.