Popular Music - BA (Hons)
September 2021 — UCAS code W342
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....
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Clearing hotline opens Tuesday 10 August
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. Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.
Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response 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.
Please note: the entry requirements listed below are relevant for main cycle applications and may not be applicable during Clearing.
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 this 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.
(or equivalent) is the minimum you will need to be considered for this course in Clearing. Use the UCAS Tariff Calculator to work out your points.
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.
If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.
UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £7,500 per year
- Apply via Clearing
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.
Places available to start in September 2021
If you'd like to start this course full-time this September, you can apply through Clearing.
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.
Course in Depth
MAST (MIDI, Audio, Studio Techniques) 20 credits
Working Live 20 credits
Contextual Study in Action 20 credits
The Music Industry 20 credits
Technical Development 20 credits
Creative Portfolio 20 credits
Production Cycle 20 credits
Music Business and Personal Development 20 credits
Technical Development 2 20 credits
Music Critique and Analysis 20 credits
Promoted Showcase/Product 40 credits
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.
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.
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.
Facilities and Staff
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.