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University of Gloucestershire
Undergraduate

Popular Music BA (Hons)

Course options

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Study type
Full Time
Course length
3 Years
Campus
Park, Cheltenham
UCAS Code
W300

Course overview

Our forward-thinking Popular Music degree prepares musicians to build sustainable and diverse careers in the creative industries. You’ll develop creative music-making skills including production, songwriting, performance, composition for screen media, studio techniques, marketing, business enterprise and more.

If you like playing live, you’ll have opportunities to perform at festivals like Wychwood, Cheltenham Jazz and 2000trees, or at our annual European Capital City Showcase in cities such as Barcelona, Amsterdam and Berlin. You’ll also work on industry projects, for example with the BBC Introducing team, and enhance your CV through client briefs and placements with the likes of Universal Music, Sony ATV and independent Grime label, No Hats No Hoods.

Our award-winning tutors are all industry active, as songwriters, producers, performers and researchers. They curate independent labels and festivals, and run community and digital music projects. Their extensive connections ensure you get the latest industry insights and hear regularly from guests from organisations like International Talent Booking, Warner Chappell and Keychange.

You’ll have 24-hour access to our music studios, production labs and rehearsal spaces, and will make music videos in our film, TV and VFX studios. Working closely with other media students, you’ll create music for film, animation and games, and develop live events and business solutions with students from across the university.

In lectures and workshops, you’ll hear from professional content creators and taste-makers who tour, record, design and produce music and media projects. You’ll be assessed 100% by coursework.

In Year 1 you’ll explore composition, performance and creative music production. With a market-focused approach you’ll write and record songs, develop audio-visual content and play gigs as part of a vibrant community of musicians. You’ll also examine music’s place in cultural, economic and political contexts.

In Year 2 performance continues with regular live events on and off campus. You’ll explore the potential of web and broadcast technologies as a live performance platform, as well as music for moving image. You’ll also develop expertise in business relevant to your musical area. This includes licensing and royalties, label management, live event management, marketing and global music opportunities. You’ll be able to choose from a range of optional modules to match your interests and career goals.

In your final year you’ll demonstrate your creative, commercial and academic expertise, creating a product and live performance in your final year – as well as undertaking a placement and dissertation.

We’re part of the Music Academic Partnership (MAP) – a ground-breaking collaboration between educational institutions and the membership of UK Music. UK Music provides links and experiences that will help the employability of the students enrolled in those institutions.

Its focus is on linking industry and academia more effectively to: nurture collaborative projects such as research and careers events; inform and engage with the next generation of industry professionals; develop expert knowledge-base to feed into education & skills policy work, and; provide individuals who want to build careers out of their passion for music with extra opportunities.

Find out more about MAP.

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Entry requirements

    • 96 – 120 UCAS tariff points, CCC – BBB at A levels, MMM – DDM at BTEC, or a Merit in your T-Level.

      Entry to this course is by interview. Check out our Interview Guide to learn what to expect and help you prepare.

    • English Language or Literature and Maths Grade 4/C in GCSE (or equivalent) are normally required.

    • We welcome applications from mature students (aged 21 and over) and do not necessarily require the same academic qualifications as school leaving applicants, although some entry requirements may still apply for Professionally Accredited Courses. We accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas and make offers on an individual basis.

Course modules

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Fees and costs

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See the further details of fees and potential extra costs when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.
Start date Location UCAS code Fee (UK)
Fee per year
Fee (international)
Fee per year
Sep 2024 Park, Cheltenham W300 £9,250 £16,600
Sep 2025 Park, Cheltenham W300 TBC TBC

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UoG Career promise

At UoG we create a climate for bravery and growth. We instil confidence in all our students, so you can graduate career-ready and meet your ambitions.

96% of our graduates are in work or further study*, but if you’re not in a job 6 months after graduating we’ll guarantee you 6 months of free support, followed by the offer of a paid internship to kickstart your career – plus we’ll commit to lifetime career coaching. Eligibility conditions apply**

Discover our promises

Careers

As a Popular Music student, you’ll have 3 years of professional gigging experience to build up your stage presence, repertoire and creative identity.

Our students also take up a range of work experience opportunities and respond to live briefs set by our industry partners, including Reading and Leeds Festivals, Download, Superdry, BBC, Gloucester Guildhall and a number of regional educational and community development organisations, such The Music Works and Gloucestershire Music.

Our staff have a huge range of combined industry experience as signed recording artists and performers, and have played major UK festivals such as Glastonbury, Latitude, Bestival and Green Man. You’ll also work with music managers, A&R professionals, music journalists and academic researchers, whose work explores music in relation to identity, migration, sustainability, blockchain technology and immersive sound.

Graduates from this course are able to pursue careers as live performers, session musicians, songwriters and composers. Alternatively they are well equipped for roles in teaching or leadership positions in the community, education and health sectors.

Industry, award-winning lecturers

We have a wealth of industry, award-winning lecturers at the University. They have been involved in musical direction for Blur and Gorillaz, music production for Broken (2013) and 8 Minutes Idle (2012), producers for Sony and Universal and BAFTA award winners.

We recently welcomed, musician, audio-visual artist and events promoter, Teddy Hunter to the Music and Sound team. Teddy has performed live on the BBC’s Horizons: The Sessions and also won the ‘Green Man Rising’ award in 2021 at Green Man Festival.

Produce your own European tour

You’ll work with musicians, artists and music producers to gain valuable experience, taking part in our annual European Capital City Showcase in cities such as Barcelona, Amsterdam and Prague.

Work in state-of-the-art facilities

This includes industry-standard technologies and a digital suite. Using our ground-breaking Dante Audio Networking system, you’re able to compose, perform and record your work in a dynamic range of spaces that are suited to individual, small and large-group projects.

Be in the heart of a thriving live music sector

As a Popular Music student, you’re at the heart of a thriving live music sector that includes Cheltenham Jazz, 2000Trees and Wychwood festivals, as well as a host of venues across Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud.

If you’re wanting to build up your live performance experience – as a band, as a singer songwriter or with an electronica project – you’ll have 3 years of professional gigging experience to build up your stage presence, repertoire and creative identity.

Placements

In your final year you’ll gain experience through a work placement – which will also inform your dissertation, relevant to your career plans. Recent destinations have included EMI, Universal Music, ITV, Warner Bros and the BBC.

Music & Sound Graduate Futures Day 2022

We hosted ‘Music & Sound Graduate Futures Day 2022’ – an event designed to help launch our final year students into the next stages of their careers.

Hosted by Dr Oli Morris of UK Music (who we work closely with owing to our Music Academic Partnership) with a panel of industry experts including Silv Gargiulo of BIY, Hannah Eakins of Production Futures, Nathan Barley Phillips (A&R at Nuclear Blast Records) and recent graduate Kane Peters (Live Nation).

So much valuable insight was shared from the panel with themes and talking points emerged around audience development, professionalisation, building contacts and networks.

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