BA (Hons) Music (Popular)

Undergraduate, Full-Time

Explore music genres, enhance your performance skills and gain the technical knowledge that you need to make your mark in the music industry.

  • Napier code:

    54111BH

  • UCAS code:

    W341

  • Course type:

    Full-Time

  • Duration:

    4 years

  • Award:

    BA (Hons)

  • Location:

    Merchiston campus

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Course introduction

Established in 2001 this course accepts applicants for principal study in voice, guitar, keyboards, bass guitar, drums or composition.

The programme of study is designed not only for those who want to be performers, but also for those who want to work in the wider music industries as audio engineers, producers, teaching professionals, business entrepreneurs, and in the wider musical community.

You’ll achieve a high degree of competence on your principal study, becoming fluent in the use of music technologies and extending your cultural, critical and creative abilities throughout this wide-ranging course.


This is a full-time course studied over four years. You’ll learn by a variety of teaching methods including lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions and independent study. The course is supported by well-equipped teaching and rehearsal rooms, recital areas and a music library. 

If you have studied an HND Music, Music Business, Sound Production or equivalent, you may be eligible for direct entry. Note that you can only choose option modules in Years 3 and 4 that relate to, and follow on from, your HND qualification.

What you study

Year 1

  • Practical Music Studies
  • Music Technologies
  • Western Art Music
  • Music Genres
  • Popular Music Ensemble Performance

Year 2

  • Practical Music Studies
  • Music Technologies
  • The Business of Music
  • Popular Music Culture
  • Jazz 1 – America
  • Recording Studio Theory and Practice
  • Popular Music Ensemble Performance

Year 3

  • Instrumental/Composition Studies
  • Music in a Globalised World
  • Creative Practice
  • The Business of Music
  • Jazz 2 – Europe
  • Music for the Screen
  • Recording Studio Theory and Practice
  • Instrumental/Vocal Teaching

Year 4

  • Instrumental/Composition Studies
  • Major Music Project
  • Entrepreneurship in The Music Industries
  • Jazz 3 – Local
  • Production and Professional Practice
  • Music and Aesthetics
  • Instrumental/Vocal Teaching
  • Music Psychology
  • Music Research Project

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Our graduates go on to work as:

  • performing and recording artists in touring bands
  • composers (in a number of different industries, such as advertising, television, film)

And in:

  • studio and live sound production
  • community music
  • music education
  • music therapy
  • music management
  • music technology
  • and because creative skills are transferable and valuable to a number of other industries, a wide range of careers, such as arts administration and broadcasting.

Many go on to further study, such as our Masters Programme (MA) in Sound Production.


Minimum year 1

SQA Higher

ABCC including Music at Grade A and English or other Literary Subject* at Grade B. 

Applicants must also pass ABRSM or London College of Music Grade 5 Theory test.

A Level

BCC including Music at Grade B and English or other Literary Subject* at Grade C. 

Applicants must also pass ABRSM or London College of Music Grade 5 Theory test.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Pre 2017: A1, B3, B3, C2 at HL including Music at A1 and English or other literary subject* at B3.

2017 onwards: H1, H3, H3, H4 at HL including Music at H1 and English or other literary subject* at H3

Applicants must also pass ABRSM or London College of Music Grade 5 Theory test.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

Minimum grades MMM (Merit, Merit, Merit) in a related subject.

Applicants must also pass ABRSM or London College of Music Grade 5 Theory test.

BTEC (QCF) Diploma 

Minimum grades D*D (Distinction*, Distinction) in a related subject.

Applicants must also pass ABRSM or London College of Music Grade 5 Theory test.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

Award of Diploma with 27 points overall with three HL subjects at grades 6,5,4 including Music and English or other Literary Subject* at Grade 5 or above. In exceptional circumstances, where the applicant's school does not offer Music as an element of IB, applicants who have achieved Trinity Rock School or ABRSM Grade VII or above on the Principal Study instrument may be considered. In such cases, academic referees should clearly state that HL Music is not offered as part of the curriculum. 

Applicants must also pass ABRSM or London College of Music Grade 5 Theory test.

Minimum year 2

HNC

Pass HNC in a relevant subject with Grade A in the graded unit.

Applicants must also pass ABRSM or London College of Music Grade 5 Theory test.

Minimum year 3

HND

Pass HND in a relevant subject with Grade A at SCQF Level 8 in all graded units.

Applicants must also pass ABRSM or London College of Music Grade 5 Theory test.

*Literary subjects accepted are: Modern Studies, History, Psychology, Sociology, RMPS, Theology, Media Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Sociology, Geography, Latin and Classics.

Please tell us your principal/main instrument at the beginning of your personal statement. If you meet the minimum academic requirements, your application will be considered by the Department and you may be invited to an audition/interview.

Applicants are required, as part of the audition, to demonstrate practical music skills which equate to Trinity Rock/Rock School Grade 7.

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students.Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:

BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)

BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We're committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.


Tuition fees
Students from 2016/17 2017/18
Scotland/EU £1,820 £1,820
England Wales and Northern Ireland £9,000 £9,000
Overseas £13,740 £13,900

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

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