Undergraduate

BA Music (Popular)

A hands-on approach to popular music. You'll study songwriting, performance, studio production and critical musicology – all in cutting-edge facilities.

Key information

Study mode

Full-time

Course length

3 years

Entry requirements

112 points

A Level grades: BBC

UCAS code

W341

Choose an option

Start date

Course overview

Gain an insight into the pop music that's defined generations on this course.

Music's an ever-changing, ever-present soundtrack to our lives and an emotional mirror for our passions. It's now unrecognisable from the classical music that went before – with new instruments, methods and media to record and express it.

At Hull, you can work toward becoming the music professional that you want to be, thanks to the range of specialised modules we offer. There's everything from Acoustics and Studio Design to the Psychology of Music and Emotion.

Six reasons to study Popular Music at Hull

  1. 99% graduate employability rating*
  2. 24-hour access to industry-standard studios
  3. Play, jam and record with like-minded musicians
  4. Host of extracurricular musical opportunities
  5. Work with top names like the BBC and Hull Truck
  6. Top-class concert venue

What you'll study

The course consists of 120 credits per year. Most modules are 20 credits, meaning you’ll study six modules each year. Some longer modules, such as a dissertation, are worth more (e.g. 40 credits). In these cases, you’ll study fewer modules - but the number of credits will always add up to 120.

First year modules

  • Compulsory

    Music, Criticism and Culture

    Study musical aesthetics, developing your critical and reasoning skills. Topics include authenticity in cover versions to the political arguments of Adorno, Scruton and Cage.

    Music in Practice 1

    This module introduces concepts in music theory. It covers types of notation, harmony and counterpoint, giving you the tools to practise music during your course - and beyond. 

    Music in Practice 2

    Learn to analyse music across a range of styles and genres. You'll discover how to capture and express observations that will be instrumental in subsequent years of study.

    Popular Music in Context

    You will explore popular music before 1980 from structural, sociological and historical viewpoints. Topics include blues, the French chanson, protest music and theories of harmony in rock.

    Creative Music Skills 1

    Develop skills in performance, technology, songwriting, electronic composition and digital audio. We explore these in practical, creative ways via interactive seminars and workshops.

    Creative Music Skills 2

    Continue to develop your skills in instrumental composition, music production, electronic composition and digital audio on this highly interactive module.

Second year modules

  • Compulsory

    Rock and Popular Musicology

    This module analyses current trends in popular musicology, including gender, race, protest, the canon and theories of influence. You'll also study techniques of rock journalism.

  • Optional

    Audio-Visual Composition

    Develop your compositional skills and create original films, exploring the manipulation and generation of visual media, including animation and effects processing. 

    The Materials of Composition

    Develop your own compositional approach on a module which introduces you to key techniques for manipulating pitch, rhythm and timbre. 

    Electronic Composition

    This module focuses on creative live electronic and electroacoustic music. You'll learn advanced techniques for producing pieces in a stereo context.

    Songwriting

    This practical module will hone your skills as a songwriter. You'll be expected to write one song per week to a given brief, and then produce an EP of original material. 

    Performance 1

    Develop performance skills using your voice or a chosen instrument. You can specialise in solo playing, small-group, accompaniment, conducting or directing.

    Performance 2

    Develop performance skills using your voice or a chosen instrument. You can specialise in solo playing, small-group playing, accompaniment, conducting or directing.

    Studio Techniques

    This module introduces the facilities in our Salmon Grove Studios. Through workshops and demonstrations, you'll learn to use industry-standard hardware and software.

    Game Audio

    Explore sound design for games and discover some the challenges faced by sound designers. You'll get insights into industry practice working with interactive audio and game middleware.

    Acoustics and Studio Design

    You'll study the theoretical and practical application of acoustic formulae, speech perception, the fundamentals of music, research methods and design. 

    Film Music

    You'll analyse and discuss how music shapes films and TV shows. You don't need any musical knowledge for this module: it focuses on the interpretation and effects of music. 

    Studies in Musical Style from 1815

    This module investigates topics and issues in music from Beethoven to Mahler and Sibelius. You'll also examine early modernism and developments in the musical avant-garde up to the early ‘60s.

    Psychology of Music Performance

    Examine music performance from a psychological point of view. You'll investigate strategies for sight-reading, practising and memorising music, and coping with performance anxiety.

Final year modules

  • Optional

    Composing for Film

    Discover the challenges of film scoring as you explore the tools, approaches and industry conventions. You'll also examine the dramatic and narrative function of film music.

    Composing for Spaces and Places

    Focus on site-specific composition and performance. You'll study interpretations including open-form works, promenade performances, landscape composition and sound installation.

    Advanced Performance 1

    Take your vocal or instrumental skills to the next level. You can specialise in solo playing, small-group playing, accompaniment, conducting or directing.

    Advanced Performance 2

    This advanced module is another opportunity to hone your performance skills, either vocally or on a chosen instrument in popular, jazz or classical traditions. 

    Live Sound

    Get hands-on instruction in using live sound equipment. By the end of the module, you'll have produced a technical rider for a show and completed a sound-check for a band.

    Global Pop

    Encounter the music traditions of Africa, Brazil, Cuba and India through performance and composition, and explore the influence they exert on today's popular music around the world.

    Music Industry Careers

    You'll engage with a range of music industry roles while learning about the theory and history that underpin this rapidly evolving professional environment. 

    Music, Politics and Contemporary Thought

    Discover a range of approaches to musicology. You'll cover topics including musical analysis, gender studies, music historiography, the sociology of music and music philosophy.

    Shakespeare Music

    On this module, you'll gain stylistic and historical insights into a variety of musical works inspired by the plays of Shakespeare. 

    Special Study (Music)

    Undertake an extended project with a specialist supervisor through one-to-one teaching. Your project could take the form of a dissertation or a creative project, such as an EP.

    Psychology of Music and Emotion

    This module gives you an insight into research on the psychology of music and emotion: a fascinating and wide-ranging subject that could lead to many possible future careers.

    Individual Project (Music) (T1)

    Study a topic of your choosing with expert supervision. The choice is broad and you could submit a study, a criticism piece, a folio of compositions, or a mixed-media project.

All modules are subject to availability and this list may change at any time.

How you'll study

Throughout your degree, you’re expected to study for 1,200 hours per year. That’s based on 200 hours per 20 credit module. And it includes scheduled hours, time spent on placement and independent study. How this time’s divided among each of these varies each year and depends on the course and modules you study.

Overall workload

384 hours

Scheduled study Scheduled hours typically include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and supervised laboratory and studio sessions.

816 hours

Independent study Independent study is the time outside your scheduled timetable, where you’ll be expected to study independently.

Indicative assessment proportions

47%
53%
  • Practical

    Practical is an assessment of your skills and competencies. This could include presentations, school experience, work experience or laboratory work.

  • Coursework

    Coursework typically includes essays, written assignments, dissertations, research projects or producing a portfolio of your work.

Overall workload

204 hours

Scheduled study Scheduled hours typically include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and supervised laboratory and studio sessions.

996 hours

Independent study Independent study is the time outside your scheduled timetable, where you’ll be expected to study independently.

Indicative assessment proportions

44%
56%
  • Practical

    Practical is an assessment of your skills and competencies. This could include presentations, school experience, work experience or laboratory work.

  • Coursework

    Coursework typically includes essays, written assignments, dissertations, research projects or producing a portfolio of your work.

Overall workload

216 hours

Scheduled study Scheduled hours typically include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and supervised laboratory and studio sessions.

984 hours

Independent study Independent study is the time outside your scheduled timetable, where you’ll be expected to study independently.

Indicative assessment proportions

62%
38%
  • Practical

    Practical is an assessment of your skills and competencies. This could include presentations, school experience, work experience or laboratory work.

  • Coursework

    Coursework typically includes essays, written assignments, dissertations, research projects or producing a portfolio of your work.

Music BMus Pippa Brazier UNI-2165
Pippa Brazier Music

Why I chose Music at Hull

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Entry requirements

Points can be from any qualifications on the UCAS tariff, but must include at least 80 points from

  • A levels
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma
  • OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma
  • CACHE Diploma or Extended Diploma
  • Irish Leaving Certificate
  • Scottish Highers
  • Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma
  • or a combination of appropriate Level 3 qualifications 
  • Applicants should have an A level in Music or Music Technology at Grade C or above, or an equivalent Level 3 music qualification
  • Applicants’ instrumental or vocal performance skills should be at a minimum of Grade 6 level. Musicians who can demonstrate performance at this level but who have not taken practical examinations are also encouraged to apply.

Alternative qualifications 

  • IB Diploma: 28 points including 5 at HL Music
  • Access to HE Diploma: Pass with 45 credits at merit

We welcome applicants with a range of qualifications from the UK and worldwide which may not exactly match the combinations shown above. Please contact the University’s Admissions Service for individual guidance.

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study or if your first language is not English you will be required to provide acceptable evidence of your English language proficiency level.

This course requires academic IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in each skill. See other English language proficiency qualifications accepted by this University.

If your English currently does not reach the University's required standard for this programme, you may be interested in one of our English language courses.

Visit your country page to find out more about our entry requirements.

Our teaching staff

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Take a tour of the facilities

Students on our BA Music (Popular) degree are encouraged to develop their practical music skills in our cutting edge facilities.

Fees and funding

Home / EU

£9,250 per year (subject to approval)*

International

£14,500 per year

*The amount you pay may increase each year, in line with inflation - but capped to the Retail Price Index (RPI).

UK and EU students can take out a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of their course, and UK students can take out a maintenance loan of up to £8,700 to cover living costs.

Substantial discounts are available for International students.  

More information on fees can be found in the Money section of the website.

Your tuition fees will cover most costs associated with your programme (including registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examination).

There are some extra costs that you might have to pay, or choose to pay, depending on your programme of study and the decisions you make. The list below has some examples, and any extra costs will vary.

  • Books (you’ll have access to books from your module reading lists in the library, but you may want to buy your own copies
  • Optional field trips
  • Study abroad (including travel costs, accommodation, visas, immunisation)
  • Placement costs (including travel costs and accommodation)
  • Student visas (international students)
  • Laptop (you’ll have access to laptops and PC’s on campus, but you may want to buy your own)
  • Printing and photocopying
  • Professional-body membership
  • Graduation (gown hire and photography)

Remember, you’ll still need to take into account your living costs. This could include accommodation, travel and food – to name just a few. 

Attainment
Scholarship

If you achieve

112 UCAS tariff points

from three A levels or equivalent, you could receive a reward of

£1,200

Find out more

An affordable city for students

From bills, to meals, to pints – you’ll find that your money goes a lot further in Hull.

Your future prospects

  • Musician
  • Songwriter
  • Producer
  • Music librarian
  • Critic
  • Teacher

Our music graduates perform well in the jobs market, taking up a wide variety of careers from performing and songwriting, to working in studios as a producer or sound engineer.

Music graduates find their creativity and transferable skills are also welcomed by employers in non-musical fields, such as the Civil Service, accountancy, insurance and computing.

Open Day at University of Hull

Ready to apply?

You can apply for this course through UCAS. As well as providing your academic qualifications, you’ll be able to showcase your skills, qualities and passion for the subject.

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A place where we stand up to kings, do deals with the world and take a wrecking ball to the slave trade. A place where culture stands out and the phone boxes are a different colour. A place where we're free-thinking, independent and proud of it.

*Percentage of students in work or further study within six months of graduating: UK domicile full-time first degree leavers; Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey for the academic year 2016/17, published by HESA 2018