Popular Music BA (Hons)

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code:

    BA: W340
    BA with Foundation:

  • Level:


  • Duration:

    Full Time: 3 years
    Full Time Foundation: 4 years
    Part Time: 4 - 6 years

  • Starting:


  • Fees UK 23/24:

    Full Time: £9,250
    Part Time: £1,540 (per 20 credits)
    Integrated Foundation Year: £9,250

  • Fees International 23/24:

    Full Time: £14,750
    Integrated Foundation Year: £14,750

  • Location:

Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

UK/EU Students enquiries

0300 303 2772

International Students enquiries

+44 (0)1604 893981


The Popular Music BA (Hons) course at the University of Northampton is designed and run to invest you with a variety of skills, knowledge and experience. When you graduate, you’ll have the know-how to navigate an ever evolving 21st Century music industry.

You’ll have the skills for wider employment, including in the teaching profession and further study should this be something you wish to pursue.

This course is Industry Accredited by JAMES representing APRS, MPG and associate industry bodies. Accreditation of a course by relevant industry bodies provides assurance to students and employers of its potential and value.

JAMES accreditation logo

Updated 06/06/2023


A variety of interesting and exciting assignments, including, but not limited to:

  • Performing live on stage
  • Learning to use a professional grade recording studio
  • Accredited by Joint Audio Media Education Support (JAMES)
  • Introduction to a network of music businesses
  • One-to-one instrument/ vocal coaching sessions (on your main instrument in year 1)
  • Various performing opportunities, including at Northampton Music Festival
  • Guaranteed paid internship with the Northampton Employment Promise.*
  • We have our own record label, get involved!
  • Innovative and exciting performances in a variety of venues
  • Taught by industry professionals and highly trained academics
  • Specialised guest lectures and masterclasses for popular music and composition
  • HP Laptop and software included with this course. Terms and Conditions apply

Course Content

  • Our Popular Music BA (Hons) degree equips you with the skills your need to perform popular music, read and write music, compose songs and make tracks, use music technology equipment including recording and producing music in our professional grade studios. As well as starting you off as a self-reliant musician working in an ever-evolving music industry.

    You will graduate with a 360° view of the music industry, your place within it and how you can move forward from here. The course follows several strands:

    • Performing, solo, technical work and live on stage.
    • Composing, songs and for media.
    • Music technology, including Logic Pro X, Musescore, Ableton and Pro Tools.
    • Recording, mixing and producing.
    • Researching, thinking and academic writing.
    • Develop music industry insights and skills.

    When you graduate, you’ll have the skills to understand why music is important culturally and economically as well as know how the popular music industry operates in relation to your own artist persona.

    Our popular music graduates have the skillset to take advantage of the incredible opportunities the future holds. And to succeed after graduation. This stems from the support and guidance of academics, some of whom have worked with global icons and international artists within the music industry.


    Information about the modules for this course can be found on the award map:

    View Popular Music BA (Hons) modules

  • Standard entry requirements apply. A typical offer is:

    • BCC at A-Level or,
    • DMM at BTEC or,
    • Pass (C and above) at T Level

    All qualified applicants will be invited for interview. We welcome international applications and applications from students with a range of non-traditional educational or professional qualifications.

    For more more information on how to make an application, please visit our How to Apply page.

    If you are an International student and would like information on making an application, please see our How to Apply page.

    Integrated Foundation Year Entry Requirements

    Admission to this foundation programme is normally:

    • DEE at A-Level or,
    • MPP at BTEC or,
    • Pass (D or E) at T Level

    However, we would also like to hear from you if you have professional or industry experience instead, a range of other qualifications or self-developed subject knowledge that relates to the programme you wish to study.

    English Language Requirements

    All International and EU students applying for a course with us must meet the following minimum English language requirements:

    • IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent) with a minimum of 5.5 in all bands
      for study at undergraduate level.

    For information regarding English language requirements at the University, please see our IELTS page.

  • 2023/24 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 23/24 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • UK – Part Time: £1,540 per 20 credit module
    • UK – Integrated Foundation Year: £9,250
    • International – Full Time: £14,750
    • International – Integrated Foundation Year: £14,750
    Additional Costs
    • Musical instrument & consumables: Price varies.
    • Vocalists – microphone: £80 (approx.)
    • Portable hard drive: £60 (approx.)
    • A good pair of closed back headphones: £60-100 (approx.)
    • Batteries for portable recording equipment: £30-50 (approx.)
    • Core textbooks and sheet music: £80 (approx.)
    • USB Flash drives: £10-20 for two (approx.)
    • And/ or SD card (£10-20 max)
    2022/23 Tuition Fees

    Fees quoted relate to study in the Academic Year 22/23 only and may be subject to inflationary increases in future years.

    • UK – Full Time: £9,250
    • UK – Part Time: £1,500 per 20 credit module
    • UK – Integrated Foundation Year: £9,250 for the foundation year; thereafter standard fees apply
    • International – Full Time: £14,000
    • International – Integrated Foundation Year: £14,000 for the foundation year; thereafter standard fees apply
    Additional Costs
    • A musical instrument. We have a modest supply of guitars, basses and keys, but we heartily recommend you get your own. (Price varies).
    • Vocalists – microphone. We have a modest supply, but we heartily recommend you get your own. (Price varies but from around £80).
    • Headphones (approximately £60-100).
    • External portable hard drive (approximately £60).
    • Batteries for portable recording equipment (not needed immediately).
    • SD cards/ USB Flash drives (data sticks). (£10-20 for two). (Not needed immediately).
    • Core textbooks and sheet music (approximately £80).
    • Consumables for individual instruments. Jack leads, capos, plectrums, drum skins, drumsticks, reeds, strings, mutes, patch leads etc. (Price varies).

    For information on the scholarships available to you, please see our scholarships page.

  • At the University of Northampton, everything we do, from funded trips to paid internships, is to give you everything you need to make a difference when you leave.

    If you join this full time degree at Northampton, you will receive a laptop when your course begins*. The laptops are built to a bespoke custom specification ideal for use in the seminar room, collaborative group work or studying at home. In addition to this, first year Popular Music BA (Hons) students get free one-to-one instrumental lessons.

    Whatever your ambitions, we’re here to help you to achieve them. We’ll support you to identify the skills you’re learning during your course, find your strengths and secure practical experience so that when it comes to applying for jobs or further study you’ll feel confident in standing out from the crowd. We’ve created the Northampton Employment Promise because we are so confident that if you focus on your studies and complete one of our awards you’ll be highly employable by the time you graduate. Putting you in a great position to secure employment or continue your studies.

    To check out the full list of perks, visit our Student Perks page or dedicated International Perks page.

    *UK fee payers only (see Terms and Conditions for further details).

  • The Integrated Foundation Year (IFY) offers a new and exciting route into studying for a degree, attracting ambitious and driven students who are willing to learn and advance.

    If you have non-standard qualifications or do not quite meet the admissions requirements we can offer you a fantastic opportunity to study a four year programme which includes an Integrated Foundation Year. The Integrated Foundation Year will help you develop the theoretical/practical and academic skills you need, in order to successfully progress to the full award.

    Our four-year courses will enable you to successfully follow the degree pathway of your choice while gaining essential study skills. The foundation year of your chosen degree will be studied on a full-time basis and is aimed at supporting the transition to higher education. Years two, three and four are then studied as a standard degree programme.

  • How will I be taught on Popular Music BA (Hons)?

    You will be taught through, small group lectures, seminars, tutorials, online tutorials, workshops, independent and group study, one-to-one supervisions.

    How will I be assessed?

    Assessment includes practical project work, seminar presentations, essays, and examinations. All performance assessments take place in a public venue in Northampton in front of a live audience.


Tim Smart, Senior Lecturer in Popular Music
Tim Smart

Senior Lecturer in Popular Music

Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology


Careers and Employability

This course is an excellent foundation for careers in all parts of the music industry including: musician, performer, producer, songwriter, artist liaison and more.


Your teaching will take place at Waterside Campus, specifically the newly renovated Development Hub.

Specialist facilities include:

  • Two Mac Suites: running Logic Pro X, Ableton 10, Native Instruments Komplete 12, Pro Tools, iZotope, FabFilter
  • Two recording studios: running Pro Tools and Audient 8024 mixing console, Neve 1073LB preamps, SSL VHD preamps, Apollo 8P, Apollo Satellite Octo, Rupert Neve Designs 5043, SoundToys bundle, Arturia V studio, Universal Audio Ultimate, Spitfire Audio Hybrid, Steven Slate Drums
  • Microphones: U87 condensers, AKG414s, Telefunken FET M60s, AKG 451s, Radial DI boxes, Radial SGI and re-amp boxes, and a full range of other industry mics
  • Hardware synthesisers such as Arturia DrumBrute, Novation Circuits, Roland TB303, Behringer Deepmind 12, Roland Juno DS, Novation Bass Stations, Ableton controllers – Launchkey 49s, Launcontrol XLs, Launchpad Mark 1 and Mark 2
  • Three fully kitted rehearsal rooms
  • Live performance hardware such as Vox amps, Marshall MG 4×12 amps, Orange Crush Pro amps, Peavey Amps, Ampeg PF500 Bass amplifiers, Yamaha Stage Custom kits, Gretsch Drum Kit, Studio AAX, full PA, three rehearsal rooms
  • Two grand pianos – Bechstein Boudoir Grand, Steinway Studio B, two Yamaha upright pianos
  • The Popular Music BA (Hons) course is supported by a fully ProTools HD enabled recording studio. Students also have access to three digital audio workstation suites and two live rehearsal rooms

Special course features include:

  • One-to-one instrument/ vocal coaching sessions (on your main instrument in year 1)
  • Performance, musicianship and theory training
  • Learning to use music technology
  • Research and academic writing skills
  • Exploring the music industry in the digital age
  • Using a professional grade recording studios
  • Top-notch facilities and equipment