Popular Music (Top-Up) BA (Hons)

Key Facts

  • UCAS Code:


  • Level:


  • Duration:

    Full Time: 1 year
    Part Time: 2 years

  • Starting:


  • Fees UK:

    Full Time 22/23: £9,250 Part Time 22/23: £1,500 (per 20 credits)

  • Fees International:

    Full Time 22/23: £14,500

  • Location:

    Waterside Campus, Development Hub

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 894503


This course is subject to validation for 2022 entry

Our Popular Music (Top-Up) BA (Hons) allows you to choose your own focus within popular music. Blend a mix of practical music-making, with more traditional academic studies, or learn something new.

Choose to produce your own EP, perform at gigs, analyse and critically reflect on your own practice, record other artists, write a dissertation, compose/produce music for media, understand music philosophy, and delve into music education.

With strong ties to both the local music scene and industry, as well as nationally, we offer you the chance to network with industry insiders and develop your own network of fledgling professionals.

Updated 16/05/2022


  • Accredited by Joint Audio Media Education Support (JAMES)
  • Diverse course with various options available
  • Opportunities to perform in real-world situations across Northampton
  • Interaction with partner degree in Music Production
  • Industry expertise from published and researching music team
  • Contemporary specialisms in many areas of popular music performance
  • Cutting-edge hardware/ software: Mac OS X, Logic Pro X, Ableton, Pro Tools, Native Instruments
  • Extra-curricular masterclasses
  • Contemporary rehearsal booths, bookable outside of lectures/ seminar
  • Chance to build a network of musicians from within the course as well as within the local and national arena. There will also be the opportunity to be introduced to local music industry organisations
  • Guest lectures from industry specialists
  • Chose modules totalling 120 credits with either a Professional Project or Dissertation
  • Guaranteed paid internship with the Northampton Employment Promise*

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Course Content

  • Popular Music Top Up at the University of Northampton is the final year of the degree. Having already developed the skills and qualifications for years 1 and 2, in year 3 with us you’ll be able to focus from within a range of options including some of the following: Professional Project or do a Popular Music Dissertation, Performance 3, Music and Sound Design for Media, Advanced Recording and Production, Music Education, Pop and the State, and The Philosophy of Music.

    This top-up third year will allow you to hone your already considerable skills in music performance, music technology as well as academic knowledge and communication. Given the different options available you could choose to focus on the academic aspect of your profile or go for a more practical musician industry approach.

    Our modules are informed by staff actively researching, composing, performing and publishing in their specialist areas within the music industry. The skills, knowledge and experience you acquire with us will help you develop the necessary analytical and creative skills, to aid you when evaluating and implementing real-life practice.

    Please note the modules shown here relate to the academic year 21/22. The modules relating to the academic year 22/23 will be available from June 2022.

  • Standard entry requirements apply. Applicants are expected to have studied Popular Music or a related subject at Foundation Degree/HND or equivalent.

    We welcome international applications and applications from students with a range of non-traditional educational or professional qualifications.

    For 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.

    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.

  • 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
    • International – Full Time: £14,500
    Additional Costs
    • 1TB portable hard drive (approximately £50)
    • a good pair of closed back headphones (approximately £60-100)
    • consumables for individual instruments (jack leads, capos, plectrums, drum skins, drum sticks, reeds, strings etc.)
    • USB Flash drives (data sticks) for submitting coursework (£10-20 for two)
    • £50 towards travel costs
  • 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

  • Are there any specialist facilities and features?

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

    Specialist facilities include

    • Three fully kitted specialised soundproofed rehearsal booths plus break-out space.
    • Small group sessions for most practical sessions.
    • Live PA equipment and technician support for assessed gigs.
    • 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.
    • Two Mac Suites: running Logic Pro X, Ableton 10, Native Instruments Komplete 12, Pro Tools 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: 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.
    • Live performance hardware: 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: Steinway Studio B, Bechstein Boudoir Grand, two Yamaha upright pianos.

    Special course features include

    • Developing performance skills.
    • Self-directed major project (e.g. EP) or dissertation option.
    • Fostering musicianship and advanced recording experience.
    • Preparing for the music industry in the 21st century.
    • High-calibre rehearsal spaces, recording studios and live performance equipment.

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