School of Humanities and Performing Arts

BA (Hons) Music

Explore music from different cultures and traditions and create your place in today’s rapidly changing musical landscape. Develop your own interests with specialist pathways in composition, performance, ethnomusicology and technology. With a focus on performance and creative practice, you will gain the practical, critical and technical skills to expand your understanding of music in all its forms. The breadth of this course will equip you for a variety of music-related careers.

We welcome musicians with mixed abilities and offer a wide range of opportunities for students to explore varied interests pertaining to music. Our optional extra-curricular musical activities are diverse: from classical to jazz, singing to West African drumming, gamelan, taiko and more.

2020 NSS results:

  • The music subject area is in the top 15 institutions in the UK for academic support.

Register in advance for Clearing

We'll give you a call on A level results day to discuss your place at Plymouth, meaning there's one less thing to worry about.

Find out more about Clearing

Careers with this subject

With a degree in music you can pursue a variety of careers. Many of our music graduates are employed in music-related roles, including: singing teacher, musician, performer, music teacher and music therapist. Others work in the publishing, media and performing arts sectors, as well as within the fields of education, health and information services.

Discover more about the options available to you

Key features
  • Take advantage of our unique professional development programme that provides invaluable work placement and performance opportunities. You'll get the chance to work in primary and secondary schools giving instrumental lessons, and running band development sessions and workshops. You can also use our local contacts to set up regular live mic and gig nights around Plymouth, or get involved in our University songwriters project.
  • Customise your study and specialise in areas that really interest you within our specialist exit award pathways in composition, performance, ethnomusicology and technology.
  • Stay ahead with a course designed in consultation with working musicians to ensure you leave ready for the rapidly changing music environment, including knowledge of the latest digital technology. Get exclusive insights into theory and practice with talks and workshops from visiting speakers and musicians.
  • Give your creativity free rein in our rehearsal and recording facilities, including individual practice rooms, a professional recording environment, digital audio workstations and instrumental facilities ranging from Steinway and Bosendorfer pianos to guitar amps, electronic keyboards and midi-guitar synthesisers.
  • Get involved in societies and groups, such as our gospel choirconcert band, ukelele societygamelan group, orchestra and more.
  • Enjoy a great lifestyle in the South West with its active live music and festival scene. Get involved in the wider musical life of the University with the annual Contemporary Music Festival and the music programme with The Arts Institute.
  • Learn from teachers with world-class reputations for research expertise, many who have come from industry and are acclaimed in their field, and benefit from links with the University’s exciting Centre for Computer Music Research.
  • We are one of the few music degrees in the UK who facilitate intercalated music degrees (where medical students join and enjoy our final year).
Course details
  • Year 1

  • In your first year, you’ll lay the foundations for an intelligent engagement with creative practice and the world of music through studies in developing musicianship, Western music tradition, the music of diverse cultures, composition and music technology. You will also be involved in group musical activities designed to develop your performance skills. 

    Core modules

    • Composition (MUS405)

      This module generates an overview of a variety of compositional forms and starting points for creating music. Through a combination of taught sessions, workshop sessions and autonomous student creative activity, these ideas are explored in a hands-on fashion, laying a foundational facility with some compositional strategies, devices and practices.

    • Practical Musicianship (MUZ401)

      During this module, students will embark on a real-world performance scenario. Learners will be expected to professionally engage in the process of organising and realising a musical performance. This will encompass the entire organisational process of practice, rehearsal, stage preparation and delivery.

    • Illustrating Music History (MUZ402)

      This semester-long twenty-credit module allows students to gain an overview of the history of Western music through historical scholarship, analysis and recordings. The module incorporates a narrative survey of Western music from medieval times to the present-day, and sessions that step outside the chronology to discuss genres, forms and idioms that cross eras. The factual content of this module is intertwined with an exploration of how to study music and musicology.

    • Exploring Ethnomusicology (MUZ404)

      This module introduces the student to ethnomusicology (a fusion between anthropology and musicology). We explore What is Ethnomusicology? and gain an understanding of fieldwork. We embrace a range of musical cultures through a number of specialist workshops as well as engaged research.

    • Music Theory (MUZ406)

      Foster a sound understanding of key concepts and relationships in music theory (advanced and/or beginners level), and investigate their practical application in music composition and performance.

    • Foundations in Music Technology (MUZ407)

      Students are introduced to the basic principles of computer music applications to ensure they are comfortable with utilising music technology throughout their Music BA assessments. They will be introduced to audio recording and editing and the basic programming and performance applications of software instruments. They will also receive specialist inputs exploring relevant hardware within specific professional scenarios.

  • Year 2

  • Stage two broadens your musical horizons; this prepares you to engage wholeheartedly toward your final year and embrace a specialism you enjoy (e.g. music as therapy).

    The modules displayed below are those currently being studied by our students:

    Core modules

    • Independent Study for Musicians (MUS509)

      This module allows students to further develop their musical understanding in an area of their own choice. Students will be encouraged to negotiate a programme of study and assessment mode related to a musical topic of interest. There is scope in this module for students to put an emphasis on practical and/or theoretical engagement with the chosen topic.

    • Performance 2 (MUS510)

      This module is aimed at those students who are beginning to consider themselves to be an instrumental or vocal specialist. It offers an opportunity for specialised support, as well as group sessions in which students can develop their performance practice through engagement.

    • Music as Therapy (MUZ504)

      This module embeds research-informed teaching and equips the student with an understanding of the broader scope from Music Medicine to Medical Ethnomusicology including the development of Music and Healing within different cultures. This module explores practically (and theoretically) alternatives from ancient singing bowls to modern sonic therapies and encourages strong ethics, sound debate and critical reflection.

    • Studio Production (MUZ505)

      Students will learn how to combine their technical recording abilities with their creative skills in music production. This module augments the recording engineering skills developed in year one by providing tutelage on artistic studio production. Along with developing abilities to realise their own musical ideas, students will be taught to assimilate ideas from appropriate contextual research.

    • Professional Development (MUZ507)

      This module encourages students to develop and engage in real life placement(s)/professional practice. Keynote sessions will be delivered to further enhance understanding of key industry areas e.g. teaching; entrepreneurialism and creative practice. Methods of reflective practice will be taught to enable students to develop a portfolio of work based learning/creative practice.

    • Songwriting in Context (MUZ508)

      Through a process of creative development, students will explore songwriting in context whether that’s toward commercial music writing (e.g. relevant for the music Industry/radio) or exploring sources of inspiration for songwriting that reflects the social and political realities of the time and place in which they were written (e.g. protest songs or songs arising from a personal response to adversity). Taught and mentored sessions will provide stimulus for students’ own creative/commercial music practice.

  • Final year

  • In your final year you gain independence in your creative musical practice throughout a combination of taught sessions and tutor-led development. The programme offers specialist pathways leading to an exit award (i.e. performance, composition, ethnomusicology, technology or an inclusive combination). As such, you will be able to specialise in a music-related area of your choosing in negotiation with your dissertation supervisor. Intercalated medical students (or those interested in music therapy), can find significance in an area within music and medicine/healing. Those interested in teaching might pursue pedagogy. Film composers could creatively embrace a collaborative project; performers can perform. Similarly, students eager to excel in music technology can produce an inspiring project (which may even facilitate them onto our ResM in Computer Music following graduation). Some engage in community music projects or something more traditional. 

    The modules displayed below are those currently being studied by our students: 

    Core modules

    • Negotiated Dissertation/Project (MUZ602)

      This module provides a structured learning environment in which to build on personal subject specific specialisms, culminating in either a practice-based portfolio with a substantial critical underpinning or a written dissertation. Students can work towards one of five exit awards: BA (Hons) Music, Ethnomusicology, Performance, Composition, and Technology.

    Optional modules

    • Ethnomusicology (MUZ604)

      This module teaches ethnomusicology at an advanced level and considers music in its cultural and everyday context. It includes practical engagement with specialist practitioners as well as keynote lectures that expand on methodology/theories of selected pioneers in ethnomusicology. It will also investigate the relevance of ethnomusicological research which can apply to your own musicianship/dissertation and/or post graduate aspirations.

    • Computer Programming for Interactive Sound and Music (MUZ606)

      This module will introduce students to cutting-edge skills in computer programming to liberate their creative practice and provide highly employable abilities. Students will learn how to use the computer both as a tool for working with sound and music but also as an intelligent creative collaborator. The module is delivered through a series of hands-on workshops that aim to stimulate curiosity around contemporary practices in Computer Music.

    • Collaborative Project (MUZ607)

      Students are expected to collaborate with individuals, groups, organisations and businesses external to the BA Music course, on a creative project that has a public output. The overall emphasis will be placed on working processes and methodologies, group interaction and the planning and completion of the collaboration within a defined context.

    • Self-Employment, Marketing and Promotion (MUZ608)

      This module will be of particular interest to students who wish to develop their employability skills/profile to partake a career in the music industry/spring board their own emerging career as a musician. This module will include a blend of tutorial guidance as well as keynote sessions addressing self-employment marketing and promotion.

    • Performance 3 (MUZ609)

      Students should devise, plan and execute a performance employing the full range of music opportunities/media. Though other art forms might be involved, it will be the musical element that will be assessed. A critical essay, largely based on a process journal, forms a key component of assessment.

    • Creating Music for Stage and Moving Image (MUZ610)

      This module explores the creation of music for staged live performance and for screen media. It investigates historical and contemporary theories and models of interaction between music, sound, action and image and examples drawn from cinema and live theatre including opera and musical theatre. Participants will explore their own responses to the challenges of creating music for images and live action through practical workshops and individual coursework.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Music Programme Specification 2399

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

104 - 112

A levels
Typical offer will be 104 points. General studies accepted. Applicants are required to show a strong interest/experience in music and have an instrument (which can be voice). Any queries please do contact the admissions team at or telephone on +44 1752 585858

BTEC National Extended Diploma

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.
International Baccalaureate
26 points overall. English and Mathematics accepted within as GCSE equivalent.

Access to HE Diploma
Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma, with at least 33 credits at Merit and/or Distinction.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered.

Non-standard qualifications
We welcome mature students, those with music industry experience and high level instrumental skills. If you fall into this category and are not sure whether you qualify for the course, please submit an application so we can advise you.

RSL's qualifications
UCAS points can be obtained from theory/practical grades. See the table for the UCAS points awarded for a given music theory or practical grade and mark.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.
Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021 2022
Home £9,250 To be confirmed
International £14,200 To be confirmed
Part time (Home) £770 To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business additional costs.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code.

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

If you are interested in applying for an intercalated degree with the University of Plymouth, please contact our Admissions Team in the first instance

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Develop your own interests with five subject pathways to choose from:

University-NHS music video hitting the right notes

A music video featuring NHS workers singing the classic track Lean on Me has now been viewed more than 22,000 times on social media.

The video, produced by the music department at the University of Plymouth and sung by staff in the Emergency Department at the University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, has struck a chord with the public and the media, even being played on BBC television.

Read our press release.

Stronger Than Ever

Sam Adedero an intercalated BA (Hons) Music student and the Creative Change Plymouth collective have worked with leading women's charity Trevi House to release Stronger Than Ever, a song that speaks of the work the charity does to address addiction. It is hoped that proceeds from the sale of the single will help Trevi House, which like many charities has been adversely affected by the pandemic, particularly in relation to reduced fundraising and rising costs. 

“This is a fantastic project that really shows how engaged our BA (Hons) Music students are with the real world and how they strive to use music as a tool to drive positive change in our society.” – Dr Edward Braund

Read more about Stronger Than Ever

Think about your future

Professional development programme

We have developed a unique professional development programme that aims to equip every motivated and proficient student with an employable CV upon graduation.  Every year several students graduate directly into music related jobs or further education as a direct result of their professional development.

"My CV is now full of music-relevant work experience"

Learn more about the opportunities available at Plymouth

Career opportunities

With a degree in music you can pursue a variety of careers. Many of our music graduates are employed in music-related roles, including: singing teacher, musician, performer, music teacher and music therapist. Others work in the publishing, media and performing arts sectors, as well as within the fields of education, health and information services.

Discover more about the options available to you

Let our graduates inspire you

What are our current students doing?

Balinese Gamelan

Experience music from sources other than western cultures and understand how the way people think about music differs around the world.

The 20 instruments of the Gamelan – which originate from Indonesia – are made of bronze and are built and tuned to be played together as an orchestra.

Find out how you can learn to play the Gamelan

Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR)

Cutting-edge research in topics including the interface between music, computers, and the brain within a vibrant contemporary music community.

Access our well-equipped studios, open plan lab and annual research seminar series.

Find out more about the centre and what we do

The University of Plymouth BA (Hons) Music Junior Academy

The Junior Academy provides instrumental music lessons and theory tuition from the most experienced teachers in the South West of England.

Membership is free and we welcome young musicians within the South West region who have aspirations to study music at degree level.

Learn more about becoming a member


English Language Centre

We offer a range of courses to help you develop your academic English language skills.

These include pre-sessional academic English courses for undergraduates, taught postgraduates and research students along with insessional language classes, tutorials and activities to support students who have English as a second language.

Find out how we can help you reach your potential.

* These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Discover Uni (Unistats) is updated annually in September.