School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Music

UCAS tariff 104
UCAS course code W300
Institution code P60

3 years

(+ optional placement)
Course type


Location Plymouth

Showcase and develop your musical talents with our links to local venues and performers and benefit from our well-equipped practice rooms, recording studios, and award-winning theatre. Master your instrument with our specialist 1:1 tutors. Gain the practical, critical and technical skills you need to expand your understanding of music in all forms and make your mark in today’s rapidly changing landscape. Explore music from different cultures and get hands-on helping disabled performers compose.


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.
The University of Plymouth Careers Service have also pulled together some general information around employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with a music degree: 

Key features

  •  Professional development programme that provides invaluable work placement and performance opportunities.
  • Rehearsal and recording facilities, including individual practice rooms, a professional recording environment, digital audio workstations and instrumental facilities ranging from Steinway and Yamaha grand pianos to guitar amps, electronic keyboards and midi-guitar synthesisers.
  • Societies and groups, such as our gospel choir, concert band, ukelele society, musical theatre society, symphony orchestra and more.
  • 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. 

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

    • Music Theory (MUS4002)

      This module solidifies students’ understanding of music theory concepts and explores its practical applications.

    • Exploring Ethnomusicology (MUS4003)

      This module introduces students to ethnomusicology and the study of music in culture. They will explore key theoretical concepts and be introduced to research methods. The module includes lectures, seminars and workshops that explore the topic from a theoretical and practical perspective.

    • Illustrating Music History (MUS4004)

      This semester-long twenty-credit module allows students to gain an overview of the history of Western music. The module provides a narrative of Western music from medieval times to the 20th century, while also discussing genres, forms and idioms. This module introduces students to musical analysis and how it intertwines with the historical study of music.

    • Composition (MUS4005)

      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.

    • Audio Engineering (MUS4006)

      This module introduces students to the fundamental skills and techniques they need to become an effective audio engineer. Students will learn how to relate subjective and objective measures of sound to inform their practice. Taught sessions will explore topics such as psychoacoustics, small room acoustics, digital and analogue recording consoles, signal flow, microphone concepts and positioning, and advanced use of professional software platforms. This module will include 2, 2 hour talks that introduce our School and programme level employability related opportunities and support, including details of the optional placement year.

    • Performance 1: Introduction to Performance (MUS4007)

      This module introduces learners to performance practices and the theory behind their instrumental and vocal practice. Students will develop musicianship skills and their practice as solo performers. The teaching will combine individual tuition with specialised tutors and a series of lectures and workshops.

  • Year 2

  • Year 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).
    For students entering Level 4 of their programme in academic year 2024/25 optional non-credit rated modules SSC500 and SSC600 will not be available in 25/26 and 26/27 respectively.
    Core modules
    Twentieth Century Music (MUS5001)
    Students will develop an understanding of the key strands of twentieth century music history (Classical, electroacoustic, popular). The impact of contextual and historical factors on musical developments will be explored, and important styles, composers/artists, and musical features will be examined. Students will continue to develop their analytical skills.
    Stage 2 Placement Year Preparation (SSC500)
    This module is for students in the School of Society and Culture who are interested in undertaking an optional placement in the third year of their programme. It supports students in their search, application, and preparation for the placement, including developing interview techniques and effective application materials (e.g. CVs, portfolios, and cover letters).
    Songwriting (MUS5002)
    Students will explore songwriting from a contextual and practical perspective, equipping them with the skills to write songs in a variety of genres. Lectures and tutorials will encourage students’ understanding of songwriting through listening, writing and reflection.
    Independent Study (MUS5004)
    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: Ensemble Performance (MUS5005)
    This module continues to develop the students’ instrumental or vocal practice through specialised tuition. Students will gain an understanding for theoretical and practical issues pertaining to ensemble performance. They will explore the conventions and practices of ensemble performance in a variety of genres and contexts through lectures and workshops.
    Optional modules
    Psychology of Music (MUS5003MX)
    This module introduces students to concepts in psychoacoustics, psychology and music therapy within a musical context. Students will critically engage with related topics through a series of lectures and workshops, which place theory within musical and creative practice.
    Recording Sound and Music (MUS5006MX)
    Students will learn how to combine their technical recording abilities with their creative skills in music production. They will be introduced to a variety of recording contexts from a practical and theoretical perspective.
  • Optional placement year

  • Undertake an optional placement year where you can build a number of key employability skills. Put theory onto practice, get a taste for your chosen career and expand upon your professional network.
    For students entering Level 4 of their programme in academic year 2024/25 optional non-credit rated modules SSC500 and SSC600 will not be available in 25/26 and 26/27 respectively.

    Core modules

    • School of Society and Culture Placement Year (SSC600)

      Students have the opportunity to gain work experience that will set them apart in the job market when they graduate by undertaking an optional flexible placement year. The placement must be a minimum of 24-weeks (which can be split between a maximum of two different placement providers) and up to a maximum of 48-weeks over the course of the academic year. The placement is flexible and can be undertaken virtually, part or full time and either paid or voluntary. This year allows them to apply and hone the knowledge and skills acquired from the previous years of their programme in the real world.

  • 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. 

    Core modules

    • Negotiated Dissertation Project (MUS6001)

      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.

    Optional modules

    • Ethnomusicology (MUS6002)

      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 how ethnomusicological research can be applied to musicianship and research.

    • Music in the Community (MUS6003MX)

      This module will introduce students to practical applications of music to encourage and expand their understanding of the ‘real-life’ uses of musical skills. A series of lectures will cover the concepts and skills required to carry out music work, before students apply these in practical situations.

    • Electroacoustic and Electronic Music (MUS6004)

      This module will introduce students to the history and repertoire of electroacoustic and electronic music. They will acquire the compositional skills to create music in these genres through practical workshops. The module will encourage students to combine their critical and creative skills to produce pieces in their chosen genre.

    • Sound and Vision (MUS6006)

      This module explores the creation of sound and music for moving image. It investigates historical and contemporary theories and models of interaction between music, sound, action and image, drawing a range of media genres. Participants will explore their own responses to the challenges of creating music for images and live action through practical workshops and individual coursework.

    • Festival Practices (PER6004)

      This module will support students’ entry into the wide field of the creative industries through the planning and development of a professional quality performance product, commensurate to professional practice. Working solo or in small companies, students will engage with mentoring and feedback processes and locate their practice within the context of the contemporary performance practice and Festival platforms.

    • Performance 3: Performance Identity (MUS6005)

      This module aims to develop students into professional performers with a defined musical identity. Students will continue to receive specialised tuition. Lectures with invited speakers and workshops will encourage them to think holistically about their identity as a performer, and design their performance accordingly.

    • American Crime Writing (ENG6005MX)

      This module considers the development of twentieth-century American crime fiction from hard-boiled detectives, to myths of the mafia, and postmodern reinventions of the genre. This module will explore the cultural contexts of American crime writing, prevailing conventions of the genre, as well as challenges to those conventions.

    • Features Journalism Workshop (ENG6008MX)

      This module offers students an in-depth experience of professional writing. We will explore technique in features and literary journalism; music reviews, opinion columns and longer immersion features as well as other contemporary works of non-fiction feature writing, both short- and long-form, from sub-genres including profiles and interviews, autobiography and columns, travel writing, and reportage. We will learn to research and produce our own works of professional nonfiction and critically evaluate them.

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_7204

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.

Personalise your degree

Many of our degrees have a wide range of optional modules that allow you to follow your interests and play to your strengths.
You could graduate with one of the following personalised course title combinations:
Music with Acting


  • Acting for Audio: Radio, Podcast, Voiceover (ACT5002MX)

    This module trains students to work professionally in mediatised/recorded settings. Students learn techniques appropriate to the preparation and performance of non-theatrical formats (such as audio drama) through text-based analysis, narrative and dramatic theory and genre-specific acting techniques.

  • Site Specific Performance (PER5003MX)

    Outdoor, off-campus, real-world performance-making informed by research-led seminar-based explorations of an exciting and diverse range of performative case studies and influential theories. This module gives students the opportunity to study independently and work together to open up for themselves a whole new way of seeing the world as a site for theatre.

  • Auditions and Showreels (ACT6002MX)

    Focused on employment in the theatre industry after graduation, this module is all about auditioning practices and techniques, self-taping, casting calls, character break-downs, working with your ‘pages’ and pulling together your showreel.

Music with Drama


  • Site Specific Performance (PER5003MX)

    Outdoor, off-campus, real-world performance-making informed by research-led seminar-based explorations of an exciting and diverse range of performative case studies and influential theories. This module gives students the opportunity to study independently and work together to open up for themselves a whole new way of seeing the world as a site for theatre.

  • Applied Drama (PER6002MX)

    This module offers students access to community-based professionals and work-based experiences with a meaningful employability focus. Through seminars and independent practice students learn the skills to work with and for community groups, using performance-making as a means to address real-world problems and social issues.

Music with Computing


  • Physical Computing: Creative and Interactive Systems (AMT5006MX)

    Physical computing is all about designing and creating objects that use a range of sensors, actuators, and software to interact with the world around them. Students will learn to develop their own systems using programming environments, electronic components, and microcontroller boards. Most of the module will be organised around practical, hands-on design-and-build exercises.

  • Programming in Python (AMT5005MX)

    This module introduces computer programming in the python language. Learners will gain experience in the core theory and practice of computer programming and will learn core programming concepts from the ground up. Sessions will equip students with program implementation methodologies along with design and problem-solving techniques.

  • Data Science Ethics (AMT6004MX)

    This module introduces allows student a hands-on experience in data science and the ethical considerations associated with our digital footprint. Learners will gain experience in writing code to clean, analyse and interrogate large dataset, understanding what meanings can be revealed from these datasets. Students will also investigate the ethical implications, assumptions and biases that are present in these techniques.

Music with Dance


  • Applied Dance (DAN6001MX)

    This module offers students access to community-based professionals and work-based experiences with a meaningful employability focus. Through co-taught seminars and independent practice students learn the skills to work with and for community groups, applying community dance practice and performance-making as a means to address real-world problems and social issues.

  • Dance Technique (DAN5001MX)

    Students will develop their technical dance skills and ability to apply a range of dynamic qualities and spatial properties in performance. The module will develop students’ understanding of dance as a cultural discourse and foster awareness and appreciation of other cultural dance forms. Students will engage with workshop participation and leading skills, as well as learning how to give, receive and use critical feedback.

  • Dancing for Camera (DAN5002MX)

    Taught by experienced practitioners, students learn to compose and perform dance for camera and to develop and edit material to produce high quality ‘screendance’. Screendance as a hybrid and interdisciplinary form will enable students to develop new ways to innovate and create choreography in the site-specificity of media space.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff


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.
T levels
Merit in any subject, music experience required alongside qualification.
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

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £16,300 £17,100
Part time (Home) £770 £770
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. More information about fees and funding.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

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

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.

Tuition fees for optional placement years

The fee for all undergraduate students completing any part of their placement year in the UK in 2023/2024 is £1,850.
The fee for all undergraduate students completing their whole placement year outside the UK in 2023/2024 is £1,385.
Learn more about placement year tuition fees

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

Insight: Music in the Community module

Students will learn the skills necessary to facilitate music in community settings through placements, where they will work alongside music professionals. By working with groups such as children, disabled people, refugees and dementia patients, students gain real-life experience in music. 
Music of the mind

“The course made me realise that there is a lot more to music than performance, theory and composition.” 

Kate Keyworth, music student

Think about your future

Stay ahead with a course designed in consultation with working musicians to ensure you leave ready for the rapidly changing music environment

BA (Hons) Music graduate Anandi Sala Casanova released her debut single: Swipe

Develop as a well-rounded musician
" ... it gives a lot of room for individual expression, it also introduces you to many new, diverse ideas" Anandi Sala Casanova

Jessica Clarke

Becoming a music therapist
"I was given the opportunity to visit places where music therapy takes place and ask practising therapists many, many questions about the profession"

Hand with sound recording studio mixer - stock photo

Pursue a variety of careers
Let your creativity flourish and develop the skills that will help you forge an interesting, fulfilling career path

Building confidence with an internship

BA (Hons) Music student Natalie gained valuable insight into a real, working recording studio, making her more confident that the music industry has a place for her.
“My internship has been eye opening and just a brilliant experience. Even if you don’t have a full interest in doing studio work, I just feel like as musicians the people who work there have so much knowledge about the music industry. I don't think I would have learned as much as I did choosing any other internship, because they all have their own skills that they bring to the table and they're so ready to share it all with you."
Drumkit at Shearwater Studios
Image courtesy of Shearwater Studios

Meet our experts

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.

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.
Cello silhouette. Credit:  BrianAJackson, courtesy of Getty Images