The University of Southampton

W300 BA Music (3 yrs)

Southampton has one of the largest and most diverse music programmes in the UK, offering a high degree of flexibility and student choice.

Book your placeVisit us at an Open Day on 3 or 4 September 2016

Introducing your degree

Choose a BA in Music at the University of Southampton and develop your musical skills on this uniquely diverse and flexible programme. Study the basics through foundations in analysis, counterpoint and harmony. Explore music history from medieval times right to the present. Listen to music from around the world.
Learn to write your own music. Take vocal and instrumental lessons with a specialist teacher. Put the skills learned on this BA degree to use by taking part in high-profile performance projects delivered by the Music Department and by Student Union performing groups. Graduates from this bachelors degree go on to pursue careers in the music industry, in music education, in music therapy and in many other fields where creative ability and teamworking experience are required.


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Programme Structure

In your first year a core programme of musical studies provides a broad grounding in the fundamental elements of music performance, composition and academic musical study.

In your second and third years a free choice is available from a wide selection of courses in range of subjects. You may also choose to take up to 25% of your programme in subjects from other disciplines throughout your degree programme.

Most subjects offered by the Music department come under three main themes:

  • History and Criticism: introduces historical, analytical and repertory studies, ethnomusicology and sociological topics, from the Middle Ages to the present.
  • Performance: supports instrumental and vocal performance (solo or ensemble) in classical, jazz and pop styles, with 20 hours of fully funded individual tuition per year for solo performers, plus fortnightly master classes, professional workshops and group coaching.
  • Composition: includes extensive project work and advanced studio techniques, leading to the submission of a collection of original compositions, either classical or commercial.

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View the programme specification document for this course

Key Facts

Our student satisfaction rates regularly top 90% in the annual National Student Survey, and in the 2014 NSS, more than 92% of Southampton Music students said their lecturers were enthusiastic and made their topics interesting.

Flexible course structure allows you to tailor your programme to your needs, across performance, composition and academic music study

Purpose-built concert hall (Turner Sims) supporting the most extensive series of professional concerts and workshops of any UK university

Dedicated facilities, including: keyboard room, percussion room, jazz and pop rehearsal room, nine further teaching and ensemble rehearsal rooms, 16 practice rooms, three electronic studios plus live room, and 16 networked multimedia workstations

Many large-scale Students’ Union performing groups (orchestras, bands, choirs and theatre groups), in addition to music ensembles

Did you know?

You can take this programme with a year abroad at one of our 173 partner institutions in over 24 countries – use code W301 when you apply through UCAS.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
GCE A-level

AAB - BBB, including grade B in Music; and Grade 8 or demonstrated equivalent standard*

Applicants taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) will also be made an alternative offer one grade below the standard offer, conditional on an A grade in the EPQ.

General Studies is not accepted

International Baccalaureate34 - 30 points, 17 - 15 at higher level, including 6 in higher level Music, and Grade 8 or demonstrated equivalent standard* *Equivalence to Grade 8 is ascertained by the relevant Head of Study (Strings/Woodwind/Brass/Piano and Percussion/Early Music/Jazz and Pop/Vocal Studies) auditioning the student. This can be done in person or by sending a video web link (e.g. Youtube)
International applications

We welcome applications from international students. Helpful information on applying, meeting a University representative in your country, or improving your English language levels can be found on the International Office website. If English is not your first language you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and Reading and 6.0 in Listening and Speaking.

Alternative qualifications

We welcome applications from candidates offering qualifications other than A and AS levels (including BTEC, European Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate and Scottish Highers). You will be expected to attain an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University to an A level applicant. Contact us for further information on equivalencies for these qualifications and others not listed here.

Contextual Offers

Humanities supports contextual admission.  A typical offer for an applicant qualifying as contextual is in the range of BBB to BBC from 3 A levels or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Selection process:
Average applications per place:

UCAS application. Those offered places are invited to attend a visit day, which features a range of talks and other events, and multiple opportunities to ask questions.

Selection is normally based on actual or predicted grades plus the reference and personal statement on your UCAS application. Exceptionally we may ask you to come for an interview before making an offer.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

Historical and critical topics: music history and analysis from the Middle Ages to the present; ethnomusicology; jazz and pop; issues in sociology and contemporary culture
Performance: solo and ensemble performance in early music; classical and contemporary art music; jazz and pop
Composition: free composition (classical and/or commercial, television and film)
Orchestration and arranging
Music business
Music therapy and community music

Innovation modules outside of your subject area

Our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers our students the chance to take optional modules outside their core disciplines. This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future.

View the Curriculum Innovation modules for this course

Learn a language

Some of our courses also give you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover ten languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level.

View the language modules on offer for this course

Year 3

Music finalists are required to take one double module from the following list: MUSI 3008 Performance Recital, MUSI 3003 Commercial Composition, MUSI 3017 Composition Portfolio, MUSI 3021 Research Project.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Course fees for 2016/17 full-time UK and EU undergraduate students are typically £9,000 per year. Tuition fees for international students differ between each course. Most part-time courses cost 50% of the full-time fee.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this programme typically also have to pay for:

Printing and copyingWhere possible, coursework such as essays; projects; dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. The University printing costs are currently: A4 - 5p per side (black and white) or 25p per side (colour) A3 - 10p per side (black and white) or 50p per side (colour) Please Note: Paper sizes not recognised by the printing devices will prompt you to select the size and then charge a minimum of 50p per black and white copy and a maximum of £1 per colour copy. You can pay for your printing by using the money loaders or by using print copy payment service by going to Please remember that we are unable to refund any credit that has not been used by the end of your course, so please consider this when topping up your printing/copy account. You will be given a printing allowance of £1 per 7.5 ECTS MUSI towards the costs of printing lecture handouts and/or practical scripts. The University Print Centre also offers a printing and copying service as well as a dissertation/binding service. Current printing and copying costs can be found at They also provide a large format printing service, e.g. Academic posters. Details of current costs can be found at£0.05-1.00

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentInstruments and equipment: Hartley Library holds a very large collection of sheet music which students can borrow free of charge. Students who want or are advised by teachers to buy their own music, perhaps in order to mark it up, will be expected to cover the cost themselves. The Music Department has a large collection of keyboard instruments to which keyboard students are allowed free access. It owns a number of other instruments (piccolo trumpet, bass sax, basset horn etc.) which students can borrow on their teacher's recommendation. We do not charge for the use of them but do recommend that students make private insurance arrangements when taking them off campus, especially on tour. If not returned intact they must be replaced like for like at the student's expense or at their insurer's. Students may wish to hire professional accompanists to play with them in performance exams. Accompanists charge varying levels of fee (rarely more than £60.00 per exam accompaniment, including prior rehearsal) and students are expected to pay the fees themselves.
EquipmentIT: Computer discs or USB drives Students are expected to provide their own portable data storage device.
EquipmentIt Software licenses: All software is provided
EquipmentIT: Hardware It is advisable that students provide their own laptop or personal computer, although shared facilities are available across the University campus.
PlacementsPlacements (including Study Abroad Programmes): Students on placement programmes can expect to cover costs for health and travel insurance, accommodation and living expenses, travel costs and visa costs. This will vary depending on which country you are travelling to. Specific details on what additional costs there will be are detailed in the individual module profiles which can be found under the modules tab of the programmes details of your programme.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

Employability is embedded into our modules from the first year onwards, right from the first lecture. We offer a number of optional employability modules.

This degree prepares you for a variety of careers both within and outside music. Our alumni have gone on to work in broadcasting, performance, education, music therapy, composition, commercial music and information technology, among other areas.

Katherine Hattersley graduated in 2010. “A week after graduating, I got my job as a Fundraising and Membership Officer for Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra,” she said. “My degree and community work at Southampton definitely helped”.

Learning & Assessment


Our Music course at Southampton offers the wide and varied learning experience you expect from a leading research university with a long tradition of commitment to the arts. Our flexible and innovative curriculum provides a wide choice of topics, allowing you to focus your study in particular areas or to pursue a broader range of interests. You will have a personal academic tutor to help you in making the best choices for your ambitions. We positively encourage you to challenge yourself and to try new things, including forms and styles of music you may never have encountered before. You may choose to study only Music modules, or to vary your experience by adding individual modules or a minor in another subject area.

We employ many different formats in our teaching. In every year of your course you can expect a range of experiences from one-on-one performance lessons and composition or academic tutorials, to small-group seminars, to larger workshops, lectures, rehearsals and performances. Assessment of your work is equally varied. Depending on the modules you choose, you will be assessed through performance, coursework portfolios, presentations, group work and other assignments as well as essays and exams.

We are keen to help you gain employment skills within and outside the curriculum. Our course features school placements, arts administration internships, and other opportunities for you to gain valuable experience to enhance your learning and employability. Throughout your study you will not only hone your specialist music expertise but also gain general skills in time management, communication and problem-solving that will serve you well in any career.


Study Locations

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