The University of Southampton

W300 BA Music (3 years)

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

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.

From medieval polyphony to global hip hop, our music degree courses provide a broad musical education covering history, culture and society taught in exciting research-led modules. Our course does not favour one kind of music over another, and our flexible approach means that you can choose modules from any other discipline to complement your music studies. You will be taught in tutorials, seminars and lectures by world-class academics. Our skills-oriented training will provide valuable transferable skills to prepare you for any career that requires critical thinking, teamwork and writing skills.

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 team working experience are required.


What is this? (More Information) This information is based on historical data and may have been aggregated. Find out more.

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 modules in range of musical subjects. You may also choose to take up to 25% of your programme in subjects from other disciplines throughout your degree programme. If you pursue enough modules in another subject, you can add this subject as a Minor to your Music BA degree.

Music department modules fall into four main areas.  Each of these features a broad diversity of approaches and musical styles:

  • History and Criticism: introduces historical, analytical and ethnomusicological approaches to a wide range of topics, from Mozart in Vienna to Global Hip Hop, from Music in the Middle Ages to Jazz Theory and more.
  • 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. We aim to support diverse performance interests: our students can pursue heavy metal or classical oboe, music theatre or operatic voice, classical sax or funk, with expert supervision from our performance staff
  • Composition and music technology: includes extensive project work and advanced studio techniques, leading to the submission of a collection of original compositions in classical or commercial styles, or both. Modules in song writing, orchestration and arrangement, and music technology support composition from video show reels to string quartets.
  • Arts Administration, Music Therapy and Community Music: includes modules aimed at gaining knowledge and professional skills in areas where music graduates can build innovative careers

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To read about our former students and their current careers visit

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 to 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.

We accept all A levels except General Studies.

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

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students who flagged in this way will be made an offer which is lower than the typical offer for that programme.

A typical contextual offer is BBB from three A levels including Grade B in Music, and Grade 8 or demonstrated equivalent standard* or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Please see our contextual admission pages for more information.


International Foundation Year

International students who do not currently meet our entry requirements may be able to join this course on successful completion of our International Foundation Year. Find out more about the Foundation Year.


Selection process:
Average applications per place:

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

Learn a language

Year 2

Semester Two
MUSI2123Credit: 15
MUSI2011Credit: 15
MUSI2015Credit: 15
MUSI2024Credit: 15
MUSI2092Credit: 15
MUSI2128Credit: 15

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.

Semester One
MUSI3003Credit: 30
MUSI3017Credit: 30
MUSI3021Credit: 30
HUMA3015Credit: 15
MUSI3120Credit: 15
MUSI3011Credit: 15
MUSI3012Credit: 15
MUSI3019Credit: 15
MUSI3100Credit: 15
MUSI3103Credit: 15
MUSI3135Credit: 15
Semester Two
MUSI3003Credit: 30
MUSI3017Credit: 30
MUSI3021Credit: 30
MUSI3128Credit: 15
MUSI3011Credit: 15
MUSI3012Credit: 15
MUSI3101Credit: 15
MUSI3134Credit: 15
MUSI2015Credit: 15
MUSI2024Credit: 15

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

NameYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
BA Music2018Full time£9,250£16,536
BA Music2018Part time£4,625£8,268
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 The University Print Centre also offer a printing and copying service as well as a dissertation/binding service. Current printing and copying costs can be found here They also provide a large format printing service, e.g. Academic posters. Details of current costs can be found here£0.05-1.00

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

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. Software Licenses:All software is provided
PlacementsStudents on placement programmes can expect to cover costs for health and travel insurance, accommodation and living expenses; travel costs; 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.
PlacementsPlacement Salary: It is expected that a student will receive at least the National Minimum Wage during their placement year. You are strongly advised not to undertake an unpaid placement. Tuition Fees: Students undertaking a Year in Employment will be charged a placement year tuition fee of 20% of your normal annual tuition fee. Travelling to and from interviews/work place. Expenditure to obtain professional and appropriate work attire Securing accommodation Nothing higher costs of living in some locations Occupational Health, DBS checks or vaccinations It is your responsibility to confirm with your Placement Provider who will fund these types of expense
OtherVocal and Instrumental Lessons: Specialist vocal and instrumental tuition for single and joint honours Music students taking performance modules is generally provided free at the point of delivery. When lessons happen away from Highfield Campus students are expected to cover the cost of travel to and from their lessons. Students are expected to cover the cost of travel to and from off-campus rehearsal, performance and music examination venues. Most of those we use are within walking distance of Highfield Campus. Students taking instrumental lessons are expected to own and maintain their own instruments, maintenance including the cost of repairs and of replacement parts (new strings, drumheads etc.). Students are strongly advised to arrange insurance for their instruments, covering all the usual risks including theft from places of residence and from university storerooms. Storage space for instruments is available in Music Department storerooms. Dozens of students have access to them: it is not possible to guarantee security. The university will accept no responsibility for loss or damage to instruments left in storerooms. Students taking performance modules will be given keys to practice rooms and storerooms. Keys must be returned on or before graduation day. Students will be charged £10.00 per replacement key in the event of loss. Jazz and pop students must buy and use their own ear protectors if asked to do so by a teacher. 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. Turner Sims -- the university concert hall -- makes 10 tickets for each of its own-promoted concerts available free of charge to Music on a first come, first served basis. (There are very rare exceptions: gala concerts intended to raise funds for Turner Sims for instance.) Monday and Friday lunchtime concerts in Turner Sims organised by the Music Department are free of charge both to Music students and to the wider public. External promoters hiring Turner Sims can charge what they like for admission to concerts. Student-run performing arts societies such as the University of Southampton Symphony Orchestra, JazzManix and Showstoppers (there are many others which Music students might like to join) are free to set their own membership subscriptions. The Music Department does not contribute directly towards the cost of running these societies. ACADEMIC MODULES Very few Music lecturers insist that students purchase specific set texts. Copies of set texts are made available in Hartley Library, if necessary in the reference-only "course collection" or on short-term loan. Students may wish to own copies of recommended books but are free to choose which to buy and which to borrow. Some lecturers prepare course handbooks for the modules they are teaching. These are generally made available free of charge to students taking the modules. For unusually bulky handbooks there may be a charge to pay -- never more than £10.00 per copy. Music software packages are available for licensed use at designated university computer workstations free of charge to Music students. Students who wish to install compatible software on their own computers will have to cover the cost themselves. Students using the university's Follow Me print service will be charged per page printed out, at rates listed here: Field trips are infrequent and almost always optional. When occasionally they do happen students involved may be expected to cover travel costs and to pay for admission to the venue(s) visited. Staff organizing trips make every effort to keep costs to a minimum, negotiating group and student discounts whenever possible. No one trip is likely to cost more than £20 total.

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.

Breakdown of study time and assessment

Proportion of time spent in scheduled learning, teaching and independent study
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Scheduled learning & teaching study14%13%10%
Independent study86%87%90%
Placement study0%0%0%
Proportion of assessment by method
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Written exam assessment23%6%0%
Practical exam assessment25%41%40%
Coursework assessment52%53%60%

Study Locations

Avenue campus

Avenue campus

Only a few minutes walk from Highfield Campus, Avenue provides a purpo...Find out more

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