Popular Music BA (Hons)

UCAS code W310
Information line 01463 279190

What is special about this course?

Created by professional musicians, this honours degree will help you to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence required by employers, and for self-employment, in the music industry.

The BA (Hons) Popular Music degree at Perth College UHI is a highly rated and well-established music course that will equip you with the portfolio of skills and knowledge required for a successful career in today’s music industries. On successful completion you will be able to enter areas of employment such as performing, composing, song-writing, instrumental teaching, music production and enter academic teaching and research through future postgraduate study.

By learning from staff who are professional performers, composers and academics, you will be encouraged to thoroughly develop both your creative talents and your critical thinking in a positive, stimulating learning environment.

You will develop and strengthen a variety of skills such as music theory, research and analysis and be supported and guided by staff to explore your full creative potential in all course work - from song writing and composition, to collaboration in band/ensemble work, to how you engage with research in understanding the field of music industries. Additionally, you will engage with studies in music business and audio to complement your core coursework in popular music.

Special features

  • You will benefit from excellent facilities on campus, including music production workstations (Pro-Tools and Logic), band rehearsal rooms, a professional performance theatre and access to three acoustically designed Eastlake state-of-the-art recording studios
  • You will experience real life scenarios of performance situations
  • Instrumental study is part of the course
  • An impressive guest speaker programme forms part of the course
  • You will have the opportunity to perform solo and with a band
  • You will have the opportunity to network with and perform in renowned venues and festivals around Scotland
  • You can study full time or part time to suit your personal circumstances


We offer modern student accommodation in Perth ideally suited to students on this course.

Entry requirements

  • Entry to year one, HNC, is 1 Scottish Higher at grade C or above OR
  • 1 A level at grade D or above OR
  • NC Music
  • Prospective students without the standard entry requirements as listed above are encouraged to apply

You will be asked to attend an interview. You should prepare and perform a piece that demonstrates your skillset on your instrument or voice and, for writers, this can be an original composition or song. As a guideline, grade 4/5 is a rough equivalent of performance level for this course. However, consideration will also be given to musicians with similar experience that have not participated in graded repertoire. 

The interview will give you the opportunity to see our campus, meet staff and learn more about the course, including the resources and learning opportunities we offer to support your development.

Advanced entry to year two:

  • Direct entry to year two may be possible if you have completed the HNC Music, with 15 credits, and a B in the graded unit.

Access routes

  • NC Music

Year 1 - HNC

Year one is the HNC Music

Year 2 - DipHE

Core modules are:

  • Creative industries analysis
  • Creative project
  • First study 1
  • Applied music theory
  • Songwriting, composition and production

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • Music industry touring
  • Second study 1
  • Recording technology for popular musicians
  • Audio for multimedia
  • Live audio production
  • Multitrack studio techniques
  • Digital music industries

Year 3 - BA

Core modules are:

  • Themed research project
  • Entrepreneurship
  • First study 2
  • Ensemble performance

You will also choose two option modules which may include:

  • Songwriting: context and process
  • Screen composition
  • Teaching and learning practices
  • Second study 2
  • Multitrack mixdown techniques
  • Transmedia applications
  • Managing and leadership
  • Music publishing and law

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

Core modules are:

  • Research paper or dissertation
  • Creative honours project
  • Personal employability strategy

You will also choose two option modules which may include:

  • Final composition project
  • Community placement project
  • Sound design for fixed media
  • Digital business
  • Performance practice lab
  • Social media campaign management

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)

You will learn through a combination of face-to-face lectures and tutorials, practical work, and online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors.

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time: 8 years @ 20 hours per week, negotiable

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

  • Perth College UHI

Start date



For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

YearLevel2019-20 Full-time2019-20 Part-time
Year 1 HNC £1,285 £86 (per HN credit)
Year 2 DipHE £1,820 £215 (per 20 credit module)
Year 3 Degree £1,820 £215 (per 20 credit module)
Year 4 Honours £1,820 £215 (per 20 credit module)

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) and with a term-time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

YearLevel2019-20 Full-time2019-20 Part-time
Year 1 HNC £6,720 £448 (per HN credit)
Year 2 DipHE £9,000 £1,500 (per 20 credit module)
Year 3 Degree £9,000 £1,500 (per 20 credit module)
Year 4 Honours free** £1,500 (per 20 credit module)

**4th (Honours) year free only for students studying full-time who have paid for previous 3 years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living whilst studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

YearLevel2019-20 Full-time2019-20 Part-time***
Year 1 HNC £6,700 £457 (per HN credit)
Year 2 DipHE £11,650 £1,940 (per 20 credit module)
Year 3 Degree £11,650 £1,940 (per 20 credit module)
Year 4 Honours £11,650 £1,940 (per 20 credit module)

***There is no part-time study option for Tier 4 sponsored international students.

Further information on international course fees.

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time RUK and International undergraduate students for continuous and contiguous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact Perth College UHI for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed your BA (Hons) Popular Music, a variety of career paths will be open to you in the music and media industries.In the past, graduates have gone on to work in many areas of the music industry and education. Career destinations include:

  • Instrumental teaching practice
  • Performance, composition and production freelance opportunities in the creation of albums and television commercials, and video games scores.
  • International touring and recording.
  • West End theatre productions

If you have the talent and determination and are prepared to develop this by study in an excellent learning environment then these possibilities are now open to you for a future career.

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress to the Music Mmus or to other masters or postgraduate study such as a PGDE or TQFE.

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I completed my course in Popular Music and graduated with first class honours in October 2016. As soon as I finished I went on a mini tour across Scotland; performing in Aberdeen, Perth, Edinburgh, Inverness, Dunfermline and Dundee. I've also played at the Box in Glasgow and performed at two local festivals – Aberdeen International Youth Festival and Celebrate Aberdeen. Since graduating, I have been writing new music, performing as often as I can, and recording a new track which will be released soon.

Zoe Faulkner graduated from Perth College UHI in 2016.

Apply for Popular Music BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2020

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.