Music HND

UCAS code 003W

What is special about this course?

The HND Music course gives you the opportunity to develop practical performance skills that will prepare you for a career in the music industry.
You will build your performance experience as a solo performer and develop the necessary skills to enable you to play as part of a band, performing locally, nationally and internationally.

Special features

  • Opportunities to perform your music locally and further afield
  • Study full- or part-time to suit your personal and professional circumstances
  • Develop your skills on your chosen instrument through one to one lessons with your tutor
  • Develop a range of practical skills including recording techniques, instrumental tuition, session skills and stagecraft


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

Entry requirements

Entry to HND Music Year 1 (HNC Music):

  • 1 Scottish Higher at Grade C or above
  • 1 A level at Grade D or above
  • NC Music
  • You will be invited to interview / audition to assess your musical ability

Direct entry to HND Music Year 2:

  • Successful completion of HNC Music plus an interview and audition to assess your musical ability
  • You should have your own instrument and be able to maintain it well. For those who play instruments such as Drums or Piano / Keyboard, these are available on campus at West Highland College UHI
  • We have a fully equipped recording studio and PA system available for use within the music department

Year 1 - HNC

You will study the following units*:

  • Creative industries infrastructure
  • Music theory 1
  • Music: graded unit 1
  • Working in the creative industries
  • Music first study 1: instrument
  • Music first study 1: composition
  • Professional practice for musicians

Option units may include:

  • Keyboard skills for music production
  • Music history 1
  • Songwriting 1
  • Digital audio workstations 1
  • Creative project
  • Music and image: video
  • Music: live performance skills 1
  • Music: second study composition
  • Recording techniques 1
  • Sequencing and programming

Option units available may vary depending on study location, for more information contact your chosen campus

*units are subject to revision

Year 2 - HND

You will study the following units:

  • Music: first study instrument OR Music: first study composition
  • Music: online promotion
  • Music: graded unit 2

Optional units may include:

  • Music: instrumental tuition
  • Music: session skills
  • Music: stagecraft for musicians
  • Digital audio workstations
  • Music: live performance
  • Music: history and analysis
  • Music: theory

How will I study my course?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We continue to review government guidance and will inform you of any further changes to the information provided below about your course. You will study the course through our blended learning approach. In semester one, September 2020, the theory elements will be delivered online through a combination of video conference seminars, tutor-supported study and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You will also have the opportunity to do an online induction at the start of the course. On-campus activities and practical sessions will be introduced in line with the developing Scottish Government public health measures and guidance, including social distancing, most likely in semester two (from January 2021).
  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • You will work by way of face-to-face lectures and tutorials in the classroom, plus practical work in the music studio

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 2 years @ 40 hours per week (HND only: 1 year @ 40 hours per week)
  • Part-time: 4 years @ 20 hours per week (HND only: 2 years @ 20 hours per week)

Where can I study my course?

  • West Highland College UHI

Start date

  • September
  • January (part-time only)


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, including EU/EEA and Swiss nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2020-212021-22
Full-time per year £1,285 £1,285
Part-time (per HN credit) £86 £86

Note: The Scottish Government set this fee which has not yet been confirmed for 2021-22 so may be subject to change.

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2020-212021-22
Full-time per year £6,720 £6,915
Part-time (per HN credit) £448 £461

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

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

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK, including EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status in the UK, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2020-212021-22
Full-time per year £7,020 £7,230
Part-time (per HN credit) £468 £482

Part-time study is not open to international student requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant UHI partner college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have completed this course, you might like to consider a career as a freelance performer, music instructor or a session musician.

Can I progress into further study?

You may wish to consider progression into year 3 of the following courses:

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Music HND

I want to start in Jan/Feb 2021 or Aug/Sep 2021 or Jan/Feb 2022

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.