Course Overview

The top-up degree has been designed for students who have successfully completed an HND or Foundation degree in a relevant subject and now wish to convert their existing qualification into a full BA honours qualification. This flexible way of studying allows students from other institutions the opportunity to join our existing 3rd year BA (Hons) students for the final year.  It also provides a natural progression route for students completing one of our own foundation degrees.

You will be encouraged to develop your thinking and understanding to become an independent and critically aware practitioner in your chosen field. This will include undertaking a major piece of theoretical work, as well as improving your technical and creative skills through a programme of negotiated projects. You’ll also be expected to exhibit, take up live briefs and competitions, together with any opportunities that will improve your understanding of the creative industries and your own professional development. In the majority of our HE courses, there will opportunities to exhibit at a national level at major events such as New Designers.

Critical Studies

These studies are entirely focused around the students’ course area, providing a solid grounding in subject history and in critical ways of thinking about creative practice. The Critical Studies programme enables students to set their own work in a wider context, and also helps them develop a better understanding of how creative work can be interpreted and assessed.  Click here for more details

Progression and Careers

You will have a solid foundation to work as a self-employed and self-sustaining professional musician. Potential career options include performace, songwriting, production, music business, education, event management and marketing, music journalism. Students can also progress to further postgraduate studies.

Entry Requirements

  • Successful completion of a Foundation Degree (FdA) or HND in a related subject.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English – proof of an overall IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all sections (reading, writing, listening & speaking)
  • Recognition of Prior Learning Opportunities - The college welcomes applications from students with prior learning and/or previous experience.  Further details on eligibility can be found on page 15 of our Admissions Policy.  Alternatively, please contact us at and we can advise you on the college’s and the University Awarding body requirements (evidence of prior learning will need to be provided).

What you will study:

At Level 6 you will study:


Popular Music Research will consist of lectures/seminars dedicated to aspects of popular music research such as musicology, audience studies, performance studies and/or cultural studies. You will work toward the submission of a focused piece of work examining a specific area of music. 

Preparing and Leading Music will examine and explore the wide variety of contexts within which there is a requirement for music leadership which might include such areas as: teaching, ensemble management, musical theatre, band leading, music in worship, production, musical directing and academic delivery. You will engage in a practice based project within which you will undertake research, engage in and lead sessions, and document your progress and development.
Principal Study 3 1-to-1 sessions run throughout the academic year with an instrumental tutor for one hour per week (24 weeks). The focus is on the development of your musical voice in appropriate repertoire both independently and in a group context within which you may be required to take a leadership role.   
Negotiated Practical Project (Option)
Negotiated Practical Project is a self-directed practical module enabling you to engage in a research informed investigation leading to a substantial practical piece. The module enables you to determine the area of investigation in consultation with your supervising tutor.
Dissertation (Option)
Dissertation is a largely independent academic research module resulting in the production of a large scale written piece. You will be supported with this by an academic supervisor within tutorial sessions throughout the year.
The Session Musician (Option)
The Session Musician is a practical module providing you with an opportunity to experience a range of the likely musical scenarios you may encounter during the course of a music career. You will undertake practical workshop sessions engaging in simulated ‘real’ tasks and then be provided with an opportunity to evaluate them weekly.