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Music BA (Hons) 2018/19 entry

Course code:


Study options:

3 years full-time
4 years sandwich


Coventry University


September 2018



Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

+44 (0) 24 7765 2152


The first step to becoming a musician is to think of yourself as one. Get trained up with a Music degree and who knows where you’ll end up!

From the outset, you will be treated as a professional musician at the start of your career. Our ethos is to provide an environment to develop creative, dynamic, able artists and musicians, who are versatile, resourceful and ready for a career in the contemporary and emerging music industries. 

Taught by musicians, this course will allow you to develop your skills and musical ability across a range of musical styles, scenarios and genres. You can also take specialist dedicated courses in music education, sound and film composition.

We enjoy close professional links with international education societies like Dalcroze and national orchestras, such as the Orchestra of the Swan. You will also get the chance to work closely with established professional musicians, such as jazz pianist and De Wolfe Music production composer Andy Quin, classical guitarist Sam Cave, Audio Director on SkySaga Matt Black, soprano Juliana Janes Yaffé and visiting lecturer Tony Iommi, a founding member and guitarist of the pioneering and world famous heavy metal band Black Sabbath.

Why Coventry University?

An award-winning university, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible experience. We continue to invest in both our facilities and our innovative approach to education. Our students benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed. These range from our modern library and computing facilities to dedicated careers advice and our impressive Students’ Union activities.

Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities


Career-ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Teaching Excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

Course essentials

A degree which offers you more, at no extra cost

Accreditation and Professional Recognition

This course is accredited and recognised by the following bodies:

British Authors, Songwriters and Composers Association (BASCA)

As well as extensive professional links across the music industry, we work closely with organisations including BASCA (British Authors, Songwriters and Composers Association) and PRS for Music.

What our alumni say

My three years have been amazing! It's the sort of course that I would happily carry on studying just out of the sheer enjoyment from learning about composition and honing my musical skills.”

Roshan Gunga, BA (Hons) Music, graduated with a first in 2016

Course information

We seek to provide you with the opportunity to develop a solid foundation of knowledge, practical experience and a professional portfolio with which you can launch a career within the global field of music, related industries, teaching or postgraduate study.

Throughout the course, you will be encouraged to be a proactive musician performing in the choir, as well as chamber ensembles, bands and student-led music groups. We see this as a key part of the learning experience for any musician. We also focus on cultivating your professionalism in all aspects of music – in composition, musicology, pedagogy or performance.

Course specification
Download PDF (107Kb)



In the first year, you will encounter new perspectives and explore a range of musical forms and styles both through practical work and theoretical study. You will work in a wide range of musical scenarios, such as song-writing, recording and practical music projects, like Terry Riley’s in C. You will contribute to the choir and other ensembles.

We will encourage you to develop your ideas of music, explore different methods of composing, and performing, and develop projects in our state-of-the-art recording studios, using programmes such as Pro Tools, Logic, Sibelius and Ableton Live and plug-ins.


  • Creative Forum

  • Perspectives on Music

  • Musicians’ Toolbox


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


During the second year, you will have the opportunity to compose and perform in specific contexts and situations from popular music styles to classical and experimental, and to further develop your ensemble performance skills. You will also study aspects of music education to develop your research and analysis skills.

There is a dedicated module in film music composition; principally concerned with movie music, this also considers areas such as Foley, scene-setting, spot-synching and character development in more recent developments, such as the computer game industry. Sound composition develops skills in using music technology to compose in such areas as electroacoustic music and sound design.


  • Applied Music

  • Music for the Moving Image

  • Music Education

  • Ensemble Forum

  • Music and Ideas


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


After your second year, you have an opportunity to take a sandwich year, studying abroad or on professional placement. Past students have experienced placements in local secondary schools, at Mind mental health charity and in staging original music theatre productions in local primary school.


The final year brings together these skills, knowledge, and understanding to produce a professional portfolio that represents who you are as a creative artist. This may include, for example, compositions, songs, live performance or an album. You will also do a special research project, organise and present a public collaborative event as part of the performing arts Degree Show festival. Past students have staged a performance of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, an original album launch night, sound installations at the Herbert Art Gallery and collaborations on productions with dance and theatre students.


  • The Portfolio Musician

  • Professional Brief

  • Professional Practice

  • Research Project

  • Music Collaboration


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


Coventry University has climbed the rankings again to 12th in the UK Guardian University Guide 2018

In more detail...

  • Provides a broad academic and musical skill-base suitable to pursue further training for primary and secondary school teaching.
  • Strong relationship with the United Reform Church and Coventry Cathedral, whose Choirmaster has conducted and rehearsed the University Choir.
  • Performance spaces on-site include a large room with two grand pianos, suitable for small recitals, and The Hub’s Square One, a large performance space kitted out with PA, amps, drums and a grand piano.
  • Perform in the city's live music venues, which previously has included: Studio 54, The Herbert Art Gallery, The Casbah, The Phoenix, The Cross, Drapers (formerly Browns), The Cottage, Taylor John's, Tin Angel, The Cathedral, The Litten Tree, EGO and Nexus.
  • Opportunities to apply to work on collaborative projects with performing arts students and undertake work placements in local primary and secondary schools, University Hospital Coventry, the Performing Arts Service, a number of theatre groups, arts organisations and Visionary Records.
  • Extensive specialist facilities: a music seminar room with grand piano, PA, amps, drum kit, 5.1 surround sound and directly linked to a control room for recording; music practice rooms with pianos, drums and PA; three band rooms; a 5.1 studio and live room; instrument storage; two iMac music tech suites plus further state-of-the-art recording studios running Pro Tools, Logic, Live, Max and Sibelius on Apple macs.
  • Visiting master classes which have included: University singer/songwriter Gwyneth Herbert; composers Nick Ryan, Derek Nesbitt, Kit Turnbull and Juwon Ogungbe; sonic artist Trevor Wishart; classical guitarist Sam Cave; composer and multi-instrumentalist Frank Moon; cellists Madeleine Shapiro and Ben Swartz (cello); and ensembles including, Kurbis Trio, Manchester Camerata, Serenata Wind Quintet and Armonico Consort.

Fully-equipped Media Loan Shop offers additional video, recording, sound and lighting equipment.

Our main study themes are:

  • Musicianship skills: We aim to enable you to develop further your musicianship skills through a collaborative process which will involve all aspects of music-making. It will be practice-based through both solo and ensemble work, which will include the University choir or other University-sponsored ensembles. You will investigate the dynamics of compositional and performance procedures, the effective use of technology, as well as a health and safety. You can cultivate your aural awareness of elements of music, your rhythmic skills and a basic relationship to the keyboard. You will receive one-to-one lessons on your principal instrument or on voice.
  • Music theory: We aim to support an  increase in your knowledge of the theoretical building blocks of music, building on your knowledge of music theory acquired through Grade 5 (or equivalent) level of study. We will examine and exercise a range of basic theoretical frameworks within such fields as classical, contemporary, and jazz, making available to you a broader range of structural elements applicable in your professional work. Topics covered include: keys, scales, intervals, chords, harmonic analysis, musical terminology, and music notation practices, and musical stylistics.
  • Perspectives on music: You will have the chance to learn to situate various pieces of music and types of music-making in their wider cultural, political and historical contexts. You will study music from a broad span of styles and periods up to and including the 21st century and will explore the music from both a structural and contextual perspective. Styles include: popular music, classical and the avant-garde.
  • Studio recording: You can gain a practical insight into recording, mixing and producing music in the contemporary recording studio, whether as a composer or performer. You will explore practically the use of industry-recognised programs such as Pro Tools. The course is underpinned by an introduction into music technology theory and the nature of sound; the course is supported by documentation that investigates aspects of the practice.
  • Music education: You will be introduced to the practice and theory of music education. You will have the opportunity to learn about core educational concepts and principles, as well as different methods and approaches to music education, such as, understanding musical development, composing for education. There will be opportunities to develop your teaching skills, compose for educational scenarios and study current debates and trends in music education practice and research.

The course normally lasts three years when studied full-time and four to six years part-time. Students successfully completing the first two years of the course can opt to spend a year out between the second and third years on placement or study abroad. You can start in September.

The course involves a high level of practice-based coursework – essential if you are to acquire the practical skills to compete for work on graduation. In addition, your personal tutor will review and discuss your progress with you and will be available for advice.

Within ensemble and performance-based work there is, naturally, a high proportion of group work, again a key element within music practice. Your workloads reflect this balance and assessments are planned to take account of this. 

As well as hosting guest speakers from industry, we organise a range of UK field trips to see performances. Previous examples include attending Maida Vale Studios in London to hear the BBC Symphony Orchestra rehearse or a live orchestral performance of the movie There will be Blood at Birmingham Symphony Hall.  

The course includes opportunities to collaborate with students on other courses, with outside agencies and with local and regional communities. You will be encouraged to tour performance work and work with the wider community, thus gaining valuable experience for the future, a form of work-based learning and a more informed perspective on their own musical practice. In the past, for example, music students have worked with Theatre students setting up Fabularium, graduate guitarist Phil Braithwaite touring and performing on TV with Vanessa-Mae, Mencho – Coventry city men’s choir set up by music students, and a sound installation in the Herbert Art Gallery.

Teaching methods include: taught through workshops, seminars, viewing performances (live and recorded), group performance projects, critical listening and lectures.

Meet our staff

Dr. Tom Williams

Tom Williams is principal lecturer in music composition.

Read full profile

Your work will be marked according to how well you achieve the various learning outcomes, which will be clearly set out on all project briefs. Assessment forms vary and include: individual written work and presentations, the production of digital media objects, oral presentation to tutors, blogs and other online media sources, project work, oral, audio and visual presentation, reflective journals and log books, individual and group portfolios and the dissertation.

An estimated percentage breakdown of your final grade assessment is as follows:

  • Practical or project work: 40%
  • Coursework, tests, essays: 30%
  • Group work: 25%
  • Presentations, posters: 5%

To qualify for the award of Bachelor of Arts, a student must satisfy the University requirements of 360 credits. A student who does not wish to progress to a subsequent year of study may apply for an intermediate award of Diploma of Higher Education if they pass a minimum of 240 credits. A Certificate of Higher Education may be awarded to a student with minimum of 120 credits.

30% assessed by coursework, tests, essays

On successful completion, you should have knowledge of:

  • Concepts of professionalism within music (including composition and/or performance) and related disciplines and their relationship to effective musical practice within a global context.
  • Critical approaches appropriate for the examination of contemporary, cultural and historical factors (practitioners, theorists, practices) that have shaped and continue to shape music study and practice.
  • The skills, processes and techniques required for the creation, realisation, presentation and management of work as a music practitioner, working within the digital age.
  • A broad-based knowledge of music practice and theory, and how to use suitable techniques and methods to explain and demonstrate the interrelationship.

On successful completion, you should be able to:

  • Practise and reflect upon the cognitive processes involved in group and in independent work, including creative research.
  • Challenge traditional methods - exploring, utilising and evaluating new and contemporary approaches.
  • Demonstrate conceptual development through research, scholarship and engagement in practice.
  • Apply analytical and critical skills to the evaluation of your own work and to that of other music practitioners.
  • Apply appropriate use of vocabularies, processes, structures and working methods in: the analysis of performances and/or compositions, the practice of performance and/or composition, the making of musical and/or interpretative choices.
  • Engage effectively in and contribute positively towards the realisation of a range of music projects both independent and collaborative.
  • Demonstrate all-round musicianship, including, music theory, aural and ensemble skills, associated with development towards a professional level of music practice.
  • Apply appropriate musical and critical listening skills in a variety of performance, modes and contexts, both conventional and unconventional, as well as in workshops, the recording studio and rehearsal situations.
  • Demonstrate assured ability in the use of appropriate music skills and processes for the generation, structuring, rehearsing and performing of music for a variety of public audiences.
  • Demonstrate fluency in the use of musical notation and, where necessary, computer software to create and/or arrange music.
  • Demonstrate a convincing level of all-round musicianship, including aural and improvisation skills.
  • Apply appropriate music skills in a variety of performance and presentation modes and contexts, both conventional and unconventional.

In a typical teaching week, you will have up to 14 ‘contact’ hours of teaching. This generally breaks down as:

  • Personal tutorial/small group teaching: 2 hours of tutorial (or later individual project supervision) every two weeks.
  • Medium group teaching: 8 hours of workshops or seminars each week.
  • Large group teaching: 4 hours of lectures and large group work each week.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake a further 18 hours of self-directed studying, preparation and revising in your own time.

Music is both international and multicultural. Throughout the course this is recognised and cultivated through the study of a diverse range of musicians, the wide range of musical styles and cultures explored, as well as our internationally renowned teaching staff. We have also been fortunate enough to attract a number of guest speakers, including the New York ‘cello innovator’ (Time Out NY) Madeleine Shapiro and Martin Atkins of cult band, Public Image Ltd.

Internationalisation is a central feature of these courses: in recent years, students have studied abroad for a year in Cyprus, Spain, Finland and Canada. We also try to organise an annual overseas fieldtrip, such as a recent three-day music cultural trip to Vienna, where students took in concerts and the Mozart and Schoenberg museums. We have previously visited Prague and New York, which included seeing the Broadway show Chicago plus workshop with some of the cast, going to a Carnegie Hall to hear the Rite of Spring and to the Metropolitan Opera House to see Donizetti opera.

Global ready

Did you know we help more students travel internationally than any other UK university according to data from the experts in higher education data and analysis, HESA?

In 2015/16, we were able to provide a total of 2101 experiences abroad that lasted at least five days, 76% of which were our own organised trips for undergraduates and 23% from postgraduate travel.

Much of this travel is made possible through our Global Leaders Programme, which enables students to prepare for the challenges of the global employment market, as well as strengthening and developing their broader personal and professional skills.

Explore our international experiences

1st for

international experiences

Sending more students overseas than any other UK uni


Student experiences

The number of student trips abroad for at least 5 days in 2015/16


and counting

The number of students we’ve helped travel internationally so far


global programmes

As well as trips, we offer other opportunities like language courses

What our alumni say

My three years have been amazing! It's the sort of course that I would happily carry on studying just out of the sheer enjoyment from learning about composition and honing my musical skills.”

Roshan Gunga, BA (Hons) Music, graduated with a first in 2016

Entry Requirements

University Course Code: AHU019
A Level BTEC IB Diploma GCSE requirement
BBC DDM 29 points 5 GCSEs at grade A*-C including English Language, or specified equivalents.


Applicants will be required to attend an interview and audition. Applicants should demonstrate a music performance skill of Grade 5 or above (instrument or voice) and/or a sample of compositions. Applicants without A2 Music (C or above) would typically be expected to have Grade 5 Theory (applicants with less music theory under their belt will need to show capability to reach the equivalent level early on in the course).


A-Level applicants are required to have three
 A2 Levels. Coventry University may include AS grades within an offer for certain courses, but we are not able to accept two AS Levels in place of one A2 Level. In some courses it may be necessary for entrants to have passed specific A2 Levels in nominated subjects. Please see the course pages for more information.

Access Diplomas

A pass in the Access Diploma. Plus GCSE English Language at grade A*-C, or a specified equivalent.

Coventry University welcomes applicants who have completed, or who are studying, the Access to HE Diploma developed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). Successful completion of the course will require you to gain 60 credits with at least 45 to be achieved at Level 3 (with the remainder at Level 2). In some cases we will require you to have gained Merit or Distinction grades in a number of units or in nominated subjects. For more information on the entry requirements for your chosen course please see the relevant course pages.

BTEC Level 3 Diplomas

The University will accept the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma for entry to most courses. In some cases we will require applicants to have studied either certain named modules or a specific named Diploma. The appropriate course page will have full information on the entry requirements. The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry to degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that provide a total volume of study that is equivalent to three A2 Levels. For example, you could be studying a BTEC Level 3 Diploma plus an A2 Level, or a BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma plus two A2 Levels. Where a specific A2 or BTEC subject is required for entry then you must be offering this as part of your combination of qualifications.

Please visit our page on European entry requirements for more information about specific country information.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

Unconditional offers

We want to recruit the best students to Coventry and having assessed applicants' past, current and predicted performance and commitment to the course we feel that it is appropriate to reward consistently high-achieving students with an unconditional offer from a top university. It is a commitment from us with regard to an applicants’ potential as an excellent undergraduate and we hope that this will encourage such applicants to join the Coventry community.

Personal statements and references will also be taken into account and, for some degree courses, an interview will form part of the assessment. The criteria for unconditional offers will vary across the University as entry requirements for specific courses differ and not all degree courses will be taking part in the Scheme. The unconditional offer will be confirmed once a selected applicant has made Coventry their firm choice.

Coventry University has assessed that you are capable of achieving excellent grades and we have demonstrated this belief by making you an unconditional offer. This is our commitment to you so then we ask that you reciprocate this commitment by selecting us as your ‘firm’ choice and activating your unconditional offer.

We will consider other qualifications for a pre-result unconditional offer providing that you have an appropriate proven performance at GCSE (or equivalent) level and predicted grades in line with grades that we expect to see at A-level. Other qualifications that we may consider for a pre-result unconditional offer include: the International Baccalaureate Diploma, BTEC Level 3 qualifications, Cambridge Pre-U and combinations of qualifications (e.g. BTECS plus A-levels).

An unconditional offer is what it says it is. So if you don’t meet your predictions then your place at Coventry is still guaranteed. However we would hope and expect that you continue to work hard to make the most of your potential and be best prepared to study at university level.

We can’t but our experience over the years has shown us that students like you with a track record of high grades and excellent predictions are very likely to achieve those grades. Our assessment takes into account all elements of your application to allow us to take a holistic view of your potential. There is still the opportunity to gain one of the Coventry University Scholarships if you achieve the required grades so there is a financial incentive to aim high. Unconditional offers are only made to individuals who have demonstrated their commitment so we believe their focus and determination is unlikely to waver in the final stages of their qualifications.

No, the unconditional offer is only available to those who will take up their place in 2017.

What our alumni say

My three years have been amazing! It's the sort of course that I would happily carry on studying just out of the sheer enjoyment from learning about composition and honing my musical skills.”

Roshan Gunga, BA (Hons) Music, graduated with a first in 2016

Tuition Fees

We pride ourselves on offering competitive tuition fees which we review on an annual basis and offer a wide range of scholarships to support students with their studies. Course fees are calculated on the basis of what it costs to teach each course and we aim for total financial transparency.

For more information, please visit our Finance pages.



September 2018

£9,250 (per year)


If you're a truly outstanding undergraduate candidate we may be able to offer you a Coventry University Scholarship.

Coventry University Scholarships are awarded to recognise truly exceptional sports achievement and academic excellence.



September 2018

£9,250 (per year)


For the September 2017 and January 2018 intakes, we're investing £1 million into scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students.

Our scholarships are worth up to £10,000 and every student that applies will be considered. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!



September 2018

£14,850 (per year)

Course essentials at no extra cost

We're committed to communicating study costs clearly to make sure you're not faced with having to make any unexpected payments.

This is why our ‘Flying Start’ package provides you with a few course essentials. Your full-time fee for an undergraduate degree will cover the following:

UK field trips

Any mandatory site visits and trips within the United Kingdom.

Key material

This can include core textbooks, software and equipment.

Laser prints

1,000 A4 sides of black and white laser printing credits per year.

Optional year

Pay no tuition fees for optional work placements or study abroad trips.

What our alumni say

My three years have been amazing! It's the sort of course that I would happily carry on studying just out of the sheer enjoyment from learning about composition and honing my musical skills.”

Roshan Gunga, BA (Hons) Music, graduated with a first in 2016

Career prospects

This course places your future employability at its core, equipping you with the academic, personal and professional skills and experience to enable you to enter the creative industries in a variety of roles on graduation. Throughout your studies, you’ll develop your own professional practice portfolio which you’ll use when looking for work.

Typical options may include: teaching; arts management; examiners; musical arranging; incidental music and concert-based music; performers as session musicians and tour artists; setting up bands and ensembles; developing careers as composers working in such areas as: film and dance, sound-libraries and the games industry.

Our Creative Futures employment team is on hand to offer tailored career and enterprise support if you wish to gain employment or take advantage of professional practice opportunities within course specific industries. Our dedicated enterprise officers also offer valuable assistance on how to begin as a freelancer/entrepreneur. 

Coventry University is committed to preparing you for your future career and giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The University's Careers and Employability team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.

Where our graduates work

Our graduates pursue careers as performers, sound designers and composers. This degree also enables direct progression to suitable courses while others undertake the appropriate qualifications to become teachers in schools and colleges, or they become freelance instrumental or music theory teachers. Graduates also work with community arts organisations or as arts administrators.

Notable successes include a leading professional guitarist and author of a series of advanced guitar handbooks, a recording artist who has released three EPs to date, a YouNow live-streamer and songwriter, and an examiner for Rockschool.

What our alumni say

My three years have been amazing! It's the sort of course that I would happily carry on studying just out of the sheer enjoyment from learning about composition and honing my musical skills.”

Roshan Gunga, BA (Hons) Music, graduated with a first in 2016

By accepting your offer of a place with us, a Student Contract (“the Contract”) will be formed between you and the University. The Contract will detail all of your rights and also the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and will also contain all of the obligations that the University owes to you.  We would encourage you to read the Student Contract before you accept any offer of a place at the University. A copy of the Contract can be found here.

The tuition fees stated on the course webpage, prospectus and your offer letter will apply for the duration of your course, subject only to changes to the law or government requirement.

*Due to a delay in the UK Government's announcement of the Retail Price Index, the University is unable to set its fees for entrants in 2018 at this stage. Please note that we set fees for individual courses, and fees from previous years are no indication of fees for future years.