Popular Music MA

Study level: Postgraduate
Students playing a keyboard

This course aims to develop your creative, critical, technical and culturally aware skills as a popular music practitioner to develop, craft, perform, co-create, immerse and share in the field of popular music.

Year of entry

2024-25

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode

Full-time
Part-time

Duration

1 year full-time
Up to 2 years, with professional experience

Course code

AHT098

Start date

September 2024
January 2025
May 2025


Course overview

We welcome popular musicians in songwriting and performance keen to explore innovative and sustainable creative practice and to develop avenues of interdisciplinary and culturally aware collaborations.

This course aims to attract popular music performers and songwriters from around the world, and creative artists who seek new and dynamic ways in which to explore, extend, challenge and hone their craft in a global context.

  • You'll aim to operate confidently in a range of professional environments as a critically astute practising popular musician applying established and innovative approaches.
  • You should learn to excel in working both collaboratively and independently as creative popular musicians.
  • We aim for you to develop key transferable skills that enable you to operate at the forefront of the emerging new music industries.
A star in the centre of a rosette.

Rated Gold Overall

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2023

Five stars in a speech bubble.

5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

City buildings next to a tree.

Top 5 Student City in England (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2025

Why you should study this course

Throughout this course, you will have the opportunity to develop avenues of interdisciplinary, sustainable, and culturally aware collaborations that can challenge current approaches to the field, and open-up opportunities for innovative popular music practice2.

  • Access to our fantastic facilities: state of the art recording studios (including SSL and Neve desks), band rooms and performance spaces, iMac music suite including Pro Tools, Logic, Live, Max, Dorico, a Dolby Atmos/ambisonics studio and a VR/AR immersive studio4.
  • As a graduate, you may find yourself working in the composing, recording, production, games, and screen industries, as well as across wider areas of the new music and audio economy.
  • Dedicated, experienced and qualified teaching staff with a mixture of commercial, academic and research-related expertise at an international level (staff may be subject to change).
  • Strong emphasis on the course on applied musical practice within a contextual and critical framework.

Accreditation and professional recognition

This course has been accredited1 and recognised by the following bodies:

Steinberg Certified Training Centre

Steinberg Certified Training Centre

This course is accredited by Steinberg. Steinberg Certified Trainers and Training Centers help you get the most from Steinberg products. We use the latest Steinberg software and have extensive current product and systems knowledge.


AudioFusion logo

AudioFusion

This course is accredited by AudioFusion. AudioFusion develops forward-thinking training tools for audio engineers and musicians to further their careers in the sound related arts. The first software, Soundcheck, is an AES Student Design Winner and is now used in courses across the globe. Since launching, AudioFusion has taken their pro audio simulations to different platforms such as 3D, Virtual Reality and continues to advocate the benefits of virtual simulations in education.



What you'll study

Our Popular Music MA course is designed as a carousel with three points of entry in the academic year (January-May-September) where each semester has set modules that do not recur until the academic cycle is completed.

Throughout this course you should benefit from expert instruction, in addition to meaningful connectivity with research and practice-based expertise from across broader media, production, composition and performance disciplines. You will have the opportunity to collaborate, across MA courses and/or externally, on project-oriented modules; which allow natural interdisciplinarity and promote a greater contextual understanding of your chosen specialism within the broader media and performing arts sectors.

During your first semester on the course you can apply for the extended route, which offers an opportunity to reflect upon and gain professional experience through three semesters of internship or placement with a host of different organisations2.

Modules

With professional experience option

The professional experience opportunity2 enables you the opportunity to apply for optional professional experience in semester 1, which, upon successfully securing an opportunity, will extend the duration of your master’s to either 16, 20 or 24 months. The professional experience provides an opportunity for you to develop expertise and experience in your chosen field with the aim of enhancing your employability.

Please note that the optional professional experience modules incur an additional tuition fee, which for 1 semester of professional experience is £1,333.33, for 2 semesters of professional experience is £2,666.67, and for 3 semesters of professional experience is £4,000.

Professional experience may also be subject to additional costs, visa requirements being met, subject to availability and/or competitive application. Professional experience opportunities are not guaranteed but you will benefit from the support of our Talent Team in trying to find and secure an opportunity. Find out more about the professional experience option.

Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our placement/study abroad offering here, it is often tailored for each course every year and depending on the length of placement or study abroad opportunities that are secured. Therefore, the placement and study abroad arrangements vary per course and per student. Request further information about going on a placement or study abroad year.

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.


How you'll learn

You will engage with a series of different learning activities and resources which include:

  • Group critiques
  • Artist talks and lectures (subject to availability)
  • Masterclasses/performances (subject to availability)
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

This course can be studied on a full-time or part-time basis. Please request further information about studying this course part-time.


Teaching contact hours

In a typical week you will have approximately eight contact hours of teaching comprising seminars, talks and lectures, as well as workshops, project support and skills training.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake a further 300 hours of self-directed study each semester, e.g. working on course assignments, group project activities, independent and collaborative production-related activities, related practice and studying. You will be supported by skills sessions.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


Assessment

This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which could vary depending upon the module. Assessment methods include practical projects and portfolios, artefacts and essays.

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.


Entry requirements

Applicants to this master’s degree should normally possess an honours degree (2:1 or equivalent) in a relevant subject. If the degree is in an unrelated subject, applicants need to demonstrate appropriate industry knowledge and experience in their application documentation.

Each application will be considered on its merits and the final decision will be made by the course director

We recognise a breadth of qualifications; speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

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Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

Applicants to this master’s degree should normally possess an honours degree (2:1 or equivalent) in a relevant subject. If the degree is in an unrelated subject, applicants need to demonstrate appropriate industry knowledge and experience in their application documentation.

Each application will be considered on its merits and the final decision will be made by the course director.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5. 

If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course. 

For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

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Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £11,200 | £15,200 (with prof. experience) per year Request fee information
EU £11,200 | £15,200 (with prof. experience) per year with EU Support Bursary**
£18,600 | £22,600 (with prof. experience) per year without EU Support Bursary**
Not available
International £18,600 | £22,600 (with prof. experience) per year Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page.

We offer a range of international scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees3 cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad)

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU Support Bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in line with that of UK students. Students studying a degree with a foundation year with us are not eligible for the bursary.


Facilities

Coventry University is home to superb production facilities4 both within the School of Media and Performance and in the Delia Derbyshire Arts and Humanities complex. This includes two brand new creative immersive studios; one for Dolby Atmos and ambisonics projects and the neighbouring studio for AR/VR projects.

Recording studios

Recording studios

Some of our courses give access to recording studios, instrument storage, and an iMac music tech suite. We also have modern recording studios running Pro Tools, Logic, Live, Max and Sibelius on Apple macs.

A drumkit in a studio

Performance spaces

Our Ellen Terry Building has a dance performance space, two dance studios and a theatre workshop. It also has dressing rooms and storage with around 3,500 costume items and 1,500 accessories.
 

Student playing trumpet on stage accompanied by a pianist.

Music seminar room

A great space for our budding musicians, our specialist music seminar room comes with a grand piano, PA, amplifiers, a drum kit and 5.1 surround sound system, all directly linked to a control room for recording.
 


Careers and opportunities

The ethos of the course is to open-up opportunities for innovative popular music practice and to develop avenues of interdisciplinary, sustainable, and culturally aware collaborations that can challenge current approaches to the field.

The MA aims to develop your critical understanding of popular music within the broader media and performing arts sectors.

On successful completion, you should be equipped with the skills to:

  • individually and collaboratively produce a range of popular music projects and outcomes for identified and diverse audiences and contexts
  • justify and critically reflect upon the decisions made in the production of your own creative practice by applying a range of methods
  • interrogate new and existing approaches to the making of popular music globally and employ the findings in their own creative practice
  • demonstrate competence in applying knowledge and skills to produce professional work in the field of popular music that enables them to enter their chosen area of professional practice.

Following your studies, you could become music producers, sound engineers, composers, media and games audio/sound designers; audio post-production engineers.

Preparing our master’s graduates for onward careers is central to our approach to learning and teaching on the course. This includes developing authentic assessment, collaborative opportunities, placements, and advice and guidance for onward study on PhD programmes here and internationally (subject to availability2). Our three collaborative modules provide opportunities to work with students in music production. You will be able to take advantage of cross-school connections and collaborations, as well as placement and onward opportunities with the support of our Talent Team2.

Careers in popular music are diverse and on successful completion of the course you could work in jobs such as:

  • Music performance and session work
  • Songwriter/composer
  • Sound designer
  • Music and sound composer
  • Immersive technologist/Dolby Atmos producer
  • Music criticism
  • Music teacher

How to apply

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