Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 Years, Part-time: 5 Years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year (2019/20)

International fee

£13,250 per year (2019/20)

UCAS points

112 (September 2019 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Markeaton Street, Derby Campus

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course description

Key reasons to choose this course

This course is accredited by JAMES (Joint Audio Media Education Support) so that you can be confident that the course meets the high standards demanded by industry.

Focus on employability: 100% of graduates from this course are in work or further study within six months of completing this course (HESA 2016). 

You'll explore popular music performance, composition and production together with music technology. We'll help you to develop your creative and entrepreneurial flair so you can respond to technological and artistic innovations in the industry.

John Crossley, Senior Music and Production lecturer, talks about the Music Recording Studios at Markeaton Street

The BA (Hons) Popular Music with Music Technology programme is one of the few courses of its type in the country and is designed to equip you with the ability to interact and innovate within a vibrant environment, nurturing a specialism in popular music and related industries. The area of popular music is a dynamic, well established creative aspect of the music industry involving sophisticated craft, technical, analytical and scholarly approaches.

You will develop a wide range of disciplines through performance, composition, technology, media production, psychology, physics, philosophy, and musicology; you will also develop an in-depth appreciation of the increasing significance of popular music in economic and professional terms; looking forward to the modern media environment as this provides an increasing range of traditional and non-traditional professional opportunities.

The principal pre-occupations of competence in performance, composition and technological skills are framed by intellectual demands of critical, stylistic, historical, and technical analysis and understanding designed to enable you to use informed, up-to-date skills appropriate for employment in the professional music/arts sector. What you can expect from this BA (Hons) Popular Music with Music Technology course: 

Employable Graduates – we’re ranked 15th highest amongst all UK universities and 12th for English institutions with 96% of graduates in work or further study within six months of completing their degree: HESA 2016.

This course is designed for practising musicians who want to understand the technical environment within which commercial music takes place. It covers subjects like popular music performance, composition, improvisation, arrangement, song writing, production, music business and management and studio techniques.

You'll explore a wide range of aspects of popular music. With a balance between composition, technology, performance and critical practice, you will develop the skills and techniques you'll need for a variety of roles in contemporary popular music making and production.

You'll develop your skills on your chosen instrument through group based learning activities. You'll also develop your expertise in composition and song writing and will study the social and business context of the world of commercial music.

The music technology part of the course covers the technology of the recording studio, video production, along with the application of music software on digital audio workstations and the production/post-production of music for a variety of commercial applications.‌

The JAMES assessors were highly complimentary about Derby’s music courses saying they had a ‘unique personality’ with a healthy element of flexibility. They offered excellent collaborations between courses including video, graphics, sound and light and the technical theatre. Assessors found the students to be ‘lively, enthusiastic and eloquent; they were clearly enjoying their student experience’. There are regular opportunities to perform in and out of the university environment within student managed open mic nights, through studio recording sessions and formally assessed ensemble performances.

If you don't have the appropriate qualifications to start this course, you can study the Arts Year Zero first. You could also enhance your skills further, by going on to study our MA Music Production. Listen here to John Crossley (programme leader for the BSc (Hons) Music Technology and Production course) discuss our studio facilities:


All art and design courses are based at our Markeaton Street site where modern, purpose built studios and labs provide a modern creative space for our arts students. Markeaton Street encompasses Chandos Pole Street (home to our Fashion and Textiles courses) and Britannia Mill (home to Fine Arts). Students on any of our theatre related courses also get to study at Derby Theatre, and Dance students study at Deda.

Markeaton Street is a 15 minute walk from Kedleston Road, and is serviced by regular free site shuttle buses.

Explore our facilities through 360 views:

Markeaton Street

Music Studio


What you will study

The course is divided into three stages, equating to three years of full-time study, each stage consisting of up to six single modules worth 20 credits each. This equates to 120 credits per year.

The modules in this programme correspond to particular themes of academic study shown below, the nature of each theme is summarised as follows:

Performance - This theme provides the practical underpinning of musical performance in an ensemble context. This includes the development of instrumental technique and skills and applicable music theory.

Composition and arrangement - This theme allows you to develop skills in music composition and arrangement as appropriate to the contemporary and commercial music sectors; in particular it allows the focus upon the application of technology in creative practice.

Music technology and production - This theme provides study of the technology of modern recording and production. Broadly it covers the technical features of modern recording studio technology and computer-based software applications including associated interface technologies.

Critical studies - This theme provides study of the history, context, and scholarship of popular music providing an opportunity for the students to develop research skills including Level 4 Personal Development Planning (PDP).

Professional Practice - This theme provides an opportunity to investigate associated business and vocational activities supporting Level 5 & 6 Personal Development Planning (PDP). Within any theme, the modules at a lower Level provide underpinning studies for those at a higher level.

You will study modules such as:

The modules at this stage operate at an introductory level outlining the knowledge and expertise you will need to develop over the course of the programme. You will be encouraged to develop your own investigative strategies for learning and will begin to evolve a sense of responsibility for the quality of your course work.

You'll study modules such as: 

  • Performance Studies
  • Song Writing
  • Music and Creative Technologies (includes PDP see below) 
  • Musicianship Skills 
  • Digital Audio Workstations
  • Principles of Arrangement 

Personal Development Planning (PDP) is the process by which you monitor, reflect on and control your own professional and educational progress. You will be expected to maintain an electronic or paper-based Personal Development Planning Progress File covering such activities as career planning, work experience, communication skills, voluntary work, mentoring, problem solving etc.

At this stage modules function in an intermediate manner building upon what you have learned in stage one and encourage you to work with increasing independence and responsibility for the development of your work. You will begin to steer your academic focus through choosing modular options.

You'll study modules such as: 

  • Music and Technology in Popular Culture
  • Contemporary Composition
  • Music Business and Management (includes PDP)
  • Ensemble Workshop

You will also choose two of the following modules such as: 

  • Computer Music Systems
  • Video/Audio Production
  • Studio Techniques 

If you want to gain Popular Music with Music Technology work experience, you can take an optional work placement between stages two and three to apply your academic knowledge in a work environment. During the placement, you'll study an additional qualification, the Diploma in Professional Practice which features modules such as: 

  • Applied Professional Practice 
  • Contemporary Issues in Professional Practice 

In this stage you will be given the opportunities to demonstrate independence and personalise your studies to focus upon your interests and developing expertise. You will produce independent performance, composition, recording and research projects.

You'll study modules such as: 

  • Creative Project in Popular Music 
  • Research Project
  • Entertainment Industry: Professional Practice 

You will also choose two of the following modules such as: 

  • Studio Post-Production
  • Recording Project
  • Live Performance
  • Multi-channel Sound and Auditory Perception
Students welcoming guests to a Buxton Open Day

Find out more about Popular Music with Music Technology

The best way to find out if studying at Derby is right for you is to experience an Open Day. Get a feel for the city and campus, tour our first-class facilities and see where you could be living.

Book your Open DayBook your Open Day

How you will learn

The timetable contains around 10 hours of contact with staff a week, with the remainder of the academic week engaged in directed study. All modules are supported through UDo, the University of Derby Online, so you have access to essential support materials at any time of the day or night.

You’ll discover a superb range of music making facilities at our Markeaton Street site, including state-of-the-art recording studios, rehearsal space, music technology labs and three post-production rooms equipped with latest software. The University has invested almost £350,000 in these facilities, ensuring you have access to resources which match those of professional studios in the UK and overseas. We offer a wide range of instruments, amplifiers and outboard gear on which you can develop your skills, together with a classic 48-channel Neve recording console.   

We are one of the leading universities conducting research into surround-sound technologies. In February 2015, we also became the first UK university to have a Wave1 processor installed into our 24-channel surround lab, which has placed us at the forefront of developments in 3D sound - thanks to our close relationship with Swiss-based company Sonic Emotion.

While these studio facilities will provide an excellent setting for your taught sessions, they are also available for you to book at other times to fine-tune your personal music projects. 

You will also hone your performance skills at venues across the city, including Derby Theatre which the University owns and runs as a professional producing theatre.  


A variety of assessment methods will be used. Some modules are assessed through coursework only, others by a combination of coursework, portfolios, assignments, case studies, oral and graphic presentations, collaborative and interdisciplinary team work projects, computer testing and examinations, so providing a flexible and effective means of assessing your progress. Assessments are designed to enable you to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes for your module. An assessment component may sometimes take the form of a number of small submissions e.g. lab reports or short in-class tests. 

Degree Show

Every year students from the School of Arts celebrate their time at University by showcasing their work at an end of year Degree Show at Markeaton Street and across the City of Derby. The Show usually runs throughout June and is a fantastic opportunity for potential employers, friends, family, industry and members of the public to see exciting creations by the next generation of artists, designers, creators and makers from Derby. The Show takes the form of:

For a glimpse of last year’s Degree Show take a look at our flickr photo album.

Entry requirements

September 2019 typical entry requirements

UCAS points112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Fees and funding

2019/20 Fees


£9,250 per year

£1,155 per module


£13,250 per year


Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Part-time students should apply directly to the University.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


Our graduates of this programme go into many fields of professional activity. These include the primary and secondary education sector, lecturing for colleges of further education, freelance instrumental teaching, recording studio management and music production, music performance, media company management, and commercial music making. They also work in a range of media organisations. Others have gone on to further study, at MA, MSc or PhD level, or successfully completing PGCE for school of college level teaching, some gaining QTS teaching qualifications for primary or secondary education. Our graduates are equipped for employment within the modern commercial music sector as performers, composers, producers, educators, promoters, publishers, academics, recording studio engineers and entrepreneurial freelance musicians. 

Notable Graduates

Charlotte Carpenter has gone on to become a successful performing artist. See some of her work here: 

Jake Graham and Chris Burns established the band Fahran performing at festivals around the UK and Europe; they have returned to headline the Popular Music Showcase two years in a row. See some of there work here: 

Simon France is a Sound Technician at Curve Theatre, Leicester

Nathan Lewis - Music Teacher at Birmingham Ormiston Academy 

Luke Gibbs – Studio Engineer at Angelic Record Productions, Oxford

Programme leader

Phil Baggaley

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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† Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, state-of-the-art facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.


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