The Popular and Commercial Music degree encourages you to develop your own voice and musical identity. Your studies will embrace popular and commercial music in its many forms and subgenres, from electronica to folk, urban, rock and cutting edge-pop. With an emphasis on original work, our music degree will teach you how to collaborate with your fellow students in performance, songwriting and production. We welcome diversity, collaboration and experimentation. So whatever your musical interests, you can extend your practice to gain skills relevant not only to employment in the music industry, but also to the wider creative industries.
Staff are experienced and high-profile professionals in their own right and many have worked as producers and songwriters. You’ll also learn from regular visits and masterclasses from high-level music industry professionals such as Greg Haver, producer of Manic Street Preachers; Amy Wadge, Ed Sheeran’s co-writer; Gruff Rhys, Super Furry Animals and Steve Sidelnyk, Madonna’s drummer. Studying Popular and Commercial Music in Cardiff, you will develop links with studios, record industry professionals and music companies in this thriving capital city.
The Popular and Commercial Music degree offers a stimulating collection of modules, you’ll have to be innovative and engage with ideas that will enhance your creative vision and critical thinking.
You’ll understand form and content in popular music, songwriting, the business of music, and artist development and imagery. You’ll also gain studio and musicianship skills, know how to network and adapt your skills to the market. Through live briefs linked to music industry practices you’ll understand what it takes to be a professional musician.
Year One - Popular and Commercial Music degree
Year Two - Popular and Commercial Music degree
Year Three - Popular and Commercial Music degree
Modules are subject to change.
The Popular and Commercial Music degree is taught in a variety of ways, including practical workshops in the studio, tutorials, seminars and lectures. In the first two years, you will develop your practical music skills, building to one or more live ensemble performances each year. In your final year, you can specialise with a creative or industry-focused major project and a dissertation on an area that is of interest to you.
Course assessment is through regular coursework submissions, in addition to examinations in some areas.
The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.
You will be required to demonstrate an effective level of musical ability by playing a prepared piece of music (of your choice) that reflects your performance skills and musical tastes, either vocally or with a musical instrument
BCC - CDD to include a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level with a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with higher grades of between 655-445 to include a relevant higher subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points)
Pass the Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits overall – the credits should equate to between 106-80 UCAS tariff points (examples below)
45 Level 3 credits equating to 15 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 6 Passes in a relevant subject (106 UCAS Tariff Points)
45 Level 3 credits equating to 12 Distinctions, 6 Merits and 27 Passes in a relevant subject (80 UCAS Tariff Points)
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances
We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.
In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.
However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.
Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.
This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.
Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£500||
It is suggested that students have access to their own musical instruments, where appropriate (cost dependent on instrument played). All academic years
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£100||
Students are expected to provide their own 'breakables'- Strings, sticks etc. All academic years
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£500||
It is suggested that students have their own laptop computer and smart phone
International Field Trip
Students may be expected to travel to Masterclass/ conferences/ events at their own cost. All academic years
Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year 1 of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly.
Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU.
By the time you graduate from the Popular and Commercial Music degree, you will have the skills for a wide range of careers in the music, media and entertainment industries, including performance, composition, administration, promotion, multi-media production, and studio work. We have graduates working in the music industry as performers, composers, writers, promoters and administrators, teachers and musicians in the community, as well as those working in new media such as the computer games industry.
As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.
This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.
Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.