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BA (Hons) Popular Music Journalism

Put music into words with our popular journalism course

Enquire: 023 8201 5066

Do you have a passion for music that you want to share with the world? Southampton Solent University’s music journalism programme can help you to develop the writing, broadcasting and media skills you’ll need to succeed as a professional journalist working in the music business.

  • Students can expect to learn a range of critical theories alongside magazine design; website and social media management; radio, film and photography production; research techniques and professional copywriting.
  • Teaching is handled by a team with extensive academic and industry experience.
  • Students are able to submit their work to Audio Addict - Southampton Solent’s student managed music magazine – or create their own unique publications.
  • The course team’s industry links have provided past students with a variety of unique work experience opportunities at magazines, PR companies, conferences and live music events. Recent live events include Blissfields, Bestival and Pulse Festival.
  • Southampton is home to various nationally renowned venues including the O2 Guildhall and The Joiners - all of which are just a short walk from campus.
  • The curriculum is built around practical insights into the music and music media industries. Past students have benefitted from industry guest speakers and participation in live industry projects.
  • Students are able to get involved with SMILEFest, the University’s annual music industry festival. Past speakers include Radio 1 DJ Danny Howard; Bestival owner Rob da Bank; legendary punk musician Viv Albertine; drum & bass DJ Fabio: award winning music critic Simon Price; The Blackout; Gallows; Steve Strange; Download booking executive and Livenation promoter, Andy Copping; and Kerrang editor, James McMahon. Performers at the festival have included Reverend and the Makers; Sean McGowan; Little Comets and King Charles.
  • Solent’s culture of cross-disciplinary collaboration encourages music journalism students to work with students from other creative disciplines including music production, music performance, music management and music promotion. This reflects working practices in the industry.
  • The multi-million-pound media academy includes a fully Mac-equipped newsroom, several multi-camera TV studios, eight radio studios, Reuters and Sky news feeds, the latest professional media editing software and a dedicated crisis room.
  • Students can also attend ‘Word Up!’ the University’s annual music journalism conference. Past guests have included Alexis Petridis, award winning Guardian music critic; Niall Doherty, reviews editor at Q magazine; Dom Lawson, editor of Metal Hammer; Sarah Hall, Senior Publicist at Sony records and PR to Daft Punk; Terry Bezer, multimedia broadcaster, journalist and YouTuber; Ruth Barnes, presenter of Radio Four music documentary’s and Amazing Radio’s The Other Woman; and Dorian Lynskey, a music writer for The Guardian.

The industry

The UK is the world’s biggest consumer of music (relative to population size), and is the world’s third-biggest music market after the US and Japan (BPI, 2013). As the industry grows, music fans will continue to engage with relevant journalistic content in both online and traditional formats.

This course will help to equip graduates with the skills they’ll need to apply for reporting, feature writing, magazine production, copywriting, social media management, web design, public relations and marketing roles within the music industry and beyond.

The programme

Students will hone their skills and begin to build a portfolio of published work by writing for Audio Addict, the University’s in-house music magazine. The magazine is professionally printed and distributed, and is enjoyed by an audience of over 40,000 people. Students are also encouraged to set up their own publications. Past students have launched the hugely successful national platform Noise Canon as well as the punk and hardcore digi-mag New Roots.

In 2014 music journalism students extended the Audio Addict brand with the launch of Radio Addict, a multi genre radio platform with streamed specialist shows, radio documentaries and band interviews. 

Past music journalism students have taken a leading role in SMILEfest, interviewing guests, reviewing live shows and putting together event programmes and press releases for the attention of national music publications.

Popular music journalism students have also benefitted from a range of guest speakers including: live events assistant from BBC Radio 1 and 1xtra, Mel Lewis; NME features editor, Laura Snapes; Libertines drummer, Gary Powell; label manager, Wayne Clarke; Mute Records’ head of press, Zoe Miller; tour manager, Tre Stead; Independent columnist, Fiona Sturges; Monkeytown Records recording artist and producer, Alex Banks; Radio 1 DJ, Danny Howard; legendary drum & bass DJ, Fabio; and CEO of The Association for Electronic Music, Mark Lawrence.

Next steps

Think a career in music journalism might be for you? With established industry links, first-class facilities and an emphasis on building a portfolio of published work, Southampton Solent University’s music journalism programme can offer you the support you’ll need to turn your ambition into a reality.

Have you got a question about applying?


UCAS codes


  • 4 Years Journalism, Advertising and Marketing Foundation Year P5W3
  • 3 Years Standard entry P592


  • 6 Years Standard entry

Typical entry requirements

2016 entry
240 UCAS Tariff points

2017 entry - New UCAS Tariff
96 UCAS Tariff points

Which Creative University Award 2014

Year one:


Core units

  • Understanding the Music Industries
  • Popular Music in Context
  • Interactive Music Media Production
  • Popular Music Journalism Practice
  • Popular Music Press: Histories
  • Writing for the Music Industries

Year two:


Core units

  • Mediating Music
  • Audio-Visual Music Journalism
  • Music Journalism and Production for the Internet
  • Music Journalism and Production for Print Magazines
  • Music Journalism in Context


  • Noise Annoys: Experiments and Alternatives in Popular Music
  • Songwriting Techniques
  • Experimental Music Production 
  • Advanced Live Music Production
  • Music and Audio Post Production
  • Popular Music on Film
  • Urban & Electronic Music Genre Studies
  • Pop – The Invisible Mainstream
  • Pop, Politics and Protest
  • Copyright, Piracy and the Music Industries
  • Fanzines to Facebook
  • Freelancing at Solent Creatives (Communications & Marketing) 2
  • Model Your Business MYB2
  • Curriculum Plus

Year three:


Core units

  • Individual Project
  • Collaborative Project
  • Creative Entrepreneurship
  • Freelancing and Professional Development


  • Festival Cultures
  • Film Music
  • Consuming Music
  • Songwriting Portfolio
  • Experimental Music Production
  • Advanced Live Music Production
  • Music and Audio Post-Production
  • Popular Music: Technology and Production
  • Freelancing at Solent Creatives
  • Creative Entrepreneurial Freelance Practice
  • Curriculum Plus

Teaching, learning and assessment

Lecture, classroom and IT sessions, supporting individual and group project study.

Work experience

Our students have gained placement and freelance work experience at magazines and websites including NME, Q, Mojo, Kerrang!, Mixmag, Loaded, The Fly, Drowned in Sound, The Quietus and Art Rocker, and newspapers including The Sun and The Independent. They have also found placements at Radio 1 and Radio NRJ (France).

Students with an interest in PR have enjoyed internships at Division PR, Freeman PR and Purple PR, among others. Students on this course have also worked closely with music festivals like Isle of Wight, Sonisphere, Bestival, Blissfields and Pulse, producing magazines, documentaries, blogs and daily news-sheets.

In 2014 students ran the Twitter feed for Glastonbury, wrote articles for Glastonbury Press and produced Isla, the official Isle of Wight Festival magazine. Students have also worked on the Bestival Bugle, the daily paper for Bestival, and produced a daily paper for Blissfields festival.


Essays, practical production projects, group and individual projects, seminar presentations, portfolios and reflective writing projects.

Our facilities

We have cutting-edge IT facilities and an industry-standard newsroom.

Study abroad

The Erasmus+ programme may give you the opportunity to spend between a term and a year of your course studying abroad at one of our partner universities, or undertaking a work placement for a company in Europe. For more information visit

If you are a student at one of our Erasmus partner institutions in Europe, then you may have the opportunity to come to the UK and study music journalism units at Solent for either a single term or a full academic year as part of your degree programme.

If you’re studying outside Europe, then you may be able to study with us as an exchange student if there is a partnership agreement in place. If you are studying at a university which does not have a partnership agreement with us, then you could apply to study at Solent under our Study Abroad programme. 

Web-based learning

Solent’s virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.


UCAS codes


  • 4 Years Journalism, Advertising and Marketing Foundation Year P5W3
  • 3 Years Standard entry P592


  • 6 Years Standard entry

What do we offer?

From a vibrant city centre campus to our first class facilities, this is where you can find out why you should choose Solent.

Studying this course can lead to a career in music journalism as well as a number of other potential fields, such as in magazine production, copywriting, social media management, web designing, music PR and education.

  • Arts
  • Entertainment
  • Celebrity and lifestyle journalism
  • Website design and management
  • Television and radio research
  • Scripting and production
  • Music PR
  • Music biography
  • Academic research. 

Links with industry

The teaching staff includes internationally renowned music journalists, authors, magazine editors and designers with unparalleled links with the music and media industries. The course is supported by regular guest speakers from industry, live briefs and industry mentoring. There are regular lectures by visiting teaching fellows, including James McMahon (editor of Kerrang!).

Transferable skills

Writing for a variety of outlets, print and web design, film production, audio editing, photography, social media activities, blogging, magazine production, IT, presentation, teamwork, creative thinking and analytical skills.

Examples of employment obtained by recent graduates

Course graduates have found positions in prominent music journalism magazines and websites, including DJ, Drowned in Sound, Art Rocker and Loaded.

Other graduates have found roles such as: junior music campaign officer, radio presenter, music producer or online marketing assistant and content creator at organisations like Sunday Best Records, Wilful Publicity, Reprezent Radio, Vanilla Underground and D&G Media.


Key facts


Location of study: East Park Terrace

Study mode: Full-time, Part-time

Entry requirements


UCAS have updated their tariff points for 2017 entry. Please click here for more information.

240 points (for 2016 entry) or 96 points (for 2017 entry) from:

  • A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma at MMM or BTEC Diploma at DD or equivalent.
  • Direct entry into the second or third years may be considered for this course.
  • Applicants over the age of 21 may be considered based on relevant experience, without having the required tariff points.
  • Alternative entry to this course is available through the Foundation Year in Journalism, Advertising and Marketing.
We welcome applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds. Applicants who are not in possession of the minimum entry requirements but are able to demonstrate aptitude, enthusiasm and motivation will be considered on an individual basis and may be admitted subject to satisfactory interview and/or portfolio. Please contact us for further details.

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each individual component
  • TOEFL IBT minimum 80 with a minimum of 19 in each individual component- TOEFL is only valid for EU students
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

The University also offers a pre-sessional English programme for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.

Note to all international students requiring a visa:

All international applicants need to be aware that the English language requirements to attend Southampton Solent University, and the English language requirements to obtain a visa from the Home Office, may be different. This means that if you meet the Southampton Solent University language requirement to gain a place on the course, you may still have to meet additional requirements to be granted with a visa by the Home Office.

We strongly advise all applicants to visit the Home Office website which outlines all the requirements for a successful visa application and to take a look at this PDF document which outlines both Solent University and Home Office requirements for a number of language tests.  

Non-standard entry

If you do not have these qualifications or are unsure of your eligibility please contact the University using the contact details found at the top of this page.

Costs involved


Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2016/2017 academic year are:

UK and EU full-time fees: £9,000 per year

International full-time fees: £11,000 per year

UK and EU part-time fees: £4,500 per year

International part-time fees: Please contact us for information

Other costs

Optional study trip costs in years one, two and three: £250 (Paris) and £750 (New York) per year.

Optional year three costs: £250 - booking bands, guest speakers, printing cost, Wordpress and travel.

Graduation costs 

Graduation is the ceremony to celebrate the achievements of your studies. For graduates in 2015, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £42 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost.

For more details, please visit:

Bursaries and scholarships

Southampton Solent University offers a range of scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our scholarships page to find out more.

How to apply


Any student applying for the first year of a full-time/sandwich undergraduate course must apply through UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service). This includes mature, overseas and EU students.

Nearly all schools and colleges offer their students the facility of applying electronically through the UCAS website using 'Apply'; it may also be used by those applying independently in the UK and overseas. This facility and all course information can be found on the UCAS website:

Your application should reach UCAS by January if you hope to enter a course the following autumn. Early application is advised for the most popular subject areas. Late applications may be made until June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Part-time and distance learning courses

Applications for part-time and distance learning courses are made directly to the University and can be made at any time prior to the start of the course. Please contact the admissions office for further details, contact details are at the top of the page. Print the application form below, complete and return to the admissions office, addresses are given on the form.

Part-time undergraduate study application form

Student support and services


Student welfare

Southampton Solent University is committed to giving you the best possible educational experience during your time with us. As such we have a number of support services and policies set up covering funding, careers and employability, chaplaincy, counselling, international advice, student affairs, key academic skills, disability support and general student advice. Find out more about our approach to student welfare.

University facilities

You will have access to a modern, comfortable and efficient environment in which to study, following our extensive refurbishment and modernisation over recent years. Some key facilities include Mountbatten library, a wide variety of sports and watersports facilities, plus superb IT and media facilities. Find out more about our first-class facilities here.

Living in Southampton

Southampton is a vibrant student city and studying at Solent means that you will be at the very heart of the action. Find out more about being a student in Southampton.

Solent Students’ Union

Run by students for students, Solent Students’ Union is a key part of any student’s time at Solent. Visit the Students’ Union website for more information.

UCAS codes


  • 4 Years Journalism, Advertising and Marketing Foundation Year P5W3
  • 3 Years Standard entry P592


  • 6 Years Standard entry


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