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BA (Hons) Popular Music Production

Explore music production, live sound and the music industry – study popular music production

Enquire: 023 8201 5066

Looking to start a career in live or studio music production? Suitable for both schooled and self-taught producers of all skill levels, Southampton Solent University’s popular music production programme combines technical learning with an in-depth study of the history, context and theory behind contemporary music production.

  • The industry-standard facilities on offer include nine recording studios, four large rehearsal rooms, digital and analogue workstations, vocal booths, a 200-seat performance space, and Apple hardware loaded with the latest professional software.
  • Southampton Solent University is an Avid Pro Tools Learning Partner, offering Pro Tools 101 training. Further Pro Tools training (to operator level) is also available.
  • Students learn from experienced musicians with a wealth of knowledge in producing and performing music professionally.
  • Popular music production students collaborate with students from other creative media disciplines, mirroring industry working practices.
  • Southampton Solent was voted as being one of UK’s most creative universities in the Which? University student survey.
  • The course team have helped students secure work placements at Glastonbury festival and Camp Bestival, as well as on live tours, synthesiser sound design projects and community mentoring schemes.
  • Southampton is home to various nationally renowned venues including the O2 Guildhall and The Joiners.
  • Students are given the chance to get involved with SMILEFest, the University’s annual music industry conference. Past speakers include Zoe Ball; The Blackout; Gallows; Steve Strange; Download booking executive and Livenation promoter, Andy Copping; Kerrang editor, James McMahon; and Bloc Party/Franz Ferdinand PR guru, Janine Warren.
  • By selecting their choice of optional units, students are able to tailor this course to the specific career they wish to pursue.

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). This course aims to help students discover where they fit into this growing market and how to best monetise their talents.

Suitable roles for graduates include live and outdoor sound engineering; studio sound engineering; music publishing, and music promotion. Students can also expect to learn a range of transferable skills in IT, presentation, teamwork, creative thinking, communication and project management. These skills can lead to careers in various arts and entertainment support roles.

The programme

Students will build the required skills by working alongside our experienced course team on a range of different equipment including:

  • five recording studios and four mix workstations, all equipped with Pro|Tools HDX and NI Komplete,
  • three ICON DCommand worksurfaces,
  • an analog studio with Audient ASP8024,
  • outboard by Neve, Lexicon and Universal Audio,
  • microphones by Neumann, AKG, Coles, Rode,
  • plug-ins by Waves, McDSP, Sonnox,
  • Yamaha M7 and LS9 digital live mixers,
  • and a Music Technology Lab with 25 Apple Macs, Pro Tools, Logic and Sibelius.

Past students have benefitted from the course team’s excellent links to industry by attending guest lectures from visiting industry professionals. Speakers have included Mike Moran, composer; Trevor Horn, Grammy award-winning producer; Rob Da Bank, DJ and festival organiser; Gary Langhan, sound engineer; and Mark Lawrence CEO of The Association for Electronic Music.

Students will also be able to tailor the course to their own interests through optional projects and units in the second and third years. These units can help to inform your career and ensure that your technical skills are underpinned by a solid understanding of the wider music industry.

Graduates from this course have gone on to secure roles at record labels, post-production studios, and film and television companies.

Next steps

Do you want to hone your production, composition and sound engineering skills while building essential music industry awareness? With close industry links, an eclectic mix of experienced teaching staff and ample opportunities to build a body of work in our studios, Southampton Solent University’s popular music production programme is ideal for those who are hoping to take their first steps into the industry.

Have you got a question about applying?


UCAS codes


  • 4 Years Language Foundation Year W34C
  • 3 Years Standard entry W34D
  • 4 Years Popular music production foundation year W341

Typical entry requirements

2016 entry
280 UCAS Tariff points

2017 entry - New UCAS Tariff
112 UCAS Tariff points

   Which Creative University Award 2014

Year one:


Core units

  • Introduction to Studio Recording 1
  • Introduction to Studio Recording 2
  • History of Music Production
  • Creative Electronic Sound
  • Popular Music in Context
  • Understanding the Music Industries.

Year two:


Core units

  • Advanced Studio Recording 1
  • Advanced Studio Recording 2
  • The Art of Music Production 1
  • The Art of Music Production 2
  • Live Music Production
  • Music Business Networking.


  • Noise Annoys: Experiments and Alternatives in Popular Music
  • Songwriting Techniques
  • Experimental Music Production
  • Advanced Live Music Production
  • Music and Audio Post-Production
  • Urban and Electronic Music Genre Studies
  • Pop, Politics and Protest
  • Copyright, Piracy and the Music Industries
  • Fanzines to Facebook
  • Freelancing at Solent Creatives
  • Model Your Business
  • Curriculum Plus.

Year three:


Core units

  • Advanced Studio Recording 3
  • Music Strategies and Career Building
  • Major Project: Popular Music Production
  • Live Project Brief.


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

Teaching, learning and assessment

Workshops in recording studios, plus lectures, seminars, group and individual projects, and individual supervision in the final year.

Work experience
Students are helped to find work experience opportunities, both internal and external, ensuring you’ll stand out in this competitive industry.
Recent examples include the Glastonbury festival and Camp Bestival, live sound touring in the UK and abroad, synthesiser sound design, and community and education mentoring projects.
You’ll also have opportunities to collaborate on extra-curricular projects with students on other popular music courses – for example, recording an album, attending concerts and club nights, and working at festivals.

Coursework such as essays, practical production projects, group and individual projects and seminar presentations, portfolios and reflective writing.

Our facilities

  • Five recording studios and four mix workstations, all equipped with Pro|Tools HD and NI Komplete.
  • Three ICON DCommand worksurfaces.
  • Analog studio with Audient ASP8024.
  • Outboard by Neve, Lexicon, Universal Audio.
  • Microphones by Neumann, AKG, Coles, Rode.
  • Plug-ins by Waves, McDSP, Sonnox.
  • Yamaha M7 and LS9 digital live mixers.
  • Music Tech Lab with 25x Apple Mac, Pro Tools, Logic, Sibelius.

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 see  

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 production 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 Language Foundation Year W34C
  • 3 Years Standard entry W34D
  • 4 Years Popular music production foundation year W341

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.

The creative industries encompass a vast range of employment areas, and this course helps you understand the diverse career opportunities in the music and sound industries. You will be able to start building your network of like-minded creatives in television, events, film, animation and more.

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Live and outdoor sound
  • Studio sound engineering
  • Music publishing
  • Music promotion
  • Arts and entertainment industry administration.

Links with industry

The course team has close ties to Southampton’s active local music scene, enabling you to undertake a live brief from an external client, and get involved with some of the city’s extensive live venues.

We also have a programme of guest lectures from the industry, with recent speakers including:

  • Mike Moran – composer, musician
  • Trevor Horn – Grammy award-winning producer
  • Rob Da Bank –DJ and Festival organiser
  • Gary Langhan – Sound Engineer, War of The Worlds.

Transferable skills

IT, presentation, teamwork, creative thinking, communication and project management.

Examples of employment obtained by recent graduates

Previous graduates have gone on to roles such as assistant artist manager, audio engineer, and record production assistant at organisations like Bang Post-Production, Sony Music, Envy post-production, Global Documentary, Columbia records, Metropolis Studios, EMI Music Licensing and Stage Miracles.


Key facts


Location of study: East Park Terrace

Study mode: Full-time

Accreditations: Pro Tools 101 is accredited by Avid.

Entry requirements


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

280 points (for 2016 entry) or 112 points (for 2017 entry) from:

  • A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma at DMM or BTEC Diploma at D*D* or equivalent.
  • UK applicants are required to attend an interview.
  • Applicants resident outside the UK will be interviewed by video call or telephone.
  • 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 Popular Music Production Foundation Year.

Interview requirements

Before attending your interview or sending us your portfolio, please read the following: Interview information

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

Other costs

Optional studio headphones and UK study trip in year one: £440
Optional European study trip in year two: £715
Optional USA study trip in year three: £1,100

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.

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 Language Foundation Year W34C
  • 3 Years Standard entry W34D
  • 4 Years Popular music production foundation year W341


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