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About the course

Hoping to turn your existing songwriting experience into a full UK honours degree? This one-year top-up course will support you as you learn advanced songwriting techniques under the guidance of our professional songwriting, production, performance and music industry team. The curriculum also covers the business of music, music culture and career building strategies, giving you the skills you’ll need to start a freelance career right away after graduation.

This songwriting top-up course enables students to go directly into the final year of our popular music programme, where they will explore songwriting through a carefully constructed programme of research projects, professional briefs, case studies and practical creative tasks.

The course is delivered by a dedicated teaching team that includes established published contemporary songwriters. These academics draw on their experience of writing for major artists and organisations to provide students with first-hand industry insight. 

Student learning is aided by free access to our industry standard facilities. These include nine recording studios (networked with Protools HD and Logic), a range of mixing workstations equipped with Digidesign mixing desks, and a production lab with 24 Apple workstations (with Pro Tools HD, Logic Audio and Sibelius). Students also have access to large backline and PA equipped rehearsal rooms and a 200 seat performance space.

Career planning and freelance skills are deeply embedded in the curriculum, ensuring students graduate with a firm idea of what their next steps should be. These transferable freelancing and business skills can serve students well in a range of different industries.

Students also benefit from opportunities to collaborate with production, performance and digital music students, as well as students from television, film, games, fashion and other media disciplines. 

You have the opportunity to study abroad in one of our partner universities for a semester on this course.
Study abroad
You have the opportunity to obtain a professional membership as part of this degree.
Professional memberships
As part of your studies you will have the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement.
Built in work experience placement
This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies
If you have an appropriate Level 5 qualification, you can top it up to a degree in just a year.
Top-up degree

Students are taught by a dedicated team of experienced songwriting professionals and academics.

What does this course lead to?

Upon successful completion of this course students have the opportunity to progress onto postgraduate research degrees at Solent University and other higher education institutions. Many of our graduates have gone onto employment in the music and live event industries, as well as media work and a range of educational roles.  

Who is this course for?

This top-up course is the ideal way for students with a relevant qualification at HND level (or equivalent) to upgrade their qualification and earn a full honours degree in just one year.

Applicants should have a portfolio of recorded songs which can be reviewed as part of the application process.

Facts and figures

UCAS codes icon

UCAS codes

Full Time

  • 1 Year Standard Entry WW30
Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2019/20 academic year are:
UK, EU and Channel Island full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £12,875 per year

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Other costs

While most course costs are covered by your tuition fees, some essential resources and optional extras may need to be paid for separately. These additional costs are listed below. For advice on budgeting and managing your money, please contact

The 2019/20 other costs are not yet available. For guidance the 2017/18 costs were:

Students have the opportunity to take part in optional international projects and external programmes.

Opportunities will be advertised to students and costs will be calculated based on current air fares and hotel prices. 

Bursaries and scholarships

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

Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

Relevant HND/foundation degree pass with Merit Overall (55 per cent)

  • or 240 CATS points from a relevant three-year degree.
  • Merit profile at FHEQ5 (ie FDA, HND, Dip HE) or evidence of experiential learning at that level.
  • Evidence of prior songwriting is also expected.
  • Typically, students will have come from an FDA or HND in music, although students from other subject areas are welcome to apply.
  • Solent University is always keen to hear from prospective candidates from any background, especially mature students with industry experience.  
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, find information about entry requirements, visas and agents for your country here.

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
  • 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.

Study location

East Park Terrace

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Ask Solent team: 023 8201 5066

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 15 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 the end of June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Please click the links below to apply through UCAS:

Mode of study
Full-time 1 year Apply
How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

Core units
  • Major Project
  • Songwriting Portfolio
  • Live Project Brief
  • Music Strategies and Entrepreneurship
  • Instrumental Skill and Artist Development 3


Web-based learning

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

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support

Key figures


Assessment by coursework


Practical exams

Meet the course team

Patrick Ainsworth academic profile Patrick Ainsworth Senior Lecturer View profile
Toni Diaz academic profile Toni Diaz Senior Lecturer View profile
Daniel Pennie academic profile Daniel Pennie Senior Lecturer View profile
Pete Wilson academic profile Pete Wilson Senior Lecturer View profile
Paul Statham academic profile Paul Statham Associate Lecturer View profile

The university cannot guarantee any particular members of staff will teach specific aspects of the course in the future, but will endeavour to ensure the teaching team maintains their balance of experience and qualifications.


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 HD and NI Komplete,
  • three ICON DCommand worksurfaces,
  • an analog studio with Audient ASP8024,
  • outboards 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.
Students are also encouraged to make use of the 24 hour library throughout their studies. The library features a fully networked resource centre equipped with both Apple and Microsoft workstations and a selection of private group working spaces.

Each year, popular music programme students can compete for recording time at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios and students have the opportunity to attend regular song writing workshops, collaborating on exciting projects.

Your future

Work in the creative industries requires individuals to be flexible and resourceful, especially as many of the best opportunities are freelance. The popular music programme here at Solent has over a decade of experience in helping graduates develop the independence, drive and strategic career planning skills required to succeed. 

Many of our graduates have gone onto employment in the music and live event industries, as well as media work and a range of educational roles.  

Industry links

BA (Hons) Songwriting is strengthened by our links with Warner Chappell songwriter, Paul Statham, and organisations such as Universal, UK Music, Coda Music Trust, New Dimensions, SoCo Music Project, Southampton Music Service and Hampshire Music Service.

Many of these organisations feed into the lecture content of the programme and provide live briefs to our students. Past students have taken part in an annual Abbey Road competition where the prize is a day of recording in the iconic London studio.


Live project briefs requires students to undertake a professional contract, either as a work placement or as a piece of freelance work, related to their programme of study. Students are responsible for securing and completing this work, but opportunities may be available through Solent Productions, Solent TV, Solent Music, Solent Creatives and the music programme’s social media pages. University events such as Solent Sound, the Solent Music Industry Live Event (SMILE), and Music in the City may also be incorporated into this unit.

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

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