Education Studies and Music

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How to Apply

Apply on UCAS's site

Key features of the courses are: 

  • Education Studies at Bath Spa University is rated highly by students, with 91% satisfaction with teaching in the 2010-11 National Student Survey
  • All our awards are very flexible and can be tailored to your personal interests and ambitions
  • You will be able to choose from more than 45 modules which explore a wide range of subjects and issues
  • All modules are taught by experienced and respected staff 
  • You will be able to take a placement in a school or other educational setting in each year of your programme
  • You will have the opportunity to study overseas in each year of your programme
  • You will be able to apply (in year three) to stay with us to take a PGCE primary or secondary : OfSTED has rated our teacher education courses as 'outstanding' in 2011

Education Studies will give you an in-depth understanding of the world of formal and informal education in the UK and around the world. Education depends on an essentially optimistic view: that through learning we can change the world for the better.

Why study Education Studies?

There are a number of options available for studying Education at Bath Spa University.

Single honours awards in Education Studies are ideal for students who wish to gain an in-depth understanding of the world of education and education around the world. Four single honours awards are available:

  • Education Studies
  • Early Years Education
  • International Education
  • Youth and Community Studies

It is also possible to combine Education with another subject in our modular programme to achieve a joint honours degree.

  • Education Studies: Combined Awards

See the Course Structure tab for more information.

Please be aware that the above degrees do not lead to a reserved place on a PGCE Primary course, although you may apply for a place on our PGCE in year three.

If you choose to study for the Combined Award, please be aware that there is a separate Student Handbook.

Course structure

Education is a large subject at Bath Spa University so we are able to offer you various study options:

1. Education Studies (Single Honours award) (UCAS Code: X300)

Education Studies will give you an in-depth understanding of formal and informal education.

2. International Education (Single Honours award) (UCAS Code: X392)

These routes allow you to concentrate your study on either Education or International Education, but in your first year you will be able to take two modules from a selection of other modules related to your subject. This gives you a broader outlook on Education and its many related topics.

These routes are for those of you who are interested in the study of education but not yet certain about the professional route you are interested in developing beyond your degree.

If, however, you know at this stage that you would like to study a second subject alongside Education for all three years of your course (perhaps because your goal is to become a secondary teacher of that subject) you should look at Option 5 below – Education as part of a Combined Award.

You can also choose from two courses that are more directly linked to possible employment options;

3. Early Years Education (a specialised award) (UCAS Code: X312)

4. Youth and Community Studies (a specialised award) (UCAS Code: L590)

These awards offer you opportunities to both follow your academic programme and engage directly with professional practice in the relevant field which may give you an additional vocational qualification. You have a wide range of modules to choose from, but your module choices will be directly related to the specialism you have chosen (either Early Years or Youth and Community work) in order to prepare you for careers in these professions. There will be some core modules which you must follow on both these Specialised Awards which will be linked to possible professional occupations in either Early Years or Youth and Community. There will be opportunities to undertake some professional practice in your area of interest and your third year dissertation will be linked to your degree focus. As part of the Early Years Education specialised award, you will have the opportunity to gain a professional accreditation certificate in Childcare, Development and Learning.

5. Education as part of a Combined Award (with a second subject)

This option allows you to choose two subjects for all of your degree by taking two subjects throughout your three years and you can choose from a wide range of modules in both subjects. It is a suitable route for students who may wish to progress to a career as a teacher in a secondary school (for this you would need to apply to start a Secondary PGCE once you have completed your degree).

Whichever route you decide on there’s a wide range of relevant modules for you to choose from, along with some compulsory modules.

In Year 1, core modules introduce key concepts and skills that underpin the subject as well as modules in, for example: learning through life, early years education, adolescence, primary schools and education in Europe.

In Years 2 and 3 you will consider more deeply the current issues in education and how they relate to your particular course. You will think critically about teaching, diversity, inclusion, social and educational policy and explore global and international perspectives in education. There are opportunities to carry out original research and pursue your own interests in these areas.

There are also modules which give you the chance to work in schools and other educational contexts including early years settings and youth and community contexts where you can develop your understanding of the nature of children and young people’s development and teaching and learning.

Modules

Sample modules Include:

  • Education for Change
  • How Young Children Learn
  • Young People's Sub-cultures
  • International Perspectives on Education

Please note that if you know at this stage that you want to be a primary teacher you should apply to our specialised course which offers you a route to a teaching qualification. This is known as our ‘3+1’ course because it is four years in length in total – three years for the undergraduate degree element and one year for the postgraduate PGCE element.

Course assessment

You will be assessed through course work submitted during modules. Course work includes essays, group presentations, research-based reports and portfolio-based work. We will provide you with prompt feedback on how well you are doing and give you regular guidance on how to improve your skills, knowledge and understanding. There are no examinations in Education Studies.

Bath Spa is a leading university in the field of Education Studies, and you’ll be taught by a very experienced and well qualified team of more than 50 tutors with different backgrounds as qualified teachers, academics, authors and researchers. At Bath Spa we believe in helping you understand the difficulties experienced by many children and young people for whom access to good formal and informal education is sometimes difficult. You’ll gain the knowledge, critical understanding and skills needed to explore the nature and functions of education in a rapidly changing world, and prepare for a range of professional employment.

As well as offering you an exciting undergraduate programme we also have full-time and part-time higher degrees which build on your undergraduate course and support you in professional development that will equip you to compete more effectively within the labour market. We have a flexible Education Studies Masters programme which allows you to develop further the focus of your undergraduate degree and includes modules such as Social and Education Policy, Education and Globalisation, Early Childhood Education, Work Based Professional Practice and Youth in the Community. From the moment you begin your undergraduate programme we will encourage you to think of yourself as maximising your opportunities by thinking of postgraduate options that will support your particular employment interests.

Whatever route you decide is right for you, we offer you the opportunity to become a committed, caring and creative professional- able to “make a difference”.

Teaching methods

Teaching

Teaching is through a mix of lectures (50 minutes), seminars and individual tutorials. Seminars are usually more informal than lectures - they are opportunities for you to discuss, ask questions and get involved in activities and debates.  In year one your minimum timetabled time will be 12 hrs per week.  All modules are led by experienced and respected university staff.  Many staff are active researchers and authors in the field of education studies - in years two and three they will introduce you to their particular specialisms and research interests through a range of optional modules.  We also have regular visiting speakers - these include headteachers, educational advisers, specialist researchers and international visitors.

Placements

Placements occur in each year of the programme. In year two there is a compulsory placement in an educational setting or school. Optional modules provide further placement opportunities for you to work with young people both locally and internationally. The School of Education Partnership Office will arrange each placement for you. We try to ensure you are located within a reasonable distance from where you live; however, you should normally expect to travel using your own or public transport. 

Teaching quality excellence

22/24 in a Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) assessment.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS.

Course enquiries

Please email admissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

Education Studies will provide the basis for you to work with learners – young people and older people – in different organisations: children’s centres, youth organisations and community organisations. You may choose to work in educational and training advisory roles in a range of organisations including community organisations, youth clubs, businesses, local authorities, non-government organisations, museums, art galleries and libraries.

You will also be able to apply for PGCE courses in teacher training – but if you know at this stage that you want to be a primary teacher you should consider our specialised ‘3+1’ course.

If you think you would like to work in early years’ settings or youth and community organisations you should apply for the specialised awards in these areas. This will ensure you undertake placements relevant to your course and have specialised modules that you must follow to ensure the right experiences and knowledge to help you work in these fields.

As well as going on to study for the PGCE our graduates have been recruited by Notts Trent International College, Explore Learning,  the NHS and many schools and Local Authorities working in Educational roles such as tutors, trainers and Higher Level Teaching Assistants.

What students say...

Student Profile: Kia Prescott, International Education

“The course has made me question all of my opinions I held before. Studying International Education has given me a better knowledge of geography, countries, cultures, global issues, politics and world history, all of which has given me a wider base and has helped in all my modules. This year there is a study trip to Zambia for students on the international module, and it will be the perfect opportunity to gain first-hand experience of education abroad.

Although the majority on the course want to be teachers it is understood that there are some who don’t, and this is catered for. I have a great interest in other countries and cultures, and I have not completely decided if I want to teach abroad yet – but Bath Spa are enabling me to keep my options open.”

Music courses at Bath Spa University are ranked 10th out of 71 providers nationally for overall satisfaction, and BA (Hons) Music scored 97% for overall student satisfaction in NSS 2015!*

Great opportunities for music-making and an exciting and varied programme in classical, jazz, musical theatre, opera and world music.

Performance

This is a highly practical course. Every week a day is dedicated to ensemble performance and related activities for students in all years - these include choirs, orchestras, wind band, big bands and gamelan. There are also numerous other ensembles including brass, wind and string groups and an experimental ensemble called Material. There are regular student performances through the year, both at the Michael Tippett Centre, and in Bath as well as beyond. Each year, the School promotes opera and musical theatre productions, in which music students take part. Recent operas have included Philip Glass's Satyagraha, Mozart's The Magic Flute, Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Handel's Semele and Puccini's Il Trittico. Musical theatre productions have included Sondheim's Into the Woods, CompanyA Little Night Music and Seussical.

To see which instrumental and vocal tutors are currently available for one-to-one practical tuition please click here.

Composition

Composition students work in a wide variety of musical styles and genres and have regular opportunities of working with professional performers. Recent visiting ensembles who have performed student work have included Ensemble Bash, Plus Minus, the Kreutzer Quartet and the New London Chamber Ensemble. There are also regular opportunities for performances of student work by our own student ensembles and there is a commission project for all final year composition students.

Orchestra and Choir

Visiting performers and composers

We have regular visits from high-profile international performers and composers. Recent visitors have included Peter Donohoe, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Judith Weir, Joanna MacGregor, Tim Hugh, David Matthews, Trevor Wishart, Denis Smalley, Graham Fitkin and Kathy Hinde.

Facilities

Based at the Michael Tippett Centre, we have excellent facilities including:

  • A purpose-built concert hall with superb acoustics
  • 17 practice rooms, three with electronically variable acoustic
  • A wide range of medieval, renaissance and baroque instruments, and a large collection of percussion and orchestral instruments
  • A Javanese Gamelan
  • A high spec music technology laboratory
  • Five recording studios 
  • Two band rehearsal rooms
  • Large well-stocked Music Library and a wide range of online musical resources

Bath and nearby Bristol are busy centres for performance with many international music festivals, touring operas, concerts and shows. Bath particularly has an extensive semi-professional and amateur life with many opportunities for students to join in music-making in the city.

Partnerships

We are proud to have very valuable partnerships with a variety of organisations in the region. These enable our student work to reach a wide audience and they also facilitate student placements and professional networking. They include:

  • Bath International Music Festival
  • Bath Philharmonia
  • Bath Abbey
  • The Holburne Museum
  • Iford Arts
  • Wiltshire Music Centre
  • Bath Young Recital Artists Trust

Why study Music?

There is a strong practical element to the course. Each year there are music-making opportunities ranging from large works for choir and orchestra (such as Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, Faure’s Requiem, and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms) through to opera and musical theatre productions. There are regular opportunities for students to perform in prestigious venues off campus - recent venues have included the Assembly Rooms, Guildhall, Bath Abbey, Wells Cathedral, Bath Pump Room and Oxford's Holywell Room. Our jazz students perform widely too, including in our arts centre Burdall's Yard. There are also opportunities to develop teaching and community music skills, to explore musicology and to develop interdisciplinary creative projects with students from other courses within the university.

* Source National Student Survey 2015.

Course structure

Year 1:

For single honours students there are no optional modules in Yr 1: all students take the same modules.

Performance Studies consists of one-to-one instrumental or vocal lessons, with workshops on performance techniques, aural awareness, and conducting. Students can opt for classical or jazz performance and are assessed on their contribution to ensembles.

Creative Forum is a composition skills module which includes free composition, while focusing on a range of compositional techniques, notation, arranging, orchestration, and the use of music technology.

Music in the West and Global Musical Styles include study and research skills for musicians, analytical skills and the close study of landmark musical works and genres from medieval to pop, with a series of seminars around cultural and musicological issues in music today.

Year 2:

You develop skills in teaching and in the area of music management and promotion through the Professional Musician module. This offers you the opportunity to undertake a placement in an organisation of your choice. In addition to the Professional Musician module (which is core) there are a number of optional modules. You continue to develop your musical skills, and increasingly you will specialise in areas of particular strength and interest – for example in performance, composition or musicology in classical or jazz styles. There is a wide choice of modules, ranging from Performance to Music Analysis.

Year 3:

You have the freedom for creative output in specialisms such as performance or composition together with the choice of a wide range of supporting modules, from the Opera Project to Music Psychology and Music in Action (which is a community music module). Practical workshops in performance and composition are a key feature of the course.

Magic Flute opera perforamance

Modules

Year 1:

  • Performance 1 (including first study instrumental/vocal lessons, optional second study, aural awareness, conducting, ensemble skills)
  • Creative Forum 1 (composition skills, harmony, music technology)
  • Music in the West (musical styles, set works, research skills, critical musicology)
  • Global Music (musical styles, ethnomusicology, field work)

Year 2:

  • Professional Musician (including a work placement, introduction to teaching, marketing and the music industry)
  • Performance 2 (in Classical and Jazz streams)
  • Creative Forum 2 (including collaborative composition with dance or film, as well as orchestration and arrangement)
  • Musical Theatre Practice (taught in collaboration with Drama)
  • Opera Project
  • Musicology 2
  • Music Analysis

Year 3:

  • Performance 3 (includes a public recital)
  • Composition (a composition portfolio)
  • Independent Study (dissertation or lecture recital)
  • Musicology 3 (popular music and music for screen)
  • Music in Action (Community Music)
  • Musical Theatre Project
  • Opera Project
  • Music Psychology

Course assessment

We assess students through coursework (including compositions and essays), spoken presentations and through practical assessments such as recitals, technicals and rehearsals.

Facilities on campus are superb, and include a purpose-built concert hall (the Michael Tippett Centre), a suite of sound-proofed practice rooms, a wide range of specialist instruments (including three Steinway grand pianos), networked music technology labs, digital recording studios, band rehearsal rooms and a well-stocked music library. There is also a wealth of online resources and all lecturers make use of our Virtual Learning Environment (Minerva) where course materials are made available to students.

Music workshop

Teaching methods

Music is taught through workshops, masterclasses, lectures, seminars, individual tutorials and instrumental/vocal lessons. All of our teaching sessions are highly interactive, whether face-to-face or online (for example, through wikis or discussion boards).

Practical workshops in performance and composition are given by distinguished full-time staff who are all practising performers, composers and musicologists. Clarinettist Professor Roger Heaton is one of this country's foremost performers of new music, recording regularly for CD and radio, and was formerly Music Director and Conductor of Rambert Dance Company; Dr Matthew Spring is a leading performer of early music with his group Sirinu, and his major book 'The Lute in Britain' has recently been published by Oxford University Press. Dr Charles Wiffen is a pianist and musicologist who has performed and recorded widely in the UK (including in the BBC Proms) and abroad and has previously taught at the Royal College of Music and Trinity College of Music in London.

Students have the opportunity to work regularly with distinguished visiting lecturers, performers and composers in a masterclass format. Recent visiting performers and composers have included Dame Emma Kirkby, Ensemble Bash, the Smith Quartet, Jason Rebello, Andy Sheppard, Gavin Bryars, Graham Fitkin and Mark-Anthony Turnage.

To see which instrumental and vocal tutors are currently available for one-to-one practical tuition please click here.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Please contact Bath Spa Admissions by email or phone +44 (0)1225 875609

Entry requirements

280-320 UCAS Tariff points, preferably including Music at minimum grade B, plus a good standard of practical instrumental/vocal performance at Grade 8 (ABRSM) or equivalent.

Single Hons applicants will be interviewed.

Students with instruments

Career opportunities

During the course you will explore the constantly changing needs of the employment market, and you will undertake a placement in Year 2. (Recent placements have included the Bath International Music Festival, Bath Philharmonia, the BBC Proms, Welsh National Opera, BBC Music Magazine, Dorling Kindersley and Real World).

Career possibilities include:

  • Performing
  • Teaching
  • Music in the community
  • Composing for concert, screen, stage and education
  • Music and arts management
  • Music promotion and publishing

Graduate Profile: Jason Thornton

Jason Thornton is the music director of Bath Philharmonia. He has worked extensively with many of Britain’s orchestras and choirs including, City of London Sinfonia, London Mozart Players, Halle Orchestra, English Northern Philharmonia, London Philharmonic Choir and the Philharmonia Chorus. Abroad he has worked with the Cyprus Chamber Orchestra, Jykvaskyla Sinfonia (Finland) and the North West Symphony Orchestra (Seattle). Recent performances have included collaborations with Peter Donohoe, Natalie Clein, Joanna MacGregor and Sir Willard White.

 Kill It Kid band members

Graduate Profile: Alastair King

As a composer, Alastair has written music for many film and television productions. He has contributed additional music to 'Harry Potter and the Order Of the Phoenix' (Warner Brothers), the Academy-Award winning Wallace and Gromit movie, 'The Curse of the Were-Rabbit' (Dreamworks/Aardman), 'Shrek' (Dreamworks) and 'Chicken Run' (Dreamworks/Aardman). He is also Principle Conductor of the Chamber Orchestra of London and has conducted a variety of other orchestras and choirs including The London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, London Session Orchestra, Metro Voices, RSVP Voices, the Bach Choir and the Choir of the King’s Consort.

Graduate Profile: Trish Brown

Trish is a versatile vocalist, sax player, conductor and musical director. She MD’d Lil’ Big Band for three years at Bath Spa University and more recently The Trish Brown All-Stars. Her love for music is also expressed in her work as an arranger and singer songwriter, with her current project The Trish Brown Band performing a fusion of originals and jazz standards around the South West. Her recent performances have been at Glastonbury Festival 2011 and Marlborough Jazz Fest 2011, as well as Bristol Harbour Festival 2011. Trish is also an arts professional, having worked in music management and promotion. She currently works at St George's Bristol as an Events Manager.

Since 2010, employers such as The Ministry of Sound, The Mayflower Theatre (Southampton), Apple, the Royal Opera House and Wells Cathedral School have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also progressed into roles including Singing Teacher, Music Therapist, Musician (session, composer and teacher), Music Technician, Music Therapist, Royal Opera House Steward, Private Music Teacher.

What students say...

Kate Stevens:

Why did you choose your course and what do you like about it?

"Music has always been a huge passion of mine, especially within Theatre. Bath Spa offered me all the subjects and topics of music that I wished to concentrate on. I love their wide range of ensembles to be involved in, and the performance opportunities that you get as a BSU Music student. In my first year the choir and orchestra performed in Bath Abbey, conducted by Jason Thornton, performing Faure’s Requiem and other orchestral works. We have also performed new compositions by Harrison Birtwistle and Gavin Bryars. There are also Master classes available for each taught instrument, by professional musicians. The course is a musician's dream."

What do you like about Bath Spa University? 

"Bath Spa has a beautiful campus, with lots of places to escape to, like the lake – but beware the swans! The location of the campus is out of Bath, but only a 5 minute journey to the centre, which I feel is perfect as you don’t feel crowded, and with its open spaces you can really breathe in the country air."

 Dixieland Jazz band

Joe Gatley: 

Why did you choose your course and what do you like about it?

"Music at Bath Spa appealed to me because of its strong emphasis on performance, and also being part of a vibrant School of Music and Performing arts. This has allowed me to work and socialise with students from related courses such as Drama, Performing Arts and Commercial Music. Every year the music department stages Opera and Music Theatre productions to a very high standard, which is something that really interests me. There are a large number of ensembles to take part in, and also the support and facilities to start your own if you wanted to. Through these ensembles the music department puts on concerts through-out the year, with many opportunities for solo performances."

What do you like about Bath Spa University?

"Bath Spa University has a very friendly atmosphere, and has a campus in fresh, rural surroundings that is not too big so you feel familiar with it almost straight away. Everything on campus is quite close together, and the library is well stocked and has good computer facilities." 

To see which instrumental and vocal tutors are currently available for one-to-one practical tuition please click here.