facebook FD Popular Music

Key facts

FdA Popular Music
Taught by
University Centre Weston
Course length
Two years full-time
UCAS codes
Institution Code: B20
Course Code: W340
Campus Code: C,WESTON

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our foundation programmes. See ‘Interested in applying’ for more information.


Gain the professional techniques for performance you’ll need to be a success in the music industry.

  • Tailored to support musicians who wish to work as performers, session musicians, songwriters or arrangers.
  • Regular performance opportunities in venues around the South West.
  • Range of studio visits offering professional recording opportunities.

This Foundation degree provides in-depth understanding of the whole process of professional music-making through its focus on songwriting, composing, arranging, and studio musicianship.

With a focus on employability, the course has been tailored to support you with specialist workshops, one-to-one lessons, studio trips and group instrument tuition with experienced session musicians.

We've established a network of industry links with top recording studios and regional festivals; you’ll learn from and collaborate with experienced professionals. We’ll help you graduate as a versatile musician with strong business skills.

“The lecturers are excellent musicians, highly motivated and very experienced in their fields – all of the lessons are brilliant! The degree has allowed us to focus on becoming better musicians, while giving us the support and facilities we need to reach a professional standard.”

– The Blue Horizon, Popular Music (Foundation Degree) graduates

What you'll learn


This practical course covers all areas of the music industry but has performance at its heart. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities to perform in the range of renowned venues across the south west, and beyond.

You'll also hone your craft through live broadcast sessions, participation in the department’s Rock Choir, and live performances throughout the year.

You'll get the chance to improve your musicianship, create a professional body of work, and develop a performance persona that stands out from the crowd. The course also covers the key aspects of music marketing.

Foundation degrees are Level 5 qualifications equivalent to the first two years of a full Honours degree.

Course structure

Year one

  • Performing
  • Studio musicianship
  • Understanding popular music

Cover a wide variety of performance techniques, supported by session musicians and individual instrument tuition. We introduce you to studio production, and develop your understanding of the theoretical and cultural underpinnings of popular music.

Year two

  • Contemporary composing and songwriting
  • Music enterprise and entrepreneurship
  • Performing 2

Cover live performance, live sound and events management, composing and arranging, and production and marketing. You’ll construct a promotional package featuring your professional recordings and performance experience.

How will I be assessed?

You'll be assessed via a combination of practical exams and coursework. The assessment breakdown is 35% practical exams and 65% coursework. There are no written exams on this course.

How will I be taught?

You'll be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and skills practice. UCW’s Higher Education Library Plus (HE.LP) team also delivers a series of sessions on degree-level research and academic writing to all first-year students.


Industry links and guest speakers

You’ll be offered the chance to enhance either your vocal or instrumental skills with one-to-one sessions with our lecturers and visiting guest experts.

Lectures and seminars are also enhanced by varied and inspiring talks by visiting music industry professionals, including award-wining musicians and producers and renowned session musicians.


You could take on any of the numerous formal roles in the music industry; embark on your own music career by writing songs for other performers or making and selling your own recordings, or seek freelance work as a touring or session musician.

In the past, many graduates of this course have progressed to the Honours top-up in Professional Music Performance and Production at UCW.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

UCW's music courses are based in the artistic and collaborative environment of our Loxton Campus in Weston-super-Mare, which includes studio and performance spaces. Students on this course are also taught at the state-of-the-art teaching learning facilities at the redeveloped Winter Gardens, also in Weston.


UK and EU students full time

2019/20 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £8,500
Year 2 Published Jan 2021
Year 3 Published Jan 2022

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2022
Year 2 Published Jan 2023
Year 3 Published Jan 2024

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2023
Year 2 Published Jan 2024
Year 3 Published Jan 2025

International students full time

2019/20 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 N/A
Year 2 N/A
Year 3 N/A

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 N/A
Year 2 N/A
Year 3 N/A

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 N/A
Year 2 N/A
Year 3 N/A

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

A minimum of CDD at A Level, or a BTEC Extended Diploma at MMP, or equivalent, preferably in a related area. Applications from those studying two A Levels or alternative Level 3 qualifications will be considered on an alternative basis. Applicants are also required to submit an audio portfolio of work and attend an interview.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the 'apply now' button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.

Interview and portfolio guidance

Your portfolio should consist of tracks you have produced which demonstrate your compositional achievements to date in your main area of specialism. We’ll ask you to complete a supporting document form which will give you an opportunity to provide descriptions, observations and analysis of your tracks.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Email: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk 

University Centre Weston

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