MA Songwriting – Bath Spa University

Songwriting (Campus Based)


Postgraduate degree

Key facts

MA Songwriting
Bath School of Music and Performing Arts
Campus or location
Corsham Court
Course length
Full time: three trimesters (one calendar year); Part time: six trimesters (two calendar years).

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for our postgraduate courses vary. We are generally looking for a good honours degree or equivalent. Some courses also require an interview or the submission of a portfolio of work. We positively welcome Accreditation of Prior Learning (APEL).

Please contact our admissions team for more information:

Refine your professional song portfolio and unique songwriting 'voice' on our Songwriting Master's degree.

  • Write your songs from day one, and develop the skills of creative critique in a supportive yet dynamic environment.
  • Prepare yourself for a range of internationalised, professional futures in music and its wider industries.
  • Benefit from a pioneering curriculum, taught by professional, published songwriters and performers.

Songwriting remains one of the UK’s biggest exports, with UK music stronger than ever. Popular song is the heart of the industry, and global demand for new songs is high. On our MA Songwriting course, you'll nurture your musical creativity, focus and develop your professional portfolio, forge new collaborative networks, and engage in research designed to support your career as a songwriter.

The course is aimed at unpublished songwriters wishing to develop their craft to professional level, and published songwriters wishing to achieve academic accreditation while exploring their creativity.

We maintain strong links with industry professionals, guest artists, and guest lecturers. This course is also available as a distance learning route.

“I can now apply for jobs I previously wouldn't have been considered for. Every aspect of my writing, both academic and musically speaking, has improved. I realise that creating music should be fun, and more than anything else, personal. An excellent course, an excellent experience.”

Stuart Vallans, MA Songwriting

What you'll learn


From day one, you’ll write songs, using alternative strategies designed to work alongside your current creative approaches.

Applying practice-based learning at our world-heritage research centres, through a range of creative strategies and critical perspective on your songs’ relationship with audience and industry, you’ll develop and focus your output. This is informed by a blend of practical, theoretical and scholarly practice.

Lyric-writing, and a fluent command of imagery, metaphor, and narrative is nurtured, as chords and melody take shape around language’s meaning, and vice versa. You’ll investigate the power and potential of song forms, modes of address, perspectives, time-frames, and characters.

Having stretched the range of creative options available to you within your own artistic palette, you’ll turn your hand to research; this is your entry to the postgraduate world. You’ll identify the industrial context relevant to your songs; your knowledge of your field will become intensified through primary research, secondary research, and contact with guest speakers from industry.

Collaborating with songwriters from near and far will increase your creative and networking range. Ahead of your Major Project, contextual and collaborative research perform the vital task of shaping your song outputs.

Course structure

Songwriting Skills
This is a creative primer, during which you’ll develop a feel for sensory imagery, metaphor and a facility for narrative tension. Meanwhile, you’ll apply various creative approaches to harmonic constructions and melodic devices. Of the songs generated here, some may go on to become part of your final Major Project showcase. The aim is to allow songs and writing within all genres to flourish.

Research Methodologies and Context
Here we engage with a ‘pathfinder’ contextual study into an economic/cultural context for your future song outputs. From folk to hip-hop, indie, chart pop, R&B and other genres, each as an industrial context possesses a uniquely different set of song expectations, venues, publishers, labels, agents, producers and performers. On this module you research potential career destinations relevant to you and your songwriting.

Song Identity and Culture
Here you investigate and unravel your personal songwriting ‘DNA’. This is a research process that explores songs significant to your own writing, and investigates them in relation to contexts of performer identity, genres, movements and broader culture.

You’ll also choose one of the following modules:

  • Professional Collaboration
    You’ll negotiate collaboration with other practitioners within a professional context. For example, songwriters might collaborate in the traditional manner of successful and acclaimed songwriting teams, or may work with choreographers, filmmakers, poets, composers, arrangers or remixers.
  • Workstation Song Production
    This module investigates the contemporary songwriter’s personal studio for its power to create both impressive song demonstrations and finished production masters. Increasingly, original artists are mobile and adaptive; plugging their laptop systems into bigger studio systems, or completing masters in their bedrooms. Here we explore the technical abilities that empower the contemporary autonomous songwriter to realise their vision.

Major Project
This is where you bring all your research and preparation into focus. You’re asked to present a showcase representing the songs developed during your time on the course. Usually this is a performer’s album. For some it will be several projects in differing contexts, a common practice for the working songwriter.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the programme document (below the main image on this page) for more information.

  • Songwriting Skills
  • Song, Culture and Identity
  • Research Methodologies and Context
  • Professional Collaboration
  • Workstation Song Production
  • Major Project.

How will I be assessed?

Assessments range from simple audio sketches in the early stages, to full album productions during your Major Project; each is assessed for quality and market focus. On the research modules, formal, researched and referenced papers express your intellectual and analytical development, and presentation skills bring your work to life.

How will I be taught?

There are regular taught sessions running across each of the three trimesters. Lectures, visiting speakers, seminars, workshops, tutorials, presentations, and playback sessions work on song material and research outcomes. Students play their songs to one another in a supportive yet dynamic environment, facilitating networking and analysis, and developing the language of creative critique. This can be in a live capacity or via playback.

"I take with me an original album that will be part of a professional portfolio, skills and knowledge to develop a successful career in songwriting, and an added bonus of an MA. I couldn’t recommend this programme more highly."

Katrina Swift
Headshot image of Katrina Swift



There’s a broad range of professional outcomes from this course and our graduates now work as:

  • Performers
  • Lecturers
  • Researchers
  • Agents
  • Signed artists
  • Signed writers
  • Teachers
  • Therapists
  • Publishers.

This course also provides an excellent grounding if you’re interested in going on to PhD study.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

You’ll have access to Corsham Court campus, including its songwriting rooms and library, although much of the curriculum is taught at Newton Park campus. At Corsham Court, we have four project rooms, which afford you facilities for pre-production and writing.

In the third trimester, you’ll have access to Newton Park’s industry standard recording studios. We’ll encourage you to network and get to know the lively artistic and creative communities around Bath. We have strong links with local venues such as Moles, The Nest, and Komedia. There's plenty of opportunities for songwriters to try out material at the many open mic nights, and we’ll encourage you to participate in our own various performance nights.


  • Four independent songwriting/ pre-production rooms (Corsham Court)
  • Three independent project studios for Major Project recording (Newton Park)
  • Access to LinkedIn Learning, an online instructional video library
  • International Networked Online Library Resource.


Please note: Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland are no longer eligible for the UK (Home) fee status. Please refer to the international student rate.

UK students full time

Course fees
2021/22 entry £7,790
2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

UK students part time

Fees shown below are for part time study over two years, although some courses may be available over longer periods.

2021/22 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £3,895
Year 2 Published Jan 2022

2022/23 Entry

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

2023/24 Entry

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

International students full time

Course fees
2021/22 entry £15,070
2022/23 entry Published Jan 2022
2023/24 entry Published Jan 2023

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

You’ll already be very much engaged in songwriting - this course is not suitable for beginners. However, lack of knowledge of music theory isn’t a hindrance. You need "ideas".

Where you don’t have a degree but have professional experience, we positively welcome you. Please complete an Accreditation of Prior Learning Experience (APEL*) form. 

*APEL allows an applicant to convert informal learning into certificated learning. This is particularly significant where a potential student’s work and life experience has afforded them knowledge, skills, and abilities comparable to those in a higher education award.

International students whose first language is not English are required to have a minimum language level of IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each component) or equivalent.

Interview and portfolio guidance

Prepare three of your best songs on a SoundCloud playlist and tell us as much as you can about yourself on our application form.

Whether on the radio or on an application, your songs need to speak for you. We’re a popular music course, and have tended to favour songs with the potential to reach a large audience. However, we are wholly supportive of projects that are more left-field and experimental, as long as they are song-based. If you're not a singer, make sure your songs are sung by somebody who represents them well.

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 pages.

Get ahead

Bring an open mind, some good ideas, a robust work ethic and, to quote Jarvis Cocker in Pulp’s ‘Common People’, a ‘thirst for knowledge’.

Want to apply for this year? 

Many of our postgraduate courses have a limited number of student spaces. To avoid the disappointment of the course being full, we recommend that you apply now.

Late applications (generally those made after 31 July) will only be considered if places remain on the course.

Need more information or still have questions? Contact us to discuss your situation.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Course leader: Pete Bernard

Website feedback to