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Commercial Music

BA (Hons)

Undergraduate degree - single honours

BA (Hons) Commercial Music
Bath School of Music and Performing Arts
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
Three years full time, or four years full time with professional placement year. Part time available.
UCAS codes
Institution Code: B20
Course Code: W304 or FTFB
Campus Code: A,BSU

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed under 'Typical offers' in the main column below. For combined courses, please check both subjects. If your qualification is not listed, please email with your specific details.

A vocational music course for songwriters, producers and performers who want to turn their passion into a career.

  • Develop your talent and flourish. We focus on original creativity.
  • Build your music career through personal development and industry engagement.
  • Benefit from our experience. Our staff have music industry experience at a high level.

If you have a flair for original musical ideas, our Commercial Music course can take you on a creative journey to inspire and define a lifelong career. You’ll write original material alongside exploring identity, promotion and the wider music business - the context of your music.

Some of our graduates are signed artists. Others work for record labels, in music publishing, in the entertainment business, or across the digital sector.

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“While giving you a deep understanding of the workings of the industry from business to creativity, it also allows an individual to pursue their specific interests in detail. Thank you for giving me the best three years of my life.”

Neil Martin, Broadcast Engineer, Abbey Road Live (Commercial Music Graduate)

What you'll learn


This Commercial Music course is about creation: songs, projects, bands and entrepreneurial ideas. You’ll acquire skills that broaden your future career choices through writing, designing, promoting, performing, researching, touring and launching your creative material.

Songwriting/original music - develop your songwriting skills, whether you’re a singer songwriter, play in a band, or want to write music for media.

Music production - capture and present your musical ideas. Whether you’re into vintage studio techniques or the latest digital technologies, we’ll teach you the skills you need to achieve your personal creative goals.

Contextual studies - understand the context of your musical work through the analysis of your own creative outputs and the work of artists relevant to you.

Performance - develop performance skills as solo performer, or within a band.

Course structure

Year one
Your first year focuses on songwriting, performance and production. This raw material will define the launch and release cycles of your second year.

You’ll write songs and journalistic/promotional material, and learn how to produce and develop your material in the recording studio. Meanwhile, you’ll work towards live showcase events.

Year two
You’ll write, produce, and record your own original material. You’ll explore semiotics, marketing, cultural theory, photography and advertising, and develop an understanding of branding in a crowded marketplace.

You'll create an online presence through designing and editing your own promotional video, as well as other website and audio-visual content. Using this for promotion, you’ll set up your own national tour.

Year three
Choose to specialise in production, songwriting or music business. Songwriting, performance and production all combine within our outward-facing Portfolio module which will showcase your skills on leaving University. You’ll also explore an aspect of music culture, leading to a final dissertation.

You’ll be given "seed funding" to work in a team to develop and actively pursue a "real-world" music-related business project. Many graduates continue successful business projects beyond graduation.

How will I be assessed?

There are no formal exams. You’ll be assessed through the production of your portfolio materials which will include songs, live performances, audio productions, promotional material, website design, photographic output, video staging, video editing, critical thinking, tour management, written dissertations, business plans, business diagnostics and presentations.

How will I be taught?

You’ll be taught in a variety of ways, including group practical lectures in practice rooms, formal group lectures, small group seminars in band rooms, group lectures in technology suites (video, website design and music production), small group seminars in recording studios, one-to-one tutorials, and instrumental teaching in small groups and one-to-one formats.

To find out more about how we teach and how you'll learn, please read our Learning and Teaching Delivery Statement.

Course modules

This course offers or includes the following modules. The modules you take will depend on your pathway or course combination (if applicable) as well as any optional or open modules chosen. Please check the programme document for more information.

Year one (Level 4) modules
  • Songwriting
  • Composing with Technology
  • Performance (Collaborative)
  • Introduction to the Music Business
  • Commercial Music Studio Production
  • Performance (Projects)
Year two (Level 5) modules
  • Brand, Identity and Promotion
  • Music Video Production
  • Song Production
  • Audio Visual Identity
  • Music Think Tank
  • "Going Live" (Tour and Events)
  • Working in the Music Industry
  • Creative Composition
  • Music Orchestration and Arranging
  • Work placement
  • Professional Placement Year
Year three (Level 6) modules
  • Professional Portfolio (Development)
  • Professional Musician
  • Professional Portfolio (Presentation)
  • Commercial Music Research: Planning and Methods
  • Commercial Music Research: Writing and Revision
  • Music, Money and Enterprise 1
  • Music, Money and Enterprise 2
  • Live Music TV Show
  • Composition for Media
  • AudioVisual Performance


Study abroad

As part of your degree, you could study abroad on a placement at one of Bath Spa’s partner universities.

Music Think Tank

We don’t just teach you about the music industry, we bring it to you. Music Think Tank is an annual ten-week lecture series that brings you into contact with practitioners from a wide spectrum of the industry.

Promotion, branding and visuals

Making music is one thing, but understanding how to present your music is key. We’ll teach you how to present your projects through understanding the links between sound and vision. You’ll design logos, make and edit videos, be involved in photoshoots and design your own websites and social media campaigns.

Competitions and awards

The Bath Spa University Cullum Family Award supports music students by providing grants which help them explore and better understand the music industry and the various career pathways available to them.

Global Citizenship

If you’re a full-time undergraduate student starting your first year at Bath Spa University, you can apply for the Certificate in Global Citizenship, which you’ll study alongside your degree.

You’ll gain global awareness and add an international dimension to your student experience, and funding is available. On successful completion of the programme, you’ll be awarded a Certificate in Global Citizenship. This is in addition to your degree; it doesn’t change your degree title or results.

Adobe Creative Campus

Develop a wealth of indispensable digital skills that you can take into your future career. One of only three Adobe Creative Campuses in the UK, we provide all Bath Spa students with access to the full Adobe Creative Suite, giving you the tools to communicate creatively, whatever your course or chosen professional field.   

Professional placement year


The Professional Placement Year (PPY) provides you with the opportunity to identify, apply for, and secure professional experience, normally comprising one to three placements over a minimum of nine months. Successful completion of this module will demonstrate your ability to secure and sustain graduate-level employment.

By completing the module, you'll be entitled to the addition of 'with Professional Placement Year' to your degree title.


Before your PPY, you'll work to identify roles of interest and secure a placement. The Placements Team will support through timetabled sessions and 1:1 appointments.

How will I be assessed?

As well as completing a minimum of 900 placement hours, you will complete two assessments demonstrating your skill development, growth in professional behaviours and how the PPY has impacted your future career aspirations.

The PPY Bursary

Aiming to make work experience more accessible, we have introduced the PPY Bursary. Students undertaking a PPY can receive between £500 and £1,500 to be used towards placement costs such as travel, food, workwear or accommodation.

For more information and details of eligibility criteria, please visit the PPY Bursary webpage.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

You'll have access to a range of music facilities. Many of these spaces are accessible seven days a week in term time, with full technical support available.

  • Recording studios
    Equipped with industry standard equipment including TL Audio valve desks, high-end outboard and top-of-the-range microphones.
  • Rehearsal spaces
    Fully equipped rehearsal rooms with high-end drum kits, amplifiers (Mesa Boogie, Orange, Ampeg and Vox) and Nord Keyboards.
  • Technology labs
    With state of the art iMACs loaded with Logic, Protools, Native Instrument, Waves and numerous other industry standard music software
  • Performance spaces
    We have relationships with various venues in Bath, Bristol and the Students' Union, for regular performances, events and assessment activities.
  • TV studios
    We have a state of the art TV and media production facility; Commercial Music students use these facilities when making videos and working on post-production audio mixing/editing.
  • Michael Tippett Centre
    A theatre venue where we undertake lectures, performance seminars and location recording sessions.

Students can hire out equipment using SISO, Bath Spa University’s free equipment loan service. Commercial Music students can hire our instruments, PA systems, recording equipment, video cameras and laptops for their creative projects.


2024 entry
Student Annual tuition fee
UK full time £9,250
UK part time £4,625
International full time £16,905

Professional Placement Year

During the placement year, the fee is reduced to 20% of the full time fee. This applies to UK and EU/International students.

  • UK: £1,850
  • International: £3,381

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We’re looking for individuals with the determination necessary to turn their creative ideas into lifelong careers. Our graduates are ready to cope with the demands of a modern "portfolio career", so you’ll need to be prepared to learn a wide range of skills in order to succeed.

Applicants will also need a high level of performance or composing skill (assessed via MP3s/Soundcloud of your three best original tracks), music technology experience and performance experience, submitted digitally prior to audition.

Shortlisted candidates will be auditioned at our Newton Park Campus between December and March where they will be required to perform an original piece of work (written or part-written by you). Candidates should be aware that this is an interview as much as it is an audition, and we will be looking to explore broader aspects of your character and personality as well as your specific music skills.

Typical offers

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level – grades BBB-BCC preferred.
  • BTEC – Extended Diploma grades from Distinction Distinction Merit (DDM) to Distinction Merit Merit (DMM) in a related subject, or evidence of experience in Music or Music technology.
  • T Levels – grade Merit preferred in a relevant subject.
  • International Baccalaureate – a minimum of 32 points are required in addition to evidence of a high level of experience in music, composing, music technology or music performance.
  • Access to HE courses – typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, at Merit or higher) together with evidence of a high level of experience in music, composing, music technology or music performance.

If you don’t meet the entry requirements above, we may be able to accept your prior learning or experience from outside of formal education. See our Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) page to learn more.

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Course enquiries

For further information about the programme or entry requirements, please email us at

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

We ask you to provide a link to three original compositions and complete an additional document which allows you to highlight your specific contribution to music.

At interview you’ll need to perform some music. The nature of this performance will depend on your own musical aims: a singer-songwriter might perform a song; a drummer, guitarist or keyboard player might play to a backing track. It's fine if you'd like to perform a track that you submitted as part of your portfolio.

This is your opportunity to tell us about all your musical activities, so be prepared with links to videos, a portfolio showing performances, events you have organised or work-related experience that you have undertaken.

If you’re an international student or based overseas, web-based interviews may be offered. Please contact International Admissions for more information:

We do not charge an audition fee.

Three year course
With placement year

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