Music (Top-Up) BA (Hons)

Apply Online

If you are applying for the part-time route, click apply now.

Course starts: 16 September 2019Apply now

If you are applying from outside the UK/EU, click apply now.

Course starts: 16 September 2019Apply now

Apply now

Grasp new opportunities for creative music exploration and expression. Improve your performance and presentation skills, your depth of subject knowledge and application, and your critical analysis and research skills.

Apply through Clearing


This course is designed to build on HND or Foundation Degree qualifications in music. It combines degree-level theoretical studies with further training in musical performance, musicology, creative sound and participatory practice. The result is a mix of academic rigour and practical skills that makes our Music course a stimulating journey of discovery, reflection and achievement.

Why us?

  • Top up an HND or foundation degree to a full honours degree, studying with award-winning lecturers
  • Pursue your passion through independent music study with either a practical or theoretical focus
  • Opportunities to participate in musical theatre projects and choir performances and collaborate with dance, drama and media students
  • Research in Music, Dance and Performing Arts at Sunderland has been described as ‘internationally excellent’ by the latest Research Excellence Framework
  • Study in a vibrant city music scene with new arts, culture and music venue investment
  • Exceptional menu of modules, ranging from musicology and creative sound to community/education work and musical multimedia
  • Aspiring teachers can gain experience of working as a music facilitator in educational and community settings

New Sunderland Culture logo

A city brimming with creative potential

Offering a year-round programme of exhibitions, events and performances, Sunderland Culture brings big-name artists from the worlds of contemporary visual arts, glass, ceramics and performance to the city, alongside showcasing the best and most exciting local talent. There is a huge range of opportunities for students to visit the venues, take part in events and get involved in the programme. Learn more about Sunderland Culture.

Course structure

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning methods encourage you to engage with theory and practice. Feedback on performance and projects is supported by lectures, seminars and workshop discussions. Assessment methods include public performances, presentations, essays and critical evaluations.

Part-time study

If you study this course on a part-time basis you will typically complete 40-80 credits in a year, rather than the 120 credits of full-time students. All modules are taught during the day time and you will be studying alongside full-time students.

Final year (Top-Up) (national level 6):

  • Meaning in Music (20 credits)

Analytical study of music and meaning.

  • Musical Performance (20 credits)

Instrumental and/or vocal performance underpinned by reflection and contextualisation.

  • Creative Sound (20 credits)

Audio creation using music and sound technologies underpinned by reflection and contextualisation.

  • Negotiated Independent Study (20 credits)

Independent research project.

  • Music-Image-Text (20 credits)

Exploration of musical multimedia through creative composition underpinned by relevant theory and contextualisation.

  • Live Project (20 credits)

Independent practical project underpinned by relevant research.

  • Community/Education Project

Participatory project delivered in a community or educational setting.



Please note, modules are subject to review. Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

More about BA (Hons) Music (Top-Up) at Sunderland

Discover more articles
  • The University Library subscribes to a comprehensive range of academic journals and databases so you can access reliable and up-to-date information.

    Our experienced Library team provide a high-quality service and are sensitive to the requirements and working methods of our students. A dedicated Academic Liaison Librarian supports students and staff in the arts, design and performing arts disciplines.

    Students are encouraged to develop their research skills, working with lecturers and library staff to cultivate their knowledge of contemporary and historical perspectives of performing arts, as well as the wider contexts of their subject.

    The key resources for your course include:

    Discover: The Library’s multi-disciplinary search tool

    Art Full Text: A major resource for media and arts information

    Dance in Video: Giving access to dance productions and documentaries in the 20th century

    JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’): Providing access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences

    Lexis: A major resource of full-text newspaper articles and legal information

    Library Services - performing arts
  • Facilities for music and performing arts include:

    • Specialist music technology suites
    • Rehearsal rooms
    • A range of musical instruments
    • Individual access to specialist Foley, Post Production and Music studios
    • Our extensive libraries also offer thousands of books, journals and other resources
    Music facilities
  • Map and directions


This course is based at the Priestman Building, the main base for art, design and performance on City Campus.  Thanks to a major renovation programme, the Priestman Building provides state-of-the-art teaching space and resources as part of a vibrant and creative learning environment.






Entry requirements

The typical entry requirement is successful completion of one of the following:

  • BTEC HND in a subject related to music
  • Foundation degree in a subject related to music
  • 240 credits or equivalent of a recognised UK undergraduate award in a relevant subject

We will consider applications from applicants who do not hold one of the qualifications in the list above but who do have relevant experience.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

Fees and finance

The annual, full-time fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £11,500 if you are an international student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Please note that part-time courses are not available to international students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

You are viewing entry requirements for visitors from United States. Not from United States? Change your country preferences.

This information was correct at the time of publication.

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's by night


This course prepares you for roles in music-related areas of the creative industries, participatory arts and arts management as well as for entrepreneurship in the creative sector. You could also undertake further training to become a music teacher.

Practical experience

The ‘Live Project’ module allows you to build up experience that attracts potential employers. It could consist of touring new work, collaborating with youth organisations or working with professional musicians.





Links with the music industry

The University has strong links with arts organisations throughout the North East. These links are valuable in ensuring the relevance of our courses and in opening up opportunities for projects and placements.


The University of Sunderland is committed to ensuring that every student has an impressive range of opportunities to enhance their CV and gain valuable experience through:

  • Work placements
  • Graduate internships
  • Studying abroad
  • Student Ambassador Scheme
  • Mentoring
  • Starting your own business
  • Student jobs and volunteering
  • Careers advice

Meet the team

Sign up to receive more information

Sign up to receive emails about your subject area.

Keep me up to date relating to my interest in the University of Sunderland via:

You may unsubscribe at any time.

Oops! You've not opted in to receiving other useful information about the University of Sunderland.

Using Your Personal Information
The University of Sunderland is collecting this data in order for you to receive information on your chosen subject(s). Your information will be stored securely in our Customer Relationship Management system which is provided by a 3rd party and used only for the administration and provision of this information. Should you choose to opt in to further communications we will also use your information to facilitate other useful marketing information based on your preferences. Further information on how your data is stored and used can be found in our Privacy notice - marketing.