BA (Hons) Popular Music Studies recognises popular music's role as a major cultural form. The distinctive nature of the course is its cross-disciplinary approach, which will provide students with special skills in the study of popular music's relationship to media and culture and vice-versa. This innovative course introduces students to a variety of critical, musicological, practical, theoretical and historical approaches to the major forms of contemporary popular music, from Rock & Roll to indie. Popular Music Studies is rooted in experiencing, interpreting and creating musical practice. The aim is to provide a framework for analysing specific musical styles both culturally and musicologically, and for creating and understanding the techniques of musical production in the context of the global music industry.
BA (Hons) Popular Music Studies is not intended as a vocational course aimed at training music practitioners; however, all courses explore the links between theory and practice, and all popular music students have the opportunity to perform, and to make their own digital music video, drawing on the excellent technical resources and state-of -the-art-digital editing equipment housed in the Lancaster University Television Unit.
In your first year, you will take courses alongside all of the Music students and Media, Film & Cultural Studies students, both of which introduce a range of key critical approaches to music, popular music studies, media and cultural studies and the study of film. In Media, Film & Cultural Studies students produce a group project which involves creating a multi-media presentation on a popular music topic; for example, the analysis of a specific piece of music, a short music video produced by the group, or any other project devised with the guidance of your tutor.
In the second and third years, students take four modules per year. In the second year students are introduced to different theoretical and musicological approaches to the study of popular music, with the aim of encouraging you to develop critical skills which will enable you to reflect upon, analyse and challenge assumptions about what popular music is and its role in different musical, cultural and historical contexts. The course focuses on close analysis of key theoretical texts about popular music.
In the third year, students carry out a research project of their choice in the area of popular music. This project course involves learning about a range of different research methods, and culminates in a final year dissertation and/or practical new media project. Each student is given an academic supervisor who will help them develop and produce a project in the area of their choice.
Students study significant aspects of contemporary popular music culture and practices. Teaching begins from the assumption that on the one hand, in order to understand modern societies, we need to understand the central role that the music industry plays in shaping cultural perceptions and values, and on the other, to understand and interpret musical structures we need to be able to offer close analytical readings.
There is an option to study abroad where students can spend their second year in Canada or the US at one of our partner institutions. If you decide to spend a year abroad we will support you and advise you about the best institutions to undertake an exchange year with and what courses to take.
Our graduates are highly employable and have a strong track record of gaining employment, particularly in advertising and marketing, media production, the media industries and education. Many go on to undertake vocational postgraduate training in media-related careers, or pursue one of the postgraduate MA degrees offered at Lancaster. Popular Music Studies graduates benefit from a strong grounding in the critical and theoretical study of popular music which is an advantage to anyone seeking a career in the music industry or other areas of the media.
If you do not have Music A-level, you require a minimum of ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory (or a GCSE Grade B in Music). If you wish to take courses in performance you will need instrumental or vocal skills equivalent to grade 8.
If you have an interest in understanding how the different forms of popular music shape our relationship to other media and cultural practices, then BA (Hons) in Popular Music Studies has a lot to offer. The course is designed for students with an ability and willingness to work across academic disciplines. There is a strong emphasis on critical thought and independent research.
All applications to undergraduate courses are made through UCAS, the UK central organisation through which applications are processed for entry to higher education. Your school or college will explain how to do this or alternatively you can contact UCAS directly.
Applications for entry to university in autumn 2011 should be made between 1 September 2010 and 15 January 2011. If you accept a conditional offer from Lancaster we will check it against your results when they are released. If you have met the conditions of the offer your place will automatically be confirmed through UCAS.
Senior Lecturer: Music
"MA by Research enables students from across the arts to develop their research skills in projects that provide excellent preparation for a range of careers and doctoral study."
Part-time study is possible. Students must be able to come to the classes at the same times as the full-time students. We can make no guarantee that classes will be timetabled to fit in with a part-time student’s availability. Part-time students simply study less than a full complement of modules each year. The number of modules and which they are is decided on a case-by-case basis in discussion with the Director of Studies.
We recommend that you book online for a Visit Day or Campus Tour. Details can be found at: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/undergraduate/uk/visit.htm. On certain campus tour dates you can also ‘drop in’ to the department you’re interested in for a talk and tour. Remember though that if you apply to Lancaster you will be invited to an Open Day / Interview which includes a talk, tour and the opportunity to chat to current staff and students.
Start by searching for your course via the Online Course Search tool on the website: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/coursesearch/ . Once you have reached the summary page for your course, click on the link to the Online Courses Handbook. This will take you to a detailed course description including links to individual modules and their reading lists.
If you have completed your first year at another institution you may be able to enter direct into Part II for all LICA undergraduate degree schemes. In most cases this requires you to submit a marks breakdown / transcript from your current institution as additional information when you apply.