Music and Performing Arts

Access to Higher Education: Popular Music Level 3 Full-time

In Brief

Start Date / Duration

This course starts in September 2020 and runs for one year.

Entry requirements

  • You will need to be 19 when the course commences in September
  • Entry to the course is by interview. We take a strong interest in previous experience and would love to see or hear recent written work, recordings, performances and online materials
  • Level 2 English is desirable
  • The ability to sing or play an instrument (this does not need to be a formal grade)

You will achieve

Access to Higher Education Diploma Level 3 in Popular Music

Course overview

New for September 2020

The Access to Higher Education (HE) in Popular Music course is designed to meet the needs of those who wish to pursue entrance onto a degree course in popular music or music production. In particular, the course is designed for students who may be approaching entrance to Higher Education from non-traditional routes without previously fulfilling their academic potential. The course has a practical and vocational ethos underpinned by a theoretical and academic foundation that will ensure a smoother route into the world of Higher Education.

The main aims of the programme are to:

  • Develop the practical skills, techniques, intellectual understanding and musicianship required for study at undergraduate level
  • Develop a broad range of skill-based experiences required for the study of popular music at undergraduate level


Course content

You will spend two days per week at the Church Street campus, which is part of Barnsley College’s Higher Education. You will have access to facilities including our well-equipped recording studios, practice rooms, studios and library. The course content has been designed to prepare you for progression onto the BA (Hons) Popular Music degree. If successful, you will have the option of taking a route in performance or production. Within the Access course you will develop skills in relation to academic study as well as the practical and creative skills needed to launch your professional journey.

As part of your course you will study the following units:


  • HE Study Skills (Level 3, 9 credits)
  • Organisation and Evaluation of Study (Level 3, 6 credits)


  • E-Business (Level 3, 6 credits)
  • Introduction to Composing Music (Level 3, 9 credits)
  • Using Sequencing Technology in Composition (Level 3, 3 credits)
  • Understanding and Using the Internet for Music Promotion (Level 3, 6 credits)
  • Music in Context (Level 3, 6 credits)
  • Performance Techniques (Level 3, 6 credits)
  • Final Individual Project (Level 3, 9 credits)

Assessment is coursework-led so will be project-based throughout the year. Where possible, a variety of assessment methods will be used which includes both written and practical approaches to assignments.

You will need your own stationary including pens, paper and manuscript paper. You will also need to bring a USB stick or hard drive for the storage of work. We recommend that students bring their own musical instruments, leads and drum sticks but obviously supply larger items such as amplifiers, drum kits and keyboards.

Church Street Campus
Church Street
S70 2AN

Progression onto the BA (Hons) Popular Music is available for students gaining a Merit or higher on their Access to HE programme.

How much does the course cost?

Course fees: £3,384

Extra information

This course may be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan. Contact our friendly Information Team on +44 (0)1226 216 123 or email about eligibility and how to apply. You can also visit the Advanced Learner Loan page.



If you’re undertaking an Access to Higher Education (HE) course and then go on to complete an HE qualification, the outstanding balance of your Advanced Learner Loan will be written off, once you have fully completed both courses, without taking any gap years.

For further information please contact our friendly Information Team on +44 (0)1226 216 123 or email

Barnsley College has a range of sports opportunities for all students to take part in, gain professional training and compete nationally and internationally. We also have a state-of-the-art fitness village, Honeywell Sports Village where students can make use of our fitness suite, spinning studio and classes for competitive rates. You don’t have to be studying sport to get involved in the Sports Academy.

Our Additional Learning Support team can provide you with the support you need. Please contact them on +44 (0)1226 216 769.

Please note we reserve the right to change details without notice. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Access to Higher Education: Popular Music Level 3 Full-time

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