University of Chester

Programme Specification
Commercial Music Production BA (Hons) (Combined Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Combined Honours)

Commercial Music Production

Commercial Music Production [NEW]

University of Chester

University of Chester

Warrington Campus

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory,

3 Years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Media

Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies



Wednesday 20th March 2013

  • To produce graduates who have an informed and critical approach both to understanding commercial music production and commercial music products.
  • To develop the cognitive potential of undergraduates through degree-level study focusing on the processes of commercial music production.
  • To encourage critical analysis and reflection on commercial music production.
  • To provide necessary practical, transferable and subject skills to enable the graduate to work in a range of employment opportunities.
  • To provide a supportive and sequenced framework for students' learning.
  • To provide a degree that fulfils the criteria suggested in the relevant QAA subject standards and benchmarks.

By the end of this programme the student / learner will, typically:

At Level 4, demonstrate a fundamental knowledge and understanding of music production tools, the role they play in the creation of commercial music and the wider context that commercial music exists within. (ME4741, ME4706)

At Level 5, demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and understanding concerning commercial music texts and music production tools, in addition to experiential / work-based related learning knowledge and understanding. (ME5727, ME5716, WB5101, ME5703)

At Level 6, show an advanced knowledge and critical understanding of music production, for example in terms of music promotion in addition to production and the industry context, whilst appreciating the uncertainty, ambiguity and limitations of commercial music-related knowledge. (ME6704, ME6705, ME6722, ME6723)

By the end of this programme the student / learner will, typically:

At Level 4, demonstrate a framework of understanding of different approaches to analysing commercial music texts and the contexts within which they are created. (ME4741, ME4706)

At Level 5, demonstrate the ability to reflect upon and analyse commercial music production and its context in a deep and broad way, applying concepts and principles, in addition to developing cognitive abilities related to experiential / work-based learning and research. (ME5727, ME5716, WB5101, ME5703)

At Level 6, perform advanced critical analysis of commercial music production and its cultural and economic contexts, and articulate informed perspectives upon these issues; reflect critically on the relationship between theory and practice. (ME6704, ME6705, ME6722, ME6723)

By the end of this programme the student / learner will, typically:

At Level 4, demonstrate basic practical skills relating to music production, and professional skills associated with the music industry. (ME4741, ME4706)

At Level 5, demonstrate a command and relevant understanding of music production and enhanced professional skills which may typically be obtained by closer liaison with parties external to the University, as well as engaging with work-based / experiential learning and research. (ME5727, ME5716, WB5101, ME5703)

At Level 6, show depth and breadth in terms of music production practical skills, in addition to significant breadth and depth in terms of engaging with parties external to the University and engaging with a wider context than at previous Levels in terms of the environment that commercial music exists within.  (ME6704, ME6705, ME6722, ME6723)

By the end of this programme the student / learner will, typically:

At Level 4, demonstrate basic communication skills, for example, when working with others within production groups and when reflecting in written form. (ME4741, ME4706)

At Level 5, demonstrate a wide range of communication skills, especially as regards communication with parties external to the University, through the recruitment of artists and acts, experiential / work-based learning and research. (ME5727, ME5716, WB5101, ME5703)

At Level 6, demonstrate advanced communication skills, for example, through more engagement in a wider variety of contexts with parties external to the University, and deeper critical reflection and analysis, communicated effectively in written form. (ME6704, ME6705, ME6719, ME6722, ME6723, ME6733)


The programme offered is a Combined Honours subject programme studied over three years on a full time basis. Each module is worth 20 credits with 200 hours of associated teaching and learning, except for the double modules which carry a 40 credit value and 400 hours of teaching and learning. The structure has at its core the establishment and development of knowledge, skills and understanding of commercial music production situated within the political, social and economic factors which impact upon them and upon which they impact.

At level 4 the student will gain exposure to a range of skills and practices underpinning commercial music production. Level 5 will see the development of these capabilities, and level 6 will provide opportunities for more application in specialist areas. Through the three levels of graduated study students will have developed both subject specific and key / transferable skills applicable in a wide range of contexts.

The minor pathway is mainly focussed on commercial music production and industry.  The equally weighted and major pathways allow for more breadth, as dissertation and work-based options are available in addition to modules that are typically offered on the minor pathway.

WB5004 (Learning in the Wider World) is similar in ambition to WB5101 but facilitates undertaking the work based learning placement at a location outside the United Kingdom. WB5004, although available to all students as an alternative to WB5101, must be applied for and participation is restricted to students who meet the criteria of interview, attendance and behaviour during Level 5. All students will be required to receive clearance from their PAT prior to departing on their overseas placement. Students must complete and have a Risk Assessment approved before they are eligible for this module.

WB5008, The Study Abroad Experience, will be offered as a complementary year of study abroad to students who have successfully completed their second-year of study (Level 5). Application will occur in January of Level 5. As such, students may be required to present evidence of successful completion of Level 4, satisfactory on-going assessment, academic references and attendance in order for their application to be accepted. Students must also complete a Risk Assessment to indicate that they are fully aware of the requirements for the exchange, university/college and destination that they are applying for.

It should be noted that ME6706 and ME6719 are only available for transnational delivery. 

Level 4: 120 credits from:
ME4706 20 credits*
ME4741 40 credits*
Plus 60 Credits from Combined Subject Area

Level 5: 120 credits from:
[Level 5 credits can be substituted for a full year exchange via the module WB5007 120 credits]
ME5727 40 credits*

And, 60 credits from:
either ME5716 20 credits
or Combined Subject Area Modules (minimum 40 credits)
And, 20 credits from:
ME5703 20 credits (Experiential Learning),
Combined Subject Area Module 20-credits (Experiential Learning),
or WB5101 20 credits (Enhancing your Employability through Work-Based Learning)
or WB5004 20 credits (by application)
leads to Diploma of Higher Education 240 credits

WB5008 The Study Abroad Experience 120 credits (non-award credits)

Level 6: 120 credits from:

Major - 80 credits from:
ME6704 20 credits
ME6705 20 credits
ME6706 20 credits#
ME6719 20 credits#
ME6722 40 credits**
ME6723 40 credits**
ME6733 20 credits
WB6001 40 credits**

Combined Subject 40 credits

Equal - 60 credits from:
ME6704 20 credits
ME6705 20 credits
ME6706 20 credits#
ME6719 20 credits#
ME6722 40 credits**
ME6723 40 credits**
ME6733 20 credits
WB6001 40 credits**

Combined Subject 60 credits

Minor - 40 credits from:
ME6704 20 credits
ME6705 20 credits
ME6706 20 credits#
ME6719 20 credits#
ME6733 20 credits

Combined Subject 80 credits

** Not combinable with each other
# Transnational delivery only

Combined Honours only
Mod-Code Level Title Credit Major Equal Minor
ME4706 4 Working In The Music Industry 20 Comp Comp Comp
ME4741 4 Music Creation and Recording 40 Comp Comp Comp
ME5703 5 Experiential Project in Media 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME5716 5 Research for Professions, Practice and Academic Purposes 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME5727 5 Recording, Recruiting and Remixing 40 Comp Comp Comp
WB5004 5 Learning in the Wider World 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5007 5 International Exchange Module – Full academic year 120 Optional Optional Optional
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 Optional Optional Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME6704 6 Live And Online Music Promotion 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME6705 6 Enhanced Music Production 20 Optional Optional Optional
ME6706 6 Music And Sound Production For Visuals 20 N/A N/A N/A
ME6719 6 Creative Media Industries: Careers and Landscapes 20 N/A N/A N/A
ME6722 6 Media Academic Dissertation 40 Optional Optional N/A
ME6723 6 Media Production Dissertation 40 Optional Optional N/A
ME6733 6 Music PR and Promotion Writing 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB6001 6 Work-based Project (40 Credit) Module 40 Optional Optional N/A

  • 120 credits at Level 4 entitles the student to a Certificate of Higher Education
  • 240 credits by the end of Level 5 entitles the student to a Diploma of Higher Education
  • 360 credits by the end of Level 6 entitles the student to a Bachelor’s degree

UCAS points:

104 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent. Typical offer - BCC/CCC


BTEC National Diploma/Certificate: merit/distinction profile

Irish/Scottish Highers:

B in 4 subjects

International Baccalaureate:

26 points


Access to HE Diploma, to include 45 credits at Level 3, 30 of which must be at Merit or above


OCR National Extended/Diploma: merit/distinction profile

Extra Information:

The Advanced Diploma: acceptable on its own

Welsh Baccalaureate (core) will be recognised in our tariff offer

The above box details the typical entry requirements.  This can also be considered to be the typical profile of an applicant.

The 2008 Subject Benchmark Statements for ‘Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies’ and ‘Music’ are available on the QAA website ( This programme is strongly linked to the aforementioned QAA subject benchmark statements. This combined honours programme shows an integration of the benchmarks and statements across its range of modules.

There are strong links at all levels of study with a range of ‘Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies’ benchmarks. The programme content provides for an "understanding of production processes and professional practices within media" across a wide range of modules. Strong links with "appropriate research practices, procedures and traditions" are also widely embedded throughout the module content provision, as well as opportunities to study a "range of communicative situations and cultural practices". Production modules tend to offer content that explores commercial music production processes and practices, competency in management and operation of commercial music production technologies, and the ability to advance creative processes in commercial music production forms.

There are clear alignments at all levels with a range of ‘Music’ benchmarks, all of which are embedded in various ways to various degrees across the practical production modules specifically. As regards compositional and knowledge-based skills, learners will "demonstrate the ability to analyse, manipulate, interrogate or create musical materials (texts, artefacts, technologies and phenomena) and to present results or findings in a coherent and communicable form" and will "show an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in music, and be able to use relevant techniques and methods to explain and demonstrate that interrelationship". Strong links are to be found in relation to practical and technological skills, where learners will demonstrate "…a measure of personal expression, imagination and creativity in practical music-making (whether this takes the form of performing, composing, arranging or improvising), and the ability to communicate through music employing appropriate technical and interpretative means”, “…the ability to recognise(analyse) musical organisation, whether aurally, or by studying a written score", “the ability to work in combination with others on joint projects or activities, and to show skills in teamwork, negotiation, organisation and decision-making" and “…the ability to present work in accessible form, intelligible to both expert and non-expert audiences (readers, consumers etc).".

These links to ‘Music’ benchmarks and associated skills are not exhaustive, and there are other examples that relate well to the programme content, for example, where learners will “use an appropriate range of equipment for creating and recording music, use and create computer software for musical tasks including composing and performing, making notation, recording, editing, analysing and synthesising sound and combine musical sound with other media, such as film, digital animation, interactive web and mobile technology applications.

Students will progress through the programme, developing from an initial position of reliance and dependency on tutor guidance and support to a self-supporting, self-directed and autonomous approach to their studies. Students will increasingly be expected to demonstrate the ability to originate, research, assimilate, develop and critically review ideas across a range of practically and academically focused modules, in accordance with level-related assessment criteria.

Level 4 study will provide opportunity for students to develop key and core skills, knowledge and understanding, thereby creating an effective platform from which greater autonomy, academic awareness and production skill may be evolved. Students, typically, will not work with external bodies at Level 4 but will be evolving skills and practices relevant to a workplace environment. At level 5 and 6, students may engage with external companies through their production modules and experiential / work based learning, forging working relationships between themselves, industry and the University.

Students will experience a range of teaching and learning methods related, and relevant to the acquisition of key and subject specific knowledge and skills. The curriculum and learning experiences offered to students will be designed to reflect the specific aims, emphases and learning outcomes of the programme. Students will be made aware of these at the outset, from the programme and also from individual modules.

Students of this programme will reap the benefits of exploring a wide range of materials and sources, from both academic and non-academic contexts cognate with the field of study. Learning opportunities will be via a selection of lectures, seminars and tutorials given by a wide range of personnel, including, for example, lecturers, visiting lecturers, external contacts and practicing professionals from industry, who would have first hand and current experience of the opportunities in the discipline for potential graduates and an ability to relate the course to contemporary practices and trends. Opportunities for active assimilation, application, questioning, debate and critical reflection are therefore provided.

The Work Based Learning or experiential learning module at Level 5 will also afford students the opportunity to develop skills in the workplace and other relevant environments. Reflection on their own and industry practices should enhance the student's portfolio of knowledge and experience, enabling them to think critically and objectively about their chosen field.

As students progress through the levels of the programme they will be expected to become more independent in their learning and to develop the capacity for critical reflection. From the student point of view, the three levels of study can be considered to be foundational, developmental and independent in their nature. The increasing emphasis on student self-direction and self-responsibility will be reflected in the learning and teaching strategies and methods deployed.

The variety of methods employed may include the following:

  • Lectures,
  • demonstrations,
  • seminars,
  • workshops,
  • tutorials,
  • group and individual project work,
  • supervised independent learning,
  • computer aided research,
  • open and resource-based learning activities,
  • field activities such as attending music events for act recruitment purposes,
  • group and individual presentations,
  • small group tutorials,
  • independent study,
  • dissertation and work based or experiential learning.

Students will be expected to work independently outside timetabled teaching sessions. They will be provided with structured reading and expected to work individually and within groups, to successfully complete both academic and practical assignments. Students will be expected to keep up to date with current affairs and developments in the area of music production and they will be expected to read and develop critical awareness of a wide range of popular music-related texts, listen critically to a wide variety of popular music and engage with other media in the context of popular music.

Assessment on this programme is designed to provide feedback to students on their performance in order to shape future learning, to verify achievement in order that students can progress through and beyond the programme and to evidence for internal and external use the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the programme. In the early stages of the programme, the formative role of assessment to help students learn may be as important as the summative assessment for certification. As students progress through the programme more emphasis may be placed on the verification of achievement.

The assessment strategy of this programme is based on the following assumptions and practices:

  • Assessment is acknowledged to be a major driver of student learning.
  • A variety of assessment practices will be employed in order to provide students with a range of opportunities to display intellectual, practical and transferable skills, and to accommodate the different learning styles of individual students.
  • Clear criteria for grading and the rules and regulations for assessment and awards will be available for all students throughout their programme.
  • Assessment at early stages of the programme will focus on evidencing the acquisition and development of foundation undergraduate knowledge, skills and understanding: later stages of the programme will focus on the demonstration of students' ability to independently synthesize advanced knowledge and skills. Assignments and projects at the start of the programme will be largely tutor determined. By Level 6 students will have significant elements of self-determination in their coursework assessments.
  • Tutors delivering the programme have explored and discussed maps of module aims, learning outcomes and assessments across the programme during the programme's design process in order to understand how their module assessments complement others in the programme and to develop equivalences in assessment weightings and balances.

Graduates of this programme will be equipped with a mix of effective key and transferable skills aligned with media and music industry-specific methodologies and practices. The ability to critically analyse, apply knowledge in a wider context and present arguments in a coherent and appropriate way are skills much valued by employers. Further, they will have broad knowledge of the central role that media and cultural agencies play, along with the ability to explore any issues arising.

Outside of any formal experiential learning modules, through links with sections of the music and closely related industries, learners may have opportunity to implement, converge and hone knowledge, understanding and skills within a work-place context and / or via a negotiated work-brief. Opportunities such as this, whilst they cannot always be guaranteed due to external industry forces, are actively sought and developed by the programme team. Learners are also encouraged to seek out and develop independent extra curricular links with industry, which may provide other fruitful opportunities.

The programme has been devised to provide students with the skills and knowledge required by the creative industries and associated agencies and also enable them to undertake further study. The skills and knowledge mix explored within the three years of the programme will maintain the overall paradigm of a synergy between theory and practice where the more practically focused modules will benefit from an underpinning theoretical knowledge of past forms and contemporary practices whilst supporting modules will keep the practical application of such knowledge at its core.

The programme is responsive to the needs of a wide range of employers in the music recording industry, business related positions, the media, postgraduate study and education. Specific examples of career possibilities may include sound engineering, music production, sound design, artist & repertoire, public relations, management, marketing, promotion, music journalism and a range of self-employed / freelance opportunities. Graduates will also acquire key transferable, analytical, organisational, personal, written and communication skills, which will always prove valuable in a competitive job market.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

Not applicable.

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