Study a Music degree with OCA

Our BA (Hons) Music degree is the only programme of its kind in the world. This distance learning music composition degree is centred upon practice with context around manner of meaning. You’ll learn everything you need to be a practising musician, from composition to orchestration and arrangements. You’ll look at the historical context, and learn harmony, analysis and form, enriching your unique identity and style.

Pieces resonate through the emotions they provoke and you’ll be encouraged to test where these boundaries lie. You’ll expand your skills and expertise across music supported by a specialist musician, as well as a thriving community who share your passion for music.

Course Structure

The degree is split into eight units; three at Level 1 (HE4), two at Level 2 (HE5), and three at Level 3 (HE6). There are some core units that all students take, many more optional units, and some prerequisites for units at higher levels.

As a flexible degree, you can complete the programme in 3–9 years, with a maximum of three years to complete each level of the course.

All Music units require the use of music Notation software – either Sibelius or Dorico. Find out what other equipment you’ll need to study with OCA [hyperlink]

Core Units

All students must take Composing Music and Stylistic Techniques at Level 1 (HE4). These are sequential, and build your musical practice up, level by level. Level 1 (HE4) units have been written by experienced musicians Carla Rees, Gavin Wayte, and Patric Standford; you’ll become proficient with the tools and techniques of composition, which will be relevant if your interest is mainstream classical, or any other genre of music. During your Level 1 journey you can choose Optional Modules mentioned below, which follow on to Level 2.

At Level 3 (HE6), you’ll take Major Project and Contextual Studies at the same time, and these two units bring together everything you will have learnt throughout the degree. Sustaining Your Practice follows this by preparing you for life after study, ensuring you continue your artistic practice, and perhaps become a professional musician.

Optional Units

At Level 1 (HE4) you have three options to choose from. From the Present to the Past gives you the option to explore western classical music without the need for technical skill, whilst Creative Arts Today lets you discover musical composition in collaboration with other artistic pursuits such as Creative Writing or Photography. You can explore how society looks at the world and has developed a visual vocabulary to describe it in the third option, Understanding Visual Culture.

Level 2 builds on the units taken at Level 1 through Moving on with Composition, Orchestration and Arrangement, Instruments & Repertoire, or History & Context.

These units are all about exploring music in greater depth. For example, Moving on with Composition builds in choral and orchestral elements, or piano accompaniments. With Orchestration & Arrangement you’ll look at case studies of established composing to look at blending orchestral groups and scoring for a range of different ensembles. Instruments & Repertoire allows you to explore the history and development of instruments, and the music written for them, including performance practice and interpretation. History & Context provides an opportunity to research individual areas of interest from the Renaissance to the present day.

Download the full programme specification

Click here

Foundations

£875

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£3,945

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£3,260

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,260

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,315

Per course unit (4o credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 1 (HE4) course units are worth 40 credits each. If you’re studying towards an Open degree, you’ll need three Level 1 (HE4) course units to gain the necessarry 120 credits to move on to Level 2 (HE5).

Level 2 (HE5)

£1,630

Per course unit (6o credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 2 (HE5) course units are worth 60 credits each. If you’re studying towards an Open degree, you’ll need two Level 2 (HE5) course units to gain the necessarry 120 credits to move on to Level 3 (HE6).

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,260

For the level

OCA’s Level 3 (HE6) course units hold differing amounts of credits depending upon the given Open degree pathway, and therefore are varied in cost. For individual pricing, please see the individual course unit pages on this website.

Foundations

£1020

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£4,380

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£3,600

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,600

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,460

Per course unit (40 credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 1 (HE4) course units are worth 40 credits each. If you’re studying towards a degree, you’ll need three Level 1 (HE4) course units to gain the necessary 120 credits to move on to Level 2 (HE5).

Level 2 (HE5)

£1,800

Per course unit (60 credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 2 (HE5) course units are worth 60 credits each. If you’re studying towards a degree, you’ll need two Level 2 (HE5) course units to gain the necessary 120 credits to move on to Level 3 (HE6).

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,600

For the level

OCA’s Level 3 (HE6) course units hold differing amounts of credits depending upon the given degree pathway, and therefore are varied in cost. For individual pricing, please see the individual course unit pages on this website.

More Information

  • OCA degrees are paid for on a unit-by-unit basis and are around a third of the cost of a degree at a campus university. Unit costs depend on the level of the unit, and also whether you live in the UK or rest of the world.

    If you started studying with OCA before 01 August 2017, please contact accounts@oca.ac.uk as different fees may apply.

    If you are funding your course yourself you can either pay for units in full or you can spread the cost by taking advantage of our deposit and instalment facility for which a £50 fee is included in the deposit you pay.

    All OCA courses are listed with Student Finance England, Wales, and Northern Ireland allowing eligible students to apply for a Student Loan to cover the cost of fees. You may also be able to apply for a maintenance loan and/or Disabled Students Allowance to assist you with the cost of study.

    We’ve made this helpful guide to take you through the application process, making applying for Student Finance simple and straightforward.

    Download the Student Finance guide

    The OCA Learner Support Scheme can provide partial bursaries towards course fees for students who are not eligible for funding via Student Finance, based on financial hardship.

    Other sources of funding may include employer contributions, Enhanced Learning Credits (for Armed Forces Serving Personnel and Service Leavers) and Prisoner Education Trust.

    As a student with OCA, most reading materials can be accessed through the digital library services and eBooks, or sent to you in the post.

    All students will need access to Sibelius or Dorico software (around £80 for the most basic version), and other general costs would be expected to be under £100 per unit, except for orchestration where the texts are more expensive and £250 should be allowed. The cost of sending material for assessment is estimated at £20 depending on quantity and weight of materials. Rates for overseas students will be higher.

  • Students wishing to study the Music degree must have ABRSM Grade 5 Theory, or you can take OCA’s Music Foundation which is equivalent. Apart from that all you need is a passion for the arts, and willingness to learn.

    All OCA courses require students to be IT literate, have a good internet connection, and have a good standard of English equivalent to CEFR B2. Further details on the entry requirements can be found in the Student Regulations.

  • Upon completing the BA (Hons) Music degree at OCA you’ll have the skills you need to strike out and be a professional musician. Where you take those skills though is up to you, and you’ve got no shortage of options to choose from.

    With the skills you’ll have you could be a composer or musicologist. You could find yourself writing your own music as a freelancer, working in collaboration with other artists, or work as part of a theatre group, or in TV and film writing scores. Whatever option you choose, Prospects have some great advice to help you on your way.

    In 2017 the Department for Culture, Media, & Sport estimated there were some 3.12 million jobs in the UK creative economy, and 80,000 new jobs were created in 2017 alone. The creative industries are growing faster than any other sector in the UK.

  • The OCA’s New Music Collective (NMC) is an extra-curricular project which focuses on the
    development of skills in collaboration, music-making and performances. The group aims to
    connect creativity and performance, through practical experience of playing new music,
    including student works, improvisation and collaboration.

    The NMC’s long-term goal is to develop a network of musicians from the OCA's student
    body, who will be able to embark on collaborations with our student composers to allow
    them to hear their works played live, as well as engaging in interdisciplinary collaborations
    spanning music and the visual arts.

    Events so far include workshops covering improvisation, solo performance, graphic score
    interpretation and group composition, performer/composer collaborations, recording
    sessions of works for solo flute and a long-term cross-disciplinary collaboration project in
    the 2018/19 academic year which brings together students from across music and visual
    arts subject areas.

    The NMC is open to all OCA students with an interest in exploring contemporary music
    practice, irrespective of subject specialism or level of study. Events can usually be attended
    either in person or online.

To Join

Sound like an opportunity you want to make use of? Enrol here, today!