Study a Music degree with OCA

Our BA(Hons) Music degree is the only programme of its kind in the world.

Being delivered through distance learning, our music degree is centred upon practice and supported by the development of an understanding of musical contexts. You may opt to specialise in composition, orchestration/arrangement or musicology. You will delve into the historical context and learn the building blocks of harmony, analysis and form. Through the course, you’ll be encouraged to develop a unique identity and style as a practising musician.

You’ll expand your skills and expertise across music supported by a specialist musician, a dedicated student support team, as well as a thriving creative community who share your passion for music.

The course offers additional optional opportunities for group work including a Music and Fine Art collaborative project, with opportunities for your work to be recorded through our tutor network.

If you are new to music, have a look at our Open Foundations Music course!

 

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 by contacting enquiries@oca.ac.uk

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

See more detail about the available units

Click here

Foundations

£900

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£4,050

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£3,340

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,340

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,350

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)

£1,670

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)

£3,340

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

£1,050

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£4,500

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£3,690

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,690

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,500

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)

£1,845

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)

£3,690

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 will need access to Sibelius or Dorico software

  • 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 work in the music industry. Where you take those skills 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, orchestrator/arranger or musicologist, and will be equipped for a portfolio career as a musician. You could create your own works, collaborate with other musicians and artists, and/or explore many other aspects of the music industry, such as music publishing, music administration, events organisation, become an artist agent or music journalist. The course also provides you will the necessary skills to be eligible for further specialist study at Postgraduate level, including courses in writing music for film and TV, music-related research and much more.

    Whatever option you choose, Prospects have some great advice to help you on your way.

  • 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!