BA (Hons)


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The Open College of the Arts is the distance learning college of the University for the Creative Arts – one of the UK’s leading specialist art and design universities.


With our open learning approach, the OCA’s BA (Hons) Music degree provides a real alternative to traditional campus based learning. Our inspiring course materials enable you to work at your own pace, in your own time, and whenever you choose to study. We have a thriving community of students all following their passion and achieving at the highest levels, supported by tutors who are experienced teachers and practising artists.

Degree overview

The OCA’s BA (Hons) Music Degree provides a unique opportunity for students to fulfil their creative potential through the study of Composition and Contexts. Centred upon practical work, this degree provides students with the skills required for a career in music, including composition, orchestration and arrangement and the practical implementation of historical knowledge. Practical modules are supported by musicological units which encourage a broadening of knowledge through research, and demonstrate the important relationship between theory and practice. All students will gain an overview of the music history, an understanding of harmony, analysis and form, and experience in compositional techniques.

Degree aims

  • To widen access to education in music composition and contexts at undergraduate level through Open and Flexible Learning.
  • Ensure students gain the technical skills in composition and related practical areas to form a solid foundation for further development.
  • To provide an intellectually stimulating programme of study based on high quality study material and tutor support.
  • To develop students’ creative capacities and their ability in interpretation and application.
  • To develop students’ critical understanding of the theoretical and conceptual issues central to musical practice and the social, historical and cultural context in which it takes place.
  • To provide an environment in which the student has the possibility of changing their view of the world and their interaction with it both artistically and intellectually.
  • To foster high-level ethical and professional standards and an awareness of the possibilities offered by existing and new developments in music to expand their application areas.
  • To develop autonomous learners capable of applying intellectual and practical skills in music appropriate to employment, further study or life-long learning.

Degree prospectus

Full details of the Music degree can be found in the Programme Specification below.

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The Open College of the Arts is the distance learning college of the University for the Creative Arts – one of the UK’s leading specialist art and design universities.

“I had a long-standing interest in music composition but life took a different path. I was thrilled to discover the OCA course as it assumed little prior knowledge and allowed me to study at my own pace. It has been immensely valuable having the critical ear of a supportive tutor and I have gained the confidence to make my work public;”


Elaine Goodall, Music student

Programme Leader for Music

Carla Rees

I studied flute and composition at the Royal College of Music in London, where I recently also completed a PhD, researching the development of repertoire for Kingma System (quartertone) flutes. My career encompasses performing, research, teaching and publishing, as well as arranging and composing.

Creative careers

The creative sector employs 1.9 million people in the UK alone.

By studying the OCA BA (Hons) Music degree, you can kick-start your career in the creative industries by working part-time or doing an internship whilst gain ing your academic qualifications at the same time.

Music degree graduates tend towards the following careers following completion of their degree: Music therapist; Musician; Private music teacher; Secondary school teacher; Sound technician, broadcasting/film/video; Broadcast engineer; Community arts worker and Event manager (taken from

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