Applied Music BA (Hons)

Course code W301

What is special about this course?

Prepare yourself for the music industry of the future on this acclaimed course, studying any genre or style of your choice in your home region. Exploring traditional, Celtic, pop, jazz, classical, and rock genres, explore the culture of the Highlands and Islands, with focus on application of music in a variety of professional contexts.

Learn from professionals at the top of their fields, and develop skills in performance, education, recording, creative production, business, enterprise, networking, and communication, helping you access opportunities close to home and internationally. With many graduates successfully employed in fields such as performance, education, touring, research, and music business, join a programme with excellent industry connections and get your career in applied music off to an excellent start.

We know you may have more questions so our Programme Leader, Anna-Wendy Stevenson, has recorded a video answering the questions we are most often asked about the course.

Special features

  • The course will develop your mobility and versatility as a practitioner in music or sound production, with multi-venue delivery and compulsory residential sessions throughout the programme (you will be required to self-fund these sessions)
  • Performers can help choose their solo performance tutor, drawn from a list of top experts in the country, and will also get credit for playing in ensembles in the community
  • There will be various national and international performances and placements in music, education, community or health settings
  • The flexibility of the course enables you to fit your studies around your own commitments: you will be able to study where you want, full-time or part-time, at home, on-line, and through video-conferencing for most of the academic year

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade ABB or above, OR
  • 2 A levels at grade B or above
  • Additional entry requirements for performers: Grade 7 Associated Board or Trinity College or equivalent on first instrument (including grade 5 music theory or equivalent)
  • Consideration will also be given to candidates who can demonstrate a high level of ability in one or more of: composition and creative skills; and music technology, including computer-based music production
  • You will be required to attend an audition and interview to assess your technical ability
  • Applicants with other relevant qualifications or experience will be considered on an individual basis

Advanced entry to year 2:

  • may be possible with an HNC Music (15 credits) with grade A in the Graded Unit

Advanced entry to year 3:

  • may be possible with an HND Music with grade A in the Graded Unit

Access routes

SWAP Access courses
If you are eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP), please visit our SWAP access list for further information on grade profiles and available subjects.

Year 1 - CertHE

Core modules are:

  • Performance practice 1
  • Ensemble 1
  • Music in its widest context: social, cultural, historical
  • Creativity is more important than knowledge
  • Remote digital music collaboration

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • Gaelic for learners 1A
  • Music and the creative industries: the portfolio musician

Year 2 - DipHE

Core modules are:

  • Performance practice 2
  • The effective contributor
  • Music, power and commerce
  • Creative skills
  • Creation through technology

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • Gaelic for learners 1A
  • Music in the creative industries
  • Music sync and placement

Year 3 - BA

Core modules are:

  • Professional practice
  • Music in social and historical contexts
  • Music in educational and community contexts 1
  • Applied music research skills
  • Creative identity
  • Creative technology applications

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

Core modules are:

  • Applied music: performance, creation or research
  • Applied music: critique and evaluation

You will also choose option modules which may include:

  • Emerging technologies
  • Music in educational and community contexts 2
  • Music and culture
  • Sustainable creative endeavour

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • You will learn through a combination of video conference lectures and tutorials, online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE), and face-to-face residential sessions with support from your tutors 
  • For more information, or if you have any questions about studying applied music at the university, please contact us at

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll
  • Moray
  • North, West and Hebrides
  • Orkney
  • Perth
  • Shetland
  • This fully online course can be studied from anywhere in the world. You can choose one of the above partners to apply to, and will be enrolled and supported by staff at your chosen location

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £915 £915
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £305 £305

Rest of the UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) or assessed as rest of the UK for fee status the following fees apply:

  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time online per year (120 credit modules) £6,120 £6,120
Part-time online (per 20 credit module) £1,020 £1,020

International students

This course is not available to students domiciled outside of the UK or for international students (including EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled status in the UK) requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study here. For students living in the UK and assessed as international for fee status, the following fees will apply:

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time online per year (120 credit modules) £6,540 £6,960
Part-time online (per 20 credit module) £1,090 £1,160

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time rest of the UK and international undergraduate students for continuous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

Additional costs

  • There are a number of compulsory residencies each year. You will be required to self-fund any travel to the residencies and cover accommodation and subsistence costs. There is an additional annual residential fee charge of £150 payable at registration
  • You will receive one-to-one tuition in your first instrument, voice or composition
  • You are required to have your own basic studio (audio workstation, interface, computer, mic and midi-keyboard)

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed your BA (Hons) Applied Music you might like to consider a career in the following areas:

  • Performing
  • Composing
  • Teaching
  • Music and health
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Community musician
  • Research and development
  • Sound production
  • Recording
  • Studio-based practice
  • Live sound

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress to the MA Music and the Environment, MMus Music or MRes Creative Practice.

Is there more information available online?

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The Score Draw placement has been hugely beneficial and has really fed a growing interest in working in this field. It involved building a music sync library for the University of the Highlands and Islands. Almost every aspect of the course feeds into what I can see myself doing. The music technology has helped me build my knowledge and improve what I do in my home studio; the composition modules have helped me improve what I compose; and the musical history is vital and interesting. 

Barry Nisbet is studying on the BA (Hons) Applied Music at UHI Shetland.

Apply for Applied Music BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2024

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.