BA (Hons) Career Musician (online)

2-year full-time accelerated online (distance learning)
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Study in a way that suits you. On your own terms. Online.

Every student on the BA (Hons) online degree course will receive a £750 bursary to invest in your own equipment plus Pro Tools and Slate plugins.

Our BA (Hons) Career Musician degree at WaterBear, the college of music, is designed to give you the perfect blend of artistic freedom alongside practical strategies to forge your own career.

It's flexible and comprehensive. You can build your own music projects into the course. And the degree is only two years. Plus it's validated and internationally recognised by one of the UK's leading specialist Higher Education providers for the creative industries, Falmouth University.

The degree course is built on three fundamental elements – your music, your career and your projects. It deals with what really matters in the industry. It will expand your options pushing you to create original, boundary-shifting music.

2-year accelerated online (distance learning). Starts September and January.

Course Video

Key Information

Course duration 2 years
Course delivered fully online
Suitable for vocalists, songwriters, guitarists, drummers, bass players and audio producers
Course tuition fee £9950 per year
£750 cash bursary, ProTools subscription and Slate plug in bundle given to all students
Full tuition fee loan available
Free place available via the Cory Wong Scholarship Award
Entry requirements: 104 UCAS points (guide only) or via accreditation of prior learning
Apply directly to us (no UCAS)
Ready to apply? Click here

All the details...

You'll find all the information you need in the sections below.

The 2-year accelerated online (distance learning) version of the BA (Hons) Career Musician degree is perfect for musicians who don't want to put their lives on hold to go to a traditional university, but still want the qualification.

You'll get a £750 bursary to invest in music or studio equipment, so you can learn on your own gear. You'll also get a Protools subscription and Slate All Access software bundle included in the course fee.

Who it's for

Every musician has their own story to tell and their own path to follow. That's why at WaterBear, we treat you as an individual and you can select to study a wide range of subject areas. Your main interest may be:

  • Vocals
  • Guitar
  • Drums
  • Bass
  • Production
  • Songwriting
  • DJing
  • Tour management
  • Event management
  • Technical / events support

Everything is online, so you can mix and match different subjects. You can design your own path through the degree, and make it your own.

You're a drummer who also wants to sing better? Or a songwriter who needs to improve your recording and mixing skills? Or just want to stay fully focussed on your main interest? No problem. How and what you study is completely up to you.

All musicians at WaterBear will make, record, mix and master their music. We provide a supportive, safe environment to experiment and create. You'll also develop a personal career plan to support your ambitions.

How you will learn

You'll get access to all of your course content via WaterBear's dedicated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). You'll also be able to participate in tutorials, discussions and meetings using video conferencing.

Online teaching and learning activities can include:

  • Lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops
  • One-to-one mentoring
  • Assignments, assessments and feedback sessions
  • Masterclasses
  • Virtual performances and gigs
  • Performance and peer collaboration via ‘Jam Cloud (VLE)

You'll also be invited to attend regular events, masterclasses and other activities happening at the WaterBear campus in Brighton, which is optional.

Career pathways

This course is designed to develop careers in:

  • Music performance and composition
  • Audio/visual production
  • Studio recording
  • Music production and engineering
  • Live sound engineering
  • Digital marketing and PR
  • Digital content creation
  • Tour, artist and events management
  • Artist, label and publishing services
  • Technical support
  • Music education

Further study

After graduating, you will have a number of routes to further study available, including the MA Music Entrepreneur course at WaterBear and other postgraduate specialist programmes.

Course modules

Year One (Level 4)

Module title: Your Music

Creating original work or interpreting cover versions that represent you as an individual. Making music that tells your story as an artist. This is me today, and this is where I am going.

Module title: Your Music Industry

The music industry, past and present. Exciting case studies of artists that have made an important contribution to music. How did they do it? How can you employ these insights into your own music projects, right now?

Module title: Your Musical Development

Expanding your skills and abilities. Pushing the boundaries of instrumental or vocal technique, producing lo-fi experimental work, or writing a hit pop song. The direction you take your music is controlled by you.

Module title: Your Strategy

Creating your individual career plan, with careful design and thorough testing. Here we develop knowledge of current music industry practice to create career plans that are a). realistic and b). achievable.

Year Two (Level 5)

Module title: Who Are You?

Time to Stop and reflect. Who exactly are you? Competent musicians can play, sing and write well, but an artist stands for so much more. Loads of music creation, production, performance and soul searching will help you become the best possible version of you.

Module title: Making Things Happen

Now's the time for the rehearsal and practice to stop and for you to show the world what you're made of. Working as a team to put on shows and events. From live streams, to solo acoustic shows, to a fully-fledged national tour. It's all fair game.

Module title: Innovation in Music

Expanding your music into new and ground-breaking environments. Different methods of recording. Innovative playing techniques. New ways of writing songs or performing. You'll use this as inspiration to create a wide range of original or creative covers.

Module title: Innovation in Music Business

Just because it's about the 'music business', doesn't mean this module is dry. No way. You'll bring all your creative faculties to the table to create innovative new business models for the future music industry.

Year Three (Level 6)

Module title: Dissertation

A dissertation isn't just a long essay. It's so much more than that. Yes, you'll be honing your academic chops as you undertake formal research. But you'll also be preparing the ground for your ambitious final project (Destinations). This is where you do the prep.

Module title: Journeys

Having thought about what to do for that final project, you'll now need to prepare for it. A lot. This is where we will do that work together, and document the process. You'll be getting plenty of mentoring and guidance too, so don't worry.

Module title: Destinations

The big one. The final project. The springboard into your creative future. You are encouraged to be practical and realistic, but also ambitious and to challenge yourself. There is no limit to where you can take this or what you can do. Anything is possible.

Initial applications for the BA (Hons) 2-year accelerated course can be made via the 'Apply Now' button at the top of the page, or by contacting

We consider all applications on their own merit and potential. We’ll invite you to a 1-1 consultation, either in person or by video conference. This is where you’ll have the opportunity to find out all about WaterBear and talk about your music, achievements and career goals. Find out more about the 1-1 Consultation process here.

Students living outside of the UK are eligible to apply for the 2-year accelerated online version of the course.

Language requirements

If English isn't your first language, you’ll need to achieve equivalent to the IELTS Academic 6.0 overall score, with at least 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. We accept a range of equivalent approved tests too. Visit the English Language Requirements page of the Falmouth University website for more information.

In order to get the most out of the BA (Hons) 2-year online course, it’s essential to have regular access to the resources below.


  • Your instrument (instrumentalists)
  • Expendables (strings, sticks, picks, leads, etc.)
  • Note-taking materials (pens, notepad, manuscript paper, etc.)
  • Computer (laptop / desktop) capable of running DAW, audio interface, plug-ins and A/V processing software (recommended 8-16GB RAM, 7,200 RPM Hard Drive, 8MB buffer, 1TB hard drive)
  • Reliable, high speed Internet connection
  • Professional DAW software (ProTools, Logic, Cubase, Ableton, etc.)
  • External hard drive
  • Dynamic microphone(s) (e.g. Shure SM57 / SM58)
  • Audio interface (e.g. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2)
  • Headphones (e.g. Sennheiser HD 200, Beyerdynamic DT770)
  • Basic video editing software

We recommend: 

  • Condenser microphone(s) (e.g. Audio Technica at2020, AKG C3000B, Rode NT1A)
  • Professional video editing software (e.g. Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Sony Vegas Pro)
  • Pop Shield and reflection filter

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