MA Songwriting and Production

The MA Songwriting and Production course is delivered in the context of a dynamic contemporary music and cultural scene in Wales. Building on the expertise and reputation we have developed in the subject of Popular Music here at the University, this innovative Songwriting and Production degree will enable you to make connections and collaborations within the world of both professional songwriting, and the wider music culture.

Designed for those interested in lyrics, music and studio production, you’ll learn a range of creative techniques, as well as the history of popular song and the world of music publishing. For your final project, you will create an original portfolio of work to be showcased at the state-of-the art ATRiuM Building, situated in Cardiff – the vibrant capital city of Wales, a thriving international hub for music and the creative industries.

Study Mode
2017
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 1 Years September Cardiff (ATRiuM) B
Part-time 2 Years September Cardiff (ATRiuM) B
Study Mode
2018
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 1 Years September Cardiff (ATRiuM) B
Part-time 2 Years September Cardiff (ATRiuM) B

Modules include:

  • Songwriting 1: Skills and Strategies
  • Digital Music Production
  • History, Analysis, Repertoire and Theory
  • Research Paradigms
  • Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship
  • Research and Practice in the Creative and Cultural Industries
  • Songwriting 2: Creative Co-writing
  • Recording
  • Performance: Practice and Presentation
  • Major Project Portfolio OR Research Project (Learning Through Employment)

Research methods, business practice, publishing and promotion are embedded in all modules.

You can choose to study one of the following three, 20 credit common modules. Each of these has a different focus, enabling you to select the module that will be most beneficial to you.

Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship
This module aims to develop your knowledge of the methods to identify, develop and manage enterprise and innovation in the creative sector. It will then help you apply this to your own entrepreneurial project.

Research and Practice in the Creative and Cultural Industries
The focus of this module is on the development of research knowledge and skills, while also encouraging critical engagement with approaches to creative practice. You will also explore ideas, debates and issues in the creative and cultural industries.

Research Paradigms
This module focuses on research paradigms and their theoretical underpinnings. It also looks at key conceptual tools drawn from a wide range of subject areas relevant to postgraduate research in the creative industries.

Teaching

Taught by practising songwriters, producers, and published academics, the course is also delivered through a series of master classes from industry professionals.

The course incorporates desktop and studio-based production processes, with key business skills such as publishing, promotion, distribution and session planning.

Emphasis is on practical activities and encouraging you to find your own voice when developing material. Teaching sessions take place in a supportive environment, where students provide feedback on each others work. Practical sessions are underpinned by skills development and an understanding of theories about best practice in songwriting and production.

The course embraces singer/performer songwriters, as well as those who do not wish to perform their own material; solo and group outputs; creative collaboration; and material produced in studio/digital environments. The degree can also be studied by distance learning; UK and international students may choose to study using their own studio base and equipment.

“In an ever-changing industry where listening formats, recording processes and budgets are constantly evolving, songwriting and production are still a good way for a musician to have a long, fulfilling and successful career. It is hugely encouraging to see the University of South Wales offering [songwriting and production] to masters degree level. Creative areas can often be solitary places, so the opportunity to learn from others and share ideas in a creative environment such as the ATRiuM should prove an invaluable experience.”
Greg Haver, Record Producer – The Manic Street Preachers

Assessment

Learning Through Employment

Learning Through Employment is a University of South Wales framework that offers students who are already in employment the opportunity to gain credits towards a postgraduate qualification.

The programme is structured so that the majority of learning takes place through active and reflective engagement with your work activities, underpinned by the appropriate academic knowledge and skills.

All postgraduate courses in the Faculty of Creative Industries offer students the opportunity to undertake a 60 credit Learning Through Employment Research Project as an alternative to a traditional final dissertation, major project or production.

The focus of the project is an individual, organisational problem solving, knowledge-based approach.

As such, it has been designed for practising professionals to provide them with the tools to succeed in the workplace.

This truly flexible approach means that projects can be based on an agreed area of work, benefitting students and employers, and because the majority of the project is carried out in the workplace, it can potentially be undertaken anywhere in the world.

For full details, visit our Learning Through Employment pages.

Lecturers

Course Leader – Richard Parfitt

An Honours degree at class 2:2 or above in music or other related arts subjects.
Applications are also welcomed from those with other equivalent qualifications, or those with significant prior practical/professional experience. Entry is by way of an interview.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £6000 
  • Full-time International:  £12600 
  • Part-time UK and EU:  £670  per 20 credits.

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International: TBC
  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

Apply directly to the University if you are applying for a part-time, professional or postgraduate course, an Erasmus/Exchange programme, the Legal Practice (part-time) course, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution.    

Apply now 

Admissions statement 

In addition to working professionally as a songwriter or in song production, potential careers for graduates of this course could include working as facilitators in community and arts outreach activities, as educators in formal teaching settings, and as practitioners
such as performers, producers and writers.

There are also opportunities as researchers, administrators/managers of organisations, festivals and music events, or within music journalism and publishing, A & R, radio, freelance production, music promotion, or as part of other media production teams such as advertising, event management and games.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.