MA Songwriting and Production

This degree is based at USW’s purpose-built campus, in the creative centre of Cardiff.

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 our 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.

2022/23 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for delivering our courses in the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to change during the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. Whether you’re on-campus full time, part-time with online study, or full-time online, USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

Study Mode
2022
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 1 Year September Cardiff (ATRiuM) B
Part-time 2 Years September Cardiff (ATRiuM) B
Study Mode
2023
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 1 Year 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 songwriting 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

Lecturers

Matthew Evans, Course Leader
Lucy Squire, Academic Subject Manager
Dr Damon Minchella, Senior Lecturer
Stuart Jones, Senior Lecturer
Gill Edwards-Randle, Senior Lecturer
Skip Curtis, Lecturer

We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

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. 

The course welcomes international applicants and requires an English level of IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component or equivalent.

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 2021 - July 2022 Fees


  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £14300 

  • Part-time UK:  £1000 per 20 credits

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees


  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International:  £14500 

  • Part-time UK: TBC

August 2023 - July 2024 Fees


  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Student Perks

At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.

Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future proofed.

Click here to learn more about student perks at USW.

Additional Costs

As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment. Below we’ve listed what types of additional costs are associated with this course:

Funding

 

Funding to help pay for/cover tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying you’ll have two main costs – tuition fees and living costs. You can get a range of funding to help with these costs.

There are a number of ways to fund your postgraduate study. This can be through student finance, bursaries or help from grants, trusts and charities (see Alternative Funding), or a combination of all three.

Click here to find out more about funding your postgraduate tuition fees and living costs.

 

USW Alumni Postgraduate Discount 

The University of South Wales is offering a 20% reduction in tuition fees for all University of South Wales graduates studying a postgraduate course from September 2021 (this includes students starting their course in January/ February 2022). T's and C's apply.

Click here for more information about the USW Alumni Postgraduate Discount

 

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.

Graduates can also progress to a PhD or research degree.

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.