[skip to content]

Department of Music

BA in Global Popular Music


Subjects Preferred: Three A levels or equivalent with BBB (or equivalent); Music A level is NOT required.

Start of programme: September 2014 - subject to final approval

Mode of Attendance: Full Time

Who is this programme for?:

The programme leads into a number of career and vocational pathways, including arts management; festival administration and curating; music journalism; radio, television and print media research; music therapy; performing and composing; album production; managers, consultants, policy advisers and entrepreneurs working within the music industry in Europe, Asia and Africa; teaching; NGOs working with music; music and development, and academic research.

The BA Global Popular Music offers a unique and tailored programme that allows students to focus on popular and contemporary music styles and cultures in global perspective. It includes generic courses which develop students’ understanding of theoretical approaches to the study of popular music; practical skills courses in multimedia; generous regional courses that build on the expertise of SOAS in the Middle East, Asia and Africa and their diasporas; and opportunities for directed independent study projects on topics ranging from K-Pop to Hip-Hop, and Latin to Rai.


Programme Structure

Year 1

Students take six introductory courses: Studying Popular Music; Global Pop; Music and Culture; Sounds and Cultures 1 and 2, and Performance 1b, plus one unit of open option courses.

Year 2

Students take one compulsory course: The Music Business. They must choose one skills courses in recording or in radio presenting, and at least two courses on popular music (including, among others, Global Hip Hop, Pop and Politics in Israel, Music of Cuba. They can also select other courses offered within the Music Department (including generic courses such as Music and Gender, regional courses on musical traditions of Asia and Africa, and performance), and open option courses.

Year 3

Students take Urban Soundscapes and Directed Study in Popular Music. They choose one skills courses; one popular music course listed below; other courses offered within the Music Department (including generic courses such as Music, Shamanism and Healing, regional courses, and performance), and open option courses.

Courses Detail

Year 1 Compulsory Courses
Year 2 Compulsory Course
Year 3 Compulsory Course

Teaching & Learning

A Student's Perspective

The enthusiasm that the lecturers have in their subjects is infectious and it ensures everybody succeeds. The extra curricular music scene is pretty unique and seriously enjoyable, one day you could be playing the kora, the next, gigging with the Cuban Big Band, the next, looking after Mory Kante and talking music with him after a gig in the Brunei Gallery! It’s all here under one roof.

Liam Barnard