BA, Bsc, BMus, BEng, LLM, MPhil, MEd, MBA, PhD – The Different (Music) Degree Types

I think the best way to explain these types is through applying them to the broad discipline of MUSIC as I think nearly every type of degree can be applied to it… There seems to be a general (seriously, I am generalising here) creative to technical spectrum when it comes to Music and Audio in higher education.

me in library 2
Be aware of the differences between BA, BMus, BSc and BEng “Music Technology” degrees – They might have the same title, but they aim at different skill sets!

BA (Hons)

The BA (Hons) in Music / Popular Music / Commercial Music / Music Production is highly creative and culturally minded. These degrees typically use three themes – Production, Sociology and Business. Some degrees focus on one theme more than the other of course, such as Popular Music usually focussing more on Sociology, and Music Technology usually focussing more on creative Production. There are also BA (Hons) ‘s in Music Education.

BMus (Hons)

Similar to the BA, the Bachelor in Music is designed for usually classical musicians and the focus is on Composition and Performance. There can be an academic element where music in the context of history, sociology and technology is explored. Mostly the approach is practical with musicianship coaching, workshops and assessed performances. BMus degrees are common in Conservatoires.

BSc (Hons)

The Bachelor of Science in music usually gets applied to Music Technology and sometimes Music Production. Although there can be a slight creative side to these degrees (it is not unusual for a BSc Music Technology degree to have modules where you build your own instruments and record a short soundtrack ect), the focus is of course on the Science of music. It’s highly practical and you may be asked to use a soldering iron to build music hardware like circuits and synths, build a working speaker, and even create interactive Sound Art and so on. Think of it like a music degree for electricians and / or technicians.

BEng (Hons)

At the other end of the spectrum is the Bachelor of Engineering. This is more Sound territory than Music as the focus is on hardcore scientific technologies, so I recommend applicants are those who want to pursue a career as a super advanced audio technician. Sound is broadly about technology, perception, reception, acoustic space and even maths. You may be required to design (and build) complex audio systems, apply mathematics to acoustics design, and apply computer coding.

LLB (Hons)

The Bachelor of Law can be gained is you want to go into say Entertainment Law. I’m no expert on Lawyers (or even law degrees) but it is common knowledge that Lawyers get massive rewards, but I assume finding an job as an Entertainment Lawyer is a soul destroying process because that job is, for obvious reasons, extremely competitive.

Postgraduate Options – PGCE, MEd, MBA, MPhil, PhD

It may be that postgraduates apply for Master of Education (not necessarily teacher training, although some Universities offer the opportunity to add credits from a Post Graduate Certificate in Education to some additional modules afterwards, so students can be ‘topped up’ and awarded the MEd quickly afterwards), or an Masters of Business Administration for developing an innovative business mind. An Master of Philosophy or Masters by Research are research masters in which applicants can lead their own route of study instead of doing taught Masters. And finally if you want to be an Academically qualified Doctor, a Doctorate of Philosophy being successfully gained can grant this. Just remember postgraduates usually fund their own studies and living costs.

So there we have it! As I have said before in a previous post it’s one thing to read the letter code before the degree title and something very different to experiencing the course itself. In my experience, the differences between course types only hits you properly when you visit an Open Day / Applicant Visit Day for that course!