This qualification has two stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with a broad introduction to the arts and humanities followed a choice of two modules.
- At Stage 2 you’ll study two compulsory modules which will introduce you to the principles of music and using music technology.
In Stage 1, you'll encounter a variety of musicians and musical works and practices alongside fascinating insights from across the arts and humanities. This broad foundation will help you develop the academic skills and confidence necessary for studying music at Stage 2.
At Stage 2, you'll engage closely with musical materials in audio and notated forms and use your study of these as the basis for creating your own music with the help of specialist computer software.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 15 March 2022.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The Diploma of Higher Education in Music uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- finding external/third party material online
- working in a group with other students
- working with specialist reading material such as musical manuscripts
- undertaking practical work
- using specialist software (for example the Sibelius music notation package).
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you’ve already completed some study at another university, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. Just tell us what you studied, where and when, and we’ll compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen course.
For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our Diploma of Higher Education in Music.
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.
Students at any level of practical musical skill can take this qualification. Before starting Stage 2 of this diploma you should have a knowledge of music theory equivalent to ABRSM Grade 3 level, as the modules begin at this level and progress to more advanced musical concepts and techniques. If you have not yet attained this level, you can reach it by studying the OU’s free online course, An introduction to music theory.
Preparing for study with an Access module
Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.
You’ll also benefit from:
- feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:
Arts and languages Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts, humanities and languages. It's perfect preparation for your study with The Open University as you'll develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. From the perspective of its central theme, ‘popular protest’, it explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, and popular music, all through its central theme of ‘popular protest’. The module also offers an opportunity to explore other subjects, such as modern languages, classical studies, religious studies and creative writing.
View full details of Arts and languages Access module
Skills for career development
Studying music will provide you with an adaptable set of skills that can lead in many directions and which are greatly valued by employers. Broadly summarised these are critical thinking, analysis, collaborative working, communication, and expertise in working with abstract structures and processes. You will sharpen your IT, writing, and independent thinking skills, and develop an ability to assimilate and evaluate relevant information when constructing an argument. These are key skills in complex organisations, and are highly sought after in the world beyond study – whether you’re already working, volunteering, or changing career.
Study of the arts and humanities requires an understanding of human activities in diverse cultural environments and historical contexts. The breadth of study and range of musical repertoire and practice explored, combined with clear thinking and communication, make the Diploma of Higher Education in Music relevant to a wide range of careers, including:
- the cultural and creative industries
- public administration, local government, the civil service, art institutions, and social services
- advertising, journalism, publishing, and public relations
- business, banking and retail
- human resources
- charities and campaigning
In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience:
- teacher - secondary/private
- arts administrator
- community music leader
- music producer / sound designer
- sound recordist
- theatre stage manager
- music therapist
- event organiser
- public relations manager
- media researcher
- civil servant
- marketing manager.