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Bachelor of Contemporary Music

2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

About this course

This Bachelor of Contemporary Music equips graduates for a range of careers in the music industry and reflects the diverse creative practices that are part of music-making in the 21st century. The course prepares students for a portfolio career in music – the multi-faceted career pathway that is now most common for contemporary musicians.

Students learn in a professional music industry environment using state-of-the art facilities and work with lecturers who are all practising musicians with strong industry links. During the course, students hone their practical, musical and musicianship skills while developing extensive knowledge across a range of contemporary music-making practices.

Many students perform individually or with bands at a variety of North Coast entertainment venues. Students have the opportunity to regularly use the professional studio and performance space – Studio One29 at the Lismore campus – for rehearsal and performance.

Situated in a region with vibrant creative industries, students benefit from numerous high profile music events such as Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay Bluesfest and the Falls Festival.

Career opportunities

As performers, songwriters, producers, sound engineers, music educators, session musicians, musical directors, arrangers, music event promoters, band and venue managers.

Graduates of the Bachelor of Contemporary Music who complete the required units can study the Master of Teaching and teach secondary school music.

Professional placement

Students have the opportunity to undertake professional placements at major national and international venues and with music organisations. Public performances are a major part of the assessment process and students have opportunities to perform at North Coast entertainment venues or form bands, taking advantage of the rich music environment throughout the region.

Major areas of study

There are eight streams:

  • Performance (audition stream)
  • Performance (non-audition stream)
  • Songwriting/Composition (audition stream)
  • Songwriting/Composition (non-audition stream)
  • Music Education
  • Sound Production
  • New Media Arts
  • Screen

The flexible course structure enables students to choose the pathway most suited to their interests. Students can combine elements from different streams to create their own pathway.

All students participate in collaborative, practical music-making activities throughout the degree. An extensive ensemble program includes small and large repertoire-focused groups and student-led project bands. Students write, arrange, rehearse, record and perform a wide range of music, and are encouraged to develop their own creative projects.

Performance audition and Songwriting/Composition audition streams

The Performance audition stream and the Songwriting/Composition audition stream offer students who are entering the course with high-level abilities the opportunity to work closely with staff and hone their skills in a specialist area. Students in these streams receive extensive one-on-one tuition and consultations.

Please note that students wishing to be considered for the performance or songwriting/composition audition streams must complete the audition process as part of their application to this course. Information about the audition process is available at

The first round of auditions for applicants to the 2018 Bachelor of Contemporary Music Performance and Songwriting/Composition audition streams will be held at the Lismore campus from 13 - 16 November, 2017. Details

Students who achieve a high level in the performance non-audition stream, or songwriting/composition non-audition stream, can transfer into the audition stream in second year.

Music Education stream

Students who complete the degree with the Music Education stream can then apply for a graduate education course (such as the Master of Teaching at Southern Cross) to become a secondary school music teacher. The Bachelor of Music course structure enables them to also pick up a second teaching area by taking elective units in either English, history, maths or geography.

Sound Production stream

The Sound Production stream develops students' skills in live and recording sound engineering. Students have access to state-of-the-art production facilities, including purpose-built recording and performance spaces. They work closely with performers and songwriters in both live and recording environments.

New Media Arts and Screen streams

Students in the New Media Arts stream and the Screen stream pursue design, film, video and emerging arts practices. There are opportunities for students to collaborate on projects with students studying the Bachelor of Digital Media and Communication and the Bachelor of Art and Design.

Assessment methods

Assessment methods include performances, composition/songwriting portfolios, recording portfolios, technical assessments, musicianship exams and assignments, oral presentations, reflective writing tasks, peer and self-assessments, essays, projects and written exams.

Teaching methods

On-campus students experience a variety of teaching approaches including lectures, tutorials, individual tuition, online activities and video-linked or podcast virtual classes. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

Advanced standing

Your previous learning experiences relevant to one or more units in this course may help you reduce the duration of your degree.

  • Recognition of formal and non-formal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course) or non-formal learning (that takes place through a non-accredited course or program of learning) completed at Southern Cross University or in other learning settings in Australia and/or overseas.
  • Recognition of informal learning
    Credit may be awarded on the basis of current informal learning (that takes place through work, social, family or leisure activities).

To help you identify how much credit you may receive for your related prior learning visit SCU Pathways.

An application for advanced standing must be submitted so we can assess your prior learning. Please apply for advanced standing at the same time as you apply for admission into this course, because the amount of credit awarded will determine the sequence of units you will study.

 Go to course structure to see if specific advanced standing rules also apply to this course.

Learning support

Learning resources

MySCU is a student's point of entry to a range of online services and resources that support study and student life. The portal includes unit learning sites and information sites where students can access resources, communication tools and useful links that are integral to their studies.

The web-based study environment Blackboard Learn delivers an advanced online learning environment for students and lecturers to communicate and collaborate through virtual meeting spaces, classrooms, and discussion boards. They can share files, presentations and applications. If a tutorial or lecture is recorded, students can view it afterwards.

Learning materials include the provision of unit information guides, study guides and readings. Students may need to purchase or access prescribed text books.

The SCU Library provides a wide range of services that include face-to-face and online help, and access to print and electronic resources. To find out more, see the Library Toolbox.

The Academic Skills team supports student learning by offering online and on-campus academic skills workshops, assignment reviews and small group or one-on-one face-to-face, phone or Skype consultations during business hours 9am to 4.30pm. Appointments can be made via the MySCU Hub ‘Connect Now’ button or on the Academic Skills home page. Students can also book appointments online in Career Hub.

The YourTutor service provides online after-hours study support for SCU students. This service is available from 4pm to midnight Sunday to Friday via the 'Connect Now' button on MySCU Hub or from a link in nominated unit learning sites. The YourTutor service offers generic writing feedback and live online chat assistance for foundational concepts and study skills.

Equipment and facilities

Southern Cross University provides students with modern well equipped teaching spaces such as lecture theatres, classrooms, and studios or laboratories tailored to meet the needs of specific study disciplines. Contemporary audiovisual equipment is standard in most teaching venues, and students have access to computer labs for individual study purposes.

Students access state-of-the art equipment and facilities at the Lismore campus for tuition, rehearsals, performance, recording and production. These include recording studios, music production labs, keyboard lab, and Studio One29 – a professional standard concert performance space.

There is a new state-of-the-art recording studio which has been designed in collaboration with internationally renowned acoustic designer David Connor. The main control room offers an exceptional sound quality experience for both the recording and mixing phases of music production, incorporating the latest digital audio advances, including a Solid State Logic (SSL) AWS 948 Delta analog recording console.

Students have access to the latest audio technology and a Mac lab equipped with the latest music software. There are comprehensive practice facilities for individual and band performance. Students have ample opportunity to perform on campus and at local venues. Visit:


Course structure

See the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, in conjunction with the Specific Award Rules listed below.

Table of contents

Admission requirements

Students wishing to be considered for the performance or songwriting/composition audition streams must complete the audition process prior to entry into the course.

Course requirements

  1. To be eligible for the award of Bachelor of Contemporary Music degree a candidate shall successfully complete not less than twenty-four (24) units (288 credit points) comprising:
    1. all fourteen (14) units listed in Part A; and
    2. six (6) units from Part B (including at least 2 advanced level units) and 4 elective units; or
    3. one ten (10) unit Recommended Stream from Part C
  2. To be eligible for the award of Diploma of Contemporary Music a candidate shall successfully complete not less than eight (8) units (96 credit points) comprising:
    1. six (6) units listed in Part A and 2 units in Part B or Part C
  3. A candidate who, while enrolled in the Bachelor of Contemporary Music, may elect to be awarded the Diploma of Contemporary Music following withdrawal from the Bachelor Degree.

Advanced standing

Candidates who can demonstrate artistic or academic expertise at a professional level in any approved area of the course may be granted advanced standing for up to 12 units from Parts A or B, provided that except in special circumstances, such artistic expertise has been demonstrated within seven (7) years prior to admission of candidature.

Schedule of units


How to apply

In addition to satisfying the normal entry requirements of the University, all applicants must complete the online Music Application Form. Further to this, applicants wishing to study the Performance audition stream or the Songwriting/Composition audition stream, must complete the audition process. For the 2018 intake, auditions will be held from 13-16 November 2017 at the Lismore campus. Southern Cross University will contact applicants after the first UAC and QTAC on-time application closing dates at the end of September until the last closing dates in early February. Applicants who have not been contacted by the end of January should call the University on 1800 626 481. Details are available at

Domestic students

International students

Confirm you meet the entry requirements including English language and academic entry and any specific pre-requisites.

Apply OnlineSouthern Cross University accepts applications directly through the International Application for Admissions form or via our online application services.

Additional information on how to apply is available at SCU International. Please note applicants from some countries need to go through an Education Agent.

The information on this page may be subject to change over time. Please check this page again before acting and see our disclaimer.

From the 1st of June, 2017, the term 'Distance Education' has been replaced with 'Online'