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Bachelor of Contemporary Music

2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017

About this course

The 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.

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 performance 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. 

Graduates from the course are well equipped to pursue careers as performers, songwriters, composers, arrangers, producers, and music educators.

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

Career opportunities

Graduates may choose to pursue work as performers, songwriters, producers, sound engineers, music educators, session musicians, musical directors, arrangers, music event promoters, band and venue managers.

When combined with the Bachelor of Laws, graduates can pursue careers as solicitors and legal specialists in areas that relate to the music industry.

Professional recognition

Graduates can become members of the Australasian Performing Right Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA AMCOS), International Association for the Study of Popular Music, and the International Society for Music Education.

Professional placement

Students 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

During first year, students study the fundamental concepts of contemporary music theory and styles, the fundamentals of music practice, music technology and the internet, songwriting and musicianship. They then select two majors from the following to specialise in their areas of interest.

  • Performance enables specialisation in the student’s chosen instrument (guitar, bass, keyboards, voice or drums). Practical tuition is provided through individual lessons and group workshops. These intensive technical music study sessions are supported by an ensemble performance program that includes a wide range of contemporary music repertoire. Entry to the performance major is by audition during the first year of study, with students commencing the major in the second year. 
  • Industry and Audio Production prepares students for working professionally in the music industry and enables students to train for a portfolio career that encompasses composition and music production as well as practical music. Other areas of specialised study include conducting business in the music industry, marketing musical products and managing a career as an independent musician. 
  • Music Education provides training for students who are pursuing a career in music teaching. Areas of study include Western art music, ensemble direction and arranging, music theory, musicianship and practical music. These units provide vocational skills specifically required for secondary music teaching and also essential for teaching music in other contexts. 

Please note: Entry to the performance major is by audition during the first year of study, with students commencing the major in the second year.

Assessment methods

Assessment methods may include essays, written exams, reading/listening/practice logbooks, aural exams and assignments, technical and technique tests, music theory exams and assignments, performance exams, music business projects, composition and recording portfolios and tutorial presentations. 

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, email, phone, and one-on-one support.

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, multi-camera television studio, photography studio, digital art labs, and Studio One29 – a professional standard concert performance space. Students have access to the latest audio technology and creative 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

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 comprising:
    1. all units listed in Part A of the Schedule of Units attached to these Rules; and
    2. two (2) majors in Part B of the Schedule of Units noting that the Performance Major has a pre-requisite of demonstration of aptitude through an Audition prior to enrolment in units in the Performance Major.
  2. To be eligible for the award of Diploma of Contemporary Music a candidate shall successfully complete not less than eight (8) units comprising all units listed in Part A of the Schedule of Units attached to these Rules.
  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 award 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

Domestic students

International students

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

Southern Cross University accepts applications directly through the International Application for Admissions form.

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.