Barrierearme Seite
Academics / B.A. Pop Music Design / Application

Apply now!

The application phase for prospective Pop Music Design students begins in January of each year. The deadline for submitting the application documents is 30 April. Each year, approx. 30 new students are admitted to the Pop Music Design B.A. programme. The programme always begins in the winter semester.

Those who wish to participate in the entrance exam, usually in June of the same year, must submit the following documents by April 30th:

  • Completely filled in application form.
  • Proof of general, subject-specific or technical qualification for university entrance, which entitles you to enrol at state universities of arts and music in Baden-Württemberg, or (for those without such qualification) an indication that you intend to take an additional exam in order to gain acceptance
  • Upload 3 song samples. For the application as instrumentalist:in one song has to be submitted as a solo. For the application as producer three self-produced songs should be uploaded. For the composition/songwriting focus and the instrumental focus, at least one of the songs must also be uploaded as a live video (solo or with band, maximum 200 MB).
  • CV in tabular form

Information for foreign applicants and German applicants with foreign school qualifications
Applicants from abroad
  • Proof of required level of German language, at least level C1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, e.g. DSH exam level 2. This is not necessary for German citizens who graduated from German schools, those who have been educated in Germany or those who have a university entrance qualification from a foreign institution with German as the language of instruction.
  • A valid visa/residence permit must be submitted at the latest by the start of the programme.
  • International applicants must attach a certificate to their university qualification stating that it is equivalent to the German Abitur (A-levels) or university degree. Stuttgart Academy of Art and Design (ABK Stuttgart) is currently in charge of validating foreign university qualifications. Click here to apply to have your degree recognised.

    Studiensekretariat der Akademie der Bildenden Künste
    Am Weißenhof 1
    70191 Stuttgart
    Phone: +49 711 284400

    Note: A (under) graduate degree obtained in Germany also serves as a certificate of equivalence for a foreign secondary school diploma.

Applicants with German citizenship and a foreign school leaving certificate
For German citizens with foreign secondary school degrees, please contact:
Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart
Abt. 7 Schule und Bildung
Postfach 103642
70031 Stuttgart
Tel.: +49 711 904 17170

General information about applications and entrance exams can be found in our FAQs. Here is some specific information for each department:

Vocal and Songwriting
Entrance Exam
Three songs, your own compositions if possible, must be presented. These can be performed with up to three accompanying musicians or a play-along. Then, improvisational elements will be tested in terms of lyrics and vocal flexibility and quality. An interview follows at the end.
Three songs, your own compositions if possible, with music that suits you best. There are no stylistic limitations. We are the first audience that you have to impress with your guitar skills. You must also demonstrate that you are curious and open to other styles of music. You should also be interested in exploring other genres.

Entrance Exam
The entrance exam consists of a live performance of max. 3 songs with a band of max. 3 accompanying musicians (not necessarily the same songs from your application demo) or with playback. Then there is an ad-hoc exam, in which we test your degree of knowledge of different genres of the musical world.

Expected technical prerequisites:
  • Rhythm guitar: Knowledge of simple chords (major, minor, Min7, Maj7, Dom7)
  • Solo guitar: Pentatonic (in several positions = different fingerings), scales (major in several layers = different fingerings)
  • Good sound in music, sensitivity, enjoyment of playing, good timing, flexibility and spontaneity
For the application, please send an USB stick and a video. The flash drive should contain three tracks: one should audibly showcase the bassline in a band performance, another should be a solo piece and the third is your choice. If you are singing lead or backup vocals, please also note that in your application. The video should be a short live clip (approx. 2-3 minutes long), which can be recorded with a mobile phone camera and should not be edited. The quality of the recording is not a deciding factor.
Entrance Exam
  • Special emphasis is on originality (unique style), timing, groove, sound and technical skills.
  • Ability to play simple rudiments at the skill level of All American Drummer, Ch. Wilcoxon.
  • Playbacks can be recordings of your own band without drums or commercially available play-alongs.
Entrance Exam
The practical part of the exam consists of you performing three songs, if possible your own compositions. Optional accompaniment can be done by max. 3 musicians or playback.

Musicality is important: enjoyment, timing, style, melodic playing, use of sounds, versatility. Versatility can range from a solo piano performance to playing in a band or with playback, from solo to tasteful accompaniment and from traditional to unusual sounds. A stage piano Korg "SV1" and a Workstation Korg "Kronos" are available. You are welcome to bring your own equipment.

After the first part you will be invited to play along to given playbacks, accompanying simple harmonies or soloing. The audition ends with a conversation with the examining commission.

More information can be found in the preparation tips for keyboard applicants (in German).
Applicants must provide evidence of the ability to produce music for audio playback by presenting tracks and, if applicable, additional sheet material and through live performance. Self-produced tracks/songs/film music must be played and explained in terms of genesis and intention.

In this context, self-produced means that the applicant was the main person responsible for the result and has significantly influenced and planned the process to get there. You do not have to have carried out every single step, but you should have directed the process. Simply mixing a track or recording the drums is not considered an independent producer's performance. Versatility and wide range in terms of stylistics, production methods and tools as well as special skills are beneficial. Music production experience over a longer period of time is a prerequisite.
Music Theory and Composition
Entrance Exam
The theoretical entrance exam consists of two sections: a music theory section and an essay.

For the essay, you can choose from three topics coming from popular music history, pop culture or music business.

The music theory section contains the following tasks:
  • Notating chords using chord symbols (four-notes)
  • Point dictation (recognising 10 pitches from one key, root pitch is given)
  • Single and two-voice melodic dictation
  • Recognising chords (three- and four-voice)
  • Recognising pop-typical chord progressions
  • Notating a rhythmic example, e.g. a drum pattern/drum groove
  • Hearing a formal structure and naming the parts of the form (excerpts from a pop song)
  • Questions drawn from music theory, e.g. explain the term “cadence”


Student Office
Fon: +49 621 53397200  E-Mail:


  • The Pop Music Design programme is accredited by the Accreditation, Certification and Quality Assurance Institute ACQUIN.
  • Students studying at the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg are eligible for BAföG funding.
  • The application deadline for the start of the winter semester is April 30th. To meet the application deadline, upload April 30th by 11:59pm.
  • The date for the entrance examination is announced on the PMD Facts page.
  • The beginning of studies is only possible during the winter semester.
  • Here you can find the regulation of the Ministry of Science, Research and Art concerning the qualification for studying at the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg (in German).
  • The admission to the Popakademie requires the acceptance of the current usage regulations (in German).
  • There are no tuition fees for domestic students obtaining their main degree at the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg. For international students and for those pursuing a second undergraduate degree, the universities of Baden-Württemberg are obliged to charge tuition fees.