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FAQ Popular Music

When is the application deadline?
Every year on April 30. Upload until 23:59.

Is there a numerus clausus?
No. There is no numerus clausus for the Popular Music programme. However, your final grade for your previous course of study will be taken into account in your application.

Are there tuition fees at the Popakademie?
The Popakademie Baden-Württemberg is a public university of the state of Baden-Württemberg. There are no tuition fees for a consecutive master's programme at the Popakademie. However, there are tuition fees for some international students as well as those pursuing a second course of study.

Is the Popular Music degree accredited?
Yes, the degree in Popular Music is accredited through ACQUIN.

Degree Information

How many students are accepted?
There are 20 students accepted per year.
How long does the degree programme take?
Two years, i.e. four semesters.
Can I enrol at any time?
You can only enrol starting in winter semester.
Which musicians should consider the Popular Music programme?
This is for creative, talented composers, songwriters, lyricists, singers, rappers, DJs, instrumentalists (keyboard, drums, electric guitar, electric bass), music educators and producers from all areas of popular music, from the fringes of avant garde to commercially oriented compositions, e.g. pop, rock, progressive rock, singer/songwriter, country, funk, sould, latin, R&B, hip-hop, drum&bass, trip-hop, reggae, ska, dub, techno, clicks & cuts, ambient, industrial, wave, punk, hardcore, grunge and metal.
Do I have to play multiple instruments to apply?
No, but you will have to learn a second instrument, either guitar or keyboard, or voice.
As a singer/songwriter, do I have to play an instrument to apply?
No, but you will have to learn an instrument, either guitar or keyboard.
Will I be eligible to start a doctorate programme upon completing this master’s degree?
Yes, as long as your grades suffice, your M.A. in Popular Music will entitle you to continue on to a doctorate degree.
Are there mandatory internships?
Yes, a three month long internship is required.
Can I get credits from a different degree programme counted?
Periods of study, courses and examinations from other master’s programmes may be recognised by filling out an application after being admitted to the Popular Music programme, as long as you can establish the equivalence of contents, scope and level of demand in relation to those of our programme.
Can I also become a sound engineer?
We do not offer a degree in sound engineering
Is there an Open House?
Yes, our Open House day usually takes place in February. The exact date will be posted on our calendar.


How can I apply?
Applications are accepted online and will be available starting February 05, 2022.
Is there an age limit for applicants?
What can I do if I don’t have my graduation diploma yet?
In place of your graduation diploma, please attach any final grades completed thus far to your application materials. You can deliver your graduation diploma at the time of the entrance exam or upon enrolment.
What kind of practical experience do I need to apply?
Several years of musical experience.

International Applicants

Can I apply as an international student?
Yes, of course! In order to apply, you need to get your (foreign) diploma recognised and show evidence of sufficient German language skills if you did not graduate from a German-speaking school.

For refugees, more information can be found on the website of the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst).
How do I prove my German language skills?
German language skills are required for studying at the Popakademie. The following certificates are recognised: DSH-exam from a German university, assessment test from the Studienkolleg, German Language Diploma Level II (Deutsches Sprachdiplom Stufe II), Goethe Institute’s Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom (KDS) or Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom (GDS), Goethe Institute’s Central Upper Secondary Exam.

Entrance Exam

When are the entrance exams?
The date for the entrance exam for the degree programme Popular Music will be announced under Facts.
What does the entrance exam entail?
The entrance examination consists of a written and a practical examination.
  • The written examination includes a music-theoretical analysis of several pieces of music with regard to the melodic course and the harmonic and rhythmic structure. In addition, a sound aesthetic and production technical as well as historical classification should take place. In addition, questions on general music theory must be answered and a statement made on a specific topic of the history and aesthetics of popular music.
  • The practical examination consists of a public live prelude with an accompanying band or playback of three tracks for the main focus Educating Artist and Performing Artist and five tracks for the main focus Producing/Composing Artist with a total playing time of 15 minutes (own or third-party compositions in own interpretation; Producing/Composing Artist: also prelude of own productions on CD or laptop possible). In addition, the flexibility of the accompaniment in different styles is checked, and technical and aesthetic questions regarding production are clarified for the Producing/Composing Artist focus. Questions relevant to music as well as questions regarding the written exam, qualification and motivation must be answered in an individual interview.
Can you recommend useful materials for preparing for the music theory exam?
  • Mike Schönmehl: Jazz und Pop Musiklehre
  • Frank Haunschild: Die neue Harmonielehre
  • Frank Sikora: Die neue Jazz-Harmonielehre
  • Peter Wicke, Kai-Erik Ziegenrücker: Handbuch der populären Musik
  • Peter Wicke: Von Mozart zu Madonna: Eine Kulturgeschichte der Popmusik (especially relevant from the 50s)
  • Peter Wicke: Rock- und Popmusik. Handbuch der Musik im 20. Jahrhundert
  • Martin Büsser: On the wild side: Die wahre Geschichte der Popmusik, Popmusik
  • Peter Kemper, Thomas Landhoff, Ullrich Sonnenschein: Alles so schön bunt hier - Die Geschichte der Popkultur von den Fünfzigern bis heute
  • Online-Pop-Lexikon,
Are all applicants invited to the entrance examination?
Unfortunately we are not able to invite all applicants to the entrance examination, which is why there is a pre-selection based on the submitted application documents.
How often can I take the entrance exam?
You can take the entrance exam twice.
Can I defer my acceptance and enrol at a later date?
Unfortunately that is not possible. If an applicant rejects his acceptance, admission will lapse and the candidate concerned will have to go through the selection process again.

Studying at the Popakademie

How high are the student union fees?
The student union fees are currently 107,80 € per semester.
Can I apply for BAföG funding as a student at the Popakademie?
Yes, as a Popakademie student you are entitled to funding through BAföG.
Is there a semester ticket for public transport?
The Popakademie is a member of the Mannheim Student Union. Since our students pay student union fees, they are entitled to a discounted semester ticket.
Is there a student dormitory at the Popakademie?
The Popakademie does not have its own student dormitories. However, through membership in the Mannheim Student Union, our students can take advantage of its housing referral service. One of the largest student dormitories is located very close to the Popakademie.
Can I attend a lecture as a guest?
Unfortunately it is not possible to attend a lecture as a guest. However, we offer open lectures during our Open House, which is usually in February - this is a good opportunity to see what a lecture is like.