Audio Acoustics
BEng (Hons)

Industrial Placement
Based at MediaCityUK
Work placement opportunity
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Audio Acoustics at Salford

1.

Accredited by the Institute of Acoustics

2.

Strong links with sound industry, including work placement opportunites across Europe

3.

Taught by internationally recognised leaders in acoustics and audio research

Course Summary

The Audio Acoustics degree course offers two pathways specialising in either Acoustic Engineering or Audio Technology.

The course is about the engineering, technology and science involved in production, transmission, manipulation and reception of sound; Acoustics embodies both the physical properties of sound waves, and the psychological reaction of humans. Acoustic Engineering is about the science of sound, the design of acoustic spaces and systems and the control of noise and vibration; Audio Technology is about the production, transmission, recording, manipulation and reception of audible sound.

Sound is one of our primary means of communication and pervades our world, which means acoustic and audio experts work in many different areas.

You will learn about the design of modern music technology products, recording studios and loudspeakers and acoustic spaces to achieve the best possible audio reproduction. You will also learn about how music, speech and other sounds are perceived and how that influences the design of apps, products and buildings.

 

Course Details

Audio Technology or Acoustics Degree

The degree course offers two pathways; Audio Engineering and Acoustic Engineering and in the first year, common to both pathways, you will study acoustics, electronics, music technology, mathematics and audio engineering covering all aspects of processing, delivery and engineering of audio signals and acoustic spaces. On completion of the first year, you have the option to specialise in either the Audio Engineering or Acoustic Engineering pathway for level two and three of the degree.

In the second year on the Audio Engineering pathway, you will broaden your knowledge in the studio environment, alongside course modules in acoustic principles and electro-acoustics, further developing an in depth knowledge of the physics and engineering of sound, audio technologies and audio production. The final year of the Audio Engineering pathway covers aspects of speech, musical acoustics and spatial audio, with a significant element of project work to develop practical and research skills and an opportunity to study an area of audio technology of particular interest in depth.

Throughout the course, support modules in programming, mathematics and computing provide the framework required to progress your degree and prepare for a career in audio technology or acoustic engineering. Graduates from the course go on to pursue careers in a wide range of positions in the audio and acoustics industries including cutting edge research and product development and design,  noise consultancy, architectural and building acoustics and environmental assessment.

Year 1

This module is an introduction to a wide range of concepts in acoustics and allows you to begin to gain skills in the practical measurement and analysis of acoustic devices and audio technologies.
This module will introduce you to a broad range of audio technologies including microphones, transmission, digital audio and loudspeakers. You will learn basic practical skills by carrying out a simple audio electronics project.
You will look at the basic building blocks in audio electronic circuits and develop an understanding and appreciation of impedance, current and voltage in circuits, use of complex numbers and circuit analysis. You will also use SPICE simulation for circuit analysis and design.
You will be given the basic mathematical skills and concepts required to appreciate and succeed in understanding acoustics and audio engineering.
You will be taught appropriate high level programming techniques at a level sufficient to code elementary procedural programs. Coding is at the heart of much acoustic engineering and audio technologies.
You will be taught about a wide variety of specialist acoustic and audio measurements, in terms of equipment familiarity, correct use, interpretation of data and correct reporting (oral and written).

Year 2

This module gives a thorough grounding in the techniques and applications of digital technology in the acquisition, processing, storage and transmission of acoustic signals.
This module will teach you the fundamental acoustic principles that are required as a foundation for the remainder of the course such as Fourier’s theorem, 3D wave equation, the finite string and radiation impedance.
In this module you will be introduced to the techniques used at all stages of the audio recording and production process, and you will establish a critical understanding of these techniques. You will be taught how to apply the underlying concepts and principles of audio production in a work-type environment, and will gain experience in audio recording both within a group and individual context.
On completion of this module you should have an understanding of electroacoustic transduction mechanisms and the modelling techniques used in the design of microphones and loudspeakers.
In order to better prepare you for a career in acoustics and audio this module will help you understand the nature of entrepreneurs and the development of entrepreneurial organisations. You will cover popular business theories such as theory of management, the role of enterprise in the economy, leadership and management of an enterprise and developing and managing quality in the enterprise.
This module will equip you with the knowledge and critical understanding of the behaviour of sound in architectural spaces and the associated objective effects and subjective perception.

Year 3

In this module you will develop a systematic understanding of the key factors that affect spatial perception of sound by humans, as well as spatial recording and reproduction techniques and technologies. You will also develop your knowledge and expertise in designing spatial audio systems using forwarding thinking techniques, and you will accurately deploy established techniques in order to analyse spatial audio theory and the quality of surround sound reproduction.
The final year project is your opportunity to demonstrate your understanding and application of the knowledge you have acquired on the course. The project topic chosen will be on an agreed subject related to audio or acoustics and you have the option to work within a group or as an individual with regular supervision.
You will be introduced to speech production and modelling, speech analysis and synthesis with particular reference to the application of speech technology in modern communication devices, also decomposition of signals using frequency analysis techniques, the development of frequency domain statistical descriptors of signals and systems and the manipulation of signals using digital filters.
You will develop a systematic understanding of human perception of sound and its application in a musical context including detailed analysis of hearing physiology and competing theories of aural transduction.
You will engage with leading practitioners from the latest cutting edge research in acoustics and audio engineering across a number of different key subjects, including research being undertaken at Salford University.

Please note, exact modules may vary in order to keep content current. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the modules you will study on or before the start of the programme.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
UCAS tariff points 280-300 points
GCE A level 280-300 points including a grade C in Maths or numerate science
BTEC National Diploma DMM
Scottish Highers 300 points; Advanced Highers grade C in Maths, Physics or Chemistry; Highers grade A in Maths, Physics or Chemistry.
Irish Leaving Certificate 300 points to include Higher Level Physics and Maths.
International Baccalaureate 35 points Grade 5 in Physics or Maths or Chemistry at Higher Level.

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Applicant profile

This is a specialised audio and acoustics engineering degree and applicants will need to have a strong science and technical numerate academic background. The course will suit applicants who are looking to enter a career in the areas of acoustics, audio technology development, broadcast and entertainment systems, studio design, architectural acoustics, noise control and related industries.

We started teaching undergraduate acoustics and audio courses in 1975. Graduates from our Acoustics and Audio Technology degree courses are employed in major acoustic and audio companies around the world. More details here.  

Applicants will have a strong interest in acoustics and audio related subject areas and a strong background and general interest in physical science and current technology.

We positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to successfully pursue a programme of study in higher education. Students who do not have formal entry qualifications are required to sit a written assessment which is designed for this purpose. Support in preparing for the written assessment is available from the University. Please contact Jos Hirst the Director of Admissions for further information.

Teaching

Teaching on this engineering degree course

This course is delivered using a mixture of lectures, tutorials and practical-based work. In the final year you carry out a major project. Each module is delivered and assessed in the most appropriate way. For example, Acoustics Laboratory is a practical based module with no examinations. In contrast, the Introduction to Acoustics module is more theoretical and is delivered in a more standard lecture/tutorial format with a written end examination. We also use the web as a learning and teaching tool.

You will be taught by a wide a range of teaching staff (profiles here), all experts in different aspects of acoustic engineer and audio technology and each bringing research and/or commercial expertise.

Many students take a year’s industrial placement after the second year, which you arrange with our support. In 2012/13 students took placements at:

  • A to V (UK) LLP
  • Atkins
  • Dolby
  • Harman Becker
  • HBB
  • Plantronics
  • Sandy Brown Associates
  • Sennheiser
  • Southdown Environmental Consultants
  • Spectrum Acoustic Consultants
  • WSP (Acoustics)

Assessment

  • Examinations
  • Coursework

Employability

Career Prospects

Graduates from the Audio Acoustics degree course will become major players in the diverse world of sound, acoustics and audio. Starting salaries for graduates are in the range £20,000 to £30,000 and current industry demand for graduates is very high.

Below are just a few of the job areas our graduates get into and the companies they work for, for more details follow the links:

In 2013, a survey of 500 of our acoustic and audio alumni found one in five of our graduates live outside the UK and 45% are in senior jobs or are directors. The six most popular industries were: research (15%), university (10%), construction (9%), architecture (9%) and consumer electronics (6%).

Our graduates have excellent career prospects in acoustic consultancy and audio related industries. Previous graduates have gone on to employment with BBS, Apple, Dolby, Jaguar Land Rover and Bang & Olufson.

Alumni Profile

Dan Gardner, BSc(Hons) Audio Technology, Codemasters

“When I choose to do the degree at Salford it was primarily because I was interested in sound from the most technical scientific to the creative aspects and I feel that the course gave the me the understanding I was looking for and a lot more. I am now working at Codemasters as a Sound Designer for video games and my work involves creating the audio content for the games we release involving location/foley recording of spot effects, speech/dialogue recording of voice-over artists/actors and celebrities in various different studios. My degree has helped me enormously to enter this field and I have a very good understanding of all aspects of audio including compression techniques, modelling of real-world acoustic behaviour, knowledge of surround sound techniques, ability to use and feel at home in various recording studios, knowledge of audio equipment specifications, audio programming techniques which greatly aid communication with the game programmers, not forgetting the knowledge/abilities I gained from the course for when it comes to diagnosing acoustic and audio problems occurring. My degree and the high standards of lecturing and practical work have given me these extremely valuable skills, allowing me to feel confident and knowledgeable when working with other audio professionals."

Paul Malpass, BEng(Hons) Electroacoustics, Arup Acoustics

Paul Malpass completed his BEng in Electroacoustics (the predecessor of BEng Acoustics) at the University of Salford in 1990 and immediately joined the growing team at Arup Acoustics in London. While training at Arup Acoustics, Paul specialised in the design of acoustics and audio technologies for speech and media systems in Aviation, Education, Performing Arts, Rail, Retail and Sports & Leisure markets and applications. Paul completed his training and was awarded Charter ship (CEng) in May 1999. In 2000, Paul was made an Associate at Arup and in 2001 he completed a Masters degree at Cambridge University in Inter-disciplinary Design in the Built Environment, sponsored by the Arup Foundation.

Watch our video

Mark Howarth, of Sandy Brown Associates, speaks about his work as an acoustics consultant and his studies in Acoustics as a student at Salford.

Links with Industry

Staff have strong links with industry either through collaborative R&D projects with industry through the Acoustics Research Centre and our commercial test laboratories. The course also has strong links to industry through the industrial placement year. These all help to keep the Audio Acoustics degree course up to date with the current needs of industry and including the latest research findings.

Further Study

Fees and Funding

Fees 2016-17

Type of StudyFee
Full-time£9,000
Full-time International£13,300

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Financial support for this course

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

 

Facilities

Audio production

The University of Salford has an outstanding set of facilities for students. In 2011, the University moved into a purpose built facility at the heart of MediaCityUK. Our facility is built to the most modern professional specifications and is available for students, researchers and commercial clients. All our production facilities are now based at MediaCityUK except for our multi-track recording studios running ProTools HD on Macintosh.

Acoustic laboratories

The University established an Acoustics Department in 1975 and it has been a leading national centre ever since. Consequently the acoustics laboratories on the main campus are world class and were rebuilt at a cost of £2.5M and include a listening room, reverberation suite and three anechoic chambers. The University acts as a test house for the acoustic and audio industry especially the construction industry, linking us to current practice, and helping to keep courses up to date.

Watch our video

How loud is a slithering snail? Bang Goes the Theory at the BBC visit the acoustics facilities at the University of Salford.

Watch our video

Take a guided tour of the University's facilities at MediaCityUK.