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Audio Acoustics with Foundation Year

BEng (Hons)

School - School of Computing, Science & Engineering

Subject area - Acoustics, Audio and Video

UCAS Code: H342

Start Dates(s): September


One year foundation plus three years full-time for the degree or
one year foundation plus four years full-time for the degree with placement year


UK - £6000 for foundation year; £9250 for subsequent years

In Brief:

  • Fantastic career prospects in acoustic consultancy where there is a buoyant job market.
  • Taught by internationally recognised researchers in acoustics and audio.
  • Strong links with industry and accredited by the Institute of Acoustics (full Audio Acoustics BSc)
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity

Course Summary

This course provides an alternative entry route on to the BEng (Hons) Audio Acoustics degree and other related courses. The Foundation Year provides you with a broad introduction to acoustics, physics, maths, laboratory work, engineering methodology and IT skills. It is ideal for students who may not have reached the required level in A levels or BTEC study or those who have chosen a new direction for their studies. On successful completion of the Foundation Year you will go on to study the same curriculum as the standard Audio Acoustics degree course..

The Audio Acoustics degree course offers two pathways specialising in either Acoustic Engineering or Audio Technology. Acoustic Engineering includes designing architecture and consumer products so that they sound good, as well as the control of noise and vibration from machinery. Audio Technology is about the design of audio devices such as headphones, streaming music services or cinema sound systems.

Audio Acoustics is accredited by the Institute of Acoustics and 92% of students in the 2016 NSS stated that overall, they were satisfied with the quality of the course. The University of Salford began teaching undergraduate acoustics and audio courses in 1975, and graduates from our Acoustics and Audio Technology degree courses are employed in major acoustic and audio companies around the world.

‘Acoustics and related courses at Salford University are taught by lecturers who understand what is out there in the real world.’

Aaron Tomlinson, level six. Placement with Sandy Brown Acoustics consultants.

Course Details

In the Foundation Year, you will study the fundamentals required to progress on to the full degree programme. This will involve training in physics and mathematical techniques that is achieved through a combination of theoretical and practical modules.

Audio Technology or Acoustics Degree

In the first year of the degree, you will study acoustics, electronics, music technology, mathematics and computer programming covering all aspects of processing, delivery and engineering of audio signals and acoustic spaces. In the second year you might broaden your knowledge in the studio or study environmental acoustics, alongside modules in subjects such as architectural acoustics and electro-acoustics, further developing an in depth knowledge of the physics and engineering of sound. Many students then take a paid industrial placement year. The final year includes aspects of speech, musical acoustics and digital signal processing, with a large amount of project work to develop practical and research skills and an opportunity to study an area of particular interest to you. The final year Master Classes module and the project connects you with the latest research carried out at The Acoustics Research Centre in Salford.

The degree course offers two pathways; Audio Engineering and Acoustic Engineering and the first year is common to both pathways. Throughout the course, support modules in programming, mathematics and computing provide the framework required to progress your learning and prepare you for a career in audio technology or acoustic engineering.

Foundation Year            

These modules entail the development of mathematical and modelling skills. Subjects include algebra, transposition of formulae, coordinate systems, logarithms, introduction to calculus, problem solving in velocity and acceleration, differentiation, integration and matrices.                
This module provides a grounding in basic physics and the development of numerical problem solving. The syllabus includes, mechanics, properties of matter and wave propagation.                
In this module electronics and electricity are introduced, along with fields (magnetic, electric, gravitation etc.) and atomic and nuclear physics.                  
Laboratory skills, critical analysis of data and scientific reporting are examined in this module. The areas covered are experimental design, scientific measurement methods and data analysis. This is achieved through a series of experiments covering mechanics, thermal physics, electricity and waves.                
This module involves the development of IT, research, team working, presentation and scientific reporting skills. In more detail, the use of spreadsheets, graphical representation of data, report writing, scientific presentations and group-based research will be undertaken.                

Degree 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).            

Degree 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.            

Degree 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
GCSE English Language and Maths at grade C or above. 4 in Maths and English.
UCAS tariff points 72 UCAS points from any subject combination. 64 UCAS points where qualifications include both Mathematics and Physics to A Level standard.
GCE A level 72 UCAS points from any subject combination 64 UCAS points where qualifications include both Mathematics and Physics at A Maths or numerate science
BTEC National Diploma MMP for any subject, MPP for Engineering or Science
Foundation Degree N/A
Scottish Highers 72 UCAS Tariff points (new system) from any subject combination. 64 UCAS Tariff points where qualifications include both mathematics and physics to A-level standard.
Irish Leaving Certificate 72 UCAS Tariff points (new system) from any subject combination. 64 UCAS Tariff points where qualifications include both mathematics and physics to A-level standard.

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

This course is not suitable for international applicants.

Applicant profile

This course is designed for someone who is passionate about sound, with a strong background and general interest in science and audio technology. You will learn to engineer sound, whether that is reducing road noise in a car, designing a sound bar or programming an audio games engine.

Fees and Funding


Type of Study Fee
Full-time £6000 for foundation year; £9250 for subsequent years

Additional costs

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

Scholarships & Bursaries

We offer awards to help you study including:

  • Vice-Chancellor's Excellence Scholarship
  • Salford Student Bursary

For more information please see our funding section.


Teaching on this Foundation 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. Recent student placements include:

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


  • Examinations
  • Coursework
  • Practical work


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


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. Students have access to the laboratories, as well as state of the art measurement equipment, software and audio systems including binaural, ambisonic  and  wave-field synthesis.

Watch our video    

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

Watch our video    

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

Watch our video    

See inside one of the quietest places in the UK, our very own Anechoic Chamber. Acoustics students will have the opportunity to use this facility during their time at the University.

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