Postgraduate MSc/PgDip

Acoustics

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Attendance

Full-time

Part-time

Distance Learning

Course

One year

Two and a half year

Two and a half year

Next enrolment

September 2022

Introduction

In a nutshell

Help to build a better sounding world with a postgraduate degree in Acoustics.

Delivered in full and part-time study pathways, either on campus or online, we've designed a course to nurture your specialist knowledge, so you're ready to develop a career as a future leader in audio product development, noise consultancy or sound management.

Recommended for numerate science graduates looking to join the acoustics and audio profession, you will benefit from using world-class facilities learning alongside an academic team at the forefront of industry-focused research.

Application update - June 2022

Due to high volumes of applications and visa processing requirements, we are currently not accepting any new applications from international students for our full-time postgraduate masters courses.

For courses starting in 2023-24, please keep checking our deadlines page to find out when we will start accepting applications.

Distance learning and UK applications are still open for 2022-23 entry.

Learn more about studying acoustics, explore course content and speak to the course team, by attending our next Open Day

You will:
  • Follow a structured postgraduate training programme in acoustics, with specific focus on the technologies and principles associated with industrial applications
  • Gain a detailed knowledge, systematic understanding and critical analysis of acoustical concepts, along with the ability to apply these concepts to practical problems of engineering design and analysis
  • Build practical skills in measurement as you develop the ability to critically evaluate new developments within the field and contribute to the development of acoustics through research and project work
  • Shape your learning based on your interests or career plan by choosing options that include psychoacoustics, environmental noise measurement, immersive sound reproduction and noise and vibration control
  • Learn alongside research-active academics and technicians, using some of the UK’s leading acoustics facilities that are regularly used by major organisations to test and develop audio and acoustics products
International

students accepted

This is for you if...

1.

You are a technically-skilled, numerate graduate with a degree in an engineering or science discipline

2.

You wish to develop skills for an acoustics and audio engineering career

3.

You are currently working in the audio and acoustic industry and wish to expand your expertise

Course details

All about the course

A man testing headphones

Course delivery

Our MSc Acoustics postgraduate degree is available in flexible study formats, including full and part-time pathways, delivered on campus or via distance learning. 

The MSc award course comprises eight 15-credit taught modules, followed by a 60-credit dissertation project.

  • as a full-time student, you will study modules during trimesters one and two, and complete your project module in trimester three
  • as a part-time student, you will spread learning over trimesters one and two of the first two years, and complete your project module in year three

Please be advised that the part-time pathway can be intensive. We recommend that part-time students dedicate approximately 19 hours per week to study. 

Core modules are complemented by optional choices that enable you to shape your degree to your interests or future career plans. Learn more about the current course modules in the section below.

Trimester one (full-time) / Trimester one and two of year one (part-time)

Principles of Acoustics and Vibration (Year one part-time)

In this module you will develop a systematic understanding of the physical and mathematical representations of vibrating systems and acoustic waves in 1D, 2D and 3D.

During the module, you will learn about the descriptors and physical units of acoustic and vibration phenomena, and apply critical thinking to understanding of the assumptions and limitations inherent in acoustics and vibration theory. Using this, you will solve advanced problems in acoustics by application of theory and mathematical techniques.

Plus three choices from the following module options

Room Acoustics (Year one part-time)

This module aims to provide you with a thorough grasp of room acoustics principles, including theoretical models for both low and high frequencies, developing your ability to apply these in order to analyse existing rooms or design new ones.

During the module, you will study wave theory and statistical theory for acoustic enclosures, including objective descriptions of and how these tally with listeners' perceptions. Techniques for designing and applying sound absorbing and scattering treatments will be covered, and you will consider the effectiveness and limitations of these in important application areas such as musical performances spaces and critical listening rooms.

Digital Signal Processing and Machine Learning (Year one part-time)

This module aims to give you an understanding of how acoustic signals may be handled and processed digitally, considering the benefits and limitations. You will study the decomposition of signals in frequency and their manipulation using digital filters, including design and analysis techniques.

During the module, you will develop knowledge of advanced signal processing methods based on adaptive filtering and machine learning, including an awareness of their basis and limitations, whilst gaining the skills to apply them.

Psychoacoustics and Musical Acoustics (Year one part-time)

Music is one of the most important signals in acoustics and audio. This module is about how musical sounds are made, how they can be modelled and synthesised, and also how listeners respond to them.  

During the module, you will learn how the human auditory system works, starting with the physiology and physics of the ear, developing a solid grasp of how loudness, pitch and the ear’s frequency bands really work. The module covers a very diverse range of disciplines including physics, psychoacoustics and musicology. You’ll apply your new knowledge and skills in coursework assignments. 

Noise and Vibration Control (Year one part-time)

This module will provide you with knowledge and understanding of noise and vibration control engineering processes and methodologies. You will learn how to select appropriate noise and vibration control options for realistic scenarios, with a focus on the transport industry (road, rail and air vehicles). 

During the module, you will also learn the main sound generation mechanisms in road, rail and air vehicles.  You will gain a thorough understanding of current best practice in noise and vibration control, and apply appropriate acoustical analysis to assess limitations and/or adapt them for application in unfamiliar situations.  

Trimester two (full-time) / Trimester one and two of year two (part-time)

Loudspeakers and Microphones (Year two part-time)

In this module, you will learn about the fundamental principles underlying electroacoustic transduction as well as investigating the interaction between a source, its acoustic environment and the listener. These effects will be described by mathematical models, which you will study both on paper and numerically by programming them using Matlab.

During the module, you will also examine the practical application of loudspeaker and microphone systems, and investigate how they are used in arrays e.g. for spatial audio applications.

Plus three choices from the following module options

Measurement, Analysis and Assessment (Year two part-time)

This module aims to equip you with the necessary knowledge to specify and undertake appropriate acoustic measurements, including understanding their limitations, and being able to analyse the data you produce.

During the module, you will learn how to effectively undertake standardised acoustic measurements, taking full account of uncertainty introduced throughout the process. You will also gain a comprehensive understanding of the scientific principles underlying these acoustic measurement techniques, thereby helping you to apply them better and know how to adapt them or propose new methods where appropriate.

Computer Simulation for Acoustics (Year two part-time)

In this module, you will learn the fundamental principles of computer simulation techniques: geometric room acoustics, finite element method, and boundary element method using COMSOL and related software packages.

During the module, you will undertake practical problem solving using computer modelling of acoustical systems and assess the field of application, accuracy and limitations of the computer simulation methods.

Immersive Sound Reproduction (Year two part-time)

In this module, you will develop understanding of transducer systems for the capture and reproduction of 3D sound. You will then go on to develop understanding of how the human auditory system works and how this can be exploited to deliver realistic and immersive spatial audio experiences.

During the module, you will also learn how to design loudspeaker systems using typical enclosures or horns and develop the skills necessary to design PA systems using suitable loudspeaker systems and arrays.

Environmental Noise Measurement and Modelling (Year two part-time)

In this module you will carry out measurement and modelling of environmental noise using appropriate sound measuring instrumentation and modelling capabilities.  You will develop the ability to describe and explain the main provisions of current environmental noise legislation, guidance and best practice. 

During the module, you will also develop the ability to interpret the requirements in order to carry out reliable environmental noise measurements and modelling, and apply acoustic theory decision about the most appropriate interventions to control environmental noise.  This module will also introduce the state-of-the-art soundscape methods. 

Trimester three (full-time) / Trimester one and two of year three (part-time)

MSc Acoustics Project

The aim of the MSc Acoustics project is for you to carry out, under supervision, an extended individual study into a topic in audio acoustics. The topic will be agreed with your supervisor and can be industry based, if appropriate. You will be marked on your initiative and project management, as well as your ability to bring together the skills, knowledge and understanding you have acquired from the course.

The project module is often used to further develop specialist interests of students, for example audio product design or emerging measurement and/or analysis techniques.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?

TEACHING

Learning is mainly delivered using tutorial and seminar groups. Interaction is face-to-face wherever practical, but we also use web-based learning support packages (databases of materials, discussion boards etc.). There is a strong focus on guided self-learning.

Distance learning students can stream classes via our Virtual Learning Environment, either to participate live or watch later.

The ‘Measurement, Analysis & Assessment’ and ‘Environmental Noise Measurement and Modelling’ modules both require physical attendance during a lab week. Part-time students will undertake this lab week in their second year.

All modules are centred on a weekly programme of directed reading, supported by a detailed study guide and sets of tutorial questions. On occasion, lecture content may be screencast for watching in advance, following the ‘flipped classroom’ approach.

ASSESSMENT

Each module features one substantial written assignment to test the learning outcomes and cover the syllabus.  The assignments are based around ‘open-ended’ design exercises and case studies based on realistic problems. 

The ‘Measurement, Analysis and Assessment’ module includes practical group work.

The final project is assessed using a dissertation (weighting 80%) and a presentation (weighting 20%).

School of Science, Engineering and Environment.

Rising to the challenge of a changing world, our postgraduate courses are designed to shape the next generation of urbanists, scientists, engineers, consultants and industry leaders.

Driven by industry and delivered by supportive programme teams, you can develop the knowledge and skills to take your career potential further.

Facilities

Campus-based students will experience a modern learning environment, featuring accessible lecture theatres, AV-equipped classrooms, computing suites and multimedia libraries. Distance learners will experience our Collaborate Ultra platform, with real-time and on-demand materials.

As an acoustics student, you will interact with world-class facilities, including full and semi-anechoic chambers, a transmission suite, large and small reverberation chambers, an ITU standard listening room, audiometric test facilities and a range of advanced instrumentation and equipment.

Programme Team

The Acoustics postgraduate programme is delivered by an academic team with extensive research and industry knowledge.

Drawing on over 60 years of acoustics expertise, the Salford team is connected to live commercial and research projects delivered in collaboration with professional networks and organisations worldwide.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Acoustics researcher working with a microphone

EMPLOYMENT

Acousticians with engineering, science and mathematical skills are in short supply, which puts you in a strong position to build a career once you graduate.

Our Acoustics postgraduate degree can up careers where you can lead and influence acoustics and audio engineering research, broadcast engineering, loudspeaker and audio system design, and consumer audio product development. 

In our increasingly busy world, managing unwanted noise is a growing and significant problem. You might choose to use the knowledge and skills developed on the course in a consultancy context, by working with organisations to solve environmental noise challenges. 

Many of our acoustics graduates have progressed into senior roles in acoustics consultancy, research, development, and audio design. Today, you will find our alumni working at Apple, Dolby,BBC, plus every major acoustic consultancy in the world.

FURTHER STUDY

You might also choose to take your subject interest further with postgraduate research. Our Acoustics Research Centre is home to PhD and Research Master’s opportunities exploring a range of topics, including noise and soundscapes, sound modelling, psychoacoustics, vibro-acoustics, building acoustics, acoustic materials and audio engineering.

Explore our Doctoral School to learn more about research training, support and opportunities.

A taste of what you could become

An acoustics and audio engineer

A broadcast engineer

A noise consultant

A speaker system designer

And more...

Career Links

  • Salford is accredited to perform twelve types of test via our world-class facilities that are maintained by commercially-funded technicians. We also have a UKAS-accredited Calibration Laboratory which provides a full-scale commercial service to industry. 
  • Our acoustics team holds strong industry links nurtured through collaborative research and projects based at our commercial test laboratories. These connections ensure that the programme is aligned with the latest research findings and developments. 
  • Recent projects include creating integrated virtual models for acoustic design with Dyson, wind turbine noise auralisation and subjective testing with DELTA and DEFRA, acoustics for auralisation with Arup, the S3A Future Spatial Audio project with the BBC and SALSA (Spatial Automated Live Sports Audio) system with DTS and Fairlight.
  • We regularly share research outputs with industry partners and acoustics network. Recent masterclasses include acoustic consultancy with RBA Acoustics, noise mapping software with Cambell Associates, environmental noise with WSP/Parcel, railway noise and vibration with AECOM, NVH infotainment with JaguarLandRover, and measurement microphone technology with GRAS.
Requirements

What you need to know

APPLICANT PROFILE

Our Acoustics postgraduate degree is recommended for numerate science graduates and professionals looking to move into the exciting field of acoustics. It is also a solid route for gaining an advanced level of knowledge to support career progression or as preparation for research. 

ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

All of our courses are taught and assessed in English. If English is not your first language, you must meet our minimum English language entry requirements. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this, however we do accept a range of equivalent qualifications. 

Read more about our English language requirements, including information about pathways that can help you gain entry on to our degree courses. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take our Pre-Sessional English course

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS - ACADEMIC TECHNOLOGY APPROVAL SCHEME (ATAS)

International students are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin their studies. You need to obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK to comply with Home Office regulations. Please refer to your offer conditions. 

If you have a query relating to ATAS, please contact: Salford-ATAS@salford.ac.uk

DISTANCE LEARNING PATHWAY - MANDATORY ATTENDANCE

The ‘Measurement, Analysis and Assessment’ module includes a lab week, which requires mandatory attendance for distance learning students. Depending on your nationality, you may require an ATAS certificate and Short Term Study Visa.

Standard entry requirements

Undergraduate degree

  • An undergraduate award at 2:2 or above (or equivalent) in science, engineering or mathematics.
  • An undergraduate award at 2:2 or above (or equivalent) in another discipline, together with an appropriate engineering mathematics foundation qualification. 

Applicants must also have the equivalent of grade C or higher, GCSE Mathematics and GCSE English.

International student entry requirements

We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

For more information or enquires about this scheme, please contact: AdmissionsSEE-PGT@salford.ac.uk 

Learn more about the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2022/23 £8,820per year
Full-time international 2022/23 £15,300per year
Part-time 2022/23 £1,470 per 30 credits
Distance learning 2022/23 UK/EU: £8,820, International: £15,300
Full-time home 2023/24 £9,090per year
Full-time international 2023/24 £15750per year
Part-time 2023/24 £1,515 per 30 credits
Distance learning 2023/24 UK/EU: £9,090, International: £15,750
Additional costs

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

International student scholarships

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. We offer a range of scholarships worth between £3,000-£5,000.

Learn more about our latest international scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2022

September 2023

Due to high volumes of applications and visa processing requirements, we are currently not accepting any new applications from international students for our full-time postgraduate masters courses.

For courses starting in 2023-24, please keep checking our deadlines page to find out when we will start accepting applications.

Distance learning and UK applications are still open for 2022-23 entry.