Principles of Acoustics and Vibration (Year one part-time)
School of Science, Engineering and Environment
Two and a half year
Two and a half year
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.
International applicant? Please check international intakes for the latest information and application dates.
Start your MSc Acoustics study journey
Register for our next Open Day where you can learn more about the course, tour our impressive facilities and meet the tutors.
- 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
This is for you if...
You are a technically-skilled, numerate graduate with a degree in an engineering or science discipline
You wish to develop skills for an acoustics and audio engineering career
You are currently working in the audio and acoustic industry and wish to expand your expertise
All about the course
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
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.
Please note that the course is intensive. We recommend that full-time students dedicate approximately 38 hours per week to study, and part-time students dedicate approximately 19 hours per week. Please bear this in mind if you are considering working alongside your studies.
Drawing on over 60 years of acoustics expertise at Salford, the Acoustics postgraduate course is delivered by an academic team with exceptional research experience and extensive professional connections throughout the world.
Course leader: Dr. Jonathan Hargreaves
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.
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.
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?
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.
Face-to-face and distance learning cohorts are co-taught. This means that in-person sessions are streamed live for online learners, with tutors answering questions from both online and in-person cohorts at the same time. All classes are timetabled Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm (UK time). However, where necessary, it’s also possible for learners to participate beyond the co-taught format, for example through session recordings and discussion forums.
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.
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 leaders.
Driven by industry and delivered by supportive programme teams, you can develop the knowledge and skills to take your career potential further.
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.
Industry collaboration and research
When you start this degree with Salford, you are also joining a community making a difference in industry, our local region and in our wider society.
Many of our academics and technicians who support your course also deliver collaborative, interdisciplinary, high-impact work in a range of local and global issues and challenges with noise, sound and vibration.
Read on and discover how you are part of something bigger.
What about after uni?
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.
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.
- 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.
What you need to know
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.
Please check international intakes for the latest information and application dates.
- 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.
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
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home||2023/24||£9,090per year|
|Full-time international||2023/24||£15,750per year|
|Part-time||2023/24||£1,515 per 30 credits|
|Distance learning||2023/24||UK/EU: £9,090, International: £15,750|
|Full-time home||2024/25||£9,990per year|
|Full-time international||2024/25||£16,380per year|
|Part-time||2024/25||£1,665 per 30 credits|
|Distance learning||2024/25||UK/EU: £9,990, International: £16,380|
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. Learn more about our latest international scholarships.