Principles of Acoustics and Vibration (year one for part time)
School of Science, Engineering and Environment
In a nutshell
The creation, control, and delivery of high-quality audio, are crucial elements of the rapidly expanding communication, media and entertainment industries. Help to build a better sounding world with a postgraduate degree in Audio Acoustics.
Available with full and part-time study paths, the course is recommended for numerate science graduates, who wish to join the exciting sound and acoustics industry. The course is carefuly designed to nurture your specialist knowledge and shape your practical skill set, so you are ready to develop a career as a future leader in audio technology.
The course is endorsed by the Institute of Acoustics for the purposes of meeting the educational requirements for Corporate Membership of the Institute. Graduates may attain Engineering Council registration via the Institute of Acoustics.
Salford is a leading UK centre for audio and acoustics research and teaching. Led by an expert team, you'll be joining a community of academics and alumni working at the heart of many leading sound and acoustics-focused companies and organisations throughout the world.
- Study core topics including architectural acoustics, psychoacoustics, dynamics and vibration, computer modelling and measurement
- Have the opportunity to study specialist modules in digital signal processing and advanced loudspeaker and microphone design
- Benefit from extensive audio and acoustics facilities, including our world-class Anechoic chamber
- Explore how sound behaves and moves between rooms, examining the quality of internal and external soundscapes
- Develop techniques to measure the impact and effects of sound on people (psychoacoustics)
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
MSc Audio Acoustics is available in flexible study formats, including full and part-time pathways, delivered on campus or via distance learning. Please be advised however that the course is intensive – we recommend about 38 hours study per week full-time or 19 hours part-time.
This course comprises eight 15 credit taught modules, followed by a 60 credit dissertation project. For full-time students, taught modules take place in trimesters one and two, followed by the project module in trimester three. For part-time students, taught modules are spread over trimesters one and two of two years, followed by the project module in year three.
Note: The ‘Measurement Analysis and Assessment’ module includes a lab week (takes place in the Easter break), which requires mandatory attendance for distance learning students. Depending on your nationality, you may require an ATAS certificate and Short Term Study Visa.
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. 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.
Loudspeakers and Microphones (year two for 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. 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.
Digital Signal Processing and Machine Learning (year two for 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. You will then go on to 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.
Room Acoustics (year one for 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. 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.
Computer Simulation for Acoustics (year one for part time)
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. 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.
Psychoacoustics (year one for part time)
This module is about linking the acoustic signals we measure to peoples’ subjective responses. You will gain an understanding of how the auditory system allows humans to perceive different attributes of the surrounding acoustic environment, and develop a detailed understanding of how low-level percepts such as pitch arise from the physiology of the ear. You will then study how these are linked to high-level attributes such as emotional response, and how this drives good subjective experiment design.
Transducer Design (year two for part time)
In this module you will extend the knowledge you acquired during the Loudspeakers and Microphones module to study their design principles in greater depth. You will analyse the design of electro-dynamic and distributed mode loudspeaker systems, including the interaction of the electrical, mechanical and acoustical properties to determining sensitivity, frequency response and directionality. This will include study of two-port networks methods and the method of analogues. Practical issues such as radiation efficiency and non-pistonic vibration will be considered, and analysis will be extended to vented, transmission line and band-pass systems.
Measurement, Analysis and Assessment (year two for 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. 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.
Audio Acoustics Project
The aim of the 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 through 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.
Assessment is generally in the form of assignments, which help to develop critical-thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills. The ‘Measurement, Analysis and Assessment’ module includes practical group work.
- Taught modules are assessed using assignments
- The 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 rapidly-changing world, our multi-disciplinary courses will shape the next generation of urbanists, scientists, engineers, consultants and conservationists. Delivered by our supportive programme teams, you’ll experience a dedicated learning environment, where you can take your potential further.
During your studies, you will experience a modern learning environment, enriched with accessible lecture theatres and AV-equipped classrooms, computing suites and multimedia libraries, with access to industry journals, databases, and simulation software.
As an audio acoustics student, you will interact with world-class facilities including full anechoic and semi-anechoic chambers, a transmission suite, large and small reverberation chambers, an ITU standard listening room, audiometric test facilities and advanced instrumentation and equipment.
The Audio Acoustics postgraduate programme is delivered by an academic team with extensive research and industry knowledge.
Drawing on over 60 years of acoustics expertise at Salford, the team is connected to live commercial and research projects delivered in collaboration with professional networks and organisations throughout the world.
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've graduated.
Typically areas of employment include acoustics and audio engineering research, broadcast engineering, loudspeaker and audio system design, and consumer audio product development.
Many of our acoustics graduates have progressed into roles in audio and acoustics consultancy, research, development, and design roles. Today, you'll find our alumni working at Apple, Dolby,BBC, plus every major acoustic consultancy in the world.
Some graduates choose to continue their subject interest with postgraduate research. Acoustics and audio research has been conducted at Salford for over 60 years. The Salford Innovation and Research Centre (SIRC) is home to world-class acoustics research that has influenced products that companies make and sell worldwide, as well as set UK, EU and International noise regulations and standards.
Learn more about postgraduate research opportunities available through our Doctoral School.
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
Designed to build solid subject knowledge, the course is recommended for numerate science graduates and professionals looking to move into the exciting field of audio and sound engineering.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS
International applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (with no element below 5.5) is proof of this.
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS - ACADEMIC TECHNOLOGY APPROVAL SCHEME (ATAS)
International students are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin study. To comply with Home Office regulations, you must obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK. Please refer to your offer conditions.
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.
A first or second-class degree in a numerate engineering or science discipline. All applicants must have a significant grounding in engineering mathematics.
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).
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home||2020/21||£7,920per year|
|Full-time international||2020/21||£14,670per year|
|Part-time||2020/21||£1,320 per 30 credits|
|Distance learning||2020/21||UK/EU: £7,920, International: £14,670|
|Full-time home||2021/22||£8,640per year|
|Full-time international||2021/22||£15030per year|
|Part-time||2021/22||£1,440 per 30 credits|
|Distance learning||2021/22||UK/EU: £8,640, International: £15,030|
You should consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.
Scholarships for International students 2021/22
To celebrate Salford's expertise and industry links, high achieving international students may be eligible for an International Excellence Scholarship worth up to £3,500.
Visit the international scholarships page for more information.