Postgraduate MSc/PgDip

Environmental Acoustics

School of Science, Engineering and Environment




Distance Learning


One year

Two and a half year

Next enrolment

September 2020


In a nutshell

There is growing need for engineers who can control and mitigate noise and its effects on our wellbeing. Take the lead in managing our increasingly noisy world with a posgraduate degree in Environmental Acoustics.

Available with full and part-time study paths, this course is recommended for numerate science and technology graduates, or working professional, who want to move to the acoustics industry, or build specific enviornmental acoustics knowledge. 

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. 

You will:
  • Explore architectural acoustics, psychoacoustics, dynamics and vibration, computer modelling and measurement
  • Choose from specialist modules in environmental noise monitoring and noise control
  • Learn alongside world-class researchers with international prominence and strong industry relationships
  • Benefit from strong, long-standing connections with industrial partners across Europe

students accepted

This is for you if...


You’re technically-skilled, numerate engineering, technology or science graduate looking to move into acoustics


You’re interested in how environmental noise is managed and are looking to develop a career in this field


You currently work in the acoustics industry and want to gain expertise in noise management

Course details

All about the course

MSc Environmental 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’ and Environmental Noise Module module includes a lab week (takes place in 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.

Trimester one

Principles of Acoustics and Vibration (year one for 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. 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.

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.

Noise Control (year two part-time)

This module will provide you with knowledge and understanding of noise control design processes and methodologies. You will learn how to select appropriate noise control options for realistic environmental and industrial noise scenarios, and to justify their selections. You will gain a thorough understanding of current best practice in noise control, and apply appropriate acoustical analysis to assess limitations and/or adapt them for application in unfamiliar situations.

Trimester two

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.

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.

Environmental Noise Measurement (year two part-time)

In this module you will study the standards for environmental noise measurement in the context of realistic scenarios, and will then perform them yourself as fieldwork. It will teach you how to make assessments of environmental noise including identifying and interpreting the requirements of appropriate local, national and international legislation relevant to noise assessment; carrying out reliable measurements of environmental noise; critical evaluation of acoustical data (including partial data) needed for noise assessment.

Trimester three

Environmental Acoustics Project

The aim of the project is for you to carry out, under supervision, an extended individual study into a topic in acoustics and/or environmental noise control. 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 environmental noise projects in association with large consultancies, or NVH projects in association with automotive companies such as Bentley.

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’ and ‘Environmental Noise Measurement’ modules also include 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 scientists, engineers, consultants and conservationists. Delivered by a team of dedicated academic, technical and administrative staff, you’ll experience a supportive, professional environment, where you can take your potential further. 

Learning Environment

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

Programme Team

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

Employment and stats

What about after uni?


MSc Environmental Acoustics aims to meet the needs of students or professionals who want a career influencing building design, sound, and its management. With noise being a significant problem worldwide, there is an growing demand for graduates and professionals who can help organisations to solve their environment noise challenges.

Typically areas of employment for course graduates include acoustics and audio engineering research, acoustics consultancy, noise management, broadcasting, audio system design, and 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.

A taste of what you could become

An acoustics and audio engineer

A broadcast engineer

A noise consultancy

A speaker system design

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.


What you need to know


The course is recommended for numerate science graduates and existing industry professionals who want to focus their future career on mitigating and managing noise in our built and natural environments.


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 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. 


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

A first or second-class degree in a numerate engineering or science discipline. All applicants must have a significant grounding in engineering mathematics. 

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).

How much?

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 credit module
Distance learning 2020/21 UK/EU: £7,920, International: £14,760
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
Additional costs

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.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2020

September 2021