Introduction to Acoustics
Acoustical and Audio Engineering
School of Science, Engineering and Environment
In a nutshell
Acoustics explores the physics of sound and the psychology of how people react to noise and vibration. Prepare for a rewarding future career where you can create a better sounding world with our BEng (Hons) Acoustical and Audio Engineering degree.
For over 60 years Salford has pioneered acoustics teaching and research, and is recognised by the UK Institute of Acoustics with a route to Chartered Engineer status meaning you will be taught to the highest industry standards. Led by research-active practitioners, you'll complete practical experiments in our acoustic facilities, and discover the amazing number of ways that sound and acoustics impact our everyday lives.
We use interactive and engaging small group teaching styles to guide you through this creative area of science and engineering. Our carefully designed modules embed theoretical knowledge and creative application so you can nurture your transferable skills to become a world-class acoustic and audio professional.
Want to take your studies further? Explore our integrated masters pathway
Start your study journey
Register for our next Open Day to learn more about studying Acoustical and Audio Engineering, explore our facilities and meet the course team
- Explore the science of sound as you complete experiments and projects using world-class acoustics facilities and laboratories
- Discover the acoustic design principles behind smartphones, cars and loudspeakers, as well as recording studios, public places and live venues.
- Include a placement year to apply your knowledge and develop additional transferable skills
This is for you if...
You are passionate about sound, with a strong background/interest in science and audio technology
You enjoyed mathematics or physics at school/college and like using technology for problem-solving
You want a degree with professional status, with the opportunity to take your studies to postgraduate level
All about the course
Across three years of study, our course curriculum will embed theoretical knowledge and provide outlets for creative application. During your studies, you will develop technical skills using industry-standard software and equipment in our world-class laboratories and studios to measure and analyse noise and vibration.
Building a strong understanding of analogue electronics, mathematics, computing and audio systems in year one, you will progress to explore digital signal processing and microphone and speaker design in year two. In your final year, you can personalise your study path by choosing from optional modules in areas such as speech, room acoustics and noise control.
Learn more about the current course modules in the section below.
Located just over a mile away from Manchester, we are one of the few universities to offer an Acoustics and Audio degree course in the UK. With strong industry connections surrounding our Peel Park campus, you can gain practical experience and network with industry experts.
In year one, The Introductions to Acoustics module offers teaching into a range of concepts so that you can gain practical measurement skills and analyse acoustic devices and technologies which rapidly change overtime. Our specialist equipment, variety of audio measurements, and modules will leave you confidently able to interpret data to solve sound related issues.
Having the ability to apply technique is at the heart of engineering, so you will spend lots of time in our studio and laboratories. We also involve you in a small group design project, working to find a creative solution to an issue which provides you with practical hands-on learning so that you are fully prepared for life in the real world.
On this course, you will have the option to take an industry placement year between years two and three. Although you will be responsible for securing your placement, our tutors will support you in finding a role, and monitor your progress throughout. By successfully completing a placement year, you can also add 'with professional experience' to your final degree award.
Industry placements are an excellent way to enhance your CV, gain hands-on work experience and build industry connections. We often find that our Acoustical and Audio Engineering placement students achieve higher final year grades.
This module offers 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.
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 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).
This module is designed to give you an understanding of the underlying concepts and principles of multi-track production, develop your production skills to translate multi-source live music and sound into a recorded stereo image, and develop the organisational skills needed to successfully record an artist/group. Typically, you will use our Pro-Tools sound recording studios to record a band.
Signal Chain Theory
This module introduces the basic fundamentals of sound, signals, and systems, and then explores the signal flow of a complete generic audio system, from capture (microphones) to playback (loudspeakers) and transmission.
Digital Signal Processing
This module gives a thorough grounding in the techniques and applications of digital technology in the acquisition, processing, storage and transmission of acoustic signals.
Microphone and Loudspeaker Design
On completion of this module you will have an understanding of electroacoustic transduction mechanisms and the modelling techniques used in the design of microphones and loudspeakers.
Principles of Acoustics
You will build on your knowledge and skills from the Introduction to acoustics module, to give you a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of acoustics. Subjects include: Fourier's theorem, solutions of 1-D wave equation, acoustic impedance, reflection factor and absorption coefficient, 3-D wave equation, radiation impedance, and behaviour of sound in 3D enclosures.
Industrial Studies and Career Management
You will 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.
Group Design Project
You will work together with course mates on a specific real world acoustic/audio design task and come up with a real practical solution using the acoustics laboratory facilities and the Maker Space facilities and equipment.
You will learn about the fundamental laws of electromagnetism leading to the development of Maxwell’s equations and the electromagnetic wave equation. Underlying mathematical techniques, including vector calculus, will be introduced alongside the physical laws. The module is taught by a combination of lectures and problem solving tutorials.
Final Year Project
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.
Choose two modules from the following group:
You will work with wave and statistical theories of room acoustics to analyse existing rooms or design new ones, as well as critically evaluate key theories and experimental results in the literature. You will examine how sound fields in rooms can be characterised and to what extent this explains perceptions of sound in rooms. This will enable you to apply techniques to control sound fields in rooms by absorption and scattering, with an appreciation of their limitations.
Digital Signal Processing and Machine Learning
You will perform modelling and analysis in the z-transformed domain and understand modern DSP techniques such as blind signal processing. You will apply the process of digital filtering; fixed, adaptive, recursive and non-recursive partly drawing on the latest research outcomes. You will also apply and understand Machine Learning methods for engineering applications.
Psychoacoustics and Musical Acoustics
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
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.
Plus two further modules from the following group:
Computer Simulation for Acoustics
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.
Environmental Noise Measurement and Modelling
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.
Measurement Analysis and Assessment
You will develop an understanding of the relevant scientific principles underlying acoustic measurement techniques, and effectively undertake standardised acoustic measurements, taking full account of uncertainty introduced throughout the process.You will perform appropriate analysis of measured data, and communicate findings effectively to a specialist audience.
Immersive Sound Reproduction
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.
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?
You will develop your knowledge and skills through a blend of theoretical, collaborative and practical methods. These include:
- Laboratory exercises
- Case studies
- Group work
- Project work
Alongside technical and subject-based knowledge and skills, we will also help you to develop a range of personal and professional skills which will make you highly employable. These include report writing and presentation skills, data interpretation and IT skills and team work and project management skills.
You will be assessed using a combination of formats. These include:
- Examinations which will assess your immediate response to a set of unseen problems
- Assignments which will assess your response to a larger problem
- Practical tests in acoustics laboratories which will assess your ability to apply appropriate skills to a problem
- Projects which will assess your ability to create a plan, identify possibilities, make decisions, deliver the plan, and reflect on outcomes
School of Science, Engineering and Environment
Rising to the challenge of a changing world, our degree 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 become unstoppable in your career.
During your studies, you will use our world-class acoustic laboratories at Peel Park, which include anechoic chambers, transmission suites, reverberation chambers, listening rooms and audiometric test facilities. At our MediaCity campus, you'll find more industry-standard professional audio-visual suites, and production and recording studios.
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?
Successfully completing an acoustical and audio engineering degree course can put you in a great position to take a leading role in the diverse world of sound, music production, acoustics and audio. With a growing number of opportunities in areas such as environmental noise measurement, loudspeaker system design for music venues and noise control, there are exciting and emerging career fields to consider
Audio and acoustics graduates often develop careers as acoustic consultants improving the sound of buildings or reducing noise, product developers carrying out research and development in an industry or university setting, and audio software engineers in broadcast and gaming. Our graduates have progressed their career in roles with Arup, Apple, Dolby, Jaguar Land Rover, Thales, NHS, and Sandy Brown Associates.
You might find that you want to learn more about acoustics and audio. Building on our expertise, we offer a range of postgraduate courses that can take your interests and career opportunities further. Salford graduates and alumni who apply for our postgraduate courses also qualify to receive a generous fees discount.
Some graduates choose to pursue postgraduate and doctoral research. For over 60 years, the Acoustics Research Centre at Salford has led audio and acoustics knowledge-building and innovation. Funded by research councils, government bodies and industry, the Centre offers a range of postgraduate research opportunities for acoustics graduates.
The University of Salford began teaching undergraduate acoustics and audio courses in 1975 and and many of our graduates can be found in major acoustic and audio companies around the world. The course is recognised by the UK Institute of Acoustics and offers a route to Chartered Engineer status. This leading reputation and professional standing has helped us to build opportunities for our students across the UK and beyond.
Our acoustics staff hold strong links with industry through collaborative R&D projects either through the Acoustics Research Centre or via our commercial test laboratories. These connection help us to keep course content relevant to the needs of industry and in tune with latest research findings.
Research by our staff has been incorporated in International Standards used by major engineering companies such as Dyson, Boeing and Bosch, developed the standard methods using by the Environment Agency to access low frequency sound and created technologies used in everyday products, such as the air-springs in Audi cars.
What youneed to know
We look for applicants who have studied mathematics or physics subjects at school/college, and want to gain a deeper knowledge in these and other related subjects, with particular bias towards sound. Along with academic strengths in these areas, we want applicants with a passion for audio, acoustics and sound, and a desire to build a future career working or researching in this field.
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, and we also 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, or the International Foundation Year to gain entry onto this degree.
English Language and Mathematics at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent). You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
UCAS tariff points
112-120 UCAS points where qualifications include mathematics, physics, engineering or a numerate science
112-120 UCAS points, including grade C in mathematics, physics or a numerate science.
BTEC National Diploma
DDM for Engineering or Science subjects, including Distinctions in mathematics modules
Access to HE
Pass with 112-120 UCAS points from a QAA-approved Science or Engineering course; including 60 credits overall with a minimum of 45 credits at level 3 and Distinctions in numerate modules
112-120 UCAS points to include mathematics, physics or chemistry at grade C for Advanced Higher level, or grade A at Higher level.
Irish Leaving Certificate
112 UCAS points, including Higher Level mathematics and physics
Pass in Diploma of at least 60%, to include a numerate science or Engineering
30 points, including Higher Level Physics, Mathematics or Chemistry at grade 5
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. To be considered for the scheme, you must have already achieved or be working towards GCSE Maths and English Grade C/4 (or equivalent).
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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.
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Course ID H341