BSc Acoustics and Music Technology
UCAS code: W380
Duration: 4 years
School: Edinburgh College of Art
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing BSc Acoustics and Music Technology
This challenging multidisciplinary programme will help you develop the necessary scientific skills and creative mindset to design the music tools of tomorrow. You will explore how modern technologies are driving a revolution in the way that sound is created, manipulated, and transmitted.
The programme is designed for students with a strong background in maths and physics, who are fascinated by the interplay of science, technology, and music.
The world of modern acoustics and music technology demands graduates with both deep technical knowledge and creativity, who are able to work across multiple disciplines. This programme emphasises excellence in subjects that underpin the field, such as physics, computer programming, and audio signal processing.
These are combined with studies in sound recording, architectural acoustics, creative music technology, sound design, and a range of further options in music and beyond, challenging you to invent the future of acoustics and music technology.
(Revised on 7 December 2018 to remove an inaccurate statement that we will seek recognition or accreditation for this programme.)
This programme represents a unique opportunity to study sound and music technologies using science and engineering methodologies.
In Years 1-2 you will acquire skills in physics, mathematics, and music technology. This will equip you to work at the cutting edge of acoustics, audio and creative music technology in Years 3-4.
You will take compulsory courses in advanced acoustics and music software engineering, and can opt for specialist tailored pathways in Physical Acoustics or Computer Music Systems.
You will study compulsory courses in physics, acoustics, mathematics, and music technology. These are taught by the Reid School of Music and the School of Physics and Astronomy.
You will take Physics 1A, which presents the basic pillars of physics, through which you will develop your problem solving and study skills. This study is complemented by Mathematics for Physics 1 and 2, which will equip you with core skills in algebra and calculus that are key across acoustics and music technology.
You will study Musical Acoustics, which explores musical instruments, architectural acoustics, and electronic instruments, and you will study Sound Recording, which examines the history and practice of recorded sound. Here you will be introduced to microphone techniques, room acoustics, and field recording, and undertake project work ending in the production of recorded music.
You will also be able to take further courses from music, physics, or engineering, or from a broad range of options from across the University.
You will take courses in Architectural Acoustics and Creative Music Technology, which build on themes encountered in Year 1. Mathematics courses will cover advanced algebra, calculus, dynamics, and vector calculus. You will also be introduced to computer programming, data analysis, and experimental techniques for physics and acoustics.
You will have the opportunity to take further option courses from music. A range of relevant courses are also available from physics, engineering, and elsewhere, helping you to make the most of the many options available across the University.
Compulsory courses include audio signal processing and computer music systems, which together form the basis for developing music technology applications for audio processing and live performance.
You will also explore how physics can be used to both understand musical instruments, and to design cutting edge software that provides the very highest sound quality in instrument and audio effects emulation.
You are encouraged to complement these subjects by taking courses in sound design, Fourier analysis, fluid mechanics, and dynamical systems. In addition, you have the option to apply for an industrial placement course, which involves the completion of a project in collaboration with an industrial/commercial company within the acoustics, audio, and/or music technology sector.
The programme now centres around a year-long, major final project in acoustics and music technology. In addition, you will undertake study in advanced acoustics, and in computational simulation of acoustical systems, a subject area in which Edinburgh is a world leader.
A number of option courses may also be chosen from music, physics, and/or engineering.
Teaching takes place at a number of locations across the University. Courses in physics and sound recording take place in the University’s Central Area. Other courses, such as those in mathematics in Years 1 and 2, take place at the King’s Buildings campus.
You will also have access to a wide range of music practice rooms and recording studios, as well as to the University's extensive computing facilities and libraries. The University also has a number of beautiful concert halls, which feature in a number of your courses.
In addition, the University is investing in the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) estate and facilities to further develop our flexible, stimulating, supportive and sustainable learning and research environment for students and staff.
Further information is available on the ECA website.
In Year 3 you will have the opportunity to apply to undertake project work collaboratively with an established industrial/commercial company in the areas of acoustics, audio, or music technology.
Eligibility criteria, based upon your performance across Years 1 and 2 will be applied prior to confirmation of enrolment on this option.
There are opportunities to study abroad through Erasmus or the University's international exchange programme.
How will I learn?
You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practical workshops, which fully exploit the latest teaching technology, helping you to develop your problem-solving skills and foster creative thinking.
From Year 3 you will be able to specialise in the areas of acoustics and music technology that most interest you. You will also have the option to apply for industrial placements, and you will be encouraged to undertake research-oriented study alongside leading academics and practitioners through a major final-year project.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment is by a combination of continuous assessment, project work, presentations, peer assessment, and examinations. Practical and computing courses involve the creation and documentation of computer software for a range of exciting music technology applications.
Creative music technology and sound design courses include portfolio submissions.
This new programme builds on our considerable existing strengths in acoustics and music technology.
Our graduates play a prominent role in the acoustics, audio, and music technology industries, working for leading companies such as Arturia, Arup, AudioKinnetic, the BBC, Facebook, Hann Tucker Associates, LG Electronics, Native Instruments, and other organisations involved in commercial acoustic design, music technology, and software engineering.
We have recently seen an exciting new stream of innovative start-up companies being formed by our graduates. One of these, TwoBigEars, was recently acquired by Facebook to form the basis of a new virtual reality platform.
Graduates advanced skills in physics, mathematics, software engineering, and general problem solving are recognised by a wide range of employers and are sought after by sectors including engineering, manufacturing, energy, finance, medicine, and the space industries.
In addition, the creative-thinking skills you will develop provide a valuable complement to those of a technical and mathematical nature, giving you a unique and marketable combination of abilities.
Typical offer range
The typical offer is likely to be:
- SQA Highers: AAAB - ABBB.
- A Levels: AAA - ABB. (Revised 2/6/18 to provide more accurate information).
- IB: 37 points (grades 665 at HL) - 34 points (grades 655 at HL). (Revised 2/6/18 to provide more accurate information).
The access threshold for a contextual offer is:
- SQA Highers: ABBB.
- A Levels: ABB.
- IB: 34 points (grades 655 at HL).
Detailed requirements for all applicants
The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:
- SQA: ABBB by end of S5 or ABBBB/AABB from S4-S6, including Physics at grade B and Maths at grade A or Advanced Higher Maths at grade B. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6. National 5: English at Grade C.
- A Levels: ABB including Physics at grade B and Maths at grade A. GCSEs: English at Grade C or 4.
- IB: Award of Diploma with 34 points overall and grades 655 in HL subjects including Physics at grade 5 and Maths at grade 6. SL: English at 5.
A demonstrable commitment to music.
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.
You must provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.
English language tests
If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:
- IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component
- TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section
- Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component
- Pearson Test of English (Academic): Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section
- Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components
SQA, GCSE and IB
For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:
- SQA National 5 Grade C
- SQA Standard Grade 3
- SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A
- SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C
- GCSE Grade C or 4
- Level 2 Certificate Grade C
- IB Standard Level Grade 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)
This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.
It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.
Please note that some programmes do not have Unistats data available.
Costs include basic stationery provisions and support for technology such as memory sticks/cards.
For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.