Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

BSc Acoustics and Music Technology

UCAS code: W380

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Placements

Introducing BSc Acoustics and Music Technology

This challenging multidisciplinary programme will help you develop the scientific skills and creative mindset to design the music tools, spaces and software of tomorrow.

You will explore how modern technologies are driving a revolution in the way that sound is created, manipulated, and transmitted.

Who the degree is aimed at

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 needs graduates with:

  • a high level of numeracy
  • deep technical knowledge
  • a curious and creative mindset
  • the ability to work across multiple disciplines

What you will study

This programme emphasises excellence in subjects, including:

  • physics
  • computer programming
  • audio signal processing

These not only underpin our field but are also useful in many other numerate disciplines.

You will combine this learning with studies in:

  • sound recording
  • architectural acoustics
  • architectural acoustics
  • creative music technology
  • sound design
  • further options in music and beyond

What our students say

I enjoyed the international dynamic at the University, and the exciting approaches to sound. I felt in my element experimenting with all the different things sound and music can be.

  • Kirsty Keatch, BMus (Hons) Music Technology graduate

This programme offers 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 the second half of the programme.

In Years 3-4 you will take compulsory courses in advanced acoustics and music software engineering. You can also choose to follow:

  • a strongly scientific pathway in physical acoustics
  • a multidisciplinary pathway in computer music systems
  • your own combination of the two

Year 1

Compulsory courses

You will study compulsory courses in:

  • physics
  • acoustics
  • mathematics
  • music technology

These are taught by the Reid School of Music and the School of Physics and Astronomy.

You will take:

  • Physics 1A, which covers the basic pillars of physics and develops your problem solving and study skills
  • Mathematics for Physics 1 and 2, which equips you with core skills you need in algebra and calculus
  • Musical Acoustics, which explores musical instruments, architectural acoustics and electronic instruments
  • Sound Recording, which examines the history and practice of recorded sound

You will be introduced to microphone techniques, room acoustics, and field recording. You will also undertake project work, which culminates in the production of recorded music.

Option courses

You can choose further courses from:

  • music
  • physics
  • engineering
  • informatics
  • a range of options from across the University

Year 2

You will take two courses that build on the themes of Year 1:

  • Architectural Acoustics and Spatial Audio
  • Creative Music Technology

Your mathematics courses will cover:

  • advanced algebra
  • calculus
  • dynamics

You will also be introduced to:

  • computer programming
  • data analysis
  • experimental techniques for physics and acoustics

Option courses

You will have the opportunity to take:

  • further option courses from music
  • relevant courses from physics, engineering and elsewhere

These help you to make the most of the many options available across the University.

Year 3

Compulsory courses

Compulsory courses include:

  • audio signal processing
  • audio programming

Together these form the basis for developing music technology software and hardware for audio processing and live performance.

You will also learn:

  • how physics can be used to understand musical sound
  • to design cutting edge software that provides the very highest sound quality in musical instrument and audio effects emulation

Other courses

We encourage you to complement these subjects by taking courses in:

  • sound design
  • Fourier analysis
  • fluid mechanics
  • physics

Year 4

The programme now centres around a year-long, major final project in acoustics and music technology.

You will also will study:

  • advanced acoustics
  • computational simulation of acoustical systems, a subject Edinburgh is a world leader in.

Option courses

You can choose option courses from:

  • music
  • physics
  • engineering
  • informatics

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2021/22)

Our facilities

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.

Investing in our learning environment

The University is investing in the Edinburgh College of Art estate and facilities. This will further develop our supportive, stimulating and sustainable learning and research environment.

Find out more on the ECA website.

Facilities and resources at ECA

Placements

In Year 4 you can apply to undertake collaborative project work with a company working in acoustics, audio or music technology.

Your eligibility for this placement will depend on your performance across Years 1, 2 and 3.

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a mix of:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • practical workshops

We use the latest teaching technology, helping you to develop your problem-solving skills and foster creative thinking.

From Year 3 you can specialise in the areas of acoustics and music technology that most interest you.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a mix of:

  • continuous assessment
  • project work
  • presentations
  • peer assessment
  • exams

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, audio and music technology.

You will develop a unique and marketable combination of creative-thinking, technical and mathematical skills.

Where graduates work

Our graduates play a prominent role in the acoustics, audio, and music technology industries.

Leading companies they go on to work for include:

  • Arturia
  • Arup
  • AudioKinnetic
  • the BBC
  • Facebook
  • Hann Tucker Associates
  • LG Electronics
  • Moog
  • Native Instruments

Many also work for organisations involved in commercial acoustic design, audiology, music technology, and software engineering.

Forming start-ups

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 online virtual reality platform.

Transferable skills

A wide range of employers recognise our graduates' skills in:

  • physics
  • mathematics
  • software engineering
  • general problem solving

These are sought after by sectors including:

  • engineering
  • manufacturing
  • energy
  • finance
  • medicine
  • the space industries

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAB-ABBB by end of S5 or AAAA-AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB.
  • IB: 36 points with 665 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: Physics at B. Mathematics at A or Advanced Higher Mathematics at B. Higher Applications of Mathematics is not accepted in place of Higher Mathematics. National 5s: English at C.
  • A Levels: Physics at B and Mathematics at A. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Physics at 5 and Mathematics at 6. SL: English at 5.

Additional requirements

You must have a demonstrable commitment to music.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

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 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

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 Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BSc Acoustics and Music Technology

Additional costs

You will need to pay for basic stationery and support for technology, such as memory sticks or cards.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding