Skip to main content

BA | Undergraduate

Music and Sound Design

Entry year
2020
Entry requirements
ABB
Duration
3 years (Full Time)
UCAS code
W371
Applications for 2019 entry are still open. View courses
  • Overview

    The Music and Sound Design programme is designed for musicians interested in composing music and designing sound for a wide range of contexts but with particular emphasis on film and theatre. Students will gain practical knowledge and experience of composing in the studio, composing for instrumental forces, song-writing and scoring for picture. Working alongside leading audio professionals students will also learn innovative methods of capturing, synthesising and manipulating sound, enabling the design of sonic environments to accompany picture, stage productions, radio and gaming.

    Music and Sound Design Degree highlights

    Global Opportunities

    Professional Accreditations

    • The School is an Avid Learning Partner and Avid-accredited courses in Sibelius for music notation and Pro Tools for music and audio production are embedded into the curriculum.
      https://www.avid.com/education

    Industry Links

    • The School benefits from strong industry partnerships including BBC NI, Ulster Orchestra, Opera NI, Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble, Cathedral Arts Festival, Moving on Music, Diatribe Records and DTS.

    World Class Facilities

    • The School is one of the largest and best equipped institutions in the UK working in the field of music and sound. Students on the BA in Music and Sound Design have access to state-of-the-art audio resources including two dedicated computer suites, 10 sound studios and the world’s first Sonic Laboratory – a unique performance space capable of three-dimensional sound projection.
      https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ael/Discover/facilities/soniclab/SonicLabSpecs/

    Internationally Renowned Experts

    • Many of our staff are leading international experts in their fields of research. Additionally, the School employs a number Industry Fellows – internationally renowned professionals in their fields of composition, performance, song-writing, sound engineering and audio production.

    Student Experience

    • Students on the BA Music and Sound Design programme have excellent opportunities to gain real-world production experience through collaborative work with students studying BA Film Studies and Production and BA Broadcast Production.
    Coming from an electronic music background I was surprised at how much SARC had to offer and how many new concepts they made me aware of. I’ve gained such a deeper understanding of what is possible with the likes of instrument design and sound production that I wouldn’t have found anywhere else. With all staff members eager to help with difficult concepts and to move me out of my comfort zones to in order to better my work and understanding of music and sound. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in music and sound field.
    Christopher McEvoy, Sound Design Student

    Brexit Advice

    Information on the implications of Brexit for prospective students.

  • Course content

    Course Structure

    Level 1At Level 1 students develop their musical practice in the areas of composition, critical listening and improvisation in addition to gaining a thorough grounding in sound recording principles and practical experience of audio mixing and sound synthesis. Students also explore the range of musical practices ranging from mass
    market music to the ‘classical’ tradition and its contemporary proliferation.

    Modules Include (*indicates core module)
    Sound Recording and Production*
    Sound Synthesis*
    Audio Mixing*
    Composing Music*
    Introduction to Music*
    Musicianship*
    Introduction to Film Studies
    Editing for Film and Television
    Solo Performance
    Ensemble Performance
    Fundamental Harmony
    Music in History
    Being Creative; Music, Media and the Arts
    Level 2At Level 2 students explore the broader field of sonic art and develop skills in sound design for screen including dialogue editing, atmos tracklay, SFX editing, ADR recording and mixing to broadcast specifications. Optional modules are available in areas such as audio production, radio production, instrument and installation
    design, song writing or improvisation.

    Modules Include (*indicates core module)
    Sound Design for Screen*
    Sonic Arts*
    Scoring and Arranging
    Instrument Installation and Design*
    The Radio Programme
    Live Production Systems
    Music Psychology
    Song Writing
    Sound Recording and Production
    Improvisation
    Introduction to Arts Management
    Solo Performance
    Ensemble Performance
    Instrumental Composition
    Level 3At Level 3 students continue to develop skills relevant to sound design and the creation of sonic art. Students can also opt to take modules in spatial audio mixing, designing musical interactions, composing for film and television, audio production, or undertake a work placement. The music programme concludes with the completion of a project focusing on an aspect of professional practice in sound design or composition.

    Modules Include (*indicates core module)
    Audio Post Production*
    Sonic Arts*
    Film and Music*
    Professional Practice*
    Designing Musical Interactions
    Spatial Audio
    Composing for Screen
    Sound Recording and Production
    Politics and Popular Song
    Instrumental Composition
    Work Placement
    N.B.This is not an exclusive list and these options are subject to staff availability.

    People teaching you

    Academic Subject Lead - Dr Simon Mawhinney


    Simon Mawhinney is a composer who writes regularly for leading contemporary music performers across Europe. He teaches composition, performance, history and theory at undergraduate level. At postgraduate level he supervises work in composition.

    Chris Corrigan


    Dr David Robb


    Dr Franziska Schroeder


    Dr Kurt James Werner


    Dr Miguel Ortiz


    Dr Pedro Rebelo


    Dr Sarah McCleave


    Dr Simon Waters


    Dr Trevor Agus


    Dr Zeynep Bulut


    Professor Ian Woodfield


    Professor Paul Stapleton


    Professor Piers Hellawell


    Professor Yo Tomita


    Contact Teaching Times

    Large Group Teaching6 (hours maximum)
    hours of lectures
    Medium Group Teaching6 (hours maximum)
    hours of practical classes, workshops or seminars each week
    Personal Study24 (hours maximum)
    22–24 hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including guided study, composition, performance rehearsal, online activities, etc.
    Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial2 (hours maximum)
    hours of tutorials (or later, project supervision) each week

    Learning and Teaching

    Example of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:

    • E-Learning technologies
      Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via the Canvas Virtual Learning Environment. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example: interactive group workshops; podcasts and interactive web-based learning activities; on-line assessment; opportunities to use software applications associated with design in practicals and project-based work etc.
    • Lectures
      Introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
    • Personal Tutor
      Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during Years 1 and 2 who meets with them regularly during the year to support their academic development.
    • Practicals
      provide opportunities for the development of technical skills and the application of theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts.
    • Self-directed study
      This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, performance practice, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback and assignment research and preparation is carried out.
    • Supervised projects
      In final year, all students take a ‘Professional Practice’ module which provides the opportunity to develop a body of artistic work in a professional context. Each individual or group will be assigned a member of staff to act as a mentor. Mentors and students will meet fortnightly to review work in progress and to discuss practical concerns.
    • Work placements
      Students have the opportunity to undertake a work placement in Year 3. This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity

    Assessment

    Details of assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

    • The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module. Many Music modules are assessed solely through practical project work, continuous assessment or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Module Outline Document which is provided to all students at the beginning of each teaching semester.

    Feedback

    As students’ progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:

    • Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
    • Face to face comment. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
    • Placement employer comments or references.
    • Online or emailed comment.
    • General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
    • Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time.
    • Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
    • Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
    • Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.

    Facilities

    The School is one of the largest and best-equipped institutions in the UK working in the field of music and sound. Students on the BA Music Performance have access to state-of-the-art audio resources including:

    The Sonic Lab: a unique performance space with variable acoustics, an acoustically transparent grid floor and 48 studio quality loudspeakers to facilitate three dimensional sound projection. The Sonic Lab is capable of projecting multichannel audio in a range of spatial formats including ambisonics and Dolby Atmos.

    Studios: The School has 10 studio spaces used for recording, mixing, sound design, composition, foley recording, audio post production and spatialisation. The studios feature a range of active monitoring from Genelec, PMC, ATC, Dynaudio and the larger studio spaces use large format digital mixing consoles from Studer, AMS-Neve and Avid. The School also has an extensive microphone collection including a range of popular models from Soundfield, Neumann, DPA, Schoeps, AKG, Sennheiser and Shure.

    Additionally, there are a range of study spaces, rehearsal spaces and teaching rooms distributed across our two buildings.
    https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ael/Discover/facilities/soniclab/SonicLabSpecs/

    The Sonic Arts Research Centre building contains seven purpose-built studio spaces designed and acoustically treated by ARUP acoustics
    https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ael/Discover/facilities/studios/

    Currently there are 48 loudspeakers in use in the lab. The house configuration is arranged in 4 layers:

    HIGH
    8 x Meyer UPM-1P
    Dolby Atmos configuration, arranged in two rows front to back. The loudspeakers hang from six of the nine overhead adjustable ceiling panels.

    MID HEIGHT
    15 x Meyer UPJ-1P
    3 x Meyer UMS-1P subwoofer
    Dolby Atmos configuration. The loudspeakers are suspended from the technical gantry approximately 7m above the ground floor.

    GROUND
    4 x Genelec 1038B
    4 x Genelec 1037B
    2 x Meyer UPJ-1P + Meyer UMS-1P sub
    The Genelecs are in an octophonic configuration plus two Meyer UPJ-1P/UMS-1P front centre and rear centre.

    BASEMENT
    8 x Meyer UPM-1P
    2 x Meyer X-800 subwoofer
    At lower ground level (4m below the grid floor).

    The loudspeaker system is managed using a QSC QSYS system (2 x Core 510i) with Dante input and 48 analogue outputs.

    A Studer Vista 5 console is located at the rear of the lab. The console is fitted with 3 I/O racks - one at the stage, one in the centre of the lab beside the console, and one at the basement level of the lab. The stage rack provides 32 mic/line analogue inputs and 8 analogue outputs; the centre rack provide 40 line analogue inputs and 8 analogue outputs; the basement rack provide 48 analogue outputs. Also attached to the Studer console is an Apple Mac Pro hosting a ProTools HD system. Connectivity is via an SSL Delta Link MADI interface for ProTools and an RME HDSPe MADI card.
    https://youtu.be/CAcyXUGdQJA

    Ensembles include the Queen's University Symphony Orchestra, Queen's Big Band, Queen's Chamber Choir, QUBEnsemble, Queen's University Brass Band and Queen's Viol Consort.
    https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ael/Discover/PerformanceGroups/

    In addition to the facilities for organists and pianists, the School of Music has an extensive range of early keyboard instruments, orchestral instruments and percussion instruments.
    https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ael/Discover/facilities/PracticeRoomsandinstruments/

    Concert venues include the Harty Room, The Sonic Lab, McMordie Hall, Whitla Hall and Elmwood Hall.
    https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ael/Discover/facilities/concertvenues/

  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    A level requirements
    ABB
    Irish leaving certificate requirements
    H3H3H3H3H3H3/H2H3H3H3H3
    Access/Foundation Course
    Successful completion of Access Course with an average of 70%.
    All applicants
    There are no specific subject requirements to study Music and Sound Design.

    Selection Criteria

    In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.

    Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by individual University Schools. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.

    Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form, which is considered by the Selector for that particular subject or degree programme along with a member of administrative staff from the Admissions Service. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.

    Applicants for this BA programme must have, or be able to achieve, a minimum of five GCSE passes at grade C or better (to include English Language). Performance in any AS or A-level examinations already completed will also be taken into account and the Selector checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects can be fulfilled.

    Offers are normally made on the basis of three A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The offer for repeat candidates is set in terms of three A-levels and may be one grade higher than for first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.

    Applicants offering two A-levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification), or one A-level and a BTEC Diploma/National Diploma (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of performance in individual BTEC units rather than the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.

    Applicants offering other qualifications, such as BTEC Extended Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, the International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate or an Access course, will also be considered.

    The same GCSE profile is usually expected of those candidates taking a BTEC Extended Diploma or a Higher National Certificate (HNC).

    The current entrance requirements for applicants offering a BTEC Extended Diploma are successful completion of the BTEC Extended Diploma (180 credits at Level 3) with 120 credits at Distinction and 60 credits at Merit. For applicants offering a HNC, the current requirements are successful completion of the HNC with 2 Distinctions and remainder Merits.

    For those offering a Higher National Diploma, some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile but, to be eligible for an offer, the grades obtained in the first year of the HND must allow the overall offer to be achievable. The current entrance requirement for Stage 1 entry is successful completion of the HND with 2 Distinctions, 10 Merits and 4 Passes overall. Applicants with sufficiently high grades in the first year of a relevant HND in Music Production or Music may be considered for entry to Stage 2 and, where offers are made, these are conditional on successful completion of this HND with 3 Distinctions and 13 Merits overall.

    Candidates offering Access/Certificate in Foundation Studies courses will be considered individually on their own merits. Where offers are made, these will be conditional on achieving an average of 70%.

    The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of BA degrees, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.

    A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking four A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.

    If you are made an offer then you may be invited to an Open Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.

    If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions Service (admissions@qub.ac.uk), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.

    Read more Read less

    International Students

    For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

    English Language Requirements

    An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    International Students - Foundation and International Year One Programmes

    INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.

    These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Careers

    Career Prospects

    Introduction
    The programme prepares students for a wide range of possible career paths including sound design for screen, sound design for theatre, broadcasting, audio post production, foley, composition, scoring, interactive system design, education and other areas of the music and audio industries. Companies and institutions currently employing our graduates include the BBC, UTV, YellowMoon Post Production, NI Screen, SNK Studios, The Soundhouse and Queen’s University Belfast.

    Employment after the Course
    The BA in Music and Sound Design is a new degree programme which commenced in September 2017. Graduates of related programmes at Queen’s have found employment in areas such as software and hardware engineering, studio and venue audio engineering, broadcasting, audiology, acoustic consultancy, artist management, concert-venue management, audio system support, education and other areas of the music and audio industries. Graduates from music-related areas at Queen’s have found success in a wide range of professional performing and composing opportunities.

    Employment Links
    Companies currently employing our graduates include Google, BBC, UTV, Apple, BT, Rapid 7, Sensum, Mogees Ltd, Storyful, Cased Dimensions, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Steven’s Institute of Technology, Trinity College Dublin, Queen’s University Belfast.

    Alumni Success
    Graduates of related programmes at Queen’s have been very successful in the area of Sound Design and include:

    Donal Phillips, Digital Executive, NI Screen
    Claire Marquess, Sound Engineer, The Soundhouse
    Andrew Simon McAllister, Film Composer
    Mark Ferguson, Wildlife Sound Recordist, The Soundhouse
    Caoileann Hegarty, Production Coordinator, BBC NI
    Phil Agnew, Broadcast Operations Manager, PI Communications

    Professional Opportunities
    Sound design is a key element of the film, gaming and immersive (VR) industries. The Level 3 Work Placement module is an excellent opportunity for students to gain real-world industry experience. Some of the
    organisations our students have completed placements with include: DTS, The Sound Studio, Lamb Films, Pi Communications, Q Radio, Maverick Renegade Productions, The Soundhouse, The Big Telly Theatre Company.

    Additional Awards Gained(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

    Prizes and Awards(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

    Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills

    In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) £4,275
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £9,250
    Other (non-UK) EU * £4,275
    International £16,400

    Tuition fees for 2020-21 have not been set. Those quoted above are for students commencing study in 2019-20. These will be subject to an increase for students commencing study in 2020-21.

    Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.

    * The tuition fees that EU students starting courses at UK universities following the agreed transition period are required to pay will depend on what is agreed as part of the UK's exit negotiations. Please refer to www.qub.ac.uk/brexit

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.

    If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.  

    Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.  

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    Read more Read less

    Music and Sound Design costs

    The School is an Avid Learning Partner and optional courses providing Avid certification in the use of ProTools are available as part of the programme. The cost of these courses ranges from £20 to £90 per course.

    How do I fund my study?

    There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.

    Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.

    Scholarships

    Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.

    PREV
    Careers

    NEXT
    Apply

  • Apply

    How and when to Apply

    How to Apply
    Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).  Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/students.

    When to Apply
    UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2020 from 1 September 2019.

    Advisory closing date: 15 January 2020 (18:00).

    Late applications are, in practice, accepted by UCAS throughout the remainder of the application cycle, but you should understand that they are considered by institutions at their discretion, and there can be no guarantee that they will be given the same full level of consideration as applications received by the advisory closing date.

    Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.

    The Institution code name for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.

    Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/

    Apply via UCAS

    After an offer is made this will be notified to applicants through UCAS. Confirmation will be emailed by the Admissions and Access Service and this communication will also include Terms and Conditions (www.qub.ac.uk/Study/TermsandConditions) which applicants should read carefully in advance of replying to their offer(s) on UCAS Track.

    Additional Information for International (non-EU) Students

    1. Applying through UCAS
      Most students make their applications through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) for full-time undergraduate degree programmes at Queen's. The UCAS application deadline for international students is 30 June 2019.
    2. Applying direct
      The Direct Entry Application form is to be used by international applicants who wish to apply directly, and only, to Queen's or who have been asked to provide information in advance of submitting a formal UCAS application. Find out more.
    3. Applying through agents and partners
      The University’s in-country representatives can assist you to submit a UCAS application or a direct application. Please consult the Agent List to find an agent in your country who will help you with your application to Queen’s University.

    Download a prospectus

    Keywords

    SOUND STUDIES, SONG WRITING

    SOUND SYNTHESIS, AUDIO MIXING

    ARTS MANAGEMENT, COMPOSITION

    COMPOSING MUSIC

    EDITING FOR FILM AND TELEVISION, TV

    FILM STUDIES

    FOLEY, ADR, VR, AR, SOUND FX

    HARMONY, MUSIC HISTORY

    IMMERSIVE MEDIA, GAMING, TV, PRO TOOLS

    INSTRUMENT INSTALLATION AND DESIGN

    INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC, MUSICIANSHIP

    LIVE PRODUCTION, IMPROVISATION

    MUSICAL INTERACTIONS, SCREEN

    PERFORMANCE, ENSEMBLE

    POPULAR SONG, WORK PLACEMENT

    POST PRODUCTION, AUDIO, SONIC, SPATIAL

    RADIO PROGRAMME, PSYCHOLOGY

    SOUND DESIGN FOR SCREEN, SONIC ARTS

    SOUND RECORDING AND PRODUCTION

Register your interest
Course location

Arts, English and Languages

Can't find something?

We're here to help with any questions or queries you may have about this course

Ask a question