Develop your sound engineering and production talents here at the School of Computing and Digital Technology. This course focuses on the processes of sound engineering and production. With state-of-the-art facilities and our expert team of staff you’ll develop a strong scientific understanding of the technology within the audio and music industries.
Recent graduates from the school have gone onto work for companies including Naim Audio, The Music Group, Focusrite, Spotify, SSE Audio Group and Cloud One.
If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.
Exploring a wealth of creative ideas and techniques, we will encourage you to think innovatively and respond to the needs of industry. Employability is a key factor incorporated within the course, and we are dedicated to providing you with the skills and knowledge to jump right into a creative role. With five themes running throughout this course you will be offered the chance to explore different routes within the sound engineering and production industry.
In the audio electronics and software / product development theme, you will explore audio electronics through the practical application of theory. In your first year you will be introduced to computer programming. You’ll also investigate embedded systems, which will be explored further in the design of a digital and analogue system in your final year.
The live and studio sound production theme explores the fundamentals of sound capture and signal routing on analogue and digital desks. You will have the opportunity to develop your studio craft through the use of mixing desks, dynamics, effects and EQ. This knowledge is expanded into sound for radio and television broadcast.
The Digital Signal Processing theme will provide you with detailed instruction in digital audio and digital signal processing. You’ll have the chance to explore creative possibilities through experiments in audio synthesis environments such as MaxMSP, Pure Data or SuperCollider.
Through the acoustics theme you will have the chance to explore psychoacoustics. In addition to this you will investigate the analysis of musical instruments, room and environmental acoustics and acoustic treatment.
The business orientated industry theme contextualises the more technical modules in this dynamic industry sector.
The lecturers have been very supportive in all the years that I have been studying at Birmingham City University, helping with any problems I had with assignments and answering any questions. Spyros Stasis
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Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
At the point of application, you must have GCSE at Grade C or above in English Language and Mathematics. Equivalent qualifications will be accepted.
300 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2016/17|
|GCE A Level/ AS Level||BBB at A Level or 300 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels including at least one A Level from a Science, Technology, Mathematics or Computing subject.|
|Access to Higher Education Diploma||Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2, including with a minimum of 12 credits achieved from any Technology units awarded at Merit or Distinction|
|BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years)||D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 300 UCAS points|
|BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years)||DDM. Computing/Engineering is preferred.|
|BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years)||Combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 300 UCAS points|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||32 points overall|
|Irish Leaving Certificate||300 UCAS points - Higher Levels|
|Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher||300 UCAS points|
|Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options)||120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 300 UCAS points|
|If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements 2015/16|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).||32 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.
UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.
From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for 2016/17, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.
To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:
300 points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBB or above)
predicted DDM profile at BTEC level
You will also be required to attend an interview.
Be the first to hear about our Clearing 2016 places and access a range of advice from experts on how to forget a bad exam and survive the summer. We’ve got your back.
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2016||FT||3 years||£9,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2016||SW||4 years||£9,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2017||FT||3 years||£9,250 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2017||SW||4 years||£9,250 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2016||FT||3 years||£12,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
|BSc (Hons)||Sep 2017||FT||3 years||£12,000 per year||Apply via UCAS|
The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.
There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements). If your course includes a residential study session, the accommodation costs for this are already included in your course fee.
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.
UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
There are three ways to apply:
You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.
You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.
We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.
The course is delivered as a three year full-time programme, with the opportunity to undertake an industrial placement year – which will increase your course duration to four years.
Through a variety of teaching assessment methods crafted to allow you to demonstrate your full ability we will encourage and teach you in-depth knowledge of sound engineering and production. Our focus is on the practical and creative application of technical knowledge and during your first year of study you will be introduced to the fundamental principles that govern practice within industry. You’ll be introduced to various aspects of the field, uncovering how the music and audio industries are evolving in the face of new technologies.
Through the audio electronics module you’ll learn about audio systems and electronics, investigating the analogue domain and gaining hands-on experience with studio equipment. Throughout your first year you will explore how studio facilities and equipment affect sound, questioning why and investigating the importance of different factors during the recording, mixing and mastering process.
You’ll discover the key types of general-purpose programming, with an introduction to digital audio signal processing. In addition to this you will develop an understanding of live sound engineering practice and technology, using both analogue and digital desks. You’ll uncover what it is like to engineer a range of events, working in teams and independently. You’ll enhance your recording, studio engineering and production skills to a point where you are familiar with microphones, plugins, outboard equipment and much more. You’ll also explore audio waveforms and digitisation.
Music and Audio Industries
The music and audio industries module introduces you to various aspects of the field. Exploring how both industries are evolving in the face of new technologies. This module allows you to develop a wide range of transferable and marketable skills and knowledge relevant to employment opportunities within the music and associated industries.
This module will help you to develop key understandings of audio systems and electronics. This module relates primarily to the analogue domain, you will gain hands-on experience with the range of equipment found in studios. Exploring how these facilities sound and why - and what makes them important during the recording, mixing and mastering process.
Audio Software Development
The Audio Software Development module introduces you to the fundamentals of general-purpose programming via C/C++ covering hello world, variables, mathematical operators, if-if else – switch, logical operators, arrays and loops as well as functions and object orientated programming. The module will introduce the student to elementary aspects of digital audio signal processing (DSP).
Live Sound Engineering
This module introduces and develops concepts of live sound engineering practice and technology. Using a range of analogue and digital desks, you will learn how to engineer events with a range of corporate or musical outputs ranging from spoken work to bands. Concentrating on practical experience you should be competent enough to work as part of a team to set up and run a ground stacking PA system in a number of smaller scenarios.
Studio Recording and Production
Concentrating on recording skills, this module will develop your studio engineering and production skills to a point where you can record and mix a band, developing an understanding for various choices in microphones, plugins, outboard equipment and mixing strategies. You will also learn about studio workflow and managing the creative process of recording artists and getting the best results.
Digital Audio Technology
The Digital Audio Technology module introduces fundamental principles of audio waveforms and digitisation, including the capture and processing and compression of digital data. You will study the concepts of A/D, D/A, sampling, quantization, aliasing, filtering, compression, while evaluating the merits of many techniques relevant to digital audio.
Your second year of study focuses on the development of in-depth, thorough scientific understanding of technical skills, alongside the enhancement of your employability and entrepreneurship. We’ll help you enhance your transferable skills, preparing you for your final year of study as well as work within industry.
Your studies will focus on topics such as analogue and embedded audio systems, live production and studio engineering, digital signal processing and acoustic principles. You will explore prototyping and circuit design through an introduction to interfacing and embedded systems. This will help you develop a thorough understanding of the electronics and software used within a professional context. Alongside this you will learn the fundamentals of monitor engineering and line array speaker testing, with the added exploration of Ethernet protocols.
Your studies will be practice-based, with laboratory work and studio experience. During your second year of studies you’ll uncover the principles of digital signal processing (DSP). In addition to this you will be introduced to the key themes of acoustics, including sound propagation, reflection, absorption, diffraction and much more.
Toward the end of your second year of study we will encourage you to consider an industrial placement year. Within this degree programme you have the chance to take a placement year, in which you will receive the necessary support, advice and guidance.
Employability, Projects and Management
This second year module explores production management techniques, employability and entrepreneurship in the context of the media industry. This module will help you to develop transferable skills, and knowledge which will not only benefit you in your final year, but in a wider professional context.
Analogue and Embedded Audio Systems
With an emphasis on prototyping and circuit design, this module will introduce you to interfacing and embedded systems. You will enhance your knowledge and understanding of electronics and software design by practically based laboratory work.
Live and Studio Engineering
Within the Live and Studio Engineering module you will explore live sound as well as the recording and production of live albums. The live sound section of this module covers advanced subjects such as the design of larger and complex speaker systems. Practical classes will include monitor engineering, line array speaker testing, use of Ethernet protocols and the development of more advanced control systems for use on larger productions. You will also spent time learning within the recording studio.
Digital Signal Processing
Your second year digital signal processing module will help you to establish and develop an understanding of communication of digital audio data between devices and over networks. You will develop an in-depth knowledge of Digital Signal Processing (DSP) techniques for music signal manipulation.
Within the acoustic principles module you will be introduced to the key themes of acoustics. This will include sound and sound propagation, reflection, absorption and diffraction as well as musical instrument acoustics and psycho-acoustics.
Your final year of study is designed to ensure that you are confident and competent in practice, with a thorough scientific knowledge of sound engineering and production. We will strive to help you emerge from the programme with skills valued by employers and impressive professional credentials.
In your third year your learning still takes place through a series of modules, through we will encourage you to take on more self-directed study, developing your own flair, taste and interests within the field. Your modules will cover subjects such as: broadcast sound, mixing and mastering, digital audio effects, acoustic engineering and you will be expected to undertake a technology project. You’ll undertake deeper levels of technical research, enhancing the skills you have acquired throughout the duration of the programme.
You’ll develop your knowledge of sound synthesis, with consideration of the research development of digital effects. You’ll develop a strong understanding of the nuances of producing sound for a range of broadcast media and through the acoustic engineering module you will explore the practical applications of acoustic theory. You’ll investigate principles such as noise control, measurement and the design of acoustic spaces. Exploring acoustic treatment and the testing of acoustic properties you will have the opportunity to study the role of acoustics outside of enclosed environments, such as at outdoor music festivals.
Broadcast Sound, Mixing and Mastering
The Broadcast Sound, Mixing and Mastering module aims to develop the skills you have established in recording and production during the first two years of the degree. You will become familiar with the nuances of producing sound for a range of broadcast media, higher level multichannel mixing and mastering of stereo sources.
Your final year technology project is intended to simulate typical graduate workplace tasks that require in-depth knowledge and skills in a course specific area. You will need to consider wider issues and demonstrate your ability to manage activities and resources. You’ll be expected to generate, implement and report on solutions to meet task objectives.
Digital Audio Effects
Within this module you will investigate the background of digital audio, through exploration of digital signal processing theories. You will discover in-depth knowledge of the practices related to the application and development of digital audio effects. You will also develop knowledge of sound synthesis techniques complemented by common effect applications and research development of digital effects.
Acoustics and Psychoacoustics
Within this module you will focus upon practical applications of acoustic theory, exploring how the science of acoustics can be implemented in real world situations. You will investigate the application of scientific principles to noise control, measurement, and the design of acoustic spaces. You will also have the chance to discover the role of acoustics outside of enclosed environments, such as outdoor music festivals.
|32||Time in lectures, seminars and similar||MidnightBlue|
|68||Time in independent study||RoyalBlue|
Birmingham City University students Daisy Pearson and Andrew Jennings talk about their degree course BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production.
This programme is IEng accredited and fulfils the educational requirements for registration as an Incorporated Engineer.
If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.
It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.
Upon completion of the BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production degree you will be equipped with the skill and knowledge to undertake further study. Throughout the programme you will undertake modules which encourage the development of your research skills, providing you with the foundational skill and knowledge to undertake a postgraduate course. The University has a range of either taught (MSc) or research (PhD) postgraduate programmes.
Birmingham City University is located at the heart of the West Midlands, with a rich, vibrant music scene. With live venues from intimate jazz bars to rock venues, from festivals such as Moseley Folk Festival to world renowned Symphony Hall there are plenty of chances for you to gain hands-on experience! As a student within the school you will be able to enjoy professional-quality resources and access to highly accomplished musicians from genres including classical, folk, jazz, rock and electro.
Throughout the duration of your course you will be presented with several chances to gain hands-on industry experience, through musical festivals, events and much more. As a Sound Engineering and Production student you will receive the opportunity to undertake trips through the Live Sound Society.
As you move through the course you will discover and refine a portfolio of practice which best suits your motivations and aspirations. Through this you will develop as a creative individual, equipped not only for a career in sound engineering and production but with transferable skills to benefit a whole range of professional contexts.
When you finish this course you will be fully prepared for employment in this dynamic sector. The programme will help you develop a firm scientific understanding of the technology employed in this fast-evolving business. You will graduate with in-depth knowledge of the creative practices in both the audio and music industries.
Knowledge of sound synthesis techniques will be complemented by both common effect applications and top-notch research. You’ll have in-depth knowledge of the development of digital effects based on ever accelerating digital technology at hand. The acquired knowledge largely supports music production and sound design activities including mastering and post-production.
You’ll have an understanding of business principles that will inform and augment your creative abilities and practical skills in sound engineering.
You will also develop the requisite knowledge and research skills to undertake further study either within Birmingham City University or further afield. We will help you in developing a professional, creative portfolio, with the confidence to take on the exciting and illustrious creative industries.
In this video, students and graduates as well as the course director Roy Priest describe how this course will help you to get a job with a reputable company after you graduate.
The Sound Engineering and Production course offers you the chance to take a ‘sandwich’ year, in which you can undertake an industrial placement. This takes place after the second year of study and extends the course duration to four years.
There are a wide range of potential placements that you may pursue such as working in recording studios, record companies, in professional audio and theatres. Previously students have undertaken placements with companies such as SSE, Midas Klark, Teknik and Dolby.
In the past our students have undertaken year long placements gaining crucial contemporary industry experience. One example is Christopher Savva who undertook a placement at the International Federation of Phonographic Industry. Christopher’s role included anti-piracy work, where he worked hand-in-hand with the major record labels on content protection and the pre-release protection of singles and albums. His work led to him being offered the chance to undertake some work at EMI as well as a week-long assisting role within Sony RCA Records’ marketing department.
Course : BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production
Placement : International Federation of Phonographic Industry, London
Duration : 1 Year
All students on this course have the opportunity to be nominated by staff for our annual Prize Winners Ceremony. Students are put forward by their course teams based on merit, performance, achievements, dedication and commitment. Recent winners can be seen below:
Course : BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production
Award : Sir Henry Royce Foundation Award
The Sir Henry Royce Foundation Award is made annually to the University's technology student who has made the greatest contribution to faculty life during their undergraduate education. Made by Sir Henry Royce's Memorial Foundation - established in 1977 for the advancement of engineering - the award recognises young engineers whose student life is testimony to Sir Henry's own philosophy; pursuit of excellence.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.
Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.
Graduates of the BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production course have gone on to work at a variety of institutions and organisations within the creative industries. Typical roles undertaken by our graduates include: assistant studio engineer, DSP engineer, music technician, studios electrician, junior sound engineer, broadcast systems engineer, junior audio designer (video games) and much more!
We are extremely proud of our graduates who are now employed in companies such as: Redditch Palace Theatre, EMI Music, Dolby UK, Cloud One, Spotify, CBA Spindlewood, Focusrite and the BBC. We also have graduates who have taken on roles as sound designers and media composers, working with TV programmes, video games and major record labels.
Our Sound Engineering and Production degree is well-respected among the industry, upon completion of this course there are a myriad of positions in a variety of sectors that you may wish to take on, including film and visual media industries, broadcasting, audio product manufacturing, audio journalism, interactive music, digital signal processing, and education.
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
Here at Birmingham City University we welcome students from all across the globe. Our BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production undergraduate degree is open to international applicants who wish to study the field of music production and technology.
As an international student you will benefit from studying alongside a diverse range of students, all with different backgrounds and experience. In addition to this the course is led by tutors with international experience. You will have the chance to draw upon the diverse cultures and wealth of experience from your fellow students, learning new skills and sharing your own knowledge.
As an international student you will benefit from studying in close proximity to the UK’s diverse and continuously changing creative industries, you are encouraged to engage and regularly network with these industries. Through practice-based teaching you will develop an in-depth understanding of music production practices within the UK and further afield. You will have the chance to complement these skills through undertaking a work placement.
As a Sound Engineering and Production student you have the chance to earn while you learn, taking on various roles through the University’s in-house employment scheme: OpportUNIty. You will also be able to access personal and academic support services, as well as help and advice tailored specifically for you. Through an international orientation and welcome week you will be able to adjust to life within the UK, preparing you for your studies!
International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.
BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.
Our students come from around the world but our sound engineering course is most popular with international students from:
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.
Here at Birmingham City University, the School of Computing and Digital Technology is equipped with a multitude of professional, dedicated equipment. With world-class facilities including: two film and television studios, four multi-track recording studios, post-production facilities, and several hundred multimedia stations.
We have cutting edge facilities available to support the course and research that goes on in the School, including the purpose-built Media Centre at The Parkside Building, DMT Lab, Cisco Academy and Recording studios and concert halls at Birmingham Conservatoire. We also have several PC and Apple Mac computing suites with the latest industry standard applications and tools for audio, video and multimedia application development and content creation.
As a student of the School of Computing and Digital Technology you will be able to take advantage of a comprehensive range of state-of-the-art technology and equipment to prepare you for working within industry. Our four fully digital, interconnected TV studios can be used within a variety of contexts, including audio-recording. Alongside this with have several broadcast-standard edit and dubbing suites.
As the programme is taught in partnership with the Birmingham Conservatoire you will have access to a wide-range of musical facilities including six studios, a Recital Hall and the 520-seat auditorium Adrian Boult Hall. We have a range of studios, mix rooms, recording spaces and a vast range of recording equipment ready for you to use.
You will have access to four fully digital, interconnected TV studios, along with broadcast-standard edit and dubbing suites.
An Apple Mac sound lab, electronics and fully equipped multimedia labs are all part of the technology and multimedia experience on offer.
Facilities and partner venues at the Conservatoire including six studios, a Recital Hall and the 520-seat auditorium Adrian Boult Hall.
Discover the full range of studios, mix rooms, recording spaces and a vast range of recording equipment.
Ian is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Digital Media Technology (DMT), alongside being an active member of the DMT Research Group. He is an expert in image analysis, software development and pattern recognition. Prior to his career in academia Ian spent 10 years working as a radio signalling engineer dealing with the day-to-day maintenance and development of safety critical radio telecommunications within the UK rail network.
Ian joined the University in 2008 after obtaining his PhD in Image Processing from Manchester Metropolitan University. His PhD research focused on histological image segmentation, where the problematic edge segmentation of stained histological images was of specific concern. His work improved this segmentation through the application of a novel multiple-scale statistical edge detection technique which improved the results offered from the existing standard edge detection methods.
Since joining Birmingham City University in 2008, Ian has lead several research projects involving novel methods of image segmentation, pattern recognition and object image analysis.
Ian currently supervises five PhD students within the DMT School and acts as a reviewer for the IET Journal of Image Processing.