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Sound Engineering and Production with a Foundation Year - BSc (Hons)

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September 2024 — UCAS code J93F

BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production with a Foundation Year will provide you with the creative skills and versatility you need to succeed in a constantly evolving industry. You’ll have access to world-class facilities so that you can experiment with music production, sound engineering, audio electronics and much more....

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  • Level Foundation
  • Study mode Full Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of Computing and Digital Technology
  • Faculty Faculty of Computing, Engineering and The Built Environment

This course is:

Open to International Students

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Overview

Clearing 2024

80 points (or equivalent) is the minimum you will need to be considered for this course in Clearing.

Use the UCAS Tariff Calculator to work out your points.

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I'm a third year Music Technology student. When I was looking for Music Technology courses, Birmingham City University really stood out to me. I was keen on attending a Bachelor of Science and the course really focussed on the science aspects as well as maintaining the artistic elements of music and sound production. The support of the tutors has been fantastic. The professional standard and the facilities on campus are great due to their accessibility around the clock. The easy access to studios has been extremely helpful in completing my work and keeping on top of deadlines. At BCU, there's been a heavy focus on employability and what I could do with all aspects of my degree. The university has organised the industrial mentor forum, a space where students can communicate with alumni and people within the industry. The Acoustics Special Interest Group also consisted of more bespoke talks from people within the acoustics industry about different aspects of the work and how individual companies run. This is how I developed contact with an acoustic consultancy to complete my placement year. I act as an Acoustic Technician at Dragonfly Consulting. It went so well that I'm returning upon my graduation to continue working with them. The university has given me opportunities I don't think I would have received anywhere else.

I'm a second year computer science student studying at Birmingham City University. As a Computing student, there are plenty of computer labs available. There's entire rooms filled with Cisco networking equipment, as well as laptops that can be rented out to complete your work. Several of the facilities have now moved over to STEAMhouse, which is a £70 million build that is now the new home for Computing and Digital Technology students. One of the main things for me was getting employment at the end of my university degree. And Birmingham City University offers a wealth support for moving into the work environment. The course is a very important focus and a very industry focussed as well. I've been offered roles as a student demonstrator for Python programming. I found that the best way to show that you've understood something is to be able to teach somebody else.

I'm studying Computer Networks and Security. So far, I've really enjoyed my time at BCU. I felt really included within the student community. For the past two years, I've been involved in Innovation Fest. This is an annual event that showcases student work from the faculty. A lot of employers visit this festival, which allows us to widen our professional network. Throughout my time at BCU, I've had some time to

develop a relationship with the Careers+ team and go through tailoring my CV and my cover letters with them. Because of this, I have been presented with many opportunities which they have tailored to me and my needs. Through this, I was encouraged to apply for the women in tech competition.

So it was a one week program and I was working with the team from Cyferd. It's a software company,

and I successfully won and have taken up the placement year with them as a Junior Development Lead.

I look forward to coming back and applying the skills I've learnt throughout my placement and applied them within my studies.

BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production with a Foundation Year will provide you with the creative skills and versatility you need to succeed in a constantly evolving industry.

You’ll have access to world-class facilities so that you can experiment with music production, sound engineering, audio electronics and much more.

Available in the UK to home and international students, the course enables you to study a diverse programme, ensuring students are incredibly well equipped for employment within the industry once completing their degree.

About the Foundation Year

The Foundation Year course option enables you to study for our BSc (Hons) degree over an extended full-time duration of four years by including a Foundation Certificate (year one of four). The Foundation Certificate provides a broad study programme that underpins the follow-on degree. In order to progress to the next year of your degree, it is necessary to achieve a pass in all of the modules of the Foundation Certificate.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Designed to meet the requirements found within the audio industry, you’ll engage with a dynamic study programme that focuses on live and studio sound engineering, audio electronics, audio software engineering, acoustics and business principles. This combination of subjects ensures you’ll be employable in a range of career paths. 

You’ll be able to use technology to assist in the capture and manipulation of sound. You’ll also combine practical, hands-on training with theoretical and academic understanding, giving you a holistic conception of sound technology. 

Audio engineering is a highly dynamic sector, driven by rapid technological advancement. We will ensure that you have the skills to develop and maintain the next generation of models for production, performance and measurement. 

You’ll also develop key transferrable skills, such as teamwork, reflection and self-awareness. Plus, gain analytical skills through coursework tasks, and enhance your problem solving ability by using a range of systems and technologies.

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 could undertake trips through the Live Sound Society.

Accredited By

This course is accredited by:

  • Athena Swan Bronze Award

"One of the best things about the course was how wide ranging it was. It enabled me to take a holistic look at the audio industry in general.


I really appreciated the technical elements of the course because whilst I really enjoyed all the studio recording and live sound modules, the fact that the course really opened my eyes to the world of programming and that sort of engineering really enabled me to get a strong technical background which is what got me the job at Spotify. Support and Surveillance Specialist at Spotify, New York City.


I was very happy with the course. The biggest thing for me was the breadth. I know people from my year of the course who have gone on into research, live sound, low level engineering, film, composition, all sorts of different areas of the music industry. The great thing about the course is that it doesn’t consign you into one area, it gives you the tools that you need to develop your understanding of which ever area you choose to rather than directing you into one area in particular." Ashley Eastwood, Engineer, Product Engineering at Music Group

Why Choose Us?

  • Brand new facilities at STEAMhouse - This state-of-the-art building will become the new home for its School of Computing and Digital Technology from the start of the 2022 academic year. Based at our expanding City Centre Campus, this unique centre will give you access to outstanding facilities and teaching spaces, as well as opportunities to collaborate with people and businesses across multiple sectors and work on real industry-based projects.
  • Range of industry opportunities - Graduates of this course have successfully entered the audio industry, working in live sound, software development, production, sound design and audio post, through to product development, acoustic consultancy and education.  
  • Preparation for employment  - This course will prepare you for the range of technology-orientated career paths in the highly dynamic audio technology environment. Our students have gone to work with companies such as Eurotec International and BBC.   
  • Get real life work experience - This course has the option of a sandwich year which you can take between your second and final year.
  • Members of WISE -  Inspiring female talent in physics and computing.  
  • State-of-the-art campus and facilities  - You’ll be taught across our three City Centre Campuses that include; Millennium Point, which has recently had a £6.5 million investment in facilities; the £57 million Royal Birmingham Conservatoire; and £62 million Parkside Campus. Find out more about our campuses.
  • Be inspired - Adam has Autism and other mental health conditions but he hasn’t let it get in the way of achieving a first-class degree. Read about how Adam applied through clearing and started his journey at BCU. 

Similar Courses

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to learn about this course in detail, chat to students, explore our campus and tour accommodation. Booking isn't open yet for this event, register your interest and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Open Day: 28 September 2024

Register interest

Entry Requirements

These entry requirements apply for entry in 2024/25.

All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

80 points (or equivalent) is the minimum you will need to be considered for this course in Clearing.

Use the UCAS Tariff Calculator to work out your points.

Got your results?

If you've already received your results and have enough points for this course you can apply online now.

Apply now

Waiting for results?

Download our guide to Clearing to prepare ahead of results day and find out the top five things you can do whilst you wait.

Get advice

Alternative options

If you do not have 80 points, you may like to look at our other courses available.

View Clearing courses

Or explore your options if you don't have enough points for any of our courses.

Please note: the entry requirements listed below are relevant for main cycle applications and may not be applicable during Clearing.

Essential requirements

80 UCAS tariff points

If you have a qualification that is not listed, please contact us.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BSc (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • £16,085 in 2024/25

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key Software

You will be able to download SPSS, Nvivo and MATLAB to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free Adobe Creative Cloud licence

Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

Some modules may suggest that you purchase a key textbook. All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. Many students choose to purchase a copy.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Places available to start in September 2024

If you'd like to start this course full-time this September, you can apply through Clearing.

Got your results?

If you've already received your results and have enough points for this course you can apply online now.

Apply now

Waiting for results?

Download our guide to Clearing to prepare ahead of results day and find out the top five things you can do whilst you wait.

Get advice

International and part-time students can apply online as normal using the links above.

Want to start in September 2025? You can apply via UCAS from September 2024.

Course in Depth

Foundation Year

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Year One

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Year Two

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Professional Placement Year (optional)

In order to qualify for the award of Bachelor of Science with Honours Sound Engineering and Production with Foundation Year and Professional Placement Year, a student must successfully complete all of the modules listed as well as the following Level 5 module:

Final Year

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).

Download course specification

Download now

How you learn

You will be assessed both formatively and summatively by a number of methods. Formative assessment occurs throughout the programme and involves feedback from peers, tutors and individual reflection.

A range of summative assessment methods are employed involving both individual and group assignments, written coursework assignments and practical project work, laboratory experimentation, tests and examinations (seen and unseen, open-and closed-book). Assessment methods for each module are identified in a module guide and, for coursework, assessment details and criteria are specified in each assignment brief.

In accordance with the University Regulations you will be permitted two attempts at assessments. After your first sit, if you are unsuccessful in any of your assessments, there will be a final resit opportunity for which your mark, provided that you pass the assessment, will be capped at 40 per cent.

Attendance requirements

There are 30 attendance weeks in each academic year.

A typical week on this course will include 20 hours of contact time over four days, plus self study time.

International opportunities

The Centre has a partnership arrangement with the highly esteemed University of Rochester in New York State, USA. This exchange programme offers the opportunity for students to apply to study abroad for a semester in the second year. More generally, this arrangement feeds into the internationalisation of the course with students from the USA joining the cohort at BCU, opportunities for joint research projects and short academic exchanges.

Trips and Visits

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.

Find out more

Athena Swan Bronze Award
Athena Swan Bronze Award

We have successfully secured the Athena SWAN Departmental Bronze Award recognising a commitment to gender equality.

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education (HE) and research.

Employability

Enhancing Employability Skills

Your experience at Birmingham City University will ensure you’ll graduate as a creative problem solver, with significant experience of professional industry-standard hardware, software and systems. You will leave with a global outlook, primed to engage with the technical and aesthetic issues that will challenge the music and audio industries in the globalised and technologically mediated world ahead.

The Module Industrial Mentors scheme supports the enhancement of graduate employability through on-going engagement with industry specialists throughout the course. This initiative is based on facilitating interactions between students and individuals working across the music technology and audio sector via module-based forums. This innovative approach allows you to explore specific subject areas with experienced professionals working in the field.

You have the option undertake an assessed sandwich year between your second and final year, which will provide you with valuable work experience and give you the real-life skills you need.

The first year Music and Audio Industries and second-year employability, Projects and Management modules have been designed to give you a deeper understanding of aspects of this dynamic sector and offer insight that will help with your career development.

Placements

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 (The Music Group) 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.

Placement Profiles

Christopher Savva

Course : BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production
Placement : International Federation of Phonographic Industry, London
Duration : 1 Year

International

Our students come from around the world and our Sound Engineering and Production course reflects this diversity.

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. 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!

Facilities & Staff

[00:00:02] Speaker 1 From studio spaces to mastering suites and workspaces. I'm going to show you what it's like to study sound at BCU. So this is the Concert Hall control room. This is where we do a lot of surround sound and get to record the amazing Bradshaw Hall here at the Conservatoire. So this is the SSL Duality Desk. It's one of the largest in the Conservatoire. Here we get to record the Bradshaw Hall and also everything in 5.1 surround sound and stereo. Now going to show you some of our recording studios at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. let's go explore recording studio one. Here we have one of the control rooms that leads over to the live room here. You can record bands of all sizes. And again, on our SSL desk. We have it fitted with ProTools and Logic, Ableton and those that I can't even name off top of my head. But Play us out...

[00:01:23] Speaker 1 Cheers mate. Let's go explore the live room. So here we have one of our biggest live rooms. And here is one of our biggest recording spaces. We've got kind of drum kits on the go grand pianos and mini grands in the studios. We've got Steinway here, Boston Pianos in other recording studios and Yamaha's across concert halls and stuff. We've got a range of great microphones ranging from AKG's to RODE's, Aston Spirits, and as you go through the years, the more better they get. So we don't just have one recording studio, we have multiple and they're all unique in acoustics and apparatus. So we have quite a lot of gear and different outboards to use to cater to your musical preference. We also have a very unique relationship here with the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire students. So, whether it's recording foley or mastering an EP, BCU really gives you the experience you need for the working world. So this is the mastering suite. This is where you take your recordings and make them into masterpieces. So here we've got state of the art speakers, we've got Bowers and Wilkins. We've also got amazing outboard gear from Maselec. We've also got SSL control servers and this whole thing is fitted out with a PRISM audio interface. But my favourite part of this entire room is the tape machine. So over here we have a Studer tape machine. There's not a lot around and we're one of the only universities is to have one. I myself have mastered many of my tracks on tape and it just adds that little antique-y sound and makes it quite clean and also rough at times, depending how you want to master your track. So this is the edit suite. This is where we get to kind of fine tune and make rough edits of our tracks. So as you can see here, this is ProTools and one of our most kind of common editing tool softwares, but we can also record in this facility. So we've got some Focusrite gear, Audient gear as well as ways to make beats. So we've got some crazy synths and sequences that you get to play around with, plug into the system and mix, make your own music really. So next I'm going to show you the Mac Labs. That's where we spend most of our time learning software and kind of having our mini lectures there. So let's go check it out. So this is the Mac lab. We have two of these in the Conservatoire. We have Macs in both, MIDI keyboards and audio interfaces. Here, we'll kind of have 1 to 1 sessions or smaller workshops with your lecturers learning different software like ProTools, Reaper, Ableton and Logic. One thing to note about BCU is the lecturers. They are very passionate about music technology. They give you work opportunities and experiences. Like myself, I had an opportunity to go to the Royal Shakespeare Company for a day and shadow the head sound engineer there, So it's very impressive with how much they care about their students and how much they're willing to give you. Now let's go tour the Millennium Point facilities. Welcome to Millennium Point. Over here we have even more studio space. So in this one we're still fitted out with SSL desks. We've also got a bunch of outboard gears. You've got good pressers, limiters, anything to help you make the best production possible. We've even got some unique acoustic equipment. So over in the studio we have a Helmholtz resonator made by one of our students, which I'll show you now. So over here is a Helmholtz resonator where frequencies and air will resonate in the cavities here. So certain frequencies we like and don't like will resonate, making the space more acoustically appropriate. So welcome to The Orchard - another room filled with Macs where we get to learn ProTools, Logic, Reaper for video games, Matlab for coding. In your third year you get to sound design and collaborate with video game students and make your own video game. We also do a lot of experimental acoustic stuff. So over here we have the drum tank where we will run frequency sweeps through a room, learn how frequencies interact with the acoustics of the space, and just kind of learn how sound reacts to a room. There's a lot of experimental stuff we get to do in our degree, as well as producing and as well as studio time. So together, they kind of go hand in hand and you really learn the whole science of sound. So I hope you enjoyed our tour today and seeing what it's like to study sound at BCU. If you have any questions or want to chat with one of our students, please look at the link in the bio.

Our Facilities

As a student in the School of Computing and Digital Technology, you will have access to our labs, software, professional sound studios, computer games labs and industry-standard facilities to develop your practical skills in audio, video and multimedia application development, content creation and more.

We are currently undertaking a £400 million investment programme in our facilities, including a major expansion of our City Centre Campus. This includes our brand new £70 million development, STEAMhouse, which will be the new home to Computing and Digital Technology students. This state-of-the-art centre will give you access to outstanding facilities and equipment, as well as opportunities to collaborate with businesses across multiple sectors and work on real industry-based projects.

Our facilities in Millennium Point have undergone a £6.5million investment with a new maker area, engineering labs/equipment and IT equipment.

Thanks to our partnerships with Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, Juniper, SAS and LPI you will have access to the latest technology and facilities that reflect advanced professional practice. Our students also have access to software such as the Adobe Suite including Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.

Computing and Digital Technology facilities

Our staff

Dr Roy Priest

Associate Professor of Computing

Roy is Academic Lead in the Centre for Digital Media Technology and Director of Learning, Teaching and Employability within the School of Computing and Digital Technology. Prior to working in higher education, Roy was involved in various aspects of the music industry, as a professional musician and also working in artist management and legal and...

More about Roy

Dr Islah Ali-MacLachlan

Senior Lecturer

With a background working as a product designer in the hi-fi industry and as a working musician over many years, Izzy specialises in the areas of live sound and acoustics. He is an in-demand live engineer and production manager, working with a number of festivals and events each year. He was instrumental in setting up the student-led Live Sound...

More about Dr Islah

Professor Cham Athwal

Associate Head of School (Research)

Cham Athwal is Head of Research in the School of Computing and Digital Media Technology. He teaches on the BSc (Hons) courses for Digital Media Technology, and Sound Engineering and Production. An experienced lecturer and researcher, Cham has led numerous technology transfer projects, as well as working as an experienced external examiner and...

More about Cham

Ian Williams

Professor of Visual Computing and Head of the Digital Media Technology Lab (DMT Lab)

Dr Williams is Professor of Visual Computing and Head of the Digital Media Technology Lab (DMT Lab). He leads the research strategy and vision for the DMT Lab which encompasses the four core domains of: Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Computer Graphics and Computer Vision, Sound and Music Analysis and Broadcast Systems.

More about Ian