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

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry. Switch to 2022/23 Entry

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....

  • 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

Overview

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 will also have the opportunity to 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

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area in our course talks.

Next Open Days: Autumn 2022

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Essential Requirements

BB or 80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS
GCSE
  • GCSE English language and mathematics at grade C/4 or above
  • Equivalent level 2 qualifications can be accepted - please see UCAS for list of acceptable Maths and English equivalents considered in lieu of GCSE
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)
  • See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details
Scottish Intermediate 2
  • English language and mathematics at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Scottish Credit Standard Grade
  • English language and mathematics at grade 2 or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Scottish National 5
  • English language and mathematics at grade C or above
  • Must have been achieved at the point of enrolment
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications
A level and Advanced VCE
  • 80 UCAS points
  • A maximum of 3 subjects are considered. These can be other A-levels or level 3 equivalents.
Access to HE Diploma
  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at level 3.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma
    (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF)
    (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma
    (2002 – 2010)
  • MMP
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma
    (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Diploma (QCF)
    (2010 – 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Certificate
    (2002 – 2010)
  • 80 UCAS points
  • Considered with one A-level or an equivalent level 3 qualification
  • Pearson BTEC National Foundation Diploma (2016 to present)

  • Pearson BTEC 90-Credit Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)

  • 80 UCAS points
  • Considered with one A-level or an equivalent level 3 qualification
  • Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate
    (2016 – present)

  • Pearson BTEC Subsidiary Diploma (QCF)
    (2010 - 2016)

  • BTEC Level 3 National Award
    (2002 - 2010)

  • 80 UCAS points
  • Considered with one A-level or an equivalent level 3 qualification

Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate - Skills Challenge Certificate (first teaching September 2015)

  • 80 UCAS points

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma – Core (awarded until 2016) ESW/KS Combined component

  • 80 UCAS points

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall and pass one of the following subjects from Group 4 at Higher Level (Computer Science, Chemistry, Design Technology, Physics)

  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level) from the IB Diploma will be accepted

  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB will be accepted.

Other qualifications
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.
Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications  
IELTS

6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).

1. For students who complete the full IB Diploma: a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects.

2. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates.

Students must have grade 5 in Maths (Standard Level)
AND
English Group A - Grade 4 or above,
OR
English Group B and Ab Initio - Grade 5

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).

Additional Requirements

As part of the application process you will be invited to attend an applicant visit day where you will undertake a short one-to-one interview with an academic member of staff. This is your chance to show us how passionate you are about the subject and it will help us make a decision on your application.

This will provide you with more information about the School and your course. In addition, it will give you a chance to meet and our staff and students to gain a better understanding of what it is like to be a student here.

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 2023

  • 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 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 4 years
  • TBC

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

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 access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

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.

Guidance for UK students

UCAS

UK 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.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

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: 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!

Facilities & Staff

Computing facilities two
Computing facilities three
Computing facilities four

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 £340 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

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

Dr Ian Williams

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

Dr Williams is an Associate Professor 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. He gained his PhD from Manchester...

More about Ian

Dr Jason Hockman

Associate Professor

Jason Hockman is Associate Professor of Audio Engineering at Birmingham City University. He is a member of the Digital Media Technology Laboratory (DMT Lab), in which he leads the Sound and Music (SoMA) Group for computational analysis of sound and music and digital audio processing.  

More about Jason