- UCAS Code: J93F
- Level: Foundation
- Starting: September 2021
- Study mode: Full Time (4 years)
- Location: City Centre
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
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.
What's covered in the 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.
"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?
- 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. Plus, you will have the option to join our Curzon Software House and take part in industry projects over summer to build up skills for your CV.
- 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.
This course is open to International students
Where our students go
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
- Eurotec International
And in jobs such as:
- Technical Assistant
- Projects Engineer
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
BB or 80 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||
|Scottish Intermediate 2||
|Scottish Credit Standard Grade||
|Scottish National 5||
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A level and Advanced VCE||
|Access to HE Diploma||
Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate - Skills Challenge Certificate (first teaching September 2015)
Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma – Core (awarded until 2016) ESW/KS Combined component
International Baccalaureate Diploma
|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
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|
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)
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
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.
- UK students
- International students
Award: BSc (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BSc (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 4 years
- £13,200 per year
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. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.
Guidance for UK students
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
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.
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.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).
The Foundation Mathematics module provides the basic knowledge and mathematical skills which will equip the students to continue their studies to an undergraduate programme. The module will be focused on mathematics related to the field of computing. The interactive taught sessions will use fundamental mathematical in discussions to broaden understanding of the theory and practice introduced in the module.
Academic and personal study skills are essential elements which should be applied in order to be successful in Higher Education. This module aims to help you in developing basic research skills, academic writing and reflection skills. These skills are inevitably important and will support your transition to the higher education levels of study associated with your chosen degree programme.
This module provides the skills necessary to design a web based application around a clear understanding of the business information requirements, a structured design of an interface and the development skills necessary to implement a solution. This module focuses on varied technologies relating to the design and development of application to meet the information needs of a business. The module will analyse and design an application that meets current web standards.
This module will provide you with an introduction to digital media technology and will allow you to explore technology-driven change in the media industry.
This module will introduce the fundamentals of audio / video capture and editing allowing you to explore workflow practices. You will document your development process, including aspects such as storyboarding and risk assessments and will create an artefact that relates to technology in your chosen degree or industry.
During the journey within higher education, developing your independent study is an essential skill to support shaping the knowledge to become more useful and applied within practice. This module aims to provide you with necessary skills and tips that should support you to work independently within your discipline and to successfully apply project management tools and techniques to a mini project related to your subject discipline.
Foundations of programming aims to provide you with the fundamental principles and practice-based activities needed to begin developing software programs. The module details the anatomy of a structured software program that includes the creation of a program algorithm, a logical, simple and organised program flow and the generation of pseudo and programming code.
The module uses a combination of theory and practice-based sessions designed to engage students in group and individual activities to identify the components of a software program and to apply their knowledge into hands-on software programming activities. During the module sessions you will acquire the basic skills to design and create software programs.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).
This module will develop students’ understanding of acoustic fundamentals and will also develop a methodology for testing a range of musical instruments, using a range of applicable techniques to extract and analyse data. The scientific nature of this module will allow you to have a deeper understanding of sound, human hearing mechanisms and musical instruments, underpinning later modules in recording and acoustics.
This module provides a base for you to develop key skills in recording and mixing, imperative for all fields of music technology and sound engineering. You will become familiar with the hybrid analogue mixing/digital recording studio environment and explore recording techniques and processes applicable to a wide range of acoustic and electric instruments. You will study analogue-based audio systems and processes, and microphone technology. You will apply this knowledge through a series of studio based recordings.
This module will introduce the nature of digital signals, presenting the international standards for digital audio data and the common processes involved in the capture and processing of digital signals. Later the module will allow you to develop strong skills in the standards for compression and distribution of digital audio signals and via a cross discipline approach, the module will illustrate common methods form computing and how valid these are for digital signal distribution.
This module will give you a broad understanding of sound reinforcement for a range of scenarios of up to 250 audience capacity. As well as the practical skills of connecting and troubleshooting a range of equipment from analogue to digital, the module will also focus on the need for good theoretical skills, including room modelling and system prediction as well as understanding of electrical safety and safe operating practice.
Audio Software Development will provide fundamental knowledge for writing and developing audiorelated software tools. The field of audio production heavily relies on digital systems, which in turn require technical programming and logic skills for their implementation. Given the ubiquitous nature of digital technologies, this is a valuable skill to have as a sound engineer.
In this module, you will explore everything from compilers, instruction sets and hardware architectures up to programming concepts such as iterators and functions. The module finishes by introducing simple digital signal processing technologies and object oriented design. The module provides the knowledge base to excel in the technical modules in years 2 and 3.
This module will develop key understanding of electronic fundamentals as applied to audio systems. Subject matter relates primarily to the analogue domain and will encourage you to develop your passion for the equipment found in the studios, learn how they sound and what makes them important during the recording, mixing and mastering process. Specific attention is applied to audio transducers; loudspeakers, microphones and headphones.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).
This module introduces you to recording sound for television and radio, sound effects, dialogue replacement (ADR), and mastering audio levels for broadcast using a project based approach. You will increase your employability through exposure to the skills used in the broadcast industry and working with actors and television crews in interdisciplinary activities involving students across different faculties.
This module enables you to develop an individual recording portfolio based on your personal areas of interest whilst acquiring core techniques and skills in key applications. It provides the opportunity to explore editing, mixing and a range of recording techniques to lay a foundation for more advanced recording and production work at Level 6.
Digital technology is widely used throughout all the stages of the digital media processing, production, transmission, distribution and broadcasting activities. This module provides application based fundamental digital signal processing (DSP) knowledge and skills.
This module will develop key understanding of audio systems, embedded systems and electronics. This module will encourage you to develop your passion for the equipment found in the studios, how they sound and why, and what makes them important during the recording, mixing and mastering process.
This module will allow you to gain an in-depth understanding of global music and audio industries and how organisations have sought to adapt to technological change. This module enhances employability through the development of your understanding of employer requirements and approaches to recruitment.
This module will develop students’ understanding of psychoacoustics through critique and analysis of academic work. Students will understand how to provide critical assessment of existing research work. This module will provide a practical insight into acoustic consultancy by assessing through theory and practice. It will cover building, interior and environmental acoustics in a way that aids employability by utilising methods that are typical of industrial practice.
This module will cover the wide range of research areas within music information retrieval (MIR). The field of MIR emerged at the intersection of other areas in music research including audio signal processing, machine learning, music history, musicology, and music psychology. Current research in MIR consists of topics related to these fields, including music recommendation, automatic music transcription, optical music recognition, source separation, semantic audio applications. The aim of the module is to familiarise you with the topics in MIR, as well as to introduce methodological and presentation skills required for performing research in the field.
Based on prior study, this module assumes a good working knowledge of a range of digital mixing desks with a basic understanding of ground stacked PA systems. The module will enhance your skills to enable the planning of larger, more complex shows and provide practical simulations of these knowledge and in order to improve team working and troubleshooting skills. The module allows a deeper understanding of measuring and tuning PA systems, the operations and mathematics involved in rigging, and other show control systems such as DMX for lighting.
The Game industry has overtaken the film industry in terms of revenue and audio is an integral part of developing high impact titles. In this module, you will explore the fundamentals of sound design for interactive environments, including sound effects, Foley sound, soundscapes and dialogue. The module will cover the integration of audio into game engines like Unity and middleware such as FMOD, and mixing techniques particular to the gaming industry.
The module will cover linear and nonlinear systems, time and frequency domain processing algorithms and will explore future generations of methods in the field such as adaptive, cross-adaptive and intelligent music production systems.
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and research informed project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. In agreement with your supervisor, you will decide upon your topic which will take the form of a practical outcome (artefact) with accompanying contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be aligned to the programme you are studying, and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.
At this level, you will be expected to work independently but you will receive additional one-to-one support from your supervisor, who will be familiar with your chosen topic area. As you progress on the module, extra support will be available and this may take the form of group seminars, workshops and online materials that will help to develop your project.
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.
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.
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.
Upon completion of the BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Production degree you will be equipped with the skills 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 The Music Group, Cloud One, Spotify, Spindlewood, Focusrite, Jaguar Land Rover and NAIM Audio. 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.
Scholarships and Awards
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.
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!
Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)
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.
Popular home countries
Our students come from around the world but our sound engineering course is most popular with international students from:
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 and Cisco Academy at Millennium Point and recording studios. 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.
You will also 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.
Film and television
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.
Sound and music
Discover the full range of studios, mix rooms, recording spaces and a vast range of recording equipment.
Dr Jason Hockman
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.