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Sound Arts

MA

Postgraduate degree

Key facts

Award
Options: MA Sound (Arts), PG Dip Sound (Arts), PG Cert Sound (Arts).
School
College of Liberal Arts
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
MA full-time: three trimesters (one calendar year); MA part-time: six trimesters (two calendar years); PG Dip full-time: two trimesters (one academic year); PG Dip part-time: four trimesters; PG Cert full-time: one trimester; PG Cert part-time: two trimesters.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for our postgraduate courses vary. We are generally looking for a good honours degree or equivalent. Some courses also require an interview or the submission of a portfolio of work.

Please contact our admissions team for more information: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

Cover the spectrum of music, sound and technology appropriate to a wide range of work in existing and emerging sectors.

  • Offers broad coverage while facilitating individual specialism.
  • Covers music in any genre alongside other areas of creative practice in sound.
  • Runs alongside Sound Production and Sound Design MAs, with options across programmes.

Explore sound as a creative medium at an advanced level, and focus on the areas that interest you most. We’ll help you develop the technical skills you need, but the course is about sound more than technology, and values lo-tech and no-tech as much as the latest technological developments.

You can work in any music genre, and/or cover areas such as soundscape recording and sound design, interactive audio (for applications such as live performance, gaming, VR, immersive environments and installations), spatial audio, hardware/software (instrument) design and interdisciplinary practice incorporating other media.

What you'll learn

Overview

The course caters for those working in a wide variety of music genres, and at the same time also covers areas of practice such as soundscape recording and sound design, interactive audio (for applications such as live performance, gaming, VR, immersive environments and installations), spatial audio, hardware/software (instrument) design and interdisciplinary practice incorporating other media.

Most students won’t cover all of these areas, but will use the course to develop an individually-tailored portfolio of skills, experience and top-level work across them. We believe this to be appropriate to the current employment landscape where many combine traditional roles in music with broader practice in sound and other media. The course also provides the breadth necessary for FE and HE teaching in this field, and provides a basis where required for PhD research and beyond.

A large number of options available within the course make this choice and specialism possible. The course is part of a suite of courses available across music and sound, operating alongside ‘sister’ pathways in Sound Design and Sound Production, which allow further specialism in these areas.

Course structure

Trimester one

Gain the skills you’ll need to fulfil the rest of the course.

The Skills Portfolio module is built on the idea that you’ll already have technical skills in this area, but that students entering the course have differing skillsets depending on background. It therefore allows you to choose a handful of skills projects from a large number of options – these cover skills right across the Sound Arts, Sound Design and Sound Production pathways and include (optional) elements of multimedia.

The Research Methodology and Context module develops skills in postgraduate-level research and writing. It is designed to give you the tools for an onward journey in academia, but not to be, in the colloquial sense, ‘academic’. It encourages your research to be around the practical and creative elements core to your practice and therefore to feed your creative work.

Trimester two

At the centre of trimester two, and MA Sound Arts, is the Sonic Architecture module. This is intended as an expansion of traditional music composition teaching (an area in which we have long-standing expertise) where the aesthetic, rather than technical, aspects of individual work will be examined and developed. Through intensive tutorial support you’ll be encouraged to explore your work at a structural level. Our teaching on this module recognises that spatial, multimedia and interactive elements bring aesthetic challenges. We therefore offers a creative model that can be applied across the full range of artistic activity represented by the course.

Alongside this core module, you’ll be offered a wide range of options. The Visual Music module explores the idea that musical thinking can be extended to the visual, and encourages students to develop multimedia projects that explore this idea. Intertextuality in Sound Production, from the Sound Production pathway, explores the overlap between Urban Music production and what are considered more experimental genres. Post Production, from the Sound Design pathway, explores an industry-level workflow for Audio Post for picture. There are also choices in Composition, Performance, Musicology and Professional Practice.

Trimester three

Trimester three represents the culmination of the course, in an independent research project. While in most postgraduate courses the equivalent module (often known as ‘the Masters module’) will consist of a dissertation, in this case it comprises a large-scale practical project. It will fulfil the same function in allowing you to develop your own individual and original research area, but here through your practice. You’ll be able to use it to develop a body of practical work which will serve as a substantial portfolio for the next stage in your career.

How will I be assessed?

You’ll be assessed entirely on coursework. The majority of this will be practical and creative work, including the dissertation-equivalent Major Project.

Some practical projects are accompanied by short informal written assignments, and for the Research Methodology and Context module you’ll produce a more substantial paper.

How will I be taught?

Most modules are taught through small-group seminars and workshops, where you’ll benefit from close interaction with tutors and peers. The Major Project and parts of the other modules are taught through individual tutorials where the focus will be entirely on your own practice.

In the Skills Portfolio we make use of a ‘flipped classroom’ model where you work through online materials at your own pace, supported by intensive troubleshooting sessions with tutors.

Opportunities

Careers

Our graduates have range of successful careers in production, composition, music for film and TV, sound design for moving image and games, sound art, software development, engineering, further education, higher education and research.

MA Sound is a new course – this is based on MMus Creative Sound and Media Technology, which is its predecessor.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

As an MA Sound (Arts) student you’ll be taught at Newton Park campus. You’ll benefit from access to:

Resources

MA Sound (Arts) students can hire out equipment using SISO, Bath Spa University’s free equipment loan service. We provide a huge variety of equipment including laptops, PA and recording equipment, video cameras and DSLRs.

Fees

UK and EU students full time

Course fees
2017/18 entry £7,000
2018/19 entry Published Jan 2018
2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019

UK and EU students part time

Fees shown below are for part time study over two years, although some courses may be available over longer periods.

2017/18 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £3,500
Year 2 Published Jan 2018

2018/19 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2018
Year 2 Published Jan 2019

2019/20 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2019
Year 2 Published Jan 2020

International students full time

Course fees
2017/18 entry £13,500
2018/19 entry Published Jan 2018
2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We’re looking for individuals with a proven track record in creative sound/music practice.

Generally we look for a first degree, 2:1 or higher. Often this will be in music or music technology. However, we accept applicants with other degrees where they can demonstrate relevant experience.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the 'apply now' button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply pages.

Interview and portfolio guidance

Your application should be accompanied by a portfolio of creative work. The nature of this portfolio will depend on your area of work. We don’t need much – two or three pieces will suffice, which might be music tracks, multimedia, documentation of performances / installations etc.

We’ll be looking above all for the creative use of sound in your work.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Email: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk

Course leader: Joseph Hyde 
Email: j.hyde@bathspa.ac.uk

Website feedback to web@bathspa.ac.uk