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Sound Design

MA

Postgraduate degree

Key facts

Award
Options: MA Sound (Design), PG Dip Sound (Design), PG Cert Sound (Design).
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.

Explore sound design and audio post production for film and other visual media in this creative postgraduate course.

  • Contemporary and innovative approaches to sound design and audio post production.
  • Covers a wide spectrum while accommodating individual interests and requirements.
  • Runs alongside Sound Production and Sound Arts MAs, with options across programmes.

Through this forward-thinking course, you’ll explore the creative use of sound within film and other visual media at an advanced level. The course focusses on the more creative aspects of sound design and post-production while providing you with the necessary technical skills.

You’ll develop your work within your areas of interest without stylistic boundaries. The content areas include:

  • sound editing (production audio, dialogue/ADR, SFX, music);
  • the language and aesthetics of sound design (narrative, dramaturgy);
  • Foley;
  • field recording;
  • sound sculpting and processing;
  • working with directors;
  • post-production workflows;
  • dubbing;
  • surround sound;
  • VR audio; and
  • industry deliverables.

Interdisciplinary collaboration with related fields of practice is encouraged.

What you'll learn

Overview

The course delivers a mixture of advanced technical skills related to sound design and audio post production for film and other visual media. It also provides creatively-oriented insights into contemporary sound design practice and encourages students to push the boundaries of the field. Subject areas include:

  • sound sculpting, processing and synthesis;
  • the language and aesthetics of sound design;
  • storytelling and dramaturgy.

This is in addition to a wide range of more conventional post-production skillsets such as

  • sound editing;
  • Foley and field recording;
  • production workflows;
  • track-laying;
  • dubbing mixing;
  • surround sound and VR audio.

You won’t be expected to cover all of these areas. You’ll be able to use the course to develop an individually-tailored portfolio of skills, experience and top-level work across them.

MA Sound Design is part of a suite of postgraduate courses available across music and sound, operating alongside ‘sister’ pathways in Sound Production and Sound Arts, 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

Builds on the knowledge and skills gained in trimester one.

The core module in the second trimester is the Sound Design Practice module. It explores the creative and practical application of Sound Design within a visual narrative and storytelling context. A particular focus will be on the potential of using sound as a tool for narrative storytelling as well as a vehicle to communicate meaning. The module also involves advanced sound sculpting and processing techniques.

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

Trimester three

You’ll complete the course with an independent research project. While most postgraduate courses include a dissertation, MA Sound Design culminates with a large-scale practical project, supported by a reflective account.

The project will allow you to develop your own individual and original research area, through your practice. The exact nature of this work will be negotiated with the module leader. 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?

The assessment is majorly based around practical coursework, with the aim to build an extensive portfolio of sound design and post production work. Practical coursework is typically supported by a written commentary or evaluation. The Research Methodology and Context module is assessed through a more substantial written paper.

How will I be taught?

The delivery of the course involves a mixture of teaching and learning activities, including lectures, workshops, seminars, online study materials and guest speaker sessions.

The workshop / seminar sessions will include ongoing peer review and tutor support opportunities. Some parts of the course are delivered using a ‘flipped classroom’ model, where students independently work through online study materials and tasks, which are followed up by practical support workshops.

Opportunities

Careers

You can use the course to develop an individually-tailored portfolio of skills. This will equip you for the current employment landscape, where a combination of traditional audio post production roles are required alongside broader practice in sound, music and other media.

The course also provides the breadth necessary for FE and HE teaching in the field, and provides the basis required for PhD research and beyond.

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 Design student you’ll be taught at Newton Park campus. You’ll benefit from access to:

  • Commons building 
  • Post Production facilities including: two high-end equipped audio surround suites, two audio editing suites, Foley and dialogue recording room, surround viewing theatre, eight video editing / colour grading suites and two TV studios.
  • Compton Musiclab Studios with three control rooms and live recording room
  • Twiverton Mac workstation room with all the software required for the course
  • Newton Park library
  • Our Virtual Learning Environment

Resources

MA Sound Design students can hire out equipment using SISO, Bath Spa University’s free equipment loan service. We provide a huge variety of equipment, including field recording equipment, film equipment and other audio related equipment.

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 creative individuals that have proven experience in sound design, audio post production, or music production.

Generally we look for a first degree, 2:1 or higher. Often this will be in audio post production, film, music, music technology or another closely related subject field. 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 previous studies and/or experience.

Typically a portfolio consists of two or three pieces, which might consist of film, film sound design, multimedia sound,, music production, sound installation work 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: Jan Meinema
Email: j.meinema@bathspa.ac.uk

Website feedback to web@bathspa.ac.uk