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MA Sound (Composition and Sonic Art)
Bath School of Music and Performing Arts
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
One year full-time or two years part-time.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for our postgraduate courses vary. We're 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:

Realise and refine your own creative identity in sound and music with our MA in Composition and Sonic Art.

  • Develop the range of skills you need for the work you want to make, working as part of a vibrant artistic community.
  • Explore your potential and experiment – without stylistic boundaries – while we put your work and practice at the centre of everything we do.
  • Build an up-to-date portfolio showcasing your skills, experience, and artistic works – and take this into the next phase of your career.

Explore sound and music at an advanced level, and focus on the areas that interest you most. This course develops your core skills, such as working with instruments and sonic objects, notational strategies, soundscape recording, sound design, spatial audio, sound design, and interactive audio (e.g. for live performance, gaming, VR, immersive environments, and installations).

We put your work and practice at the centre of everything we do, offering you a space to experiment, make new music, and explore your potential. Whether your work is based in notation or in digital audio, we’ll help you develop and expand your skills as a composer or sonic artist and deepen your artistic, professional and academic knowledge.

You'll join a vibrant community of creative artists working in music, sound design, production, and the performing arts. Creative practice thrives at Bath Spa in many forms, allowing you to work on new creative collaborations with other artists including musicians, choreographers, filmmakers, and theatre practitioners.

This MA in Composition and Sonic Art caters for those working in a wide variety of styles and approaches, and enables you to develop an individually-tailored portfolio of skills, experience, and artistic practice. By taking this varied approach, you'll be more suited for employment in today's landscape, where many combine traditional roles (such as musician, performer or composer) with technical roles in other media.

"The course definitely built up my confidence and helped to define my voice as a composer. It also helped me enhance the skills that I would need to move forward in the industry as a composer."

Lois Wyatt, Composition student
Headshot image of Lois Wyatt

What you'll learn


This composition and sonic art course provides a space to experiment with new ideas. We’ll support you to develop your creative practice through practical consideration of both your professional and academic skills.

Weekly discussion seminars and workshops allow your personal development to be contextualised amid the work of others. You'll develop and expand your creative, technical and academic skills, commenting critically on your own and others’ work. We set this against a wider consideration of current music and sonic art, exploring developments in contemporary thought by looking at new work. We also bring in a broad selection of visiting composers and sound artists to talk about their practice and widen your perspective of ways to make work.

You'll have focused time to discuss and develop your own niche interests and technical concerns, as well as explore new directions. The course also provides the breadth necessary, where required, to prepare you for PhD research and beyond.

Course structure

Trimester one

Focus on making new work, develop your skills and explore the contexts in which you work. In the first trimester, you begin two year-long modules, which focus on core technical skills and the mutually beneficial links between research and practice. These support the core module in which you produce a portfolio of creative work.

The Sound Skills module is built on the idea that you’ll already have a set of core technical skills that underpin your practice, and offers you opportunities to extend your capabilities. You can choose a set of projects from a large number of options – including composition, sound art, sound design, sound production and (optional) elements of multimedia.

The Research and Practice module helps you interrogate your own practice and think about how it relates to current artistic and cultural contexts, drawing on our programme of visiting practitioners, who discuss their work. Focusing on developing skills in postgraduate-level research and writing, it's designed to give you the tools to reflect on how you work, what you make, and how it exists in the world. It also helps prepare you for further study as a researcher-practitioner if you continue to a PhD.

In the Creative Portfolio module you make your own work, supported by critique and discussion with the course team and other students. We’ll discuss broader issues as a group through the weekly seminar sessions. The seminars feature themed topics, giving you the chance to widen your knowledge of repertoire and key issues, as well as exploring how they relate to what you do as a composer or sound artist. You’ll produce a portfolio that focuses on your interests while experimenting with new ideas. 

Trimester two

In the second trimester you develop your practice further, aiming towards an external presentation of the work you make in our summer SparkFest, which takes place on campus, across the city, and online. You continue to develop your work, supported by the weekly seminars, responding to internal and external opportunities and considering the way your work engages with audiences.

You also continue with Sound Skills, building on the exploration of new ways to work that you began in the first trimester. You’ll complete your Research and Practice module with a project which summarises the contextual artistic research you’ve undertaken.

Trimester three

The course culminates in an independent, creative, large-scale Major Project, which draws together the new approaches you’ve developed over the initial stages of the course. The project is presented at the end of the summer and, alongside the other creative practice you’ve completed, serves as a substantial portfolio piece for the next stage of your career. 

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the programme document for more information on which modules are core, required or optional.

  • Sound Skills
  • Practice and Research
  • Creative Portfolio
  • Presenting Practice
  • Advanced Audio Workflows
  • Production Project
  • Major Project
How will I be assessed?

The majority of assessment is based on your creative coursework. For each module you'll typically produce a varied portfolio, inspired in part by the opportunities and experiences you encounter on the course, as well as your individual interests and future plans.

Some practical projects are accompanied by short, informal written assignments, and for the Research and Practice module you’ll produce a more substantial paper that investigates your interests as an artist and helps you understand the contexts in which you work.

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. Throughout the year, we bring in composers, sound artists and industry professionals to talk about their work and deepen your knowledge and understanding of current contexts. 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 Sound Skills module we make use of a flipped classroom model, where you work through online materials independently and at your own pace, supported by weekly workshops with tutors.

To find out more about how we teach and how you'll learn, please read our Learning and Teaching Delivery Statement.

“Bath Spa University have given me the knowledge, support, and inspiration that I needed to take my creative work to levels I never thought possible. The experience has been fun, rewarding, challenging, moving, and memorable.”

Eldred Stevenson, Composition graduate.


Work placements, industry links and internships

We have good links with the UK contemporary music and sonic art scene, and have regular visits from performers, composers and other industry speakers during the year, including our visiting musicians, Plus Minus Ensemble.

We also run a regular series of presentations by visiting composers that bring together MA and PhD students with staff and colleagues from other disciplines. Composers and sound artists who have recently visited us to talk about their work include Peter Ablinger, Joanna Bailie, Laura Bowler, Laurence Crane, Cathy von Eck, Jem Finer, Graham Fitkin, Kathy Hinde, Tom Johnson, Cathy Lane, Liza Lim, Kaffe  Matthews, Anna Meredith, Cassandra Miller, Phill Niblock, Michael Pisaro, Robin Rimbaud (Scanner), Howard Skempton, and Jennifer Walshe.

Industry and academic speakers also present their work at the commercially-orientated Music Think Tank. 


As well as developing your work artistically and technically, this MA Sound course equips you with a broad range of intellectual, practical and transferable skills for the wider workplace.

We’ll help you prepare for a portfolio career built around your creative practice, drawing in other related areas of work. The course aims primarily to develop your practice as a composer or sound artist, as well as supporting the application of these skills in related areas such as teaching, editing, production, performing, and other areas of the creative industries.

Our aim is that when you graduate, you'll have developed core problem-solving, analytical, and critical skills to support you in the ever-evolving music and sound landscape. Our graduates have had a range of successful careers in production, composition, music for film and TV, sound design for moving image and games, sound art, software development, engineering, teaching, and research.

Adobe Creative Campus

Develop a wealth of indispensable digital skills that you can take into your future career. One of only three Adobe Creative Campuses in the UK, we provide all Bath Spa students with access to the full Adobe Creative Suite, giving you the tools to communicate creatively, whatever your course or chosen professional field.   

Composition tutors at Bath Spa are internationally-recognised composers, digital sound artists, professional music-makers and active researchers.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

Based at our Newton Park Campus, you’ll have access to a range of University services, venues and specialist music resources. 

  • Musiclab Studios with three control rooms and a live recording room.

  • Audio Mixing booths.

  • Recording studios with two control rooms and live recording room.

  • TV studio complex, including a range of post-production facilities:

    • two high-end audio surround suites

    • audio editing suites

    • Foley and dialogue recording room

    • surround viewing theatre

    • video editing/colour grading suites

    • two TV studios.

  • Mac workstation room with networked music technology labs with high-spec workstations, running core software including Sibelius, Ableton, Pro Tools, Logic, MAX/MSP, and Adobe.

  • Michael Tippett Centre, housing a purpose-built concert hall with excellent acoustics and PA.

  • University Theatre.

  • Commons building, with its superb classroom facilities, social spaces, and specialist digital resources.

  • 17 practice rooms, three with electronically variable acoustics.

  • Access to our free equipment loan service, which provides a huge variety including field recording, film and other audio related equipment.

  • A wide range of medieval, renaissance and baroque instruments, and a large collection of percussion and orchestral instruments.

  • A Javanese gamelan.

  • Newton Park Library, including a large collection of books, periodicals and CDs with extensive eBook and online journal access.

  • Writing and Learning Centre, which provides support for your academic work, including feedback on written drafts and other help with academic writing.

  • English Language Unit, which can help you improve your English, reach your full potential and boost your confidence.

  • Virtual Learning Environment, which provides online access to learning materials such as lecture slides, assessment information, discussion boards and other resources.

  • Access to thousands of business, design and tech courses online via LinkedIn Learning.


2024 entry
Student Annual tuition fee
UK full time £8,825
UK part time £4,413
International full time £17,065

Fee notes

*Fee shown is for part time study over two years, although some courses may be available over longer periods.

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We’re looking for students with an enquiring approach to making original sound and music. You’ll be interested in developing your practice and exploring the many contexts in which it is situated and have a proven track record in making creative sound/music work.

We support work in a wide range of styles and genres, while maintaining an experimental and exploratory approach.

Typical offers

Generally we look for a good honours degree or higher. Often this will be in Music or Music Technology. However, we accept applicants with other degrees where they can demonstrate relevant experience. We make offers based on your previous experience, which may be conditional on completing current courses, or unconditional. See our Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) web page to learn more.

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 the work you make, but is likely to contain a mix of audio, video, documentation of performances or installations, and scores. It’s easiest to put the materials in a folder (Dropbox, Google Drive etc.) with a document listing what it contains, and links to any external work online.

Your portfolio should consist of no more than three pieces. Above all, we’ll be looking for the creative use of sound/music in your work.

Please email the course leader if you have any questions about the course, and don’t forget to book an Open Day so that you can meet us in person and take a tour of our facilities. An online meeting with the course leader can be arranged if you have questions about the course.

Guidance for international students

Just like our domestic applicants, international students are asked to submit an online application portfolio (see above). An online meetings with the course leader can be arranged if you have questions about the course. Further information will be provided on application. 

When to apply

Many of our postgraduate courses have a limited number of student spaces. To avoid the disappointment of the course being full, we recommend that you apply now.

Late applications (generally those made after 31 July) will only be considered if places remain on the course.

Need more information or still have questions? Contact us to discuss your situation.

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