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The award
MA

How long you will study
1 year

Domestic course fees
7195

How you will study
full-time

Course starts
October

International course fees
find out

All study options

About Sound Design at Bath Spa University

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.

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMAHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study1 year
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees 7195International course fees find out
  • The awardMAHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study2 years
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees 7195International course fees find out
  • The awardPG CertHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study1 trimester
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardPG CertHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study2 trimester
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardPG DipHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study2 trimester
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardPG DipHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study4 trimester
    Course startsOctoberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course

Fees

UK and EU students full time

Course fees

2018/19 entry £7,195 2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019 2020/21 entry Published Jan 2020

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.

2018/19 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 £3,600 Year 2 Published Jan 2019

2019/20 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 Published Jan 2019 Year 2 Published Jan 2020

2020/21 Entry

Course fees

Year 1 Published Jan 2020 Year 2 Published Jan 2021

International students full time

Course fees

2018/19 entry £13,900 2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019 2020/21 entry Published Jan 2020

Entry requirements

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.

What students think about Bath Spa University

    Yasmina Van De Peer, BA (Hons) English Literature and Film Studies, Spain

    Where to start with this year? There have been so many new friends, a new life-style with freedom and no muYasmina Van De Peerm bossing me around. My year has not been easy but I would do it all again, life challenges you in many ways and this experience definitively has.

    When I arrived in September, I felt like a lost girl trying to find something that I could grasp and change my life forever. My first year in a foreign country was fantastic and thanks to the creative writing department, I will never forget my second year as I have the privilege of studying in Chicago for a full academic year! However, this has no real connection with why I chose Bath Spa University.

    I worked as an ambassador for this University and a lot parents have asked the same question, why did I choose it? After 50 parents it gets tiring- especially when I was unsure. As everyone else I want to succeed in life. I have dreamt about going to Oxford, Harvard or any well known University. But the one thing that I have learnt in life is that you can be successful and come from the smallest place in the world. The key to success requires determination to reach your goal.

    Bath Spa just felt right and it allowed me to combine my subjects [English Literature and Film Studies], be myself and it also has an inspiring and picturesque scenery. For me it was perfect.

    Johannes Gerdes, BA Business and Management, Germany

    I chose BA Business and Management as I have always been inspired by my dad who runs a world leading business. The opportunity to work for him during holidays gave me a chance to look inside a company and to experience what management, leadership and communication is all about. I wanted to widen my knowledge and hence started my Business & Management career here at Bath Spa.
    My parents always wanted to give me the opportunity to study abroad. My old school, near Bristol, where I stayed as a boarding student for the last two years, helped me to discover where most of my interests lie. In addition, friends of mine started studying here at Bath Spa.

    I would describe Bath Spa in three words as: Cultural, Wonderful, Friendly.

    In the future I hope I will be working together with my dad and widen the market to countries which haven't been discovered yet.


    Don't be afraid of university life. University is the best time in your life. You meet so many new people from different nationalities and all come together! You will settle down easily. You make friends so fast and there is always someone around to help you! Even language barriers can be fixed with a perfect Writing and Learning Centre [the English Language Unit (ELU) is also available for all international students to access where English is not their first language] here at Bath Spa. Come to Bath and experience the whole range of activities they offer and be open to new things!

    Nassos Polyzoidis, MMus Songwriting, Greece

    Even though I live in Greece, I'm familiar with many British Universities, as I work for some English Examination Boards for Music and I've attended some Summer Schools in UK over the years. Bath Spa University's reputation in Songwriting and Commercial Music was known to me for a long time. Being a guitarist and working for the RGT at the same time, I have heard stories about Bath being the birthplace of guitar magazines and other music and artistic events. I was accepted to study Commercial Music as an undergraduate student about 4 years ago, but due to some sudden accidents I have to decline my offer. After this unfortunate event, I decided to become better Musician and Songwriter, so that I can return as a postgraduate applicant. When I noticed that there was a distance learning degree, MMus Songwriting, I knew I had to do this. Meanwhile, I did my research, which only lead me to ensure my initial decision to study at Bath Spa University.


    I was attracted to this course as I was already familiar with Bath Spa University's reputation in this field. In addition to that, Songwriting isn't taught in my home county at all. I knew that only few Institutes offer Songwriting as a postgraduate degree, so I did my research over the last 3 years. During this time, I was only ensuring myself that I have to apply for this course. I really want to become a successful songwriter, and also, probably one of the first songwriting teachers in Greece, so I know that this course is best for me. I knew that the course will help me become more confident and enhance my professional skills in the field. Finally, being mainly inspired by British Songwriters, it was really important that my songwriting skills would develop a lot lyrically, which can help me open the door to an international market.


    I would describe Bath Spa University in three words as: Innovative, modern, artistic.


    Once I have my degree, I am really hoping to become a successful songwriter. Being inspired mainly by British Songwriters, I would really like to write songs for the UK and international market. In addition, I will probably become one of the first songwriting teachers in Greece. Last, but not least, as I'm already collaborating with several English musicians, I'm considering in my future plans to apply for a PhD and probably seek for more collaborations in UK, which might extend my visits there.


    My advice I would you give to other international students who want to study in the UK would depend on the ethics and societal context of each county. So, a general advice I would give is "Do not be afraid of failure, do your best and apply to the courses that you really like!"

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