Audio and Music Technology BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with placement)




As creative industries report continual growth year on year, the need for employees with skills and knowledge in audio related disciplines has also increased - particularly in industries such as live sound, gaming, broadcast and film. As such, there has arguably never been a better time to enrol on our industry accredited Audio and Music Technology Bachelor of Science degree.

Full description


Our course focuses heavily on the science and technology that underpins the subject area – the aim being that you'll have a wide range of career paths open to you.

Our graduates work in a variety of roles and industries including recording and mix engineers, live sound engineering, acoustic consultants, audio electronics, project management and hardware design, as well as lecturers and technicians. A number of our alumni have gone on to found their own companies and develop successful freelance careers.

As a graduate, you'll be able to understand and operate the latest hardware and software, have transferable skills that greatly enhance your employability, and already be part of a network of professionals.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Acoustics, Sound and Music
    Using demonstrations and experiments, this module will introduce you to the basic properties of waves, with a special emphasis on sound waves in the air. You will study simple models of musical instruments such as stretched strings, as well as analysing the acoustic characteristics of other instruments. We will also introduce Sabine’s Formula to calculate reverberation times which impact on architectural acoustics, and how issues with this can be overcome using active or passive techniques such as Helmholtz resonators. Your learning will be assessed through coursework and an examination.
  • Basic Recording and Studio Techniques
    In this module you will get an introduction to sound recording and performance software and hardware. You will start with a study of the basic system design and signal chain of a typical recording studio, followed by essential software and hardware. We will discuss the basic technical operation of some devices such as recording media and devices, playback media and devices, dynamic and condenser microphones, analogue and digital mixing desks, dynamics processors, reverberation and delay effects, filters and equalisation and studio monitors. We will demonstrate commercial music software packages in lectures and features such as MIDI sequencing, audio recording and importation, audio and MIDI processing and editing. You will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with a range of commercial software and hardware devices available in our studios.
  • Computer Modelling
    This module will introduce you to the use of computer tools to solve engineering problems. You will get a sound understanding of the principles of generating a computer model or solution from a defined specification. We will introduce you to the MATLAB software package, which allows mathematical expressions to be solved using various command functions and simple software statements as well as the basic ideas of producing plots. You will also learn the basics of C language as well as discussing fundamental issues like constants, variables, operators, conditional and iterative statements.
  • Core Technology
    You will be provided with a range of activities designed to enhance the basic skills necessary for successful progress on your chosen course. You will cover a wealth of subjects which are technology related including physics, electronics and information technology. You will also cover the essential aspects of the Personal Development Plan (PDP) which are obligatory within the teaching framework of the faculty. This will include the practice of personal development planning, in the context of your undergraduate studies, and encourage you to start actively planning for your academic and career development.
  • Digital Electronics
    You will be introduced to the analysis and design of digital electronic circuits. Our module looks at digital devices and examines the fundamentals of Boolean logic. The different logic gates are explained, and techniques are introduced for generating and simplifying logical expressions using Boolean algebra and Karnaugh maps. You will look at practical applications, including the design of fundamental circuits such as decoders, encoders and arithmetic circuits. This is followed by examining how sequential logic techniques allow us to design circuits with memory. Different types of memory are explained, along with their applications. Finally, you will examine the design of synchronous and asynchronous counters. You will cover the operating principles of all circuit elements by lectures and tutorials, supplemented by practical experiments using both hardware and circuit simulation software.
  • Mathematics for Technology 1
    This module provides a solid background in mathematical techniques and analysis in order to pursue a degree course in technology or engineering studies. The module will help you to assess your existing mathematical skills and enable you develop your core mathematical skills, knowledge and techniques needed in order to solve elementary scientific and engineering problems.

Year one, optional modules

  • Studio Practice
    In this module you will be introduced to and use industry standard software, Avid Pro-Tools. You will learn how to use this in conjunction with a studio mixing desk/control surface. You will gain an early introduction to the general principles of a mixer's use and technology and how it integrates with the software. You will be guided through the various components of a mixer, including the use of filters and equalisation. You will understand techniques for maximising sonic fidelity and the relevant principles, including guidance on elements such as impedance and the use of balanced and unbalanced connections. You will look at importance of standard units for describing sound and consider the role of outboard equipment and monitoring systems. You will utilise the most common types of effects, including dynamic processing and echo-based effects, and get detailed guidance on their applicability to different musical contexts. This module involves group work. Each group is tasked with producing a commercially viable finished recording.
  • Analogue Electronics
    This module introduces you to the analysis and design of analogue electronic circuits. You will review the fundamentals of analogue components including resistors, capacitors and inductors, and investigate how simple circuits are designed using these components. Various forms of diodes, transistors and operational amplifiers are introduced, and we will explain their equivalent circuit models. You will also be introduced to the measurement and analysis tools used in the electronics industry and the operating principles of all circuit elements. Teaching will be through lectures and tutorials, supplemented by practical experiments using both hardware and circuit simulation software. This will enable you to compare actual measured results with theory as well as illustrating the effects of component tolerances. You will also get practical experience of the presentation and interpretation of manufacturers' data for real components.

Year two, core modules

  • Advanced Acoustics and Psychoacoustics
    The understanding of sound mechanisms in the field of audio technology is of great importance. Since there are several sound producing processes which are used in audio technology it is vital that the student has a working knowledge and an appreciation of the limitations of the technologies used. This module reviews the mechanisms of sound production and transmission. Binaural localisation of single sources is examined, and the implications for stereophonic recording and reproduction are explained. This leads to a discussion of quadraphonic and other surround-sound systems. Next, the design and construction of loudspeakers is examined, with consideration of the roles of the driver and enclosure. Newer designs such as distributed-mode (flat-panel) loudspeakers are explored. The module also examines psychoacoustics, It outlines the physiology of the ear and explains the perception of psychophysical attributes of sound. The relationships between these and the measurable physical parameters of the sound are examined in detail. Current theories of pitch perception are examined, such as place theory, periodicity theory and volley theory. Auditory grouping processes are explored using the principles of Gestalt theory. The perception of loudness is explored by considering the derivation of the Fletcher-Munson equal-loudness curves. Musical timbre is examined by looking at how evaluation of perceptual timbral similarity leads to the concept of a multi- dimensional timbre space. Finally, several categories of auditory illusion are presented, such as Shepard/Risset tones and the McGurk effect. The module is assessed by a combination of exam and coursework.
  • Advanced Studio Practice
    As the mixing desk forms the heart of every recording studio, this module will give you an early introduction to the general principles of mixer technology and to use its many facilities with confidence and proficiency. You’ll be introduced to and guided through the principles and applications of analogue, digital and virtual mixers, involving detailed study of the wide range of facilities offered by modern mixers in both live recording and post-processing. The use of filters and EQ will be studied in detail. You’ll also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of other commercial studio hardware and software, for composition and editing as well as live recording. Practical exercises will enable you to become fully acquainted with the resources and applications of these complex devices and help you appreciate their limitations as well as their great in the creation of compositions.
  • Audio Electronics
    In this module you will develop an understanding of the basic principles of audio electronic systems (chiefly analogue, so that you can appreciate, evaluate, select and test audio equipment that you're likely to own or use in your studies and career. We will cover small signal and power amplifiers, examining the diversity of designs of these devices, analysing their particular merits but also their limitations. The problems of noise, interference and distortion in the audio chain and especially in amplifiers, will be investigated and using suitable test equipment it will be shown how such effects can be identified and measured.
  • Digital Music Format
    You will look at various applications of MIDI and other digital technologies to music and in detail at the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) standard used throughout music technology. You will explore the underlying technologies and the various MIDI messages used are examined in detail. You will also have the opportunity to gain familiarity with techniques and practical tools for sequencing and transforming MIDI data. Our module also gives you a working knowledge of sound synthesis techniques used in hardware and software. You will also look at newer applications of MIDI to mobile and internet communications. Consideration is given to the role of alternate controllers (gestural controllers), and you will be introduced to the technologies used in MIDI guitars, MIDI drums, and MIDI wind and brass instruments.
  • Live Recording Practice
    You will develop skills in making stereo recordings of a wide diversity of live performance material. You will examine the properties and use of high quality microphones and then develop an understanding of the theory of stereo sound. The various psychoacoustic factors which influence stereo perception on playback through loudspeaker systems are then examined and these are illustrated by practical demonstrations. The varied classic microphone arrays for stereo recording are studied and these are evaluated by analysing practical recording/playback experiments in the studio. Theoretical work is reinforced by a weekly programme of graded recording exercises that cover a diverse range of sound sources, developing a wide experience of stereo recording. In addition you will be given the opportunity to make a recording of your choice, and give an oral presentation analysing the acoustic challenges arising from your choice, explaining the techniques used to meet these, illustrating this by playing the recording itself.

Year two, optional modules

  • Audio for Film
    This module examines the processes and tools required to create audio for film. It is aimed at developing an awareness of, and competence in, the skills needed to produce audio for film. This will be achieved via a combination of lectures and demonstrations on production sound recording, sound effect creation, automated dialogue replacement, Foley art and music composition. This module will also stress the importance of planning the processes involved in producing audio for film, as well as developing the critical observational skills of seeing and listening. This module will identify and demonstrate the tools used in the production and post-production of film, and also explore some emerging technologies. You'll be assessed while working in small groups to record, create, edit and mix the sound for a short film. Each group will present these short films towards the end of the semester. You will also document the entire process in a written report submitted at the end of the module. By the end of the module you'll have a good working knowledge of the processes and skills sought by filmmakers, extending your future employability.
  • Composition Software
    We will introduce you to some of the programming tools and techniques used to construct audio applications on the PC platform, as well as several existing tools for sound synthesis. After reviewing historical tools, you will be introduced to various contemporary software tools to control the generation and processing of audio and MIDI data, and compare them on their programmability and ease of use in a variety of applications. You will explore a variety of common algorithms for sound synthesis, such as subtractive synthesis, wavetable synthesis (sampling), Fourier synthesis and FM. You will compare different audio formats, and learn to appreciate the advantages and limitations of fixed-point and floating-point representations. We will also outline the need for buffering, requirements of notation and examine at least one commercial notation package.
  • Design Methods and Technology Project
    This module is essentially a mini project where you will design some artifact, e.g.: electronic hardware, software, multimedia production, website etc. The management of the project is in itself a core element and you are expected to produce a formal specification using sound design methods, a time plan and progress indicator. You will also be expected to produce a number of alternative designs that meet the specification, select the most appropriate design using recognised techniques and carry out design reviews.
  • Electronic Circuits
    You will be introduced to the analysis and design of electronic circuits. You will review the fundamentals that relate to analogue and digital circuit design. You will be introduced to analogue circuits comprising various amplifier classifications and their theoretical models will be explained for circuit design. The analogue section also includes an introduction to active filters and Bode plots, an essential ingredient for electronic circuit design. The phase lock loop and its applications are also discussed.
  • Audio Plug-In Development
    Software-based audio processing units and plug-ins are an integral part of current Digital Audio Workstations. Year 1 studies focus on the application and use of such software – this module provides a working knowledge of the design and implementation of bespoke audio plug-ins through audio programming. You will develop audio processors that are ubiquitous in software and hardware based technologies (e.g. amplitude levelling, panning control, distortion, filtering, delay and synthesizers). To this end, you will bring together several topics including audio processing, algorithm development/simulation and scripting using Software Development Kits (SDKs).
  • Audio for Games
    Game audio is an often misunderstood element of game production, requiring appropriate sound engineering skills and knowledge of the relevant tools and technology. A good audio engineer working in the game industry must also be creative and imaginative, as they are often asked to create unique sounds for often unrealistic and other worldly environments and scenarios. Creating the soundtrack for a game includes writing music, creating unique sound effects and ambient effects, as well as recording character voices and spoken instructions. To be part of this growing industry, one must be able to produce non-linear, interactive experiences, not just one off sound effects or music loops. That means one must be able to implement the audio into the game, rather than simply create it and pass it on to a programmer for incorporation into the game. This module uses the Unreal Development Kit (UDK) to teach the implementation of audio into a real game environment that has been previously constructed by the makers of UDK software. This module will also introduce the use of a popular middleware software package, designed to integrate specialised audio production tools with the game development engine. Assessment for the module will be for each student to implement audio into the working game environment provided, over the course of the semester.
  • Signals and Signal Processing
    A solid understanding of the nature, characteristics and sources of signals is an essential part in any electronics or audio technology course. Here, you will gain a broad understand of signals, their sources and how they are processed using analogue and digital techniques. You will also gain an insight into how signals are characterised, analysed and filtered, as well as frequency analysis and its application to audio signals.

Year three, core modules

  • Final Studio Portfolio 1
    This module involves the application of high quality contemporary music studios to produce recordings of the very best possible sound quality. It is primarily intended for final-year students on the BSc (Hons) Audio and Music Technology course, and assumes competence in the use of music studios and audio software. Students will have the opportunity to use a range of software and hardware for musical applications and develop a full portfolio of high quality recordings for professional use after graduation. Advanced skills in recording, sound engineering, mixing and production will be demonstrated and discussed, in lectures and tutorials. In particular, advanced recording, sequencing and mix processes will be highlighted, the overall aim being to produce finished recordings of the very highest sound quality. This will be augmented by critical listening and analysis of existing recordings. Students will have the opportunity to watch advanced audio software and hardware in use and gain "hands-on" experience. The module also examines trends in high quality hardware and software design. The student will also be able to gain further understanding of the theory and practice of sound engineering, and will be able to produce high-quality musical productions. The module is assessed by submission of a portfolio of recordings.
  • Final Studio Portfolio 2
    The aim of this portfolio is to work to “real” work briefs, keeping a “budget” for the work, as if you were a working freelance sound engineer. The portfolio produced here will demonstrate your ability to follow a client brief and deliver an appropriate finished product whilst working to a fixed time frame with fixed budget and appropriate equipment and processes. You will have the opportunity to use a range of professional studios, but the “cost” of these has to be taken into account in the submitted portfolio. The module is assessed by submission of a portfolio of completed “client” assignments, along with supporting written work and budget sheets.
  • Dissertation
    You will undertake a major piece of individual study in the field of computing or computer applications. Projects are drawn from commercial, industrial or research based problem areas involving you in researching and investigating aspects of applied computing, then producing a major deliverable. The original research and the project process will be fully reported in the dissertation. Your dissertation must focus on an area of information systems that is covered in the taught phase of the course. The nature of the research undertaken is not constrained. You may engage in applied research by addressing a problem or issue that is based on your work or other experience or you may engage in a theoretical study of some aspect of information systems. The topic to be researched will have been initially presented by you in the Research Paradigms module. You will have a supervisor appointed who is a subject expert in the area under consideration.

Year three, optional modules

  • Digital Performance
    You will be introduced to several advanced programming tools for live audio and extend your knowledge of audio programming. You will learn about various complex audio tasks and be given a chance to implement these using an audio programming language such as ChucK. You will be presented with spectral analysis techniques and introduced to the Fourier Transform, the Discrete Fourier Transform and the Fast Fourier Transform. The choice of windowing functions and alternatives to the FFT will be discussed. You will also be given an outline of applications of spectral analysis. You will explore the convolution theorem through analysis of filter design and amplitude modulation and you will be introduced to fast convolution as a tool for implementation of artificial reverberation. You will learn about operation of analogue devices and algorithms for simulating non-linear electronic and optical components. You will also review common synthesis algorithms. You will learn about granular synthesis and its application to timescale modification, physical modelling as a tool for realistic emulation of musical instruments, the concept of the digital waveguide, and techniques for simulation of one-dimensional systems including strings and pipes. You will be provided with an outline of tools for integrating audio programs into the studio environment, including protocols available for the construction of plug-ins. You will also discuss tools for live performance (such as Traktor, Final Scratch, Virtual DJ, and Ableton). The applications of gestural controllers are outlined, with examples of currently available hardware and software demonstrated. You will be assessed by two pieces of coursework.
  • Live Sound Engineering
    There will always be a demand for live sound engineering for both acoustic and electronic music. This module introduces you to the principles and practice of sound engineering in live situations. In many cases this differs substantially from that in recording studios. We start by introducing the key principles behind electrical safety and hearing protection, which are of great importance to the engineers, audience, artists and venue staff. We then look at the audio hardware involved, including mixers, amplifiers and crossovers. The various electrical connections and connector types are explained. The importance of stage monitoring is examined. You'll also learn the principles of lighting controllers and visuals, and the technologies used. The overall PA system is considered both in terms of an ideal design and the practicalities of running a non-ideal system successfully. The system configurations in several different venues are compared. The management of a system in a live environment is demonstrated through practical sessions at live events. This will include consideration of how to deal effectively with artists, promoters and venue staff.
  • Integrated Audio System Design
    Creative industries rely on bespoke complex integrations of multitudinous technologies and underlying principles to provide facilities suitable for the production of sound (for media) deliverables. This module examines the processes by which such systems are specified and designed. Generally, procedures relevant to this outcome involve a wide range of knowledge and expertise in the fields of room acoustic design, sound isolation, absorption/diffusion/abfusion approaches, playback and capture system specifications and their arrangement in a specified space, signal flow, signal noise attenuation and avoidance amongst others. Hence, the scope of this module is to provide a body of working knowledge that may be applied in multiple areas of industry that rely on sound reproduction and editing systems.
  • Analogue and Digital Synthesis
    This module gives you an opportunity to gain an understanding and working knowledge of electronic music generation, processing and manipulation. We will review the architectures of early analogue synthesisers, principally examining the implementation of subtractive synthesis. You will be introduced to sound, Wavetable synthesis (sampling), practical schemes for multi-sampling of acoustic instruments, Fourier synthesis (additive sine-wave synthesis) and examine details of look-up table error and recursive sinusoid generation. We will explain amplitude modulation and the resultant spectra, frequency modulation, transfer function and non-linear transfer functions; leading to a discussion of wave shaping and its role in synthesis. Finally, we will examine several other synthesis algorithms, including physical modelling and granular synthesis.
  • Audio Programming
    This module builds on previous learning in the area of computer programming to produce useful audio algorithms for game and/or virtual reality environments. As well as utilising algorithm development software (such as MATLAB) and C/C++ IDEs, the learning materials will explore the combination of game design software and audio production middleware. The theory and implementation of audio effects (e.g. reverberation, pitch-shifting, filtering, delay, distortion) and physical modelling of acoustic systems (e.g. oscillators, strings, and membranes) will be examined such that they can be incorporated into the production of a simple game. Issues such as code optimisation and algorithm stability will be discussed alongside potential (optional) enhancements to improve the feasibility/impact/realism of the audio excerpts and components designed. Module material will be delivered through a series of weekly lectures and related guided tutorials. Exposition of the theory of the choice audio algorithms will be delivered during lectures alongside insights on development methodology. Tutorial sessions will focus on applying the lecture material to the implementation of a series of audio algorithms and, later in the module, their incorporation into a gaming environment. The assessed element of this module takes the form of a series of set tutorial tasks and a final open-ended game production project.
  • Independent Learning Module
    This module supports you in the preparation and submission of independent learning. It enables you to study topics not provided within existing modules but within clearly defined parameters.


We use a range of assessment methods to ensure that your achievements are measured appropriately and that you are best prepared for your future career. Assessments currently include portfolios of recorded works, essays, reports, log books, posters and presentations.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

Using our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond, we nurture creativity and critical thinking to educate, entertain, inspire and understand people, as well as improving their lives.

In the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, we nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking, and encourage critical thinking to educate, entertain, inspire and understand people, as well as improving their lives.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Additional study information


This course gives you the opportunity to take a work placement between years 2 and 3. You’ll get experience of seeking and securing a job and working in an industry relating to your course. You’ll also get the practical experience and industry contacts to benefit your studies and enhance your long-term career prospects.

Although they can’t be guaranteed, we can work with you to find a placement, using our contacts with a large number of employers. You’ll have regular contact with one of our course tutors and be supported by a supervisor from your placement company. Together they’ll monitor your performance and give you feedback.

To find out more about placement opportunities, email us at

Specialist facilities

Our 162 sq metres of studio space rivals that of many commercially run operations, and incorporates five fully soundproofed, climate-controlled recording studios equipped with Apple Mac Pro and G5 computers. Our studios contain a selection of industry-standard equipment and software from the likes of Audient, Apple, Solid State Logic (SSL), M-Audio, Novation, RME, Universal Audio, Lexicon, Coles, Rode, Shure, Beyerdynamic, Audio Technica, Moog, Yamaha, Ludwig, Ampeg, Vox, TC Electronic, Mackie and TL Audio, to name but a few. We also have a wide selection of microphones, video cameras and portable recording devices to allow for location work.

Our equipment has been chosen and distributed so that each studio becomes successively more complex. You’ll start at a point that matches your current knowledge and move on to the more complex rooms as your skills develop. Finally you’ll be able to confidently operate our flagship main studio, which is large enough to accommodate ensembles such as choirs, orchestral groups and bands and has been used by the BBC to record radio programmes. Our studios themselves are maintained and administered by a dedicated team of professionals who are on hand to offer advice and support.

You’ll also have access to our AV lab containing 20 iMacs loaded with a wide variety of music and other software. All our computers are networked and have UPS power supplies. You’ll be allocated server space on one of our studio servers, and a unique password will give you sole access to and control of your work.

We also operate a portable 16-channel studio rig with a Fostex HD recorder, which you can book out along with mics, stands and leads, for location recordings in the evenings or over the weekend. We have a wide range of high-quality microphones, two studio drum kits and lots of other instruments, including some classics such as the Roland Juno 60, and Akai S3000 XL.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2018/19 or 2019/20 (per year)


International students, 2018/19 (per year)


International students starting 2019/20 (per year)


Placement year (UK, EU, international students)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

You can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

International students

You must pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit or sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

All tariff points must come from A levels. Points from AS levels cannot be counted towards the total tariff points required for entry to this course.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

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