BSc (Hons) Music and Sound Technology - University of Portsmouth
A Gold rating in teaching excellence Read more
BSc (Hons)

Music and Sound Technology

UCAS codeGJ49

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

Combining creativity and technical ability

Course Overview

Why take this course?

The Music and Sound Technology course gives you the opportunity to develop your technical and creative skills, equipping you for a career in the creative industries in a broad range of professional music technology, sound and multimedia roles.

You will have the opportunity to produce a varied, diverse and exciting portfolio of creative practical work on the course, in areas such as studio recording, sound design, synthesis, music composition, game audio, software development and live performance. You will also investigate creative ideas and exploratory approaches to using technology for sound and music. Whilst core skills are an important part of the degree, the course will prepare you for the demands of a professional environment, and promote individuality in your creative explorations and studies. This ensures that you are a unique and employable graduate.

This course is industry accredited by JAMES (Joint Audio Media Education Support) representing APRS (The Association of Professional Recording Services), MPG (The Music Producers Guild) and associate industry bodies.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Use our fully equipped sound/music studios and multimedia labs to enhance your learning experience
  • Get creative – compose music, design sound, design software and produce your own music or sound art pieces
  • Get hands on experience using a range of hardware modular synthesisers
  • Opt to do a salaried placement year


What opportunities might it lead to?

The course is designed to develop technical skills and creative practice in a range of areas, to produce the next generation of audio professionals.

Our previous graduates have pursued successful careers in:

  • Sound Recording/Engineering
  • Sound Design
  • Composition
  • Performance
  • Film and Video Production
  • Multimedia
  • Education
  • Postgraduate Study


Ken Wharton-Emms, BSc (Hons) Music and Sound Technology student

There hasn't been anything I haven't enjoyed on this course – teaching music is hopefully going to be my destination after I graduate.

Ken Wharton-Emms, BSc (Hons) Music and Sound Technology student


Computing and Creative Technologies

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Hands-on, practical work and real-life learning, which is transferable to future careers
  • Approachable lecturers who have experience and contacts in the industry

Browse all courses in Computing and Creative Technologies

Back to top

Structure & Teaching

Year one

In the first year, you will begin working in our recording studio facilities, and develop a range of technical, creative and academic skills.

Core units in this year are:

  • Introduction to Studio Techniques
  • Electroacoustic Music Composition
  • Music in Context
  • Sound for Moving Image
  • Sound: Practice and Theory
  • Eportfolio for Media, Audio and Graphics

Year two

During your second year you will expand upon your recording and production techniques, be introduced to software design and creative programming, and plan for your final year project and future career in the three core units. You also choose three units from our list of options, allowing you to specialise in your areas of interest.

Core units in this year include:

  • Digital Sound
  • Recording and Production Techniques
  • Project Initiation and Career Management
  • Options to choose from in this year include:
  • Music Business Practice
  • Professional Experience
  • Student Enterprise
  • Composition Portfolio
  • Sound Design and Music For Games
  • Laptop Music Performance

Year three*

Your final year allows you significant freedom to pursue your academic, creative and professional interests. A broad range of option units is available, allowing you to tailor the course to your professional and educational requirements.

Core units in this year include:

  • Professional Music Production Techniques
  • Sound Application
  • Final Year Project
  • Options to choose from in this year include:
  • Interdisciplinary Group Project
  • Experimental Music Programming
  • Key Issues in Contemporary Music Studies
  • Music and Sound Synthesis
  • Implementing Game Audio
  • Live Electronic Music

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

*This course is also available as a 4-year sandwich (work placement)

Placement year

Between the second and third years of study you will have the option to undertake a work placement year. There are two exciting options for the placement year:

Professional/industrial placements – work for a company or organisation on a professional placement year

We offer a range of salaried professional placements as part of your degree. You can gain invaluable work experience to help you prepare for your graduate employment. The University can provide you with advice on how to secure a work placement that matches both the needs of your degree and your future career plans, as well as giving you useful links and contacts.

Self-employed placement year – set up and run a business on your own or as a group

Interested in running your own business instead? We also offer students the chance to start-up and run their own company for a year as an alternative to the traditional work-based placement. Students who choose this option often start-up their companies with fellow, like-minded students, working together, as a bona fide operation, in an attempt to build a successful venture. The Faculty and University provide mentoring and support throughout the year.

To find out more visit our Employability and Enterprise page.


You will experience a variety of teaching through lectures, seminars and hands-on workshops.

We aim to conduct the practical elements of the course in smaller classes to aid personal professional development. You’ll also benefit from our staff’s wide variety of expertise including sonic art, digital and analogue recording, popular music performance, composition and songwriting.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 20% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 80% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 18% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 82% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 14% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 86% studying independently and 0% on work placement


Due to the practical nature of this course, assessment is extremely varied and includes:

  • practical projects
  • working journals
  • academic and evaluative essays
  • performances
  • oral presentations
  • examinations
  • case studies

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 0% by written exams, 55% by practical exams and 45% by coursework
  • Year two students: 3% by written exams, 42% by practical exams and 55% by coursework
  • Year three students: 0% by written exams, 19% by practical exams and 81% by coursework

Back to top

Facilities & Features

Sound and music studios

You will have access to the five sound studios in our Middle Street Studio complex. You will use an impressive range of professional recording and mixing equipment including a valve 32 channel TL Audio mixing desk, an SSL Matrix 2 console with 10 Neve 1074 preamps and 16 channels of Neve and SSL dynamics and EQ. A 7.1 surround studio (Genelec) is also available for multichannel work and spatial audio projects (including a Slate Raven multi- touch console). You will also get to use the only Buchla System 7 synthesizer in a university in Europe (one of only 2 in the UK), as well as four Oakley Modular Synthesizers. Our professional high-end equipment enables you to get plenty of practical experience with high quality studio tools and electronic instruments, ensuring that you are working to an industry standard.


Specialist software and equipment

You will have access to computers equipped with the latest music software. The Mac Labs contain iMac Dual i7 computers running: Logic Pro X, Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Max/MSP (including Max for Live), Native Instruments (including Reaktor), Pure Data, and game engine software.


University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider


You may select an optional Student Enterprise Unit which incurs a cost of approximately £20.

For one of the optional units you will need access to a digital camera.

Occasional coach trips may require a contribution of up to £20.


Back to top

Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

Our course has a broad and diverse curriculum with the opportunity to specialise through the wide choice of optional units. This will equip you with a range of technical, creative and professional skills for future employment. Sound and music are integral aspects in most media, providing opportunities for professional employment in film, television, computer games, theatre, and festivals. Throughout your time on the course, you will create a broad creative and technical portfolio that will assist in establishing your future career.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • Audio Developer
  • Music Technology Lecturer
  • Musical Technician
  • Studio Manager
  • Studio Engineer
  • Music Teacher
  • Game Audio (Composition and Sound Design)


Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

Here at the CCI’s Creative Careers Centre we are committed to improving your employability. Whether it is placements, self-employed placements, internships, short-term work experiences, freelancing opportunities and volunteering, we will help you find valuable and relevant work experience to complement your degree. The experienced team is always on hand to offer advice on everything from producing high-quality applications through to preparation for a company assessment day.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

Back to top

Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
University House
Winston Churchill Avenue
Portsmouth PO1 2UP

T: +44 (0)23 9284 8484