BSc (Hons) Music Computing - University of Portsmouth
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BSc (Hons)

Music Computing

UCAS codeI150

full time3yrs

placement option1yr

One of just a few courses of its kind in the UK

Course Overview

Why take this course?

The Music Computing course provides you with the opportunity to develop your technical and creative skills to exploit the significant employment prospects in this field.

This course will give you the freedom to work in new ways that are not constrained by existing software design. It covers the creation, manipulation and delivery of computer-generated music and sound, and is one of the few in the country to offer such a range of study. With a strong practical and creative basis, you will gain a solid set of skills in sound, computing and music.

You will have the opportunity to produce a varied, diverse and exciting portfolio of creative practical work on the course, in areas such as audio programming, sound design, synthesis, music composition, game audio and software development.

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?

You will study:

  • Audio programming
  • Interactive audio and game sound
  • Digital effect design
  • Generative music composition
  • Development of new music and sound software tools
  • Synthesis and the manipulation of sound
  • Alternative musical controllers, sensors and physical computing


What opportunities might it lead to?

Graduates of the BSc Music Computing course will have a strong foundation upon which to build careers in music technology and music computing.

With skills in both audio programming and music technology, you will have an increased range of employment prospects including: music software development, sound recording and production, composition, mobile music and sound application development, sound effects development, sound artists, music and sound for games or multimedia, teaching, performing and research.


Michael, Music Computing student, 2016

There are plenty of spaces to work and lots of help available if you need it; everyone is very supportive. It's a great mix between programming and music tech.

Michael, Music Computing student, 2016


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

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Structure & Teaching

Year one

The first year is your introduction to the fundamental concepts of Music Computing, you will build experience in sound creation and manipulation, programming and the creative use of music software. Alongside this theoretical learning you will experience practical lab sessions, including the use of specialist facilities for digital editing.

Core units you will study in this year include:

  • Electroacoustic Music Composition
  • Scripting and Interactive Web
  • Sound: Practice and Theory
  • Tools for Games and Animation
  • Sound for Moving Image
  • Eportfolio


Year two

During your second year you will expand upon your Music Computing skills and knowledge, develop audio applications and plan for your final year project. You also choose three units from our list of options, allowing you to specialise in your areas of interest.

Core units you will study in this year include:

  • Audio Programming
  • Digital Sound
  • Project Initiation and Career Management

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Sound Design and Music for Games
  • Introduction to Mobile Applications
  • Music Business Practice
  • Laptop Music Performance
  • Program Consoles
  • Professional Experience
  • Student Enterprise


Year three*

In your final year, you will continue to expand your knowledge of Music Computing exploring a major project in an area of your choice developing your audio programming skills. You also choose from a selection of optional units allowing for specialisation in an area of your choice.

Core units you will study in this year include:

  • Final Year Project
  • Sound and Music Programming

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Implementing Game Audio
  • Music and Sound Synthesis
  • Live Electronic Music
  • Experimental Music Programming
  • Applications of Virtual Reality
  • Interdisciplinary Group Project
  • Sound Application

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.


Here at the University, we aim to provide a lively and modern learning environment. During this course you will experience a mixture of lectures, tutorials, laboratory and project work. While lecture classes can be large, the more personal approach of seminars and tutorials offer more one-to-one support from our expert academics.


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: 30% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 70% 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


We assess you in ways that encourage a deeper understanding and allow you to develop your skills including through:

  • multiple choice tests
  • essays and portfolio work
  • written exams
  • mini projects
  • presentations
  • case studies
  • review articles

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: 30% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 70% by coursework
  • Year two students: 7% by written exams, 58% by practical exams and 35% by coursework
  • Year three students: 0% by written exams, 19% by practical exams and 81% by coursework

Tutor's view


Mark Sexton

On graduating from this course you will have strong skills in sound, computing and music and will be well placed to take advantage of the many career opportunities available in this field.

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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 and middleware software.


Maths Café

Drop in any time and get one-to-one help with that tricky maths or stats problem. With handouts on key topics to take away and computer-aided learning packages, we can get the problem solved and help you improve your numeracy skills.

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.


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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. Students are prepared to enter careers in specialist music computing industry and more broadly in music and computer industries. 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 and games. 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
  • Audio researcher
  • Software programmer
  • Music Teacher
  • Game Audio


Work experience

Work experience
Employment boosting opportunities

Here at the CCI’s Creative Careers Centre we are committed to improving your employability. Whether it iss 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.

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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. You’ll also be able to explore course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

If you'd like to tour the campus or meet teaching staff before you apply, find out about our other visiting opportunities.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Booking for Open Days for 2019 entry opens soon. Register here for priority booking.

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
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