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Engineering and the EnvironmentUndergraduate study

H722 BEng/MEng (Hons) Acoustical Engineering (3/4 years)

Southampton’s BEng/MEng Acoustical Engineering degree combines a thorough grounding in the skills all engineers need with concentrated specialisation in acoustics, vibration and their human effects.

Introducing your degree

Acoustical engineers are in great demand in almost every field of Engineering. Whether they are creating better-sounding concert halls, superior sound reproduction systems, clearer ultrasound scans or quieter aeroplanes, Acoustical Engineers combine solid understanding of engineering fundamentals with specialist knowledge of sound and vibration to make the world sound better. A unique degree course for those with a passion for sound.

Programme Overview

What is this?(More Information)This information is based on historical data and may have been aggregated. Find out more.

The first two years will develop your fundamental understanding of essential engineering subjects such as electronics, mechanics and management while applying your growing mathematical, computational and experimental skills in acoustics and audio signal processing. You will test and analyse real sound and vibration systems and gain the confidence to apply creative solutions to engineering challenges.

Design tasks run throughout the course. In year two students work in teams to design, build and test a Hi Fi loudspeaker, then in year three all students carry out individual project work. MEng students take part in a group design project in year four, many of which are industry-led. Previous examples include the design and installation of a custom listening room for testing new loudspeaker systems, while another group worked with Jaguar Land Rover to develop directional warning sounds for electric cars. Multidisciplinary projects give you the chance work alongside students on our other engineering courses – ideal preparation for industry that’s greatly appreciated by employers.

In your final year, you will have the option to select specialist modules that fit your interests, from Underwater Acoustics to Musical Instrument Acoustics.

View the specification document for this course

To Apply

All undergraduate acoustical engineering degree applications should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Click on the How to Apply tab of the navigation menu on this page for detailed information on how to apply and further details about UCAS' website, phone and contact details. Specific application deadlines are available on the UCAS website.

Everyone initially registers for the four year MEng Acoustical Engineering (H722). However, you can choose to exit after three years and receive a BEng degree. The MEng stream in years 3 and 4 is designed to give a deeper insight in to the economic and management aspects of industry and to give more scope for development of project and design skills.


Engineering CouncilEUR-ACE

BEng (Hons)

Accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as an Incorporated Engineer and partly meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer. This course is also accredited by the Institute of Acoustics (IOA).


Accredited by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on behalf of the Engineering Council for the purposes of fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered Engineer. This course is also accredited by the Institute of Acoustics (IOA).

Key Facts

  • ISVR was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its achievements in higher education
  • ISVR is one of the leading brand names in acoustics, known and respected Worldwide
  • 92% of students agreed that the course is intellectually stimulating (MEng Acoustical Engineering, NSS 2015)
Doak Lab
The Doak Lab is used for testing jet and valve noise
Collecting data in our reverberation chamber
Collecting data in our reverberation chamber

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
GCE A-level

AAA including Maths and Physics (A in Maths)

International Baccalaureate36 points overall, 18 at higher level including 6 in both Higher Mathematics and Higher Physics
GCSE requirements

English Language, at Grade C or above

English Language requirements

If your first language is not English, we need to ensure that your listening, written and spoken English skills would enable you to enjoy the full benefit of your studies. For entry onto our programmes, you will need an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.5 or an equivalent qualification.

Equivalent qualifications
Qualification Entry criteria
Scottish Advanced Highers AAA including Mathematics and Physics
Welsh Baccalaureate (2014) + A Levels Pass in Core, AA in Mathematics and Physics
Cambridge Pre-U D3D3D3 including Mathematics and Physics
D*DD overall and distinctions in Analytical Methods and Further Analytical Methods
Access to HE Diploma Not acceptable – refer to Engineering Foundation Year
European Baccalaureate 85% overall, minimum of 85% in Mathematics (level 5 or Advanced) and Physics
Irish Leaving Certificate AAAAB including A in Mathematics and Physics
French Baccalaureate 15/20 overall, Minimum of 15/20 in Mathematics and Physics
Contextual offers

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students who are recognised in this way will be made an offer which is lower than the typical offer for that programme.

A typical contextual offer is ABB from three A levels or the equivalent from alternative qualifications.

Please see our contextual admissions pages for more information.

Selection process:
Average applications per place:

Acoustical Engineering degree applicants who appear suitable from their application form are invited to a visit day when they will have an informal discussion with a member of academic staff. A topic of discussion will be the applicant's suitability in terms of academic aptitude and evidence of motivation to study and interest in the subject.

While the average level entry onto our Acoustics degree is among the highest in the UK, we always look carefully at each individual application. In addition to your examination grades, we also take into account your personal statement and references. These give us an indication of your personal attributes and your enthusiasm for your chosen area of study. 

All individuals are selected and treated on their relative merits and abilities in line with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy. In accordance with the University's commitment to inclusivity, we welcome applications onto this Acoustical Engineering degree from students with disabilities. Disabled applicants will be treated according to the same procedures as any other applicant with the added involvement of the Disability Office to assess their needs. The acoustics degree programme may require adaptation for students with disabilities (e.g. hearing impairment, visual impairment, mobility difficulties, dyslexia), particularly any practical laboratory sessions, and we will attempt to accommodate students wherever possible.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

The first two years of this unique Acoustical Engineering degree build a firm grounding in core disciplines that will enable you to make in-roads into answering questions related to sound and vibration and solving a wide range of acoustics problems. In years 3 and 4 you can choose advanced options which concern specific applications of acoustics such as electroacoustics, transportation noise, musical instrument acoustics, audio engineeringf and so on. Teaching is generally in small groups and there is a large emphasis on practicals and design work.

Year 1

The first year provides a background in acoustics, emphasising the physics and mathematics of acoustics, sound and vibration.

Year 2

The second year covers further acoustics, vibration, mathematics, design, fluid dynamics and introduces audio technology and control. A total of 120 credits across two semesters. A large element is the design project, currently the design, build and test of an active two cone loudspeaker.

Year 3

For both BEng and MEng Acoustical Engineering students, the third year differs from the previous two years as you will be offered a choice of modules to study alongside the compulsory ones. This allows a degree of specialisation which is carried through to year four for MEng students. In addition, you will be strongly advised to undertake at least 20 weeks of engineering related work placements. This is typically achieved by 10 week placements after your second and third years. (Alternatively you can do a single placement in a gap year after year 2 or 3).

All students also undertake a substantial individual project in year 3. This can either be on a topic selected from a list proposed by teaching staff or it could be an idea of your own, with appropriate permission and guidance. It is expected that you will spend one third of your time in year 3 on your individual project. At the end of year 3 there is an exit award of BEng (Hons) Acoustical Engineering.

Year 4

Year 4 (MEng Acoustical Engineering only) features an extensive group design project to solve an industrially focused problem in an area of acoustics. You are also required to take a selection of optional modules, the majority of which are at Masters level.

Semester One

Choose 2 or 3 optional modules in semester 1.

Group Design Project
Finite Element Analysis in Solid Mechanics
Human Factors in Engineering
Control and Instrumentation
Musical Instrument Acoustics
Underwater Acoustics
Signal Processing

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Career Opportunities

Thumbnail photo of Jack Oclee-Brown

“The MEng Acoustical Engineering course is distinctive because it crosses over different engineering disciplines including mechanics, vibration and fluid flow; it doesn’t just involve sound engineering as you might initially think.”

Jack Oclee-Brown - Head of Acoustics, KEF

Graduates from our acoustical engineering degree course are highly employable. We provide you with a dedicated Employment Officer who will help build your skills profile and point you in the right direction. We also have connections with local, national and international employers. Our recent graduates now work for a range of companies including:


  • Arup
  • Bentley
  • Cullum Detuners
  • Dyson
  • Fraser-Nash Consultancy
  • Gillieron Scott Acoustic Design
  • GP Acoustics
  • Hoare Lea Acoustics
  • Hunter Acoustics
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Nissan
  • Peter Lloyd Associates
  • Ramboll
  • RBA Acoustics
  • Sandy Brown Associates
  • SLR Consulting
  • Wolfson Microelectronics Plc
  • WSP
Thumbnail photo of Jessica Fletcher

“I was interested in music and physics and wanted to study a subject which encompassed both of these elements. Southampton offered a degree which fitted the bill. I came here on an Open Day and the staff really inspired me. ”

Jessica Fletcher - Noise and Vibration Engineer, Dyson

Learning & Assessment

Teaching and learning

At Southampton, our students form knowledge and understanding through a combination of lectures, tutorials, classes, laboratory experiments, coursework and individual and group projects. You will broaden your formal learning by becoming an active student member of a professional institution and our student Engineering Society. We will also teach you the transferable skills to present written and oral presentations.

A practical approach

Practical experience is a strong theme on our course. You will put your theoretical knowledge to the test in labs and get involved in real-life project work. Analysis and problem solving skills will be developed through regular problem sheets and small group exercises by your module lecturers. Individual feedback is provided on all work submitted.

Ground-breaking research

Your education will be timely and relevant while you are taught by our world-leading academics who are at the forefront of their field. This is especially important in engineering where technology is advancing rapidly. We also have a global network of companies, shared facilities and expertise to draw on to advance your learning curve.

Assessment and examinations

Testing is conducted through a combination of unseen written examinations and assessed coursework in the form of problem solving exercises, laboratory reports, design exercises, essays, and individual and group projects. Experimental, research and design skills are assessed through laboratory reports, coursework exercises and oral presentations.

Student support

Every student on our BEng/MEng Acoustical Engineering course is assigned a personal tutor from the start of their degree, in addition to a course tutor.

Course Lead

Dr Keith Holland


Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentDesign equipment and materials: Standard construction/modelling materials will be provided where appropriate, unless otherwise specified in a module profile. For customisation of designs/models calling for material other than standard construction/ modelling materials, students will bear the costs of such alternatives.
EquipmentField equipment and materials: A number of essential items will be provided to you e.g.: field notebook(s); compass-clinometer; geological hammer; steel tape measure; map case; pocket lens (x 10); safety helmet; safety goggles; bottle of dilute hydrochloric acid. However, you will need provide yourselves with a ruler; a pair of compasses; set squares; protractor; pencils (including coloured); eraser; calculator, penknife. These can be purchased from any source.
ClothingField course clothing: You will need to wear suitable clothing when attending field courses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source.
Printing and copyingIn some cases, coursework and/or projects may be submitted electronically. Where it is not possible to submit electronically students will be liable for printing costs, which are detailed in the individual module profile.
OtherOptional visits: Some modules may include additional optional visits. You will normally be expected to cover the cost of travel and admission, unless otherwise specified in the module profile.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Study Locations

Boldrewood Innovation Campus

Burgess Road, Southampton, S016 7QFFind out more

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