Engineering and the Environment

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

Acoustical Engineers use their understanding of sound and vibration and their effects on people to design better-sounding concert halls and audio systems, quieter jet engines and wind turbines, more accurate ultrasound scans and much more. Southampton’s MEng/BEng Acoustical Engineering degree combines a thorough grounding in the skills all engineers need with concentrated specialisation acoustics, vibration and their human effects.

Programme Overview

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 Council

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

Testing in the Doak Lab

The Doak Lab is used for testing jet and valve noise

Testing in the Doak Lab

“The course is challenging, fascinatingly diverse and highly acclaimed in industry. With small group teaching by leading experts in the field, Southampton's Acoustical Engineering degree is simply unique.”

Danny Taylor, MEng Acoustical Engineering

Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:

AAA including Maths and Physics (A in Maths)


36 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
BTEC 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


Selection process:

Intake: 25-30
Average applicants per place: 3

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.

Visit our International Office website or the NARIC website for further information on qualifications.


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 systems 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

The third year of study will differ depending on whether or not you intend to study for all four years (MEng). The MEng Acoustical Engineering integrated masters route involves more group design work and study of management practices in year 3 leaving less time for optional modules. You are also required 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). These additional requirements for integrated masters in Acoustical Engineering  make it difficult to transfer from the BEng to the MEng any later than at the end of year 2, although transfer from the MEng to the BEng is possible at any time.

Both BEng and MEng Acoustical Engineering students undertake a substantial individual project in year 3. You can either select a topic from a list proposed by teaching staff or pursue 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.


Learning and 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 attend site visits, 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 Director

Dr Matthew Wright

Career Opportunities

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 graduates now work for a wide variety of companies, including Arup, Thales, Dyson, Kef, Skype and AECOM, and a significant number have started their own successful businesses.