Engineering and the Environment

HW73 BSc (Hons) Acoustics with Music (3 yrs)

Musical composition and critical analysis combine with engineering to create a unique course Southampton's' BSc (Hons) Acoustics with Music degree. Music modules are offered in each year of this three-year acoustics degree course.

Programme Overview

The modular structure of the degree course allows you to choose your preferred balance between acoustics, sound and music as you progress.

The first two years will develop your core knowledge of acoustics and audio signal processing. You also have the flexibility to select music-related modules throughout the course.

The third year will involve an individual research project. Previous students have investigated railway noise, the effects of sound levels in orchestra pits on musicians’ hearing and marine mammal calls. You will also learn to apply mathematical and computational engineering methods.

In your final year, you will have the option to select from a wide range of specialist modules that fit your interests, from audio engineering and musical instrument acoustics to human responses to sound and vibration.

View the specification document for this course

To Apply

All undergraduate acoustics and music 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.

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


Combine Acoustics and Music

Combine Acoustics and Music

Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:

AAB, including Grade A in Maths and Physics, and Grade B in Music. Grade 8 theory is acceptable in place of A-level Music (Students must study 3 A levels)

Candidates wishing to pursue a performance component in Music will normally have attained or be working towards Grade 8 Practical (ABRSM, Trinity, Rockschool, LCM), or be able to demonstrate an equivalent standard.


34 points overall, 17 at higher level including 6 in both Higher Mathematics and Higher Physics, plus A Level Music (Grade B) or Grade 8 Theory.

Candidates wishing to pursue a performance component in Music will normally have attained or be working towards Grade 8 Practical (ABRSM, Trinity, Rockschool, LCM), or be able to demonstrate an equivalent standard

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 AAB including Mathematics, Physics and Music or Grade 8 Theory
Welsh Baccalaureate (2014) + A Levels Pass in Core, AA in Mathematics and Physics and A in Music or Grade 8 Theory
Cambridge Pre-U D3D3M2 including Mathematics and Physics, A in A Level Music or Grade 8 Theory
BTEC HND D*DD overall and distinctions in Analytical Methods and Further Analytical Methods, A in A Level Music or Grade 8 Theory
Access to HE Diploma Not acceptable – refer to Engineering Foundation Year
European Baccalaureate 80% overall, minimum of 85% in Mathematics (level 5 or Advanced) and Physics
Irish Leaving Certificate AAABB (A in Mathematics, Physics and Music or Grade 8 Theory)
French Baccalaureate 15/20 overall, Minimum of 15/20 in Mathematics and Physics, Grade 8 Theory

Selection process:

Intake: Typically 5
Average applicants per place: 4

Acoustics with Music degree applicants who appear suitable from their application form are invited to an open day when they are interviewed by a member of academic staff. The interviewer assesses the applicant's suitability in terms of academic aptitude and evidence of motivation to study and interest in the degree in Acoustics with Music. Candidates who perform satisfactorily at interview are offered a place which is conditional on future examination results where applicable. Candidates who do not attend for interview without good reason are rejected.

While the average level entry onto our Acoustics with Music degree programmes 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 with Music programme of study 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 with Music 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

You will study a number of core subjects during the first two years, all related to acoustics, audio, sound and vibrations. These provide a solid preparation for the final part of the degree. There are no compulsory modules for Music. Optional modules are taken from both the Acoustical Engineering and Music Programmes during the first 2 years. In Year 3, you will have the opportunity to specialise even further in acoustics or music through a wide selection of subject modules. You will also undertake an individual project.

Particularly in Years 2 and 3, some modules will have pre-requisites, and may be subject to timetabling restrictions.  Not all modules shown here may be available in a particular year, although additional modules may be offered.

The total value of the modules taken in each year must be a minimum of 120 CATS points. In all three years you will need to follow more detailed guidelines about the mix of modules, ensuring also a balance of modules across each semester. Some modules may have pre-requisites.

Year 1

The first year provides a background in acoustics, emphasising the physics and mathematics of sound and acoustics. The modules on offer in music span performance, composition and historical and critical analysis.

Year 3

There are no compulsory modules in part III, except that you must do either a Research Project in Music (MUSI3021) or an Individual Project in ISVR (ISVR3019). Students can choose a further 80-90 credits to be undertaken between Semester 1  and Semester 2 from our wide range of specialist modules in ISVR, music, mathematics and languages. Additional options may include ISVR3016 Analytical and Numerical Acoustics, and ISVR3041 Audio Recording.

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, SUES. 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 the BSc Acoustics and Music 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

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 range of companies, including Arup, Frazer-Nash and GP Acoustics.