The University of Southampton
Engineering and the EnvironmentUndergraduate study

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.

Book your placeVisit us at an Open Day on 3 or 4 September 2016

Introducing your degree

A degree in Acoustics with Music allows students to satisfy both their interest in the science and technology of sound and their musical studies by combining components from each subject. Imagine studying wave theory in the morning and orchestration in the afternoon! Graduates have exciting career opportunities in both fields.


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

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.


There are no additional accreditations associated with this course. For further information please visit the BEng/MEng (Hons) Acoustical Engineering web page

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)


Combine Acoustics and Music
Combine Acoustics and Music
Testing in our anechoic chamber
Testing in our anechoic chamber

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
GCE A-level

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 in other qualifications approved by the University.

International Baccalaureate34 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 in other qualifications approved by the University.
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 standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

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
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 an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Please see our contextual admissions pages for more information.

Selection process:
Typically 5
Average applications per place:

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.

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


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 FEEG3003. 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.

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).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Course fees for 2016/17 full-time UK and EU undergraduate students are typically £9,000 per year. Tuition fees for international students differ between each course. Most part-time courses cost 50% of the full-time fee.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

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:

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.
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.
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

Music student additional cost

Vocal and instrumental lessons

Specialist vocal and instrumental tuition for single and combined honours Music students taking performance modules is generally provided free at the point of delivery. When lessons happen away from Highfield Campus students are expected to cover the cost of travel to and from their lessons. Students are expected to cover the cost of travel to and from off-campus rehearsal, performance and music examination venues. Most of those we use are within walking distance of Highfield Campus.

Students taking instrumental lessons are expected to own and maintain their own instruments, maintenance including the cost of repairs and of replacement parts (new strings, drumheads etc.). Students are strongly advised to arrange insurance for their instruments, covering all the usual risks including theft from places of residence and from university storerooms. Storage space for instruments is available in Music Department storerooms. Dozens of students have access to them: it is not possible to guarantee security. The university will accept no responsibility for loss or damage to instruments left in storerooms. Students taking performance modules will be given keys to practice rooms and storerooms. Keys must be returned on or before graduation day. Students will be charged £10.00 per replacement key in the event of loss.

Jazz and pop students must buy and use their own ear protectors if asked to do so by a teacher.

Hartley Library holds a very large collection of sheet music which students can borrow free of charge. Students who want or are advised by teachers to buy their own music, perhaps in order to mark it up, will be expected to cover the cost themselves.

The Music Department has a large collection of keyboard instruments to which keyboard students are allowed free access. It owns a number of other instruments (piccolo trumpet, bass sax, basset horn etc.) which students can borrow on their teacher's recommendation. We do not charge for the use of them but do recommend that students make private insurance arrangements when taking them off campus, especially on tour. If not returned intact they must be replaced like for like at the student's expense or at their insurer's.

Students may wish to hire professional accompanists to play with them in performance exams. Accompanists charge varying levels of fee (rarely more than £60.00 per exam accompaniment, including prior rehearsal) and students are expected to pay the fees themselves.

Turner Sims -- the university concert hall -- makes 10 tickets for each of its own-promoted concerts available free of charge to Music on a first come, first served basis. (There are very rare exceptions: gala concerts intended to raise funds for Turner Sims for instance.) Monday and Friday lunchtime concerts in Turner Sims organised by the Music Department are free of charge both to Music students and to the wider public. External promoters hiring Turner Sims can charge what they like for admission to concerts.

Student-run performing arts societies such as the University of Southampton Symphony Orchestra, JazzManix and Showstoppers (there are many others which Music students might like to join) are free to set their own membership subscriptions. The Music Department does not contribute directly towards the cost of running these societies.


Academic music modules

Very few Music lecturers insist that students purchase specific set texts. Copies of set texts are made available in Hartley Library, if necessary in the reference-only "course collection" or on short-term loan. Students may wish to own copies of recommended books but are free to choose which to buy and which to borrow.

Some lecturers prepare course handbooks for the modules they are teaching. These are generally made available free of charge to students taking the modules. For unusually bulky handbooks there may be a charge to pay -- never more than £10.00 per copy.

Music software packages are available for licensed use at designated university computer workstations free of charge to Music students. Students who wish to install compatible software on their own computers will have to cover the cost themselves.

Students using the university's Follow Me print service will be charged per page printed out, at rates listed here:

Field trips are infrequent and almost always optional. When occasionally they do happen students involved may be expected to cover travel costs and to pay for admission to the venue(s) visited. Staff organising trips make every effort to keep costs to a minimum, negotiating group and student discounts whenever possible. No one trip is likely to cost more than £20 total.

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 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

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, 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 Lead

Dr Keith Holland

Study Locations

Boldrewood Innovation Campus

Burgess Road, Southampton, S016 7QFFind out more

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