Sound Design Technology BSc (Hons)

About the course


Attracting students who are motivated by this dynamic and rapidly developing specialist environment, this Sound Design Technology course is designed for students specifically interested in the production, development and application of sound design through practical work with other media – such as film, TV, animation, computer games and audio installations.

You will investigate the use of sound design, foley, and the manipulation / creation of effects to both complement and enhance a variety of media forms, including multimedia applications and game audio.  Substantial focus is also placed on designing sound from scratch through exploring and exploiting synthesis, as well as through live capture and manipulation to support you with building your own substantial sound libraries for use not only within course related work, but also within your own professional portfolio.

As a sound designer, you will have plenty of opportunities to collaborate with student composers, film makers and animators in the realisation of fully featured, professional-standard media projects, and will learn both how digital technology has transformed the music and sound industries in recent years, as well as studying the work and approach of key sound designers in the field, to highlight both the contextual and creative avenues in which techniques within the field of sound design can be applied.

In addition to our dubbing suite which is primarily used for sync work, you will benefit from access to our other high-quality Rednet connected resources and studios, as well as our numerous dedicated 5.1 surround sound monitoring spaces.

Why choose this course?

  • On the Sound Design Technology degree you will learn how digital technology has transformed the music industry in recent years, and how you can benefit from these fundamental changes.
  • Develop your programming, mixing and production skills using state of the art software including Logic, Pro Tools, Reason, Ableton Live, and MAX/MSP.
  • Whilst on the degree you will benefit from our high quality studio resources: SSL, Yamaha, and Avid C24 mixing desks, and hardware by top names such as Quested, Genelec, Neumann, TLA, Lexicon and Drawmer.
  • Study the electronic principles underlying hardware devices, and the programming techniques for software development.
  • Investigate the physical and scientific principles behind sound and music.
  • The Sound Design Technology degree enables you to build a substantial sound design portfolio through direct work with a number of differing medias.
  • Participate in "live" projects such as the UHR record label, and JamJar showcase concerts.
  • Collaborate with filmmakers and animators in realising fully featured, professional standard media projects.
  • Our music industry advisory panel is second to none in the UK and includes key figures in the music industry such as Tim Clark (Robbie Williams's manager), Mike Smith (MD Columbia Records) and Korda Marshall (who signed Take That, James Blunt etc.)
  • The University of Hertfordshire is the no. 1 new university for Music, ahead of many established universities and conservatoires (The Guardian Subject League Tables 2011).
  • We have some of the best resources in the UK, including the 39 million pound Forum where our students perform every month, and state-of-the art music studios and film and TV facilities in our 12 million pound building for Music and Film.
  • We have a strong, ongoing record of student satisfaction over several years since the launch of the national student survey.

Entry requirements...

240 UCAS points including A Level or equivalent in Music Technology, Science or Technology based subjects. Plus GCSE English Language and Maths at grade C or above; Key skills are accepted as equivalent. If English is not your first language you will need an IELTS score of 6.0 or TOEFL 550 (213 CBT or 79 IBT). Equivalent qualifications welcomed.

The University also accepts a number of other equivalent qualifications including BTEC, IB and Access courses – to find out more about the requirements for these and  other equivalent qualifications please go to:

Our offer for the International Baccalaureate (IB) is made outside of the UCAS Tariff and is calculated by dividing our tariff point offer by 10 i.e. 280 UCAS points equals 28 IB points.

If you do not have the required level of English for entry, our academic English and foundation courses can help you to achieve this level.

Key staff

Alex Baxter
Senior Lecturer - Programme Leader of Music Technology
Find out more about Alex Baxter

Tim Blinko
Professor of Music
Find out more about Tim Blinko

Study routes

  • Full Time, 3 Years
  • Part Time, 5 Years
  • Sandwich, 4 Years


  • University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield


You can expect to develop a career in hardware/software system specification, world-wide web based music /sound creation and delivery, or in technical roles within the music and sound industry e.g. in sound reinforcement, recording and engineering, multimedia installations, music studios and / or production companies. 

A number of graduates have gained contracts with EMI and Sony Music, worked for the BBC and PRS, as well as created sound design for computer games.  Several have continued their studies to Master's and PhD level.  Each year, former students return and talk to our current students about their employed roles and how their degree has been beneficial.

Whilst a number of our students go one to work for established companies, there are always a number who set themselves up independently, developing their own business. The following includes a very small selection of very recent graduates who are already achieving success..

Chris Pavey – Mastering and Restoration Engineer

JJ Mitchell – Producer, Mix Engineer & Drummer

Stefan Baranowski – CEO Insight Music – Digital Label & Publisher

Marjan Kalinaki – Independent Sound Designer & Music Signal Processing Specialist.

Teaching methods

Study Abroad

This course offers you the opportunity to study abroad through the University's study abroad programme.
Study abroad opportunities are available worldwide and in Europe under the Erasmus+ Programme.
Find out more about Study abroad opportunities

Work Placement

In Year 1, you’ll gain a solid grounding on a number of major DAW packages, as well as develop your creative and technical skills in mixing, processing, and studio work.  Acoustics, psychoacoustics, and Audio and Midi protocols are also investigated, as to is developing your critical ear.  You’ll also investigate various music business models, whilst also using lab time to develop an understanding of audio electronics through building your own synthesizer.  In addition to these core areas, sound design technology students also study media applications, creative sound design in context and are introduced to the fundamentals of sound design, effects and foley.

In Year 2, you’ll continue to develop your critical ear, have the opportunity to engage in as short work experience project, and also support the delivery of a live event, through an artist liaison or sound technician role.  You will be introduced to programming within Max/Msp and also exploit networked audio possibilities, getting to grips with our excellent Rednet system.  Much focus is also placed on getting your music out there, with considered work on digital distribution, digital delivery and mixing and mastering approaches.  In addition to these core areas, sound design students also continue to develop high level sequencing and synthesis skills, and continue developing skills in media applications and sound design, effects and foley.

By Year 3, we find that the vast majority of our students have already formed a number of professional connections, and students are able to make use of these and reflect on their approaches within a dedicated field project.  In addition, there is the final major project which under the supervision of a dedicated tutor allows you to specialize in your chosen area which could be for example album recording and production, software / hardware development, an experiment, or dissertation based study.  You’ll also continue to develop your programming skills, as well as exploring surround sound, live sound and advanced HD recording.  In addition to these core areas, sound design technology students also study game audio and develop their sound design portfolio.

Guest Speakers

Key industry professionals regularly visit us to speak to our students. Recent Guest Speakers include…

  • Phill Brown- Sound Engineer, Producer (worked with Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Dido, to name but a few)
  • Alistair Meachin- Acoustics, Audio & AV Consultant – Harmonia Consulting Ltd.
  • Ian Wallman- Producer, Composer, Mixer & Remixer
  • Chris Calcutt- Focusrite Audio Engineering Limited
  • Nicky Bignell- Business Affairs Manager – Music, BBC Rights, Legal & Business Affairs
  • Kim Bailey- Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA)
  • Cindy Truong- British Academy of Song writing, Composers and Authors (BASCA)
  • Laura Young- Music Industry specialist on negotiating sales with recording, publishing and library companies.


Year 1

Core Modules

  • Professional & Industrial Context 1

    This module introduces a range of developmental material. Students are shown a range of differing resources and the requirements for their safe operation. The use of StudyNet to enhance the learning and teaching experience through MAPS and in general use, is also introduced. In addition the key legal concepts and frameworks within which the industry works are introduced, and students are introduced to career planning material. Students also perform within a percussion ensemble, supporting and developing team working.

  • Sound Bytes 1

    This module gives an introduction to the measurements of sound. Physiological processes underlying human perception of sound, and the principles of audio data coding and file reduction techniques are considered, along with basic acoustics and how this affects and dictates sound production, transmission and capture. Basic mathematical techniques are taught within the module as necessary.

  • Studio Technology 1

    This module introduces students to a range of key studio technologies, such as microphones, samplers and basic sequencing packages. This module involves a mixture of theoretical background and practical applications. Assessment will normally be via coursework, with additional minor tasks requiring students to demonstrate how well they have assimilated the disciplines and principles covered.

  • T/Audio Systems and Applications 1 (Version 2)

    This module provides an overview of typical audio production systems and their applications in a creative context. This module also introduces software applications for sound design and arrangement and multimedia authoring.


Year 2

Core Modules

  • Sound Bytes 2

    This module introduces you to the principles of digital music networking and distribution, in the contexts of both creation and delivery of sound or music; standalone or alongside other media. The emergent areas of Internet radio, IPTV, online collaboration, file sharing, networked audio, remote control and applications are explored from both technical and commercial perspectives. Technical material is supplemented with investigation into the the legal, procedural and logistical requirements of digital distribution, as to is appropriate preparation of content.

  • Professional & Industrial Context 2

    Building upon Professional & Industrial Context 1, this module introduces students to a range of more advanced studio resources. The music industry is further explored and practical experienced gained via realised practical projects and / or a short work placement opportunity.

  • MT Audio Systems and Applications 2 (Version 2)

    Building upon Audio Systems and Applications 1, this module explores extended functionality within key hardware and software tools for audio production. Further creative skills in sound design in audio-visual media are covered. Multimedia authoring techniques are also explored in greater depth.

  • MT Studio Technology 2 (Version 2)

    Building upon Studio Technology 1 this module develops higher understanding and advanced skills concerning key studio technologies. Students work with industry standard sampling and sequencing tools, utilising a more advanced feature set, whilst elsewhere software programming using the MAX/MSP environment is introduced. Students understanding of the nature of sound, and the technicalities of sound capture are extended by the Sound Cognition and Microphones and Recording topics. The module involves a mixture of theoretical background and practical applications.


  • Professional Work Experience 30: Music

    Students may identify a work experience opportunity or have a work experience suggested to them. Before starting students meet with the Programme Leader or their nominated tutor, to discuss the impending placement. All aspects of the intended experience are addressed from health and safety to client confidentiality and students are given guidance on behaviour and how to manage expectations. Proposals need to identify an outline work programme, the number of days in placement and the main learning outcomes; and are subject to agreement of the Programme Leader.

Year 3

Core Modules


  • Year Abroad

    The Year Abroad will provide students in Creative Arts with the opportunity to expand, develop and apply the knowledge and skills gained in the first two taught years of the degree within a different organisational and cultural environment in a partner academic institution. The host institution will appoint a Programme Co-ordinator who will oversee the student's programme during the Year Abroad and will liaise with the appointed UH Supervisor.

  • Sandwich Year (Creative Arts)

    The optional 'Sandwich' placement year may be undertaken between the levels 5 and 6. Students undertake the placement within a commercial, public or not for profit setting that is able to provide an appropriate learning experience related to the creative and cultural industries. A placement could take a variety of forms, including: * working in an external organisation; * working with a University company or professional team within the University; * self-employment within defined context and externally refereed. The placement duration would typically be sustained for at least 36 weeks (from a maximum of two separate placements, neither of which should normally be less than 12 weeks in duration), though may be sustained for a full year. While the School actively supports the placement process, ultimately it is the placement provider that will agree to manage and select students, normally through an interview process. During the placement a member of the academic staff will be assigned to the student as a tutor and will monitor the student's progress during the placement period.

Year 4

Core Modules

  • Professional & Industrial Context 3

    This module provides students with a wider perspective on music and media related industries and associated career options. Project management skills are covered with a view to professional development. Also included is the evolution of music/audio technologies and companies from historical origins through to the present day. Students participate in managing, staging or recording Music activities such as UHR, Infuse, Schools outreach projects and MayFest, or may generate their own field project.

  • MT Technology Project (Version 2)

    This module allows students to undertake a substantial piece of independent work, which demonstrates an area of interest or specialism. Students will be assigned a tutor, and regular tutorials and guidance will be given throughout the academic year in order to help the student maintain sufficient progress to complete the project successfully.

  • MT Audio Systems and Applications 3 (Version 2)

    Building upon Audio Systems and Applications 1 and 2, this module explores advanced concepts of linear and non-linear sequencing in a variety of creative contexts. Also covered are the specification and application of sound design in the wider context of new media, interactive systems, moving image and animation. In addition, advanced systems for sound synthesis and manipulation are explored.

  • T/Studio Technology 3 (Version 2)

    Building upon Studio Technology 1 and 2, this module develops a higher understanding and advanced skills concerning key studio technologies. Typically, aspects of multi-microphone recording techniques and advanced sound-editing and manipulation are investigated through in-depth tasks and assessed exercises which will require the full use of DAW (digital audio workstation). In addition, the module will introduce modern surround-sound production techniques along with studio and field techniques for the support of live sound. Additionally, this module also covers sophisticated interactive and real-time audio applications through the use of Max/MSP programming.


Fees & funding

Fees 2016

UK/EU Students

Full time: £9,000 for the 2016 academic year

Part time: If you decide to study this course on a part time basis you will be charged on a modular basis. The cost is £1,125 for each 15-credit module

International Students

Discounts are available for International students if payment is made in full at registration

View detailed information about tuition fees

Other financial support

Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

Living costs / accommodation

The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

View detailed information about our accommodation

How to apply


Start DateEnd DateLink
28/09/201620/05/2017Apply online (Full Time)
28/09/201620/05/2017Apply online (Part Time)
28/09/201620/05/2017Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
28/09/201620/05/2017Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)