Music, Sound and Technology
BSc (Hons)

2020/21 Part-time Undergraduate course

Award:

Bachelor of Science with Honours

Faculty:

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:

School of Arts and Humanities

Campus:

Magee campus

Start date:

September 2020

Overview

Creativity Made Audible

Summary

The BSc Music, Sound and Technology course is an interdisciplinary course that explores how sound can be created and manipulated to create contemporary, audio-driven, user experiences by combining digital composition, technology and performance. The course will deliver a range of creative and technical skills and accompanying theoretical knowledge with a practice focus.


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About this course

About

Students will develop a broad understanding of technology within the context of the creation, manipulation, interaction, storage and communication of music and sound. They will have the opportunity to learn and engage with leading edge tools that enable the expression of ideas in new and innovative ways.


Students will learn modern production and performance methods and techniques (sequencing, sampling, synthesis, microphone techniques, composition/arranging, scoring for screen, processing and editing/post-production) that enable them to gather and manipulate audio content using desktop, studio and portable technologies. In so doing, students will engage with industry–relevant tools and techniques such as: DAW (digital audio workstation) and studio recording; audio editing and postproduction software; programming using Max/MSP/Jitter, Pure Data, P5.js, and Juce. Students will also work with hardware including analogue and digital modular synthesisers, and Arduino and related physical computing and embedded system platforms. Emerging web technologies will also be discussed through which students can explore interactions between users and devices, supporting a range of contemporary production and performance activities and innovative interactive applications and user experiences in music and audio–focused media.


Graduates will be technologically literate and will be comfortable in creating and communicating ideas and content within and beyond the domain of music. They will also understand music, sound and technology within the context of cultural developments and in collaboration with other arts fields, supporting work which engages with a range of cultural, community and creative industries opportunities.

Attendance

The course is made up of workshops, lectures, seminars, tutorials, peer review/feedback, supervised studio sessions and independent study.

Attendance at all sessions is mandatory. It is expected that you will not only engage with the taught elements but also with independent learning in the studios and labs - it is here that your individual learning can be expanded through informal conversations with your fellow students and feedback from staff.

Start dates

  • September 2020
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    Content

    The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

    Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

    Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Assessment

    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

    Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

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    The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

    Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

    Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Magee campus

Our vision is aligned to the strategic growth plan for the city and region.


Accommodation

Enjoy student life in one of Europe's most vibrant cities.

Find out more - information about accommodation  


Sports Facilities

Our facilities in Magee cater for many sports ranging from archery to volleyball, and are open to students and members of the public all year round.

Find out more - information about sport  


Student support

At Student Support we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more - information about student support  

Address

Ulster University
Northland Road
Derry~Londonderry
County Londonderry
BT48 7JL

T: 028 7012 3456

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

Year one

Sound, Technology and Culture

Year: 1

This module aims to introduce students to the relationship between cultural and technological developments within sound and music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In doing so, it will seek to provide conceptual frameworks which will aid students in engaging critically across a range of creative practices, media, genres and technologies.

Creative Coding

Year: 1

This module provides students with an initial competence in the development of software through JavaScript and the p5.js library, with facilities for both structured and object-oriented programming.

Performance Interface Design

Year: 1

This module explores the combination of electronics and software to develop interactive performance based interfaces for musical expression. The skills and knowledge acquired here will inform further work by enabling students to learn how various elements of hardware and software can be brought together to create user driven applications.

Year two

Desktop Music Production

Year: 2

This module provides an introduction to the production of audio within a modern computer based 'Digital Audio Workstation', commonly referred to as a DAW. Students will encounter key computer based production technologies and will explore these through the production of audio. This will allow students to establish creative and efficient practices in the use of digital music technologies.

Web Audio

Year: 2

Students are introduced to more advanced programming concepts and will be expected to acquire a higher level of competence in writing software for the web.

Designing Sound

Year: 2

This module aims to introduce students to designing sound. Key aspects include theoretical analysis and approaches toward synthetically creating and/or manipulating sound for a particular application.

Year three

Sound Engineering

Year: 3

This module provides an overview of the studio environment and of the techniques involved in the different stages of modern music production.

Project Development & Management

Year: 3

This module is designed to develop an understanding of project development and management issues, and roles and activities within creative projects. Students will be exposed to the core concepts, principles and techniques within project development/management with an enhanced awareness of the issues related to: ideation methodologies; managing project resources; managing risks/resources. This range of skills and knowledge will be utilised within their academic life and beyond.

Electronic Music, Sonic Arts and Sound Design

Year: 3

This module introduces students to the key theoretical principles, creative practices and tools for electronic/electroacoustic music production, in addition to other sonic arts and sound design activities.

Year four

Interactive Systems (Music, Media and Performance)

Year: 4

This module is designed for students who wish to develop their practice in interactive systems for live digital music or visual performance, application prototype and/or installation work.

Acoustics and Cognition

Year: 4

This module introduces students to auditory perception and cognition, along with associated academic writing skills around research/literature review, and written documentation and analysis strategies.

Immersive Audio

Year: 4

Students will consider practical techniques to apply principles of audio recording, synthesis and production to immersive applications. This will include:

  • the aesthetic considerations of sound design
  • consideration of any associated narrative
  • sound interactivity
  • programming of audio

Year five

Final Project (Theory & Context)

Year: 5

This module involves students in designing a project and negotiation with an appointed member of staff suitable learning outcomes and assessment strategies. The practice-based project elements must be of a suitable potential scope to be public-facing either as a creative project or development of tool(s) for relevant creative technologies, appropriate to the theory/practice weightings. The project should also incorporate forms of learning undertaken in the previous two years.

Creative Business

Year: 5

This module assists students in the developing specific skills and awareness to maximise their ability to conceptualise, manage and market new, society centred, ideas.

Audio Post Production

Year: 5

This module is optional

This module is designed for students who wish to pursue advanced study in audio post production; specifically, audio mastering, and sound design for film and TV.

Music and Moving Image

Year: 5

This module is optional

This module provides students with a historical, theoretical, stylistic and aesthetic study of music and moving image and the opportunity to compose for the screen. The module focuses primarily on film music and its genres but also covers other screen media, in particular music video and music for television. The module is divided between theoretical and analytical work, including the discussion of selected case studies, and practical work composing and editing in the lab.

Year six

Final Project (Practice)

Year: 6

This module involved students in designing a project and negotiation with an appointed member of staff suitable learning outcomes (including technologies, artistic output and presentational issues and contextual/theoretical development) and assessment strategies. The project's practice-based elements must be of a suitable scope to be public-facing either as a creative project or development of tool(s) for relevant creative technologies. The project should also incorporate forms of learning undertaken in the previous two years.

Audio Application Development

Year: 6

This module is optional

This module is designed for students who wish to pursue audio application development for Apple's Mac OS.

Standard entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

A level

The A Level requirement for this course is grades BBC.

Applicants may satisfy the requirement for the final A level grade in the above grade profiles (C or B grade) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by the University.

Please note that all applicants for the degree course may be interviewed by Music as part of our entry criteria.

GCSE

For full-time study, you must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass at Grade C/4 or above English Language.

Level 2 Certificate in Essential Skills - Communication will be accepted as equivalent to GCSE English.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

HND - Overall Merit with distinctions in 60 Level 5 credits entry to Year 1.

HNC – Overall Distinction with distinctions in 75 Level 4 credits for entry to Year 1.

You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard as recognised by the University (provided subject requirements as noted above are met).

Foundation Degree - An overall mark of 50% in Level 5 modules for Year 1 entry.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning)

The University will consider applications on the basis of experiential learning for those who do not hold the normal entry qualifications.

Transfer from degree level study at other institutions

Those applicants seeking entry with advanced standing, (eg. Transfer from another institution or year 2 entry) will be considered on an individual basis.

Nepal flagAdditional information for students from Nepal

Undergraduate

Each programme will have slightly different requirements, both in terms of overall points and certain subjects, so please check the relevant subject in the undergraduate on-line prospectus.

Normally Ulster University welcomes applications from students with:

Qualification

For entry to undergraduate courses:

The minimum requirement is School Leaving Certificate Examination (Grade XI and XII) with overall 60% (GPA 2.8) to include a minimum of 5 subjects

GCSE Maths requirement- Secondary Education Certificate (Grade X) Mathematics

Equivalent to a Grade C- Grade C+

Equivalent to Grade B- Grade B

Proficiency Certificate with an overall average of 50%
Diploma from Tribhuvan University.

View more information for students from Nepal  

Careers & opportunities

Career options

This programme has been developed to meet the emergent needs of the creative industries. Students acquire a broad range industry-focused skills including: collaboration and team work, adaptability, communication and self-expression, self-management, project management, interdisciplinarity, and most importantly, creativity and know-how with a range of leading edge technologies.

Those wishing to research and develop their own work to a higher level go on to pursue a Masters qualification either at the Ulster University or at other institutions in the UK and further afield. There is also the potential for entry onto a PhD.

Lastly, there are opportunities for those wishing to teach after the completion of a postgraduate teaching qualification (PgCE)

Work placement / study abroad

In third year you have the option to spend a minimum of 25 weeks in industry. Here you are expected to work as part of the professional practice designed to acquaint you with alternative business cultures and protocols to enhance your personal and professional development.

Alternatively you can study in a wide range of approved instutitions around the world.

Successful completion, obtaining a total mark of 40%, of the placement year leads to the award of the Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP) or (DPPI) International or a Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS) upon graduation. A mark of 70% and above will enable the award to be granted with commendation.

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Start dates

  • September 2020

Disclaimer

  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.