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Music & Sound Production at UCA

Learn the skills to create music and sound in a variety of contexts on our new BA (Hons) Music & Sound Production degree course at UCA Farnham.

You'll enhance your technical knowledge and creativity for live and studio settings, regularly working with artists and composers from other courses, and gain the confidence and skillset to pursue a fulfilling career in a range of music industry roles.

During the degree, you will undertake hands-on learning in our excellent facilities and have direct access to industry-standard equipment and software.

Through the core modules, you’ll focus on primary areas such as your studio toolkit, audio fundamentals, software skills, application of acoustic theory and approaches to responding to professional briefs. Alongside developing your technical knowledge, you’ll broaden your general knowledge of the industry, helping you to identify your place within it.

You'll also benefit from many collaborative opportunities, via second year elective units, where you can experience the needs and processes of film, game, animation and acting students.

Course entry options

Select from the options below to find out more about the different study options available for this course:

Accreditations, partners and industry connections

British Film Institute (BFI) logo

British Film Institute (BFI)

The BFI is a charity and the UK’s leading organisation for film and moving image. It promotes and supports British film from newcomers to established makers, and cares for the BFI National Archive, the world’s largest film and television archive.

ARRI logo

ARRI

ARRI is a leading designer and manufacturer of camera and lighting systems for the film, broadcast, and media industries. The ARRI Certified Film School accreditation is awarded to institutions that meet rigorous standards of technical excellence, creative education, and professional development.

National Theatre logo

National Theatre

The National Theatre has been sharing unforgettable stories for more than 50 years. In its role as the leader of theatre in the UK, it works tirelessly to bring theatre to audiences around the world and encourages the art of theatre through commissioned work, learning programmes and strategic partnerships.

What you'll study

What you'll
study

The content of the course may be subject to change. Curriculum content is provided as a guide.

UCA’s Integrated Foundation Year is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and more.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated Foundation Year

For our students coming from a non-UK educational background, UCA has launched an Integrated International Foundation Year, based at UCA Farnham to bring students from around the world to one hub of creativity.

This year of preparatory study is designed to give you the skills you’ll need to start your degree in the best possible way – with confidence, solid knowledge of creative practice, study skills and the English speaking and writing skills you’ll need to succeed.

You’ll explore a range of creative techniques and develop your portfolio, with your chosen subject in mind. We’ll work with you throughout the year to ensure you’re on the right track and give you the tools to achieve your highest potential on your degree.

Find out more about the Integrated International Foundation Year

Launch Week
Launch week is a chance to get to know students from other year groups through a series of activities.

Digital Environments
You’ll explore how digital technology is used for producing music, learning how to use a variety of software tools to create original sounds and combine these with audio samples to produce finished tracks. You will also delve into the world of mixing, and study the history of studio technology.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
The unit provides an opportunity for students to explore what is meant by equality, diversity, and inclusion and the implications of these concepts for creative practice. It will equip students to understand how our social identities (such as gender, race/ethnicity, class, disability, sexual orientation, and religion) contribute to the inclusion and/or exclusion of individuals in creative spaces.

Digital Project
As you create your own productions for live shows, you will explore how computers can be used as flexible musical instruments. You will learn about both planning and improvising during live performances, and you will experiment with different performance techniques using digital audio workstations and software controllers. This unit also encourages you to explore the music of diverse genres and cultures.

Opportunity
Opportunity Week features a series of talks, masterclasses and workshops from industry professionals for all year groups.

Analogue Environments
This unit explores the world of analogue technology as an environment for music production and sound design. Through interactive studio sessions, engaging seminars, and hands-on workshops, you will learn how to record live instruments using an analogue signal path and mix tracks using traditional studio approaches.

Professional Development
This unit introduces you to the current working structures and operations of the UK and global music and media industries, giving insights into how music producers, film/media producers and businesses interact with each other on a creative and commercial basis.

Analogue Project
This unit builds on the fundamentals of analogue production and sound design and presents your work in the form of a live performance. Through a series of studio sessions and workshops, you will engage in the rehearsal process and learn how to mix and capture live sound on location, working in small groups to prepare content for live performance on campus to an audience of your peers, academics, and the public.

ATOM Activities 1
ATOM activities are tiny pieces of diverse individual learning that facilitate interdisciplinary exposure across the university’s curricular and beyond. They are chosen by you according to your personal interest.

PLE Digital Outcome 1
The PLE Digital Outcome is a purposefully edited, self-directed record of your constructive, level 4 engagement with and presence on, digital media platforms across the year.

Launch
You’ll complete an intensive task in your second year Launch Week related to your studies. 

Sound Design
This unit builds upon what you have learned so far about sound design in your first year and helps you refine your skills in editing and creatively manipulating audio. You will develop efficient workflows for editing and enhancing a wide range of sounds, such as realistic Foley and special effects. You will be introduced the world of coding and programming languages, exploring everything from customized digital workflows to the generation of musical ideas using algorithmic processes.

The Conscious Practitioner
This unit aims to promote progressive values and attitudes to diversity and inclusion in creative practice. You’ll have the opportunity to explore global perspectives and influences on creative practice, drawing upon interactions with varied identities, cultures, politics, and histories. The unit will explore how beliefs, values and attitudes drive behaviour and practices. Students will reflect on the development of their own creative influences, perspectives, practices, and sense of belonging as developing creative professionals in global and contemporary spaces.

Opportunity 
A series of talks, masterclasses and workshops from industry professionals; All year groups.

Sampler Instruments
In this unit, you will discover the art of sampling and how to create your own digital sampler instrument, building upon your experience of creating both original music and tools used in the production process. Through workshops and seminars, you will explore the exciting possibilities of sampler instruments in music and sound production, from realistic virtual instruments to sound effects and Foley.
 
By the end of the unit, you will apply your knowledge and skills in a DAW-based production that features your unique sampler instrument. 

Placement / Live Brief 
You’ll be required to research, negotiate and undertake a self-initiated work experience placement opportunity or other professional interactions within a business appropriate to the music, sound or media industries such as a “live brief” or collaboration with a student from another course. This placement or “live brief” should be designed to meet your own aspirational and identified developmental needs. 

ATOM Activities
This unit is an extension of your Year 1 ATOM Activities.

PLE Digital Outcome
You’ll build your industry community and professional networking footprint, creating a digital folder evidencing that you are actively engaging in sustainable professional development. You’ll showcase current and newly established professional networks and identify common interests.

Elective units
You'll also undertake two elective units across the year - choose from:

  • Applied Skills for a Sustainable Media Industry - UCA is a founder member of the albert Education Partnership from BAFTA, which brings together Film and TV course providers from across the country and empowers their students to consider and help alleviate the screen industry’s impact on the climate crisis. Upon successful completion of this unit, you will achieve certification as an ‘albert Grad’, signalling your achievement of highly employable skills for a sustainable industry.
  • Audio World Building - Sound design can have an enormous impact on any moving image project. This unit will encourage you to explore the way sound can be used to underpin action, describe the unseen, establish an environment, set a tone, depict a mood or even to directly elicit an emotional response from an audience.
  • Cinematography - This unit is essential if you want to develop yuor skills in visual storytelling and creating compelling visuals for film and video. By taking this unit, you will learn the principles of cinematography and gain hands-on experience using industry-standard equipment to create professional quality visuals.
  • Consent, Intimacy and Stage Combat - This unit focuses on the fundamental skills and principles required for performing effective, believable, and safer intimacy and unarmed (hand to hand) combat for stage and screen.
  • Film Production - This unit is designed to provide learners with practical skills and knowledge in film production, with a focus on collaboration, professionalism, and self-reflection. The unit will culminate in a group film production project, where learners will have the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge.
  • Immersive Production - You will explore cutting edge and future focused technology to gain a broad comprehension of the expertise and skills required if you want to delve further into immersive media production. The unit will enable you to get a strong understanding of where the production industry is heading and allow you to pitch a concept using these technologies for a television production brief.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaborations in Music and Theatre - This unit encourages interdisciplinary collaboration between Music, Acting & Performance, and Design for Theatre & Screen to plan, rehearse and deliver a live performance piece to an audience of peers and the public. This project puts music performance at the centre of the collaboration.
  • Loops and Micro Format Films - You’ll discover the creativity and versatility of the simple animated (or live action) loop for use on your website as a showcase to promote your own work or engage your ‘brand’, and create three loops to upload to your websites or use in social media for self-promotion.
  • Motion Capture & Green Screen - Motion capture is a technique used to capture the movements of actors or objects in digital form. Green screen is a technique used to composite two or more images or video streams together by replacing a specific colour (usually green or blue) with another image or video stream. In this unit you’ll learn about how both these things can work in the VFX industry.
  • Physical Theatre Production - You’ll work together with students from a wide range of courses to make a live physical theatre production. This could be further augmented by animated material or filmed material. TV or film students may also be involved capturing or streaming the performance.
  • Postproduction Editing - This elective unit is essential if you want to become proficient in the art of post-production film editing. Using industry-standard software - Avid Media Composer (Davinci Resolve, and Premiere Pro) – you’ll create a professional quality scene and have analysed and evaluated professional editing and sound design workflows.
  • Prestige Television - Starting with the claim that television reaches more people than any other cultural form, this unit examines and articulates the meanings of ‘Quality’ and ‘Prestige’ as they relate to Television, and why these genres of ‘Prestige’ have become dominant.
  • Screen Writing - You’ll be introduced to a range of creative writing skills and, in particular, the highly visual medium of writing for film and television. You will view and compare the work of some of the industry’s most accomplished contemporary screen writers, learn how to present and format a script and write your own story outline for a short film, series or screenplay.
  • Shakespeare Festival - In this unit you will stage an abridged version of a Shakespeare play in an outdoor festival setting at sites around UCA Farnham campus. A director will help you shape the play and actors, composers and designers will work together to rehearse and run the festival events.
  • TV in the Age of Digital Disruption - This unit examines and critically interrogates the changing dynamics of television production, distribution, textual analysis and audience engagement in an age of ‘digital disruption’, particularly following the rise of streaming services.
  • Verbatim - You will explore Verbatim texts and performance practices including ‘headphone’ theatre and documentary theatre practices. The unit will culminate in small group films/performances using the practical techniques studied.
  • Virtual Production - Virtual production has emerged as a cutting-edge technology that revolutionizes the way film and television productions are made. You’ll gain the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to use virtual production tools and techniques to create immersive and interactive digital content.

If you opt to complete a professional practice year, this will take place in year three. You will undertake a placement within the creative industries to further develop your skills and CV.

While on your Professional Practice Year, you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee for that year. This fee will be determined using government funding regulations. Based on current regulations, we expect this to be a maximum of 20% of the tuition fee rate that you are charged for your second year of study. You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during this year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this as you approach your Professional Practice Year.

Please note: If you are an international applicant, you will need to enrol onto the course ‘with Professional Practice Year’. It will not be possible to transfer onto the Professional Practice Year after enrolment

Launch
Your final Launch Week will feature another collaborative and intensive project designed to kick off your studies.

Dissertation
The dissertation is documentation of a sustained academically rigorous argument. This is normally through a written and referenced piece of writing, as might appear in a peer reviewed journal. It may be possible to do a multimedia submission, depending on your area of focus. You will develop and research an area of enquiry from which your question and title are formed. You are responsible for the topic, but it will be discussed and negotiated with your course tutor.

Music Business
The Music Business unit will enable you to develop strategies, plans and pragmatic information needed for your next steps in the music business. The unit combines general knowledge on contracts, fees and rights with bespoke mentoring.  Taken together, you’ll create a dossier, which evidences the steps taken to prepare yourself for the future.  This will include elements such as:

  • Online presence
  • Biography writing and artists statements
  • Presentation skills
  • CV writing
  • Business plan writing
  • Funding and job search

By embracing preparedness and flexibility this unit will help provide you with the tools needed to plan and evolve with the changing landscape of the music business.

Opportunity
A series of talks, masterclasses and workshops from industry professionals for all year groups.

Final Major Project
The Final Major Project is a culmination of your skills, passions and creativity. You will develop, in coordination with the unit leader, a brief for your project.  If you are working as part of a wider collaborative team, then a defined role within the group will also be negotiated. The brief and role description set the parameters in which you your final major project will develop. It should be ambitious but achievable and framed within how you want to promote yourself as a composer, musician or music producer.  

Final major projects are negotiated, but examples might include:

  • Creating and implementing sound design for a project with Games
  • Scoring a film or animation
  • Working with an external partner
  • Working with other composers on a joint project

Alongside the project, you will be compiling a showreel of work to showcase your compositions thus far. The unit and year will finish with a “festival” which celebrates the compositions and projects completed for this unit.

This course is designed to offer you (if eligible) the opportunity to study part of your degree aboard at a UCA partner university, while still earning credits towards your UCA degree.

For more information please visit the Study Abroad section

Industry placement
offer

Preparing graduates for successful careers underpins everything we do, and all students on this course may be offered support to identify and prepare for an industry placement according to their individual needs. We’ll draw on our wide range of contacts within the creative industries to help provide you with opportunities that align with your interests and future career aspirations.

Course specifications

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change in line with our Student Terms and Conditions for example, as required by external professional bodies or to improve the quality of the course.

Explore our gradshows

Each year, we’re privileged to be able to share our graduates’ incredible work with the world. And now’s your chance to take a look.

Visit the online showcase
Fees & funding

Fees &
financial support

Tuition fees - 2024/25 entry

UK students:

  • Integrated Foundation Year - £9,250
  • BA course - £9,250

EU students:

  • Integrated International Foundation Year - £9,250 (see fee discount information)
  • BA course - £9,250 (see fee discount information)

International students:

  • Integrated International Foundation Year - £16,950
  • BA course - £17,500

If you opt to study the Professional Practice Year, for 2024 you will be required to pay a reduced tuition fee of £1,850 (UK students) and £3,390 (International students). You will also incur additional travel and accommodation costs during your Professional Practice year. The University will provide you with further advice and guidance about this.

The fees listed here are correct for the stated academic year only, for details of previous years please see the full fee schedules

Financial support

There are lots of ways you can access additional financial support to help you fund your studies - both from UCA and from external sources.

Discover what support you might qualify for please see our financial support information

UCA scholarships and fee discounts

At UCA we have a number of scholarships and fee discounts available to assist you with the cost of your studies.

You'll find everything you need to know for your level of study on our scholarships page.

Additional course costs

In addition to the tuition fees there may be other costs for your course. The things that you are likely to need to budget for to get the most out of a creative arts education will include books, printing costs, occasional or optional study trips and/or project materials.

These costs will vary according to the nature of your project work and the individual choices that you make. 

Facilities

Our teaching spaces have a mixture of analogue and digital equipment. We have sound editing, recording and mixing suites with software such as Avid Pro Tools, Steinberg Dorico and Cubase, Ableton Live, Max/MSP, Logic Pro and the Vienna Symphonic Library. The media store has a good supply of equipment to hire, specialist music equipment includes: Ableton push controllers, amplifiers, midi keyboards and high quality microphones such as the Neuman U87 and AKG 414. You'll also have access to the Grove Music dictionary and Naxos Music Library.

View 360 virtual tour

Sound editing suite, UCA Epsom

Recording studio, UCA Farnham

Pro-tools room, UCA Farnham

Foley studio, UCA Epsom

Career opportunities

Career
opportunities

Graduates of this course can expect to continue in their career within a variety of different roles. These include:

  • Sound engineer
  • Music and audio technician
  • Technical support specialist
  • Audio producer
  • Music and sound design technician
  • Technical producer
  • Studio engineer

Your BA or BSc will prepare you for a wide range of postgraduate courses. We will help you find the correct course for you and support you in your application should further study be for you.

What’s it like being a student at UCA?

That’s a big question. Get some answers from people who are studying right here, right now.

Chat to a student

A day in the life of a Music student

Second year student, Clayton De Haan, tells us that there is no such thing as an average day on his course.

Read Clayton's story
Entry & portfolio requirements

Entry & portfolio
requirements

BA (Hons) course
BA (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements* for these courses are one of the following:

  • 112 UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 27-30 total points in the International Baccalaureate Diploma with at least 15 IB points at Higher level, see more information about IB entry requirements.

And four GCSE passes at grade 9-4/A*-C including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.  

Portfolio requirements

These courses may require a submission of a portfolio of musical work. We’ll invite you to attend an Applicant Day so you can have your review in person, meet the course team and learn more about your course. Further information will be provided once you have applied.

We are not necessarily looking for a polished production but rather something that you feel demonstrates your musical and sonic interests. It could include a video of a performance, the music to a short film, a piece of sound design, a score, graphic score or lead sheet of original work. It could be a mix or remix in any style and might include a description of your technical or artistic process. In other words, it should represent you, your interests and your process. We recommend you keep your work to less than 5 minutes in total.

 


BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

The standard entry requirements* for these courses are one of the following:

  • 32 UCAS tariff points, see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Pass, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma / BTEC National Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 32 UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject
  • 24 points from the International Baccalaureate, see more information about IB entry requirements.

And four GCSE passes at grade 9-4/A*-C including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2).

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply. 

Portfolio requirements

These courses may require a submission of a portfolio of musical work. We’ll invite you to attend an Applicant Day so you can have your review in person, meet the course team and learn more about your course. Further information will be provided once you have applied.

We are not necessarily looking for a polished production but rather something that you feel demonstrates your musical and sonic interests. It could include a video of a performance, the music to a short film, a piece of sound design, a score, graphic score or lead sheet of original work. It could be a mix or remix in any style and might include a description of your technical or artistic process. In other words, it should represent you, your interests and your process. We recommend you keep your work to less than 5 minutes in total.

 


*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria, to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance and who were expected to achieve higher results. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades -  in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

BA (Hons) course
BA (Hons) course with Professional Practice Year

The entry requirements for these courses will depend on the country your qualifications are from, please check the equivalent qualifications for your country:

Any additional entry requirements listed in the UK requirements section, e.g., subject requirements, work experience or professional qualifications, also apply to international applicants applying with equivalent qualifications.

Portfolio requirements

These courses may require a submission of a portfolio of musical work. You can upload a portfolio digitally via your UCA Applicant Portal. Further information will be provided once you have applied.

We are not necessarily looking for a polished production but rather something that you feel demonstrates your musical and sonic interests. It could include a video of a performance, the music to a short film, a piece of sound design, a score, graphic score or lead sheet of original work. It could be a mix or remix in any style and might include a description of your technical or artistic process. In other words, it should represent you, your interests and your process. We recommend you keep your work to less than 5 minutes in total.

 


BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year
BA (Hons) course with Integrated International Foundation Year and Professional Practice Year

For these courses you need to have completed 12 years of schooling (with good grades) and show strong evidence of your ability to successfully complete the programme and progress onto your chosen degree.

Any additional entry requirements listed in the UK requirements section, e.g., subject requirements, work experience or professional qualifications, also apply to international applicants applying with equivalent qualifications.

Portfolio requirements

These courses don't require a portfolio of musical work. 

 


English language requirements

To study at UCA, you'll need to have a certain level of English language skill. And so, to make sure you meet the requirements of your course, we ask for evidence of your English language ability, please check the level of English language required:

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry pathways:

Apply now

Please use the following fields to help select the right application link for you:

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