Student stood behind mixing desk while band play on stage

Sound Design BA(Hons)

Explore the boundaries of sound and its potential to transport an audience.

Key details
Location
Penryn Campus
Course duration
3 years / 4 years
Attendance
Full-time / Placement year
UCAS code
W611/PY08
Subject to validation during this academic year
Yes

Course overview

This course is new for entry year 2023

This highly collaborative degree will equip you with the creative and technical abilities for your dream role as a sound designer or a sound experience professional, ready to make waves in industries such as music, animation and visual media. Design sounds in different contexts, from film and fashion shows to gaming, installations and staged performances.

As someone with a passion for sound, you’ll immerse yourself in its creation and production. Guided by an expert team and working in partnership with students in associated fields, you’ll emerge with diverse skills and a distinctive portfolio.

You will:

  • Build core sound design and related audio skills, encompassing concepts, practices, tools and workflows
  • Work with industry-standard software, hardware and technical facilities, including mixing consoles, portable recording equipment, Foley/ ADR suites and dedicated post-production audio suites
  • Develop a contextual knowledge of contemporary sound design
  • Collaborate in project teams across a range of creative disciplines to develop and apply knowledge, experience and transferable skills
  • Experiment with future applications of sound, including sonic wearables and branding, soundscape ecology and sound design in wellbeing
  • Gain business, marketing and entrepreneurial insight, boosting your employability

Course details

On this Sound Design degree, you'll have the opportunity to gain a BA(Hons) degree over three years or study Sound Design BA(Hons) with a placement year.

You'll learn core creative and technical digital audio skills alongside developing a contextual understanding of contemporary sound design and enhancing your critical thinking and writing skills. With a focus on preparing for industry, you'll also learn core business, marketing and entrepreneurial skills. 

Upskill & Integrate

Your first year is all about upskilling and getting immersed in disciplines from across the University's creative departments, from the perspective of sound design. You'll develop your core sound design and related audio skills as well as your understanding of sound design workflows in various contexts. You'll also begin to develop fundamental theoretical and contextual knowledge of contemporary sound design practice.

Modules

Audio & Sound Theory

You'll experiment with analogue and digital audio signals and explore the fundamentals of audio theory. You'll cover interfacing, the mathematical foundations of music, DSP, metering and more.

Sound Design: Workflows, Tools & Techniques 1-2

You'll develop an understanding of industry workflows, tools and techniques used in various contexts and disciplines including TV, film, games, media production, sound design for stage and web audio.

Linear Sound Design

You'll gain a working knowledge of sound/music layers used in film, TV and theatre, utilising audio editing and processing, and adding Foley effects and ADR.

Non-linear Sound Design

In this module you'll focus on developing skills and understanding of sound design for non-linear contexts, such as games, apps and the web.

Sound Studies: Sound in Context

You'll explore the history of sound design, hone your contextual understanding and consider future trends and technical developments of the discipline.

Experience & Expand

The second year is focused on live projects, study options, gaining practical sound design experiences and developing business and brand thinking. You'll identify, acquire and apply new skills as you take on collaborative projects with students from across the University. You'll also explore immersive audio technologies and contemplate future directions of the sound design discipline.

Modules

Sound Design Futures

You'll explore cutting edge trends and future directions and opportunities in sound design.

Immersive Audio & Sound Design

You'll undertake a practical and theoretical exploration of immersive audio sound systems, technologies and experiences.

Falmouth Team Projects

In this module, you'll push the limits of your practice by taking on projects as part of a multi-skilled team. You'll work with students from a variety of courses including Game Design, Film, Animation, Fashion and Theatre & Performance.

Collaboration

Working as part of a team, you'll work on 'Challenge Briefs' that reflect the sort of assignments you could expect to be working on in industry. Developing your 'soft skills', like communication, problem-solving, critical thinking and leadership, you'll sharpen your ability to work well as part of a group to produce outstanding work.

You can choose to take an optional placement year after your second year on a three-year programme, or after your third year if you’re studying for a degree with an Integrated Foundation Year. 

You’ll be responsible for finding your own placement, with support from the RealWORKS employability team. 

Choosing this option will enhance your industry experience and skills while studying. 

How you’ll study during your placement year 

You’ll spend time working in a professional context, as part of a business or organisation. This can be in one role, or up to three, and must be for a minimum of 24 weeks. 

You’ll develop in-demand workplace skills, deepen your insight into industry and grow your network of contacts, all of which could help you get ahead in your career after graduation. 

Throughout this year, you’ll develop a portfolio of work that includes critical self-reflection on what has been learned from the experience. You’ll be required to evidence your experiences, the skills you’ve learned and your professional growth.

Focus & Connect

Your final year is geared towards solidifying your professional identity, knowledge, skills and networks in line with your chosen sound design specialism. You'll develop a professional portfolio, enhance your entrepreneurial practice skills and carry out business planning as you prepare to take your first steps into industry.

Modules

Critical Contextual Project

You'll investigate the contemporary contexts of your chosen sound design specialism.

Future Skills

You'll cultivate your professional journey, developing an understanding of your skills in the context of industry and employment. You'll be equipped with the confidence to articulate your knowledge and abilities, and evidence how you can apply them to real world challenges.

Working on a collaborative or solo project, you'll deliver real results, whether that's a profit on some seed funding, a professional portfolio of work, or a solution to a real-world challenge from industry.

Developing Professional Sound Design Practice (Optional)

In preparation for life after graduation, you'll deliver either a business or a professional development project relating to your sound design career aspirations.

Final Project Contextualisation

Drawing on your understanding of the theories, contexts and practices of sound design, you'll produce a written piece of work that contextualises your final portfolio.

Professional Sound Design Portfolio

Your final sound design portfolio is the culmination of your degree. A showcase of your specialist skills and professional identity, it will be your industry calling card.

The modules above are those being studied by our students, or proposed new ones. Programme structures and modules can change as part of our curriculum enhancement and review processes. If a certain module is important to you, please discuss it with the Course Leader.

How you'll learn

You'll learn through a combination of studio sessions, workshops, seminars, solo and collaborative project work, crit sessions and networking. You'll also learn from guest lecturers and industry panels.

At Falmouth, we use a 'digitally enhanced learning & teaching' approach. Your experience will always be predominantly in-person, including seminars, tutorials and studio teaching, with some, more targeted elements, being online either live (synchronous) or pre-recorded (asynchronous). You can read more here.

How you'll spend your time

Year

Timetabled teaching and learning activity

Guided independent 
study

Placement

1

TBC

TBC

TBC

2

TBC

TBC

TBC

3

TBC

TBC

TBC

How you'll be assessed

Year

Written exams

Practical exams

Coursework

1

TBC

TBC

TBC

2

TBC

TBC

TBC

3

TBC

TBC

TBC

 

*These percentages are indicative and may vary

Assessment methods

You'll be assessed through coursework and practical submissions. This can take many forms, including:

  • Practical projects
  • Presentations
  • Portfolios
  • Short essays

Mirroring the industry, we also encourage regular self-evaluation and crit-sessions.

Studying Sound Design means you'll be part of the vibrant Academy of Music & Theatre Arts community. Check out the stories below to discover more about our amazing students, graduates and staff.

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Staff

You'll learn from staff and guest speakers with a broad range of specialist knowledge and experiences within the sound design discipline and associated industries.

Some members of staff only teach on specific modules, and your course might not feature every staff member who teaches on the course.

Dr Simon Waite

Course Co-ordinator & Senior Lecturer

Si Waite is a songwriter, producer and educator. He has written, recorded and performed as a solo ar...

Dr Simon Waite

Dr Antti Saario

Head of Music

Dr Antti Sakari Saario is an award-winning post-acousmatic composer, educator and an audio prof...

Dr Antti Saario

Facilities

Throughout your Sound Design degree, you'll have access to a huge range of professional facilities, equipment and resources from across the University's Academy of Music & Theatre Arts, School of Film & Television, Games Academy and Cornwall Business School.

These facilities include:

  • Post-production audio suites – all equipped with Pro Tools Ultimate
  • Foley/ADR suite with access to a wide range of mics, foley traps and props
  • Recording studio complex
  • Professional-standard studio hardware and software and an extensive microphone collection
  • A superb collection of analogue and virtual analogue synths and drum machines.
  • Portable recording equipment

Take the tour

Performance Facilities Image
Performance - AMATA

Performance Facilities

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Performance Facilities
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Games Academy Facilities

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Games Academy Facilities
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SoWJ Newsroom through window lecturer talking

Media Equipment and Facilities

Our industry-level facilities offer everything you need to practice and produce animation, film, TV,...

Media Equipment and Facilities
Library interior with 'group study' written on large pillar and students reading
Penryn library group study area

Library Facilities

Offering extensive collections, our two libraries provide a wealth of digital resources, magazines, ...

Library Facilities
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Sports Centre - Outside
Sports Centre

Sports Centre

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Careers

As a Sound Design graduate you could become:

  • A sound designer for visual media or in a variety of live contexts
  • An audio editor
  • A sound recordist, on location or in the field
  • A Foley artist, creating sound effects for film and other media
  • A specialist in sonic branding

How to apply

Apply via UCAS

Ready to join us? You can apply through UCAS. You'll need to reference the course and University code (F33).

Apply now

Applying as an international student? 

International students can apply for a course through UCAS, via an agent or directly with the university. For more information about how to apply as an international student, visit our international applications page.

International applications

Course route UCAS code
Sound Design BA(Hons) three year degree W611
Sound Design BA(Hons) with placement year PY08

We consider all applications on their own individual merit and potential. We invite all applicants to an interview day or audition to give them the opportunity to demonstrate this along with what inspires and motivates them in their field. Applicants will also be able to show their portfolio or give a performance depending on the course. We welcome applications from all subject backgrounds, whether you’ve specialised in STEM, the arts or humanities.  

Course route Entry requirements
BA/BSc(Hons) three year degree 104 – 120 UCAS Tariff points
BA/BSc(Hons) four year degree with placement year 104 – 120 UCAS Tariff points

UCAS Tariff points will primarily be from Level 3 qualifications such as but not limited to A-levels, T Levels, a BTEC/UAL Extended Diploma or a Foundation Diploma. 

Check how many points your qualifications are worth

For applicants whose first language is English we require you to have or be working towards GCSE English Language Grade 4 (C), or equivalent. 

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the same standard which is equivalent to the IELTS Academic 6.0 overall score, with at least 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. We accept a range of in country equivalencies and approved tests.  

If you need a student visa to study in the UK, you may need to take a recognised language test. You can read our English Language Requirements for more information.

For starting your studies in 2023

UK applications: 25 January 2023 (for equal consideration)

Applications after the 25 January will be considered on a first-come, first-served as long as there are places available. Apply for this course now.

International fee payers

International fee payers can apply throughout the year. But we recommend applying as early as possible, to make time for visa and travel arrangements.

Fees, costs & funding

Tuition fees

Annual tuition fee Student
£9,250 per year Full-time UK
£17,460 per year Full-time EU/international
£1,850 per placement year Full-Time UK and EU/international

Tuition fees are set annually and are subject to review each year. The University may therefore raise tuition fees in the second or subsequent years of a course, in line with inflation and/or the maximum permitted by law or Government policy. Students will be notified of any changes as soon as possible. 

The figures above don't include accommodation and living costs

Typical course costs

One-off costs for the duration of the course:

  • Laptop/computer
  • £150-250 – Audio interface
  • £60-120 – Hard drive
  • £85+ – Headphones 
  • $60+ –Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) (open source with full licenses starting at $60)

Recurring annual costs:

  • £200 – Study trips to relevant trade shows and sound design studios and production suites based locally and in other UK cities
  • £50 – Compulsory trips and final portfolios or shows
  • £50 – Optional study visits and placements

Ask a student

What better way to find out about life at Falmouth University than by asking our current students?

From course details and academic support, to the social scene and settling in, our students are ready and available to answer any questions you might have. Simply set up your account, send them a question and they'll get back to you within 24 hours.

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