About the course
Films, television, videogames, and apps: music and sound are a crucial part of so much of today's media. If you enjoy working on your own compositions and sound design and want to push your accomplishments to a professional level, this course could help you prepare for a career in creating music for visuals.
Right from the start we’ll give you the chance to immerse yourself in an environment ideally suited to working with sound. The course offers training in music composition, orchestration, conducting and performance. You’ll also be able to get involved in sound recording, audio production, sound design and film theory.
- QS World University Subject Rankings 2019 ranked the University of Huddersfield 25th in the world for 'Performing Arts'.
- You will have the opportunity to work with commercially successful tutors and internationally recognised researchers who can help you build on your production talents.
- You will study in state-of-the-art professional standard facilities. You’ll have plenty of recording and composition studio space to use if you need it. And we make sure to keep upgrading the equipment, so we’re always up-to-date with the industries you want to go into.
- The course is accredited by JAMES.
- You'll be able to explore the latest new music in the annual Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and get up-close and experience contemporary music in action at the Electric Spring Festival.
- The course offers an optional placement year to help give you the edge in your chosen career.
We believe in being collaborative. The course is at the centre of a hive of creativity. You’ll be able to mix and work with fellow students who will be aspiring classical, jazz and pop musicians, recording engineers, programmers, audio electronics experts and interface designers.
You’ll have the opportunity to take part in masterclasses and workshops given by distinguished visiting performers from the worlds of sound and vision. Recently we've hosted TV, film, and game composer Nitin Sawhney, documentary composer Ray Russell, sound designer David Sonnenschein, producers Charlie Russell and Brad Spence, and a whole range of professional session musicians and orchestral performers.
From day one, you will be introduced to writing music for film. Most of our modules are geared towards giving you musical and technical skills necessary for working in the audiovisual industry. With film composition as a core element every year, complemented by desktop music production, studio engineering, orchestration and sound design (among many options as you progress!), this course aims to make it possible for you to start pitching for work even before you graduate -and our best students do just that. There is an important emphasis on enterprise and awareness of the business side of things as well as more theoretical aspects to round off your education. Your lecturers and guest speakers will include commercially active composers and sound designers that will help give you insight into your future career. If you are serious about working in music and sound for image, this is your course.
Julio D'Escrivan, Senior Lecturer
Music for the Moving Image A
This film music composition module explores the relationship between the soundtrack and moving image, giving you a practical understanding of the role of music and sound in the history of film. You will gain key skills in film composition, arrangment, and orchestration, including the art of creating quality mock-ups using sampled instruments. In addition to film, the module also examines videogame music, TV idents, animation, and music video, and you will work towards a portfolio of original compositions.
Examining a range of compositional approches from the Baroque through to contemporary music, you will develop a heightened understanding of how various idiomatic musical styles work in terms of instrumentation, form, structure, and compositional materials. You will investigate how these idioms have been adapted by current film and videogame composers, and apply your findings to your own original music. Assessment is through a folio of short compositions in term one, followed by an extended composition with commentary in term two.
Desktop Music Production 1
This module will introduce you to relevant techniques and technologies for computer-based music production, including sequencing, sampling, arrangement, and a variety of other sound processing techniques. A range of practical work - both technical and creative - will develop your critical listening and production skills, and seminars will support you in applying these techniques to your own creative work.
Studio Engineering and Mixing Essentials
This module equips you with the core skills and practical principles involved in producing, engineering, and mixing popular music. You'll gain experience of working in an analogue/digital recording studio, allowing you to put your theoretical understanding to practical use in a range of situations.
Introduction to Audiovisual Research
This module equips you with the skills needed to be a successful and confident researcher of audiovisual media. Drawing on examples from a range of styles, genres, technologies and contexts, lectures and seminars will consider music and musicians as part of both historical and contemporary culture - ideas relevant to your own developing practice as a multimedia composer or sound designer. Coursework will allow you to focus on repertoire and issues of your choice, investigating the musical links between aesthetics, society, politics, and technology.
Choose one from a list which may include:
Sonic Arts and Electronica 1
As a basis for your own creative work with sound, this module will introduce you to a broad range of electronic music and models for thinking about sound as a creative medium. You will explore electronic music from a range of contexts, including electronica, EDM, IDM, acousmatic music and sound installation work. You'll be equipped with the skills to use technology in a creative and imaginative way, leading towards a portfolio of original pieces that demonstrate your awareness of contemporary and historical trends in the sonic arts.
This module introduces you to the fundamentals of musical composition by exploring various aspects of melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre and texture. You will work on a series of preliminary exercises in seminars and group tutorials, before building on your skills through the creation of a portfolio of short pieces for piano, voice, and strings. Professional visiting artists and ensembles provide additional demonstrations, performances, and workshops. Assessment is though your individual portfolio of coursework.
Performance Skills 1
This module is designed to help you to gain a range of key musical skills. You will study improvisation and improve your aural awareness, as well as learning how to critique your own music-making and the performances of others. You will perform in musical groups, with a wide choice of styles and genres available. You will be assessed based on your contributions to performances, through practical musical tests, and through written coursework.
Composing Music for Film and Videogames A
This practical composition module equips you with the skills needed to compose original scores for the moving image. It provides tuition in the technical practices of soundtrack composition: spotting cues, creating live soundtracks for film, arranging and orchestrating pre-existing music, and working with technology to create realistic instrumental sounds and effects. You'll gain the ability to undertake a practical analysis of music for film, television and computer games, and will be assessed on portfolios of original composition work.
Sound for Image A
You will develop a practical understanding of the fundamental skills needed to produce sound for film, television, computer games, and mobile devices. You will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of sound production professions and and the processes of sound production within various media contexts. The module provides practical training in location recording, dealing with equipment, making sound effects, sound design, and preparing layers of audio for post-production. You will also study post-production skills for soundtrack compilation. Assessment is through coursework: touching-up rough sound materials, producing original sound, and creating your own soundtrack and a portfolio of accompanying technical documents.
Desktop Music Production 2
This module will provide further study of the techniques of computer-based music production. Techniques examined in-depth will include synthesis, sequencing, sampling, editing, processing and mixing, as well as their creative application. You will also explore pre/post production and arrangement, covering these topics through practical technical and creative work that will improve your techno-fluency as well as your ability to listen critically. Seminars support you in applying different production techniques to your creative ideas, leading towards a coursework portfolio for assessment.
Orchestration (Year 2)
This module examines a range of approaches to orchestration from the Baroque to the present day. You will explore the characteristics of individual instruments, their ranges and tone colours, as well as strategies for the combinations of instruments, including issues of balance, voicing, doubling, and effective control of orchestral textures. Assessment is through coursework.
Inside the Music Business
Inside the Music Business will introduce you to a range of issues relevant to the current music industry, from copyright, contracts, and economics through to the role of the media in marketing and reviewing music. You will explore the production, distribution, and revenue models of the global music business and develop the critical and analytical skills to understand these working methods and the ways they relate to your own practice as a musician.
Choose one from a list which may include:
You will explore a variety of techniques, resources, and notational skills to enhance and extend your work as a composer, including guidance on writing creatively for voices, mixed ensembles, percussion, invented instruments and electronics. With support provided by classes, tutorials, and workshops in a range of musical styles, you will work towards the production of a unique coursework portfolio of compositions.
Scoring the Silver Screen: the Musicology of Film and Television
Scoring the Silver Screen introduces you to a range of analytical, critical, and theoretical approaches to film and television soundtracks. You will explore the evolving relationships between technology, economics, and aesthetics in the history of moving image media, with case studies ranging from 'silent' films and classic Hollywood musicals to art-house cinema, contemporary blockbusters, and television serials. Assessment is through a workbook portfolio and coursework essay.
Studio Production and Spatial Recording Techniques
This module will introduce advanced concepts, theory and practical use of a broad range of equipment used for recording, editing and mixing sound. Practical experience of sound recording will be gained in analogue/digital recording studios, in a concert hall and on location. It aims to develop your ability to edit multitrack audio using advanced post production techniques and develop the skills required to capture accurate stereo and multichannel recordings in a concert hall environment.
Sonic Arts and Electronica 2
Building on the skills and knowledge acquired in Sonic Arts and Electronica 1, this module will further your ability to work creatively with sound, as well as your knowledge of electronic musical practices and concepts. You'll work on a series of focused case studies, allowing for detailed investigation of how other artists construct and conceive their works. Drawing on these studies you will create your own original pieces, showing an in-depth awareness of compositional thinking and techniques.
Performance Skills 2
In this module you will be able to choose one option from a wide range of ensembles and approaches to performance. Options typically include conducting, improvisation, jazz big band, chamber music, pop and rock bands, classical ensembles, brass band, folk music, music theatre, and various choirs. Specialist performance tutors will direct ensembles or coach you in groups or individually, leading towards assessed performances appropriate to your specialism.
This module will give you a strong understanding of methods for creating, processing and integrating audio into games. You'll be able to apply these techniques to a variety of simulated games environments. Generative techniques will be applied to produce music tracks, sound effects associated with objects within games and environmental sound (such as water, wind etc). You will gain an understanding of software commonly used in this industry (such as Unity, FMOD and MAX MSP).
Choose one from:
This work placement module is designed to help you develop social and personal skills through work based activities appropriate for registration in the initial stages of professional institutions. You will be able to develop an understanding of the operating environment, in industrial and commercial terms, and of the roles and responsibilities of its staff. You will have the chance to develop an understanding of the significance of your work within the commercial operation of the company. You will have the opportunity to get involved in the planning of work and projects from the initial investigation through to conclusion, selecting appropriate methods and data. This is a pass/fail module. The criteria for success in this module depends on an employer appraisal, a technical logbook and a company profile report.
The placement will relate to your course of study and/or desired career It will provide opportunities for the development of a range of personal, interpersonal and professional skills, dependent upon the nature of the working environment and whether the student is working as an individual or within a team. You will be expected to identify a suitable placement for yourselves but will be assisted by the Module Tutor and the Employer Engagement Administrator. It is expected that you will undertake formal recruitment and selection procedures and will be required to prepare a Curriculum Vitae, write cover letters, attend assessment centres and interviews as necessary.
Final Year Project
This double-weighted module provides you with a flexible opportunity to showcase your skills, either as an individual or collaboratively. Working with the support and guidance of a specialist tutor, you will devise, manage, deliver, and evaluate your project independently. Whether your interests lie in performance, production, composition, musical research - or a mixture of several areas - Final Year Project gives you the freedom to create the work that best represents you as a musician.
Choose at least one from a list which may include:
Explorations in World Musics (Final Year)
This module will introduce you to past and present styles of music popular around the world, such as Vietnamese Pop, Baltic folk music and Aboriginal country music. You will be introduced to analytical tools that allow you to conceptualise these styles of music and place them within their cultural and political contexts, drawining on a range of disciplines that include ethnomusicology, anthropology, history, and post-colonial studies. You will also investigate the diverse and multicultural musical life of Huddersfield itself, working with a group from the local area as a musical collaborator, ethnographer, or producer.
Applied Music Research: Investigating Culture and Creativity
This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of methodologies for musical research, including empirical and ethnographic approaches. Seminars will provide you with opportunities to debate and apply these methods to a range of contemporary issues in music and musical culture, providing the basis for investigating your own topic of study in an extended research project. You will be encouraged to explore new areas of study, additional methodologies and approaches to 'real world' research, and to question the ways in which music functions as a social, cultural, and aesthetic text.
Music, Gender and Identity
This module explores the relationship between music and identity. It encourages you to question the relationship between creativity and gender in diverse areas of musical activity, from composition and scholarship to performance itself. Sample topics include work on masculinity in rock; gendered stereotypes in film music; the 'hidden' history of female composers; music and disability; popular music scenes and subcultures; and the presentation of identity on the operatic stage. Classes provide opportunity to debate your ideas with others, and the module is assessed by a coursework portfolio and a research-based essay on a topic of your choice.
Choose two or three from a list which may include:
Performance Skills 3
Performance Skills 3 allows you to choose one option from a wide range of ensembles and approaches to performance. Options typically include conducting, improvisation, jazz big band, chamber music, pop and rock bands, classical ensembles, brass band, folk music, music theatre, and various choirs. Specialist performance tutors will direct ensembles or coach you in groups or individually, leading towards assessed performances appropriate to your specialism.
Performance Skills 3 (Major)
Performance Skills 3 Major allows you to choose two options from a wide range of ensembles and approaches to performance. Options typically include conducting, improvisation, jazz big band, chamber music, pop and rock bands, classical ensembles, brass band, folk music, music theatre, and various choirs. Specialist performance tutors will direct ensembles or coach you in groups or individually, leading towards assessed performances appropriate to your specialism.
You will build on the experience you have gained previously in composition, production, and/or songwriting modules to produce a sophisticated piece (or small set of pieces) of music based on a set of staff-led options relevant to your compositional practice (examples include multichannel audio composition, instrumental composition, songwriting, music production and audiovisual composition). Tutorial support for this creative work will be provided. You will be introduced to relevant techniques such as spatialisation, the use of complex orchestration/arrangements, advanced studio production, video, interactive or mixed media work. You will develop your ability to work with such techniques creatively.
Experimental Music (Final Year)
In this module you will explore and gain understanding of the defining elements of experimental music. Classes will introduce new ideas, composers and musical works, which will be explored through performances, group activities, discussions and presentations. No performing experience is required – just an open mind and willingness to experiment! Assessment will be a combination of practical and coursework, including the choice of a performance of an experimental work, a composition, or a seminar presentation.
Work and Professional Practice in Music
Guest lecturers from a range of music-related industries will introduce you to to current issues and opportunities in their roles. You will then develop your own professional practice in a work placement of your choice, allowing you to gain valuable hands-on experience and employability skills. Assessment is through coursework relating to your career research and placement.
17.2% of the study time on this course is spent in lectures, seminars, workshops etc. Teaching is split between large group lectures and computer and studio based seminars, workshops and masterclasses. Final year studio tutorials are in small groups of one to six students and there's a welcome community of peer evaluation and feedback that is nurtured at all levels across all degree courses.
Study and assessments will be based on your choice of modules; this can include performances, compositions, presentations, examinations, learning journals, portfolios, recitals, essays and technical documents. The final year large project is based on your choice of specialism. Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.
Feedback (either written and/or verbal) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results. Feedback on final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.
The teaching year normally starts in September with breaks at Christmas and Easter, finishing with a main examination/assessment period around May/June. Timetables are normally available one month before registration. As this is a full-time course, you may have to attend every day of the week.
Your course is made up of modules and each module is worth a number of credits. Each year you study modules to the value of 120 credits, adding up to 360 credits in total for a bachelor’s qualification. These credits can come from a combination of core, compulsory and optional modules but please note that optional modules may not run if we do not have enough students interested.
If you achieve 120 credits for the current stage you are at, you may progress to the next stage of your course, subject to any professional, statutory or regulatory body guidelines.
BBBat A Level including a minimum grade B in Music or Music Technology.
120 UCAS tariff points from a combination of Level 3 qualifications including a minimum grade B at A Level or Distinction in BTEC Music or Music Technology.
DDM in BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Music Technology or Music.
For international students:
We understand international and mature students may not have traditional Music or Music Technology qualifications, and are happy to accept a portfolio from you to demonstrate skills relevant to the course. For applicants to our Music and Sound for Image degree, we would like to see two examples of your composition or sound design work, at least one of which should be computer composition. We will also ask you to demonstrate your understanding of music theory to around grade 5 ABRSM (this could come from a graded exam, harmony exercises, or notated compositions in any style).
If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an English Language qualification. The minimum for IELTS is 6.0 overall with no element lower than 5.5, or equivalent will be considered acceptable. Read more about the University’s entry requirements for students outside of the UK on our Where are you from information pages.
Other suitable experience or qualifications will be considered. For further information please see the University's minimum entry requirements.
- Huddersfield is a TEF gold-rated institution delivering consistently outstanding teaching and learning of the highest quality found in the UK (Teaching Excellence Framework, 2017).
- We won the first Global Teaching Excellence Award recognising the University’s commitment to world-class teaching and its success in developing students as independent learners and critical thinkers (HEA, 2017).
- Here at Huddersfield, you’ll be taught by some of the best lecturers in the country. We’ve been the English university with the highest proportion of professionally-qualified teaching staff for the past four years*.
- For the past ten years, we’ve been the UK’s leading university for National Teaching Fellowships too, which rate Britain’s best lecturers. It’s all part of our ongoing drive for teaching excellence, which helps our students to achieve great things too.
- We’re unique in the fact that all our permanent teaching staff** have, or are completing, doctorates. This expertise, together with our teaching credentials, means that students here learn from knowledgeable and well-qualified teachers and academics who are at the forefront of their subject area.
*HESA - First awarded in 2016, maintained in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
**Permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching; research degrees applies to those on contracts of more than half-time.
Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant to industry. Our staff are recognised as leading figures in their fields, as evidenced by major commissions, performances, recordings, and publications.
In the 2014 REF, 85% of music research at Huddersfield was judged to be Internationally Excellent, with 44% of the overall submission ranked as ‘World-Leading’. In addition to a strong profile of individual research outputs, Huddersfield’s research environment for music was tied for 7th in the sector, alongside Edinburgh, Southampton, Royal Holloway and Cambridge. The impact of Huddersfield’s music research was judged to be 5th among the 84 submissions in music, drama, dance and performing arts, receiving the second highest possible score. The ranking for impact acknowledges the breadth and reach of research at Huddersfield, with impact case studies encompassing innovations in music technology and audio software, historically-informed performance practice in early music, and intercultural exchange in music composition as a model for social change.
For more information, please refer to our research pages.
Music Technology Department
Take a look what the Music Technology department at the University of Huddersfield has to offer, from student experiences to facilities. Click images to find out more.
At the University of Huddersfield, you'll find support networks and services to help you get ahead in your studies and social life. Whether you study at undergraduate or postgraduate level, you'll soon discover that you're never far away from our dedicated staff and resources to help you to navigate through your personal student journey. Find out more about all our support services.
We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.
Changes to a course you have applied for
If we propose to make a major change to a course that you are holding an offer for, then we will tell you as soon as possible so that you can decide whether to withdraw your application prior to enrolment.
Changes to your course after you enrol as a student
We will always try to deliver your course and other services as described. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below:
Changes to option modules
Where your course allows you to choose modules from a range of options, we will review these each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback or demand for certain modules. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let you know in good time the options available for you to choose for the following year.
We will only make major changes to the core curriculum of a course or to our services if it is necessary for us to do so and provided such changes are reasonable. A major change in this context is a change that materially changes the services available to you; or the outcomes, or a significant part, of your course, such as the nature of the award or a substantial change to module content, teaching days (part time provision), classes, type of delivery or assessment of the core curriculum.
For example, it may be necessary to make a major change to reflect changes in the law or the requirements of the University’s regulators; to meet the latest requirements of a commissioning or accrediting body; to improve the quality of educational provision; in response to student, examiners’ or other course evaluators’ feedback; and/or to reflect academic or professional changes within subject areas. Major changes may also be necessary because of circumstances outside our reasonable control, such as a key member of staff leaving the University or being unable to teach, where they have a particular specialism that can’t be adequately covered by other members of staff; or due to damage or interruption to buildings, facilities or equipment.
Major changes would usually be made with effect from the next academic year, but this may not always be the case. We will notify you as soon as possible should we need to make a major change and will carry out suitable consultation with affected students. If you reasonably believe that the proposed change will cause you detriment or hardship we will, if appropriate, work with you to try to reduce the adverse effect on you or find an appropriate solution. Where an appropriate solution cannot be found and you contact us in writing before the change takes effect you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the University without liability to the University for future tuition fees. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.
Termination of course
In exceptional circumstances, we may, for reasons outside of our control, be forced to discontinue or suspend your course. Where this is the case, a formal exit strategy will be followed and we will notify you as soon as possible about what your options are, which may include transferring to a suitable replacement course for which you are qualified, being provided with individual teaching to complete the award for which you were registered, or claiming an interim award and exiting the University. If you do not wish to take up any of the options that are made available to you, then you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the course without liability to the University for future tuition fees and you will be entitled to a refund of all course fees paid to date. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.
When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.
The Office for Students (OfS) is the principal regulator for the University.