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BSc Music Technology & Sonic Arts

BSc Music Technology & Sonic Arts

BSc Music Technology & Sonic Arts
School of Creative Arts

The Subject

The study of Music Technology considers the principles and practices of generating, processing and recording audio and music.

The study of Sonic Arts considers the idea of sound as an artistic medium and explores the many creative uses of sound.

Both subjects embrace a wide range of disciplines including electronics, computer software design, audio engineering, musical composition and acoustics. Queen's University has considerable experience and expertise in this field, having offered undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Music Technology for more than 15 years.

Why Queen's?

Facilities: the School of Creative Arts is one of the largest and best-equipped institutions for Music Technology in the UK. It has 10 studios and three computer suites dedicated to Music Technology work and equipped with state-of-the-art resources. The School is an Avid Learning Partner and Avid-accredited courses in Pro Tools are embedded into the curriculum.

Research-led Teaching: the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), the primary resource for teaching on the pathway, is dedicated to ground-breaking research and creative work in the fields of audio and music technology. SARC has brought together expertise in the areas of musical composition, performance, signal processing and interaction design and has recruited leading researchers from institutions around the world.


Course Content

This degree is designed to enable students from a wide range of academic backgrounds to engage in the study of Music Technology.

Level 1

Provides foundational work in areas such as:

  • Composition
  • Performance
  • Sound Design
  • The Fundamentals of Sound
  • The Sound Studio

Additionally students will begin to develop critical listening skills and use a wide range of studio resources to record, edit and process sound.

Level 2

Level 2 continues with the development of the core themes of the degree, offering modules in:

  • Acoustics and Psychoacoustics
  • Composition and Performance
  • Recording and Mixing
  • Sound Design for Film

Optional modules allow students to explore areas such as:

  • The Design and Development of Digital Musical Instruments
  • The Psychology of Music

Level 3

Level 3 is the point at which students start to specialise, choosing up to three modules from the core themes of:

  • Audio Engineering
  • Sound Design
  • Composition
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Designing Musical Interactions

Students then complete a final portfolio project in one of these areas of specialism.

Optional modules in performance allow students to explore new technological developments in performance practice and a work placement module allows students to gain valuable experience of working in the music and audio related industries. Former students have gained placements with organisations such as  RTÉ, the Grand Opera House, Production House, Belfast Waterfront Hall, Belfast Festival and Peter Lloyd Acoustic Consultancy.


For module descriptions: choose your subject area from the dropdown list (please note that the modular system used at Queen's allows students access to a wide range of teaching across related subjects where appropriate eg Accounting includes modules from within the subjects of Economics and Finance)


Entry Requirements

BSc Single Honours

  • Music Technology and Sonic Arts 3 yrs (J931)

Selection Criteria

In addition to the entrance requirements below, it is essential that you read the How We Choose Our Students pdf prior to submitting your UCAS application.

Entrance Requirements


BBB including at least one from Computing, ICT (not Applied ICT), Mathematics, Music, Music Technology, Physics or Software Systems Development + GCSE Mathematics grade C and normally GCSE Music grade C.

If you are not offering one of these A-level subjects, then A-level grades BBB plus Grade VIII Theory of Music (ABRSM, Trinity-Guildhall or LCM (not Popular Music Theory)) would be acceptable.

Grade VI Theory (ABRSM, Trinity-Guildhall or LCM (not Popular Music Theory)) is acceptable in lieu of GCSE Music.

AS-level Music is not acceptable in lieu of A-level Music.

Further Information: if an applicant has successfully completed a Grade VIII Practical Music examination this may be taken into account in August when deciding borderline cases. Applicants should indicate in the 'education' section of the UCAS application if they have, or intend to complete, a Grade VIII Practical examination, specifying the instrument and the awarding body.

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level):

B2B2B2B2CC/B2B2B2B2B2 including Higher Level grade B2 in Mathematics, Music or Physics + if not offered at Higher Level then Ordinary Level grade C in Mathematics and normally Music. If you are not offering one of these subjects at Higher Level then Higher Level grades B2B2B2B2CC/B2B2B2B2B2 plus Grade VIII Theory of Music (ABRSM, Trinity-Guildhall or LCM (not Popular Music Theory)) would be acceptable.

Grade VI Theory (ABRSM, Trinity-Guildhall or LCM (not Popular Music Theory)) acceptable in lieu of Ordinary Level Music.

Note: those without a formal qualification in Music may be interviewed, however, you must be able to satisfy the other subject requirements.

International Students

For information on international qualification equivalents, please click on Your Country in the International Students website.

If you are an international student and you do not meet the entrance requirements, you should consider a preparation course at INTO Queen's University Belfast, which will prepare you for successful study on these degree courses. INTO at Queen's is based on the University campus and offers a range of courses including the International Foundation in Business, Humanities and Social Science.

For students whose first language is not English

An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability to entry to this degree. Please click the links below for more information:

  • English for University Study - an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level

  • Pre-sessional English - a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English

See also Music



Assessment and Feedback

Learning and Teaching

The Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) is the primary resource for teaching on the course.  In addition to 10 studios and 2 computer suites dedicated to Music Technology work, it comprises the world's first Sonic Laboratory.  The Sonic Lab acts as a concert space containing a 48-channel loudspeaker system for experimental, three-dimensional sound projection and also provides an interface between the University and industrial partners. The SARC facility supports the curriculum in sonic arts, performance, recording, musicology and sound synthesis and signal processing. Students have use of the Sonic Lab for concerts and their final year showcase event.

On the BSc Music Technology and Sonic Arts a range of learning experiences are provided which enable students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies that enhance their development as independent, lifelong learners.   Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:


  • Lectures: introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading.  Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (normally delivered in large groups to all year group peers).
  • Practicals:  where there are opportunities to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts.
  • E-Learning technologies:   Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online.  A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example:  interactive group workshops in a flexible learning space; podcasts and interactive web-based learning activities; opportunities to use IT programmes associated with design in practicals and project-based work etc.
  • Self-directed study:  This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, performance practice, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out.
  • Work placements:  Students have the opportunity to undertake a work placement in Year 3.  This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity.
  • Supervised projects:  In final year, all students take the double module Portfolio, which provides the opportunity to specialise in a chosen area such as recording, sound design, composition etc.  You will receive support from a supervisor who will guide you and provide feedback.
  • Personal Tutor:  Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during Years 1 and 2 who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development.
  • Study Abroad: The School has an Erasmus link with the Royal College of Music in Stockholm where students will have the opportunity to spend a semester during their second year.

Assessment and Feedback

Assessment: The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module.  Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments.  Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations.  Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Module Outline Document which is provided to all students.

Feedback (general): As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers.  University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:


  • Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted. 
  • Face to face comment.  This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
  • Placement employer comments or references.
  • Online or emailed comment.
  • General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
  • Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid.  In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time. 
  • Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
  • Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.


Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work. 



Studying for a Music Technology and Sonic Arts degree at Queen’s will assist you in developing the core skills and employment-related experiences that are valued by employers, professional organisations and academic institutions.  Graduates from this degree at Queen’s are well regarded by many employers and over half of all graduate jobs are now open to graduates of any discipline.

Graduates in Music Technology have found employment in the recording and multimedia sector, computer programming, broadcasting, music management, education and other areas of the music business. Besides these established areas, there is enormous growth in new 'creative industries' in making audio content for computer software, gaming, websites, and other areas of the new media industry.

Although the majority of our graduates are interested in pursuing careers in the creative arts sector, significant numbers develop careers in a wide range of other sectors. Many students also apply the skills they develop through the degree entrepreneurially to create their own work opportunities and the University runs a number of extra-curricular programmes in entrepreneurship.

 Placement Employers

 Our past students have also gained work placement with organisations such as:



  • RTE


  • Production House (live audio production)


  • Peter Lloyd Acoustic Consultancy



  • Grand Opera House, Belfast


  • Belfast Waterfront Hall


  • Mandela Hall, Belfast


Graduate Careers and Achievements

 Our graduates have gone into a diverse range of careers, including the following:

  • Graham Archer (Audio Engineer, Sarm Studios, London)
  • Nicholas Crowe (Audiologist, Birmingham)
  • Nicholas Gillian (Post-Doctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Saul Rayson (Course Coordinator Music Production, SERC)
  • Mark McKeague (Bang & Olufsen internship)
  • Fiona McDermott (Peter Lloyd Acoustic Consultancy)
  • Gregory Ferguson (DJ/Remix Artist)
  • Niall Kelly (iOS Software Developer, Ecliptic Labs)
  • Keir Hurley (Audio Engineer, Adlib Audio, Liverpool)
  • Gerard Haughian (Financial Software Engineer, First Derivatives)
  • Donna O’Connor (Course Coordinator Music Production, Belfast Metropolitan College)
  • Donna Lennon (Apple Support Engineer)
  • Richard Lower (Head of Sound, Mandela Hall, Belfast)


You should consult, and Prospects websites for more information concerning the types of jobs that attract Music Technology and Sonic Arts graduates.

Further study, including Masters programmes is also an option – details of Masters programmes are available at:

Other Career-related information: Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers.  Queen’s students will be advised and guided about career choice and through the Degree Plus initiative, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer.  See Queen’s University Belfast fullEmployability Statementfor further information.

Degree Plus and other related initiatives:  Recognising student diversity, as well as promoting employability enhancements and other interests, is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s.  Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements and other work experiences (at home or overseas), Erasmus study options elsewhere in Europe, learning development opportunities and involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies, and sports. 

Queen’s actively encourages this type of activity by offering students an additional qualification, the Degree Plus Award (and the related Researcher Plus Award for PhD and MPhil students).  Degree Plus accredits wider experiential and skill development gained through extra-curricular activities that promote the enhancement of academic, career management, personal and employability skills in a variety of contexts.  As part of the Award, students are also trained on how to reflect on the experience(s) and make the link between academic achievement, extracurricular activities, transferable skills and graduate employment. Participating students will also be trained in how to reflect on their skills and experiences and can gain an understanding of how to articulate the significance of these to others, e.g. employers.

Overall, these initiatives, and Degree Plusin particular, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies.  These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers.


Contact Us

For entrance requirements
T: +44 (0)28 9097 3838

For course information
 Mr Chris Corrigan
School of Creative Arts
T: +44 (0)28 9097 4829

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Student Work

Performance Workshop

Conor Barry performing in the Sonic Lab Detropolis performing in the Sonic Lab


Interaction Design

Mark McKeague Pipeworks Demo (2009)



Have a listen to some of the recordings our students have done over the years.

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