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Sound Arts

MA or PGDip

Key facts

Start dates

September 2020



Course length

Full time: MA: 12 months; PGDip: 9 months

Part time: MA: 24 months; PGDip 18 months


School of Arts


Our MA Sound Arts gives you an introduction to the vibrant culture around sound arts.

This is a creative, interdisciplinary course where we encourage dialogue and growth as part of a reflective community. You will develop individual and collaborative practice-based work in a stimulating environment. 

You will investigate exploratory and innovative Sound Arts practices including:

  • experimental composition
  • sound installation
  • field recording
  • site-specific practice
  • sonic art
  • improvisation.

The weekly Listening Group complements your course material while introducing you to the vibrant research culture around Sound Arts. 

The course is enhanced by a group of internationally active sound artists, composers and field recordists. They curate and participate in the activities of the Sonic Art Research Unit (SARU) and Audiograft, an annual festival. This provides a stimulating environment for innovation and experimentation in your creative practice. 

Group of students looking at an exhibition display

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

The general entry requirements are:

  • a good honours degree, ie an upper second or first, in any subject
  • an internationally recognised qualification equivalent to a good British honours degree.

Applicants without a first degree, but with extensive experience in the arts or other disciplines relevant to our programmes may also be considered. Please contact the Admissions Officer to discuss this.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or if you have not studied a higher education degree in English, then an English language level of IELTS 7.0 overall with 6.0 in each component is required

There is a fair amount of discussion on the programme - both in the feedback sessions and in the weekly seminar-meetings. It is therefore very important to be able to understand and speak English well enough to participate in a group conversation.

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
2020 / 21
Home/EU full time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2020 / 21
Home/EU full time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year your fees will increase each year.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Learning and assessment

Sound Arts is situated in an interdisciplinary context. This means you will work with students from Art & Design and Music. 

Our teaching staff include leading Sound Arts practitioners. They create ‘world-leading’ research as defined by the REF2014 (Research Excellence Framework). 

The School of Arts offers state-of-the-art technical facilities for Sound Arts with 24-hour studio access. You will have access to expertise in:

  • sound art
  • field recording
  • electroacoustic composition
  • site-based practice
  • experimental composition
  • improvisation. 

You will study four modules and work on a major project towards the end of your studies.

Male student working on a laptop in a gallery

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip award your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Creative Strategies 1 and 2

These twin modules explore methodologies and strategies for generating and discussing contemporary interdisciplinary work in sound art, experimental composition, expanded arts practices and related fields. You are encouraged to become aware of your working process as a creative practitioner and to understand how to utilise a range of strategies and methodologies to develop creative ideas. Through individual and collaborative practice-based work, staff-led seminars and feedback discussions, attention is focused on how practice-based work is generated and how we make decisions. Strategies can be intuitive, spontaneous, interventionist, discursive and analytical.

Approaches to Experimental Composition and Sound Arts

This module enhances your understanding of contemporary practices in experimental composition and sound arts while introducing you to listening strategies that will enable you to engage critically with the sounding world. You will have the opportunity to focus on acoustic composition, electronic composition, field recording, soundscape studies and sound arts, and will explore the importance of site and context. The module helps you develop your skills in manipulating and experimenting with sound. It also enhances skills and practices as listeners and as organisers of sound, developing your own conceptual concerns and expanding your vocabulary of technical skills as you relate to a specific aspect of your creative practice. The module encourages you to develop a body of practical research – to include scores, recordings, performances, installations, audio documentation - and reflect upon this through seminar feedback sessions.

Sound Arts and Interdisciplinary Practice

This module enables you to develop an understanding of your creative practice as it relates to a current understanding of contemporary sound arts and interdisciplinary practices. It focuses on the development of sound and interdisciplinary arts through a history of experimentalism, radicalism and cross art-form practices in the arts particularly of the 20th century and into the current century. Through this process we ask the questions: What is an appropriate history of interdisciplinary arts? How does a sound artist locate their practice within a broad and interdisciplinary arts field? What are the appropriate research processes for a sound artist to enable the development of a contemporary practice? The module emphasises appropriate form, context, audience and location.

Final project

Compulsory modules

Major Project

This is the culmination of your studies. You will create work for public exhibition or performance as part of the annual MA Festival that takes place at venues in and around Oxford.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

We have a range of teaching methods.

Lectures and seminars
Cover specialised topics

Group seminars
Focus on issues on research methodologies for practice based research.

Feedback sessions
Where staff provide you with constructive criticism and analysis of your work.

Staff led group discussions
Based on your practical work presentations

Individual tutorials
Where you can address your individual research concerns.

Specialised introductions to creative strategies
To help you generate and make practice based work.


Assessment methods used on this course

We use a range of assessment methods.

Practical presentations
Of resolved ‘artworks’ and regular summative work-in-progress feedback.

In-module formative feedback and tutorials
Regular feedback to ensure you are aware of your progress.

Written self evaluations
For each creative project. You will reflect on your achievements in the module. And how you will carry forward relevant insights. 

Written reflection at the culmination of the course
You will reflect on your achievements over the course. Particularly the Major Project. You will include how you intend to carry forward these insights. This summative self reflective process is integral to the course. It helps you to develop the necessary skills for ongoing focused practice-based research and/or ongoing independent research and practice.

Written case-studies, assignments and reports

Final presentation of practical works
As part of the MA exhibition/event/festival.


Sonic Art Research Unit (SARU)
The Sonic Art Research Unit provides a forum for dialogue between the fields of Composition and Sound Art including:

  • acousmatic
  • collaborative
  • electroacoustic
  • experimental
  • interdisciplinary and site-specific practices alongside engagement with field recording
  • soundscape studies. 

Projects include the annual festival of sound art and experimental composition audiograft.

Our teaching staff contributed to recent success in the School of Arts return to the REF2014 (Research Excellence Framework). Research in Sound Art was classed as ‘world leading’. Music, including experimental composition, achieved the highest level of top-rated research in the University at 26%. One of the Sonic Art Research Unit projects entitled Sound Diaries was submitted to the panel as an example of research that had an impact beyond academia. 60% of the research impact submitted by Music was deemed to be of ‘world leading’ quality.

After you graduate

Career prospects

Combining the academic rigour of a traditional programme with practical  and vocational components, sonic arts and composition students at Oxford Brookes are well placed for a variety of careers in the creative sector.

Many master's students who have developed their practice at postgraduate level will continue as practicing sound artists and new music composers, whilst others take up careers related to their knowledge, expertise or interests.

This includes within teaching further or higher education; the media and new technologies, and cultural administration.

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.