MSc Sound Design

Postgraduate, Distance Learning

This online masters degree is for audio professionals who wish to enhance and formalise their industrial experience with industry relevant theory and practices.

  • Napier code:


  • Course type:

    Distance Learning

  • Duration:

    18 months

  • Award:


  • Location:

    Distance learning

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Course introduction

The degree is made up of three parts: taught classes, work-based learning, and a research project. All of these elements are designed to apply theory and advanced practice to enhance current approaches to sound design for linear and interactive media.

The MSc Sound Design is delivered over either 18 or 30 months on a part time basis. All of the modules are delivered by distance learning. In addition, you will also develop a deep understanding of how to assess approaches of affecting audiences’ perceptions of linear and interactive media using sound design.

Emphasis is placed on cognisance with professional standards for the production and documentation of sound designs for linear and interactive media, and familiarity with a comprehensive set of methods of assessing listening experiences.

The course builds upon Edinburgh Napier University’s close contacts with internationally recognised professional sound designers for both linear and interactive media. Information about past guest lecturers can be found on Twitter (@SoundDesignMSc).

sound design

What our students say

Cormac Donnelly:The great thing about the Sound Design masters was being able to fit it around my work schedule. I was always re-assured that even if I missed one of the live tutorials I could catch up on the content later. I also really appreciated the very clear focus of the course. From the outset my supervisor encouraged me to engage with, and direct my studies to cross-over with my own work and areas of interest. Ultimately this benefited both my studies and the work I was doing outside the course and has given me an appetite to pursue some areas of research even after completing the masters.

Michael Quinton:I have learned a lot, especially by being in a virtual classroom with fellow Sound Designers and being able to discuss and learn from them. This is a big bonus and it always helps with Networking which is essential to any freelancer. For me this was essential. Living on the island of Malta where Sound Design work is sparse and is often done on a part time basis, building a network is difficult since we are not on the mainland of Europe and where our knowledge in these things is very limited. By being in this course I have been able to learn many new things, make new contacts and to build my work base and form a direction for my career. There are also loads of lectures with prominent people in the sound design field from the film, games industry and sound researchers too. So you are learning from the tops of these industries and fields.

Craig Standen:I was still able to continue with my professional work while studying for the Sound Design Masters. The virtual classroom not only allowed for discussion in relation to my studies, but I was able to connect with other Sound Designers globally, and talk about our work and careers. There were many guest lecturers from across the field, these interactions made the research I conducted more memorable and enjoyable, as there were different personalities, rather than just faceless textbooks.

What you'll study

Year 1

  • Listening
  • Sound design for linear media
  • Sound design for interactive media
  • Advanced professional practice

In the first year, you will study Advanced Professional Practice (APP) for three trimesters. This allows you to tailor your learning needs to those of your organisation or the relevant industries.

Within the first few weeks of this module, under the direction of your academic supervisor you will develop your own learning agreement, which defines the deliverables of this module. If you are an employee you will do this in negotiation with your organisation.

If you are freelance, you may either negotiate with key clients or discuss an equivalent with your supervisor. Your supervisor will mentor you throughout the three trimesters towards the achievement of the deliverables. You will provide a reflective journal on your learning.

During the first year, you will also study one module per trimester: sound design for linear media, listening and sound design for interactive media. These modules will be taken in the order determined by the date of entry to the course.

Each module is independent of the others. One objective of the APP module is for you to apply immediately, in your practice, the knowledge gained from these three taught modules. After successful completion of the year, you will be eligible for a PG Dip Sound Design. In the second year, you will complete your MSc dissertation in part time mode.

Year 2

Masters Dissertation

In this 60 credit module you will take control of your studies to produce a substantial piece of focussed academic research. Success in the dissertation module indicates an ability to work independently, so you are expected to take the initiative and manage your own project. In effect, you are undertaking independent research as an apprenticeship to an experienced academic supervisor.

Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

This degree gives you the opportunity to build on existing competencies and develop new skills in linear and interactive media sound design. The emphasis is on becoming an advanced sound professional within linear and/or interactive media.

Career opportunities

  • sound engineer
  • sound editor
  • sound designer
  • sound researcher
  • sound archivist
  • sound artist
  • sound recordist

Currently sound designers can gain employment in:

  • art
  • audio Books
  • audio Branding
  • computing (Auditory Displays, Sonification, Web)
  • education
  • film
  • product design
  • radio
  • soundscape design (domestic, leisure, retail, travel, workplace)
  • television
  • theatre
  • video games

The entry requirement for this course is a Bachelor (Honours) Degree at a 2:2 or above with three years experience working as an audio professional, for any form of media.

We may also consider lesser qualifications if you have sufficient relevant work experience within the industry.

  • English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English, or your undergraduate degree was taught and examined in English (within two years of starting your postgraduate course). Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

Our entry requirements indicate the minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

International students

If your qualifications aren't listed above, visit our country pages to get entry requirements for your country.

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol on our nursing courses.

Admissions policies

We are committed to being as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to achieve higher education.

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures and how decisions are made.

Tuition fees
Students from 2016/17 2017/18
Home/EU-Taught modules *£570 *£570
Overseas-Taught modules *£1,000 *£1,000
Home/EU-Dissertation £1,080 £1,080
Overseas-Dissertation £1,500 £1,500
Home/EU Full MSc cost £4,500 £4,500
Overseas Full MSc cost £7,500 £7,500
Fees for modules are calculated according to the number of credits (multiples of 20). The rate shown in the table is for 20 credits*.
This course comprises of 180 credits from taught modules and a dissertation. The total fee you will pay is dependant upon the exit award you wish to achieve.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships

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