FdSc Sound Engineering and Design

Get creative with sound on the FdSc Sound Engineering and Design course. By exploring the fundamentals of sound and the latest production technology, you could equip yourself with the skills and knowledge for a variety of sound engineering careers, from music and film to TV and special effects.

FdSc Sound Engineering and Design

Course details

If you’d like to create atmosphere in a film or add effects to a computer game, this course could be your first step on the road to a career as a creative sound engineer. Packed with practical insight and real-world experience, it offers the essential knowledge you’ll need to get started in this exciting industry.

Delivered in partnership with Spirit Studios* in Manchester, this hands-on course begins with the fundamentals of sound systems, sound design, studio principles and associated professional software. A work placement provides a useful connection to real-world applications, which could come in useful for future employment.

If you choose to take the optional top-up course, you’ll be tasked with a large project and get the chance to develop your post-production techniques, as well as expand your knowledge of PA systems design, mastering techniques and relevant business issues.

So, if you want to understand sound and gain the technical know-how needed to create and manipulate it – and seek rewarding employment in sectors ranging from music and multimedia to television and live events – this course could be for you.

*formerly School of Sound Recording

  • UCAS points: 64
  • Start date: 23/09/2019
  • Location: Spirit Studios [Formerly School of Sound Recording]
  • Award: FdSc
  • UCAS code: J930
  • Duration: 2 years

Course highlights:

  • Spirit Studios has been a commercial recording studio and training school for nearly 40 years and can draw on a large number of useful music industry contacts to assist your learning.
  • Our studio tutors are currently, or have very recently been, working as professional sound engineers – so are very familiar with the latest production methods.
  • You’ll have the chance work on live projects within the University across the creative departments or with outside bodies.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to achieve professional accreditation in Avid Pro Tools – the industry standard recording software.
  • You’ll be involved in choosing a suitable location for your own work-placement, which gives you an opportunity to pursue your future career even before you finish the course.
  • Once you’ve successfully completed the FdSc course, you’ll have the chance to top-up to the BSc (Hons) by studying for an additional 12 months (full-time) or 18 months (part-time) study. This means it’s possible to get a degree by studying for a total of 3 years full-time or 4.5 years part-time.

Key features:

  • The course has been designed in collaboration with the prestigious Spirit Studios.
  • Located at the heart of Manchester city centre, Spirit Studios is ideally placed, with accessibility to many local performance venues.
  • Students have access to University e-learning resources, an extensive e-library and the support of University librarians.
  • A link tutor provides academic communication between Spirit Studios and the University of Bolton’s academic school, so that the experience you receive as an Off Campus student is equivalent to an On Campus student.
  • As an Off Campus student you also receive the support of a dedicated Off Campus team and resources, to help make you truly feel part of the University.

Entry requirements

  • UCAS points: 64
  • Start date: 23/09/2019
  • Location: Spirit Studios [Formerly School of Sound Recording]
  • Award: FdSc
  • UCAS code: J930
  • Duration: 2 years

Your Level 3 subjects must include a mathematical or physical science subject, a technology-based subject or music; for instance, A-level Physics or BTEC Extended Diploma in Computing. You should also have five GCSEs at grade C or above or grade 4 to 9 (or equivalent) including English and Mathematics.

You’ll be required to attend an interview and/or provide a portfolio of work.

If English isn’t your first language you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details. Find out more

This course is open to UK and EU students. Applications from International students cannot usually be accepted because the study location for this course does not have a Tier 4 licence. Therefore, if you require sponsorship under Tier 4 (i.e. a Tier 4 international student visa to study in the UK) then unfortunately we’ll be unable to consider your application for this course.

Career opportunities

Covering the fundamentals of sound systems, sound design, studio principles and associated professional software, this course offers you a good grounding for a variety of sound engineering careers.

As a graduate, you’ll also possess key transferable skills that can be applied in almost any sector; for example, ICT, communication, problem solving, working independently, working to deadlines, time management, project management and research skills.

What can I do with this qualification?

Career opportunities exist for Foundation Degree graduates in many areas of sound production, including roles such as audio engineer, sound designer, studio designer, production mixer, sound recordist, music editor and music technician. Employment opportunities exist in TV and radio broadcasting, recording studios, multimedia and media firms, and film and computer games production companies.

On successful completion of your FdSc qualification, you’ll have the opportunity to progress onto the BSc (Hons) Sound Engineering and Design degree programme.

Alternative career options

  • Radio presenting
  • Music production and editing
  • Studio management
  • Acoustic consultancy
  • Audio archiving
  • Sound design
  • Recording equipment sales
  • Post production engineering
  • Interactive and mixed media
  • Programming
  • Broadcast engineering
  • Audio development
  • Teaching and education

Professional recognition

You’ll have the opportunity to be assessed for the internationally recognised qualifications in Pro Tools by Avid (www.avid.com).

There are a number of levels of Pro Tools qualification to which you may wish to proceed. However, this will involve additional cost.

Graduates may wish to become members of a professional society after having gained appropriate experience in their field of employment. Two well-regarded societies are the Audio Engineering Society (http://www.aes.org/) and the Institute of Acoustics (http://www.ioa.org.uk/). Their web pages describe the scope of the society and the entry requirements for the different grades of membership.

Fees & funding

Home/EU fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2019/202020/212021/22
2019/20 £9,000£9,000-£18,000
2020/21 -nullnullnull

International fees

  Year of study Total
Entry year 2019/202020/212021/22

The fees for a student’s course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.

The University is currently awaiting Government guidelines as to EU fee charges for students commencing study in 2019/20.

UK undergraduate tuition fees are subject to UK government approval and are subject to the outcome of the Teaching Excellence Framework.

How to apply


If you already have a UCAS application for September

If you have an application for September with UCAS and are applying through Clearing please ensure you have received a verbal offer from the University by calling 01204 903030.

The online application form and guidance notes are available on the UCAS website.

You can apply for up to 5 courses through UCAS (at the same or different institutions) for a fee of £24. Alternatively, if you only wish to apply for a single course at a single institution then a reduced applicant's fee of £13 is applicable.

You will need the following information to complete your UCAS application form:

  • Institution Code Name: BOLTN

  • Institution Code Number: B44

UCAS - Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

Tel: 0870 1122211
Web: www.ucas.com

If you have not yet applied through UCAS

You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

Before you commence the online application please read the Application Guidance Notes.

You should also ensure you have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or admissions@bolton.ac.uk


The University welcomes applications from international students from all over the world. We try to make the application process as simple and as fast as possible for our international applicants.

How you apply is determined by your current location and what you are choosing to study:

  1. Apply direct to the University. Links for the next available intakes of this course are shown below. Please click the link which will direct you to the online application form. Please read the user guidance before completing this.
  2. Apply via one of our approved in-country referral partners. A list of our partners may be found on the International pages of this website.
  3. Apply via UCAS for courses starting in September only – visit www.ucas.com.

Should you have any queries please contact the International Team on +44 (0) 1204 903110 or email international@bolton.ac.uk

  • Apply online: Spirit Studios(Formerly School of Sound Recording) Foundation Degree Sound Engineering & Design [shared delivery with School of Sound Recording]-23 September 2019 (Course not available to international students)

Teaching & assessment


Modules listed below are a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules as part of the course.

  • Scholarship
  • Studio Recording Techniques
  • Sound Engineering Principles
  • Introduction to Digital Audio Workstations
  • Studio Mixing Techniques
  • Sound Design for Visual Media
  • Audio Post Production Techniques
  • Advanced Studio Techniques
  • Live Sound Engineering
  • Synthesis and Audio Manipulation
  • Acoustics of Sound Production for Visual Media
  • Work-Based Learning

Teaching, learning and assessment

This course blends lectures, seminars, tutorials, critiques, self-directed learning, e-learning, laboratory work and workshop sessions. We make use of ‘active learning’ techniques, where you’ll receive demonstrations then take on activity-based assignments with the help of specialist technical support. The programme does not include formal examinations but some modules may include in-class tests.

You’ll receive feedback from assessments, which will be carried out at key points during each module. Different types of assessment include: assignments, projects, case studies, in-class tests, interviews and presentations.


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up to date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

Assessment methods

Level Assessment method
Level One Coursework (100%)
Level Two Coursework (100%)

Learning activities

Level Learning activity
Level One Guided independent study (50%), Placement/study abroad (0%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (50%)
Level Two Guided independent study (45%), Placement/study abroad (7%), Scheduled learning and teaching activities (48%)

Contact The University

Key facts

  • UCAS code:
  • Course type:
  • Start date:
  • Location:
    Spirit Studios [Formerly School of Sound Recording]
  • Award:
  • UCAS points:
  • Duration:
    2 years

Contact us

Daniel Buxton
Spirit Studios
Email: Daniel.buxton@spiritstudios.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)161 276 2100

Yusuf Giga
Academic Partnership Manager, University of Bolton
Email: Y.Giga@bolton.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1204 903211