Skip to content
Home>Study at York>Postgraduate>Courses>Postproduction with Sound Design (MA)

MA Postproduction with Sound Design

Prepare for a career as a high quality sound design professional

2017/18 entry

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2017 (term dates)

Meet us

Find out more about postgraduate study at an online event, a study fair near you, or meet us on campus.

Find out more

This course is ideal if you want a solid grounding in the latest postproduction systems and techniques as well as a rich understanding of digital sound design creation and audio for film, television and interactive media.

You can choose to focus on production-orientated work and apply for this MA degree. Alternatively you can focus on formal research into the technologies behind postproduction systems and apply for the MSc Postproduction with Sound Design. We run this course in parallel with our masters in Postproduction with Visual Effects which will allow you to work with others as you learn, giving you a well-rounded understanding of the postproduction process.

Throughout the course you'll receive powerful scientific and technical training combined with hands-on experience of sound design, program creation and artistic decision-making. Many of our graduates work in the industry, from film to television companies, and some of our graduates have gone on to study for PhDs in sound-related areas

Accreditation

This course is accredited by Creative Skillset, the skills council for the UK film and TV and video games industries. The accreditation means that our students learn the correct professional skills required by the industry; and it gives access to various schemes, eg work placement opportunities with the BBC or ITV.

true

Employment prospects

You'll experience industry-standard training and creative practice to prepare you for a career in industry.

Course content

This course aims to help you develop a knowledge of the theories and technologies that are central to professional production and postproduction of sound in film and television. You'll be able to develop the practical skills that a professional in the film or television industry needs. This course is also ideal if you want to prepare for further research in postproduction systems.

Your understanding of professional production values and aesthetics will be enhanced through technical analysis and critical evaluation. You'll also work on creative and technical collaborative projects with others studying related courses. This will allow you to develop a range of skills, such as time management, working to objectives and team work which you'll find useful in the film and television industries as well as elsewhere.

Most of our students study full-time for one year, but you can also study this course part-time over two years.

Modules

You'll study a total of 180 credits. 80 of these will be through taught modules in the first two terms. You'll then go on to take a further 100 credits as part of an extended research project in the third term.

Term 1

In your first term you'll study alongside students on our other masters courses (MA/MSc Postproduction with Visual Effects and MA Digital Film and Television Production) to ensure you receive a well-rounded experience of postproduction.

1. Digital Production and Postproduction Workflows (20 credits)

You'll look at digital production and postproduction processes for the creation of commercial film and television programmes. You'll examine the latest technical and aesthetic workflows for picture and sound. There are two associated labs - one for picture techniques and one for sound techniques - where you'll put theory into practice by applying the concepts and techniques covered in lectures. 

2. Languages of Film and Television (10 credits)

You'll examine the ways in which moving images communicate with audiences. You'll draw on the analysis of film and television texts as well as the industrial and technological conditions underpinning their production. You'll also explore the connections between theories of film and television and its production, distribution and consumption.

Term 2

In your second term you'll have the opportunity to apply the concepts and techniques presented in the first term. You'll also expand your understanding of the creative process. Some modules are studied alongside students on our other masters courses providing a balanced view of the industry. Other modules specialise in sound design and are studied only by students on this masters course.

1. Group Projects (20 credits)

You'll join a team of students from across our range of masters courses. You'll undertake an exercise involving the creation of a title sequence for a film or television programme that leads into an action sequence similar to those found in films and high end TV drama. You'll specialise in your area of study and work in collaborative teams to create programmes to professional standards. This industry-inspired exercise allows you to understand the creative process and hone your problem-solving skills in an applied setting.

2. Audio Effects Design Lab (10 credits)

You'll study the fundamental theory and practical skills involved in the creation of sound design. You will explore the technical design and implementation of sound synthesis and sound processing systems. You'll also look at their creative application. You'll take part in practicals to ensure you get extensive hands-on experience with software packages such as Pure Data, Reaktor and Matlab.

3. Spatialized Audio and Surround Sound (10 credits)

This module introduces production and post production methods in the field of spatial audio, including multi-channel recording techniques and mixing using different surround sound speaker layouts.  You'll explore common methods and formats employed in the industry (entertainment, broadcast, games industry) as well as be encouraged to push the boundaries of present conventions.  The module includes work with our Euphonix System 5 Fusion console, which is found in top audio postproduction facilities worldwide.

4. The Business of Production and Postproduction (10 credits)

This module will provide you with a realistic picture of the film and television industries. You'll explore the development, financing and distribution of projects, as well as gaining an understanding of the business aspects of postproduction. This module features regular guest sessions from major industry personnel. Past guests have come from Warner Bros/De Lane Lea, Pinewood Studios Sound, Prime Focus, Molinare and many other top companies.

* Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Dissertation

Term 3 and summer

The final term is dedicated to the design and development of individual project work.

Extended Research Project (100 credits)

Your project for this MA in Postproduction with Sound Design will involve the creation of a creative practical project (eg, soundtrack for a short film, soundscape, etc). You'll apply the sound design and postproduction expertise you have gained through the year. You'll support your work with a dissertation of 10,000 words where you'll detail the objectives of the project, your design and technical approaches, the rationale for your creative choices and your critical reflections on both the process and the finished work. You will receive support through scheduled seminars, where you will work on the aims and objectives of your creative enquiry as well as through individual supervision meetings.

If you'd like to undertake a more technically-focused project then you should consider applying for the MSc in Postproduction with Sound Design instead. If you have questions about which degree to apply for please contact our admissions team:

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2017/18

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,350£20,300
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
£3,675
year 1 fee
£10,150
year 1 fee

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Department scholarship information

Further details of department specific funding.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

The course involves a range of different teaching styles. Most modules will include lectures to give you a fundamental understanding of the subject and then lead on to practical work. The practical work will primarily involve lab sessions where you can become familiar with industry techniques and equipment. You will also take part in student-directed field recording exercises.

Sessions involving guests from the film and television industry will be part of your studies. You'll also have the opportunity to attend talks, productions and festivals outside of your modules.

You'll be assigned a member of our teaching staff who will act as your personal supervisor for the duration of the course. They are there to give advice on academic matters as well as other areas of University life.

Facilities

You'll have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with our state-of-the-art facilities.

  • Postproduction lab with industry-standard packages including Pro Tools as well as cutting edge sound design and audio programming software such as Max/MSP, Pure Data, Matlab, Audioease Altiverb and Native Instruments Reaktor, with a vast range of plug-ins including ones from Dolby Labs and Waves, among others
  • Dedicated ADR/Foley recording suite with a 3.0 Genelec monitoring system, an Avid S3 with Avid Dock as well as an eleven section pit with a range of surfaces and props to create professional level Foley 
  • Two 5.1 surround mixing theatres: the larger  features a Euphonix System 5 Fusion digital mixing console and Genelec monitoring system; the medium theatre features an Avid D-Command control surface and Genelec monitoring system
  • Two stand-alone control rooms with 7.1 Genelec monitoring systems with Avid C24 control surfaces and one large live room with variable acoustics
  • A large range of microphones (SoundField, Schoeps, Neumann, AKG, Sennheiser), field mixers and digital recorders (Sound Devices).

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Theatre Film and Television on Campus East.

Most of your contact hours will be in Theatre, Film and Television, with some additional teaching on Campus East.

Course location

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll be assessed throughout your course. Some modules have an early assessment that contributes a small amount to your final mark offering an opportunity to check your progress.

Types of assessment vary depending on the module and include the following:

  • In-class tests
  • In-class pitch sessions
  • Presentations
  • Essays and reflective reports
  • Business plans or grant applications
  • Individual projects in which you'll tackle various aspects of sound production
  • A group project working with others across the department to create a title and action sequence
  • Extended research project with 10,000 word report.

Careers and skills

The film and television industry is highly competitive and there is a constant demand for sound designers with a solid knowledge of current software and postproduction techniques. There's also demand for sound designers who possess a firm grasp of story and understand how technology can enhance the audio-visual experience.

There's also an increasing demand for researchers, in both industry and academia, who have a firm understanding of postproduction tools and how they can be applied to create the next generation of postproduction technologies.

Career opportunities

Nearly two-thirds of our graduates are currently working in the industry, with companies such as:

  • Warner Bros/De Lane Lea
  • Envy
  • Smoke & Mirrors
  • Sumners Post
  • Soundfirm
  • Lipsync Post
  • Molinare.

Feature film credits for our graduates include The Jungle Book (Walt Disney Pictures), Gravity (Warner Bros), Prometheus (20th Century Fox), Savages (Universal Pictures) and The Knife That Killed Me (Universal Pictures).

Nearly a quarter of our graduates so far have furthered their studies by pursuing a PhD in Sound Design.

Transferable skills

While you train to be a professional in sound design you'll also develop skills that are useful in any industry. These include:

  • Collaborative working
  • Problem solving
  • Investigative research
  • Time management and organisation
  • Technical analysis
  • Critical evaluation
  • Reflective learning.

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade
Degree

You should have some experience of audio media production either gained through a first degree (typically a minimum of 2:1 or equivalent) or through professional practice.

The international equivalents of UK qualifications are shown on our country-specific pages. You can also contact the international team for guidance.

English language

If you're a non-native English speaking applicant you must provide evidence of your English language ability.

  • IELTS: 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each component
  • PTE: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
  • TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all components.

Full details of all acceptable tests and relevant exemptions.

Applying

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Contact our admissions tutors if you have any questions

Learn more

Department of Theatre, Film and Television

Discover York

Accommodation

We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to deluxe.

Student life

Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.

The city

Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.