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BA (Hons) Music and Sound Recording

Sound recording as musical activity

Year of entry: 2020

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fees

£17,890 per year (2020/21)

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The primary way we experience the music we enjoy and find fascinating, whether it was written centuries ago or released just last week, is through sound recording. 

Capturing music to a professional standard requires a combination of technical and musical expertise. A successful career in music production demands practical, engineering and scientific knowledge of the recording process, as well as a deep understanding of music creativity, practice, and entrepreneurship. 

This course acknowledges that music and production are no longer separate activities. At its heart is a contemporary view of music production and associated audio professions that recognises the dramatic and ongoing changes in the recording and media industries in recent years. You'll have an opportunity to create an individual set of intellectual, technical and creative skills from a core programme of artistic and technical development.

You'll cover a range of production technologies and techniques aligned to a wide variety of music including popular, rock, electronic, classical, contemporary, and non-western music. You will study audio engineering and music technology subjects, gain practical recording experience, and engage with music theory and practice. 

Featured studio space

The Trevor Jones Studio is centred around a brand new SSL Duality console, which offers high quality analogue signal paths and processing as well as integrated control of digital editing and recording systems. The studio patch bay is integrated with a wide range of bespoke analogue and digital hardware including Bricasti reverberation, TC Electronic reverberation and mastering, 1176 and LA-2A compression, API bus mastering and vintage Neve EQ.

The Department of Music hosts outstanding facilities including a 350-seat concert hall, one of the finest purpose-designed listening spaces for reproduced sound in the country and four recording studios.

Course content

This course allows you to specialise across a wide range of music activities (including performance and composition) and studio-based arts. We provide a skill set which highlights enterprise, enabling you to take creative, design and managerial roles in projects that will prepare you for a career in the music and audio industries. To this end, the course addresses a wide array of contemporary contexts for music production: from pop studio practice, to classical recording of ensembles and instrumentalists.

You'll also engage with extensive practical and theoretical coverage of new systems and philosophies for sound and music creation and performance. This is combined with an evidence-based approach to audio principles and studio technique, drawing on relevant engineering practice and scientific knowledge. This will enable next-generation tools to be designed, developed and used.

You will benefit from modules in creative entrepreneurship, developing individual work and research under close supervision by staff with significant industrial and creative experience. These modules will allow you to reflect critically and help you respond to the demands of the professional environment. 

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

Year 1

Core modules

You'll take five core modules:

Option modules

You'll choose one option module (20 credits) from the selection available to BA Music students. Rather than being split by year, students from all years of the degree are taught together, giving you invaluable opportunities to meet and learn from other students on the course. We update these modules every year.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

Core modules

You'll take four core modules:

Option modules

You'll choose two more option modules (20 credits each) from the selection available to BA Music students. You'll be able to choose from a similar range of options as in your first year, although modules do vary year on year.

Year 3

Core modules

You'll take three core taught modules:

You'll also complete an independent project, in which you will develop a substantial piece of creative, technical or scholarly work which will be presented to professional standards.

Option modules

You'll choose one module from the selection available to BA Music students. You will choose from similar options to those available to you in your second year. 

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

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Find, develop and deliver individual applications for informed creativity that benefit society, both culturally and economically. 
  • Make a wide range of audio media and musical outcomes in a range of production and performance environments. 
  • Take a multidisciplinary approach to studying sound and music. Applying an understanding of issues and practice in music (from at least two of performance, composition, history and analysis) and articulating and utilising relevant knowledge and skills in computing, engineering and science. 
  • Transfer knowledge of the techniques and technologies of audio capture, production and control across a wide range of applications and interactions with business and industry for a sustainable career in a variety of sound practices and audio professions. 
  • Utilise current audio software systems and music programming languages in creative ways to realise artistic work and innovative technical solutions. 
  • Place their own theoretical and practical work within a cultural, historical and critical context that understands production and other technological mediation as a musical activity not simply an adjunct to it.

Highly ranked

We're in the top 15 in the Complete University Guide 2020, Guardian University Guide 2020 and Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020.

Studying Music at York gives you real creative freedom. I had the opportunity to record some of my original work where I focused on combining acoustic and electronic elements to really blur the lines between what was vocals, guitar or synthesiser. I’ve also been able to work with some fantastic musicians, both fellow students and professionals.
Tom, BA Music and Sound Recording

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £17,890

Additional costs

You will be expected to pay for the maintenance of your instruments, equipment and sheet music. You will also need appropriate concert attire throughout your studies. 

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.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2020/21 throughout the year.

Departmental scholarships

We offer some funding for undergraduate students. See our bursaries for instrumental and vocal studies

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. 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

Our modules are taught in small groups (typically 15-22 students). Much of the course content is developed alongside ongoing staff research so what you learn keeps pace with the constant changes in music culture and technology.

Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1,200 hours a year learning.


We have a range of outstanding facilities, including the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall and Rymer Auditorium; dozens of teaching rooms and practice facilities; four digital recording studios; and a large collection of historical and world instruments. All spaces are designed to be flexible and are used for projects, seminars, ensemble rehearsals and recordings. Discover our facilities.

John Paynter Music Library
The John Paynter Music Library is an elegant facility, located within the University's JB Morrell Library, and houses the main music collections. It is also equipped with digital pianos and media replay equipment. The physical collection as well as an extensive range of electronic resources are searchable through the YorSearch.

Sound Resources
The University Library houses and extensive collection of CDs and DVDs, which are available for listening and research. There are also archival recordings available for student use in the University of York Sound Archives.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Music on Campus West. Nearly all of your teaching will take place within the department. 

About our campus

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

We want to discover what you can create in response to our teaching; the majority of your assessment will be through portfolios, the exact contents of which you will choose yourself with guidance from the module tutor. A folio might consist of a music production, or a recording with an essay, or an essay by itself; it may include composition, or arrangement, or a sound installation; it may be a performance; or it might be a new software application.

The flexibility this offers is a unique aspect of the York Music and Sound Recording degree and is an approach which challenges you to take what you have been taught and extend it into new, exciting areas.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Practical exams37%53%17%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

Careers and skills

The creativity, professionalism, and critical thinking that you develop in our Music degree sets you up for a wide variety of careers, both within the field and beyond. The majority of our students go on to graduate-level jobs in music and related professions. Others undertake further study for an MA, PhD, conservatoire programme or a PGCE.

Career opportunities

Our graduates go on to build successful careers in music, as well as in fields such as law, finance and management. Recent graduate careers include:

  • Film sound
  • BBC production (Proms and Radio 3 & 4)
  • Classic FM production
  • UK Concert Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra
  • General Director of the Southbank Sinfonia
  • Freelance musicians
  • Opera direction
  • London Symphony Orchestra

Others have gone on to work in:

  • broadcast and media
  • professional performance
  • arts management
  • teaching and community education
  • university lecturing
  • music outreach
  • music publishing (most major houses)
  • major music agencies
  • orchestral management

Transferable skills

  • independent thinking
  • teamwork
  • presentation
  • writing
  • critical analysis
  • creative problem-solving
  • communication
  • audio engineering
  • use and development of technology
  • science and technology research

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels

AAB including A in Music Technology or Music

In place of A level Music Technology or Music at Grade A, we will accept ABRSM Grade 5 Theory and Grade 7 Performance, or equivalent

Access to Higher Education Diploma 36 credits from units awarded Distinction and 9 awarded Merit or higher
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2
International Baccalaureate 35 points including Higher Level 6 in Music

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in all units
PTE Academic 61 overall with 51 in all parts
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

All applications must be made through UCAS. Following your application you may be called to an interview and audition. On the day you visit York, there will be a chance to talk to current students and see the department in action. For general information about the application process, visit the UCAS site.

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Dr Federico Reuben, Programme Leader

Learn more

Department of Music

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