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Sound and Music for Games

A new generation of game consoles and the increasing use of mobile phones as gaming platforms have led to an explosion in the need for creatives who can work with sound and music. If you're a sound engineer, a composer or a coder with a passion for sound, this course will prepare you for a rewarding career

Next Start Date: September

Degree type: BA (Hons)

UCAS Code: J930

Duration: 2 years (full-time)


Note: This is a top-up programme and entry is only available from year 3 upwards.

Why choose this course?  

  • Abertay has a long history of delivering excellent, industry-facing computer game education
  • Supported by a dedicated and enthusiastic team of academic staff who have direct professional experience of games industry, we will work to ensure that your skills are up to date, and that you develop professionally in an environment that reflects both the tools and practice of this nascent, but ascendant area of the music industry

From the uplifting beep of an 8-bit style platformer, to the suffocating claustrophobia of a first-person perspective horror slash-'em-up, never before has the world of game audio provided such a rich, dynamic and varied professional landscape.  A new generation of consoles and the adoption of tablets and mobile phones as gaming platforms has led to an explosion of new game content, and the demand for creatives who can work with sound and music, and who understand its role in enhancing gameplay, has never been greater.  If you are a sound designer, engineer, producer or composer; a game designer or coder with a passion for sound, this course gives you the opportunity to explore the concepts and applications of video game sound.

You will be based in White Space, Abertay's hub for creative computing.  From the outset, you will be working alongside programmers, artists, animators and producers, in interdisciplinary production teams, ensuring your skills will be both up-to-date and informed by direct contact with industry.  You will use industry-standard production tools, audio middleware and game engines, allowing you to develop a professional portfolio, and will be supported by enthusiastic team of internally-acclaimed academics at one of the world's leading institutions for computer games education. 



What you study

What you study

Sound and Music for Games is aimed primarily at students completing an HND in sound/music production or composition, and so runs only at third and fourth year.

Year 3 of the programme is designed to take your existing professional skills and deploy them within the context of game production.  Across the year you will study game audio concepts and asset creation, in the process designing a complete sound library before implementing it and testing it using industry-standard middleware tools.  You will study sound synthesis, exploring how sounds can be designed and manipulated from first principles, and you will learn the vocabulary and grammar of sound and music for screen media by examining a century of examples drawn from cinema.  Putting all of this into context, you will work as part of a creative production team to produce a game prototype as part of a live project with an industrial client.

In Year 4, you have the opportunity to set the agenda.  By examining a current 'hot topic' in game audio, you will scope, specify and realise a single, large-scale self-directed project that allows you to develop your own professional specialism and refine your skills. 

For more information on the course content, download the Programme information - BA with Honours in Sound and Music for Games

How you learn and are assessed

Our approach to assessment recognises the practical and applied nature of the subject.  Most work is assessed by portfolio, with most portfolio submissions consisting of a finished piece, a piece of contextual written work which provides some critique and analysis, and evidence of work-in-progress, usually in the form of a blog or online workflow.  You will have opportunities to present interim work for feedback before submission, and deadlines, rather than the clock in the exam room, provide the pressure of time for our assessments, an approach which mirrors working practices in industry.

Examination techniques

The programme is assessed entirely by portfolio.  Most portfolio submissions consist of a finished piece, a piece of contextual written work provides some critique and analysis, and evidence of work-in-progress, usually in the form of a blog or online workflow.  There are no formal written examinations. 

Entry routes

Minimum Entrance Requirements

SQA HND Music  Graded Unit 2 at B
SQA HND Music and Audio Technology  Graded Unit 2 at B
SQA HND Music Technology  Graded Unit 2 at B
SQA HND Sound Production  Graded Unit 2 at B
SQA HND Computer Game Design/Development  Graded Unit 2 at B

BTEC HND in Music  Distinction
BTEC HND in Music (Performance)  Distinction
BTEC HND in Music (Production)  Distinction
BTEC HND in Game Design/Development   Distinction

International Applicants
You must provide certified proof of your English language level (minimum requirements are listed here).  Our British Council accredited International English Foundation Course can help you reach that level or, if you would like to further develop your academic English, our Intensive English for Academic Purposes Programme can help you achieve your full potential.

EU applicants:  Entry requirements can be found on our Europe pages.  Overseas (non-EU) applicants:  We're currently developing your country pages, so please email us details of your entry requirements.

Alternative Entrance Requirements
Please email us if you have other qualifications/experience not listed here.

Fees and scholarships

Fee Category Tuition Fees
Scholarships & Bursaries
Scottish and other EU students

Current fees

Other forms of support
English, Welsh and Northern Irish

Current fees

Bursaries & Scholarships
Overseas (non EU) students

Current fees

Overseas Scholarships

Fees shown are payable annually, and may be subject to increase each year.


Further info

Career prospects

Although the degree programme is focused on game sound, it will help prepare you to find employment across the music industry and beyond.  Certainly, sound design and composition for computer games, film and television, radio and theatre are all career options, but in the past graduates have built successful careers for themselves in music retail, audio-visual installations, designing visitor attractions, sound production for holiday and festival venues, web design and podcasting.  The ability to work creatively with sound can find a home in many different areas.

The degree programme also provides an excellent platform for further study, and there are a number of excellent masters programmes in sound design and music business, both here in the UK and overseas, which provide the next step for many of our graduates.

Your experience of working in a vibrant and creative atmosphere in multidiscplinary teams and negotiating submissions with clients and academic staff will help prepare you well for the future, no matter what it holds. 

Professional accreditation

Full Joint Audio Media Education Support (JAMES) accreditation, JAMES Scottish Regional Co-ordinator, Skillset Media Academy.

Industry links

The degree programme was the first in Scotland to be fully accredited by JAMES, and is part of the creative suite of programmes that form Abertay's Skillset Media Academy.  As part of those networks, students will have access to a programme of speakers drawn from across the games industry, and the inside track for exclusive industry placements and job opportunities.

Throughout Year 3, students work in small development teams on live projects for external clients.  This embeds industrial contact directly in the curriculum, giving students the benefits of a placement within the safe environment of the university campus. 

Want to know more?
Student Recruitment Office
T:  +44 (0) 1382 308080
F:  +44 (0) 1382 308081

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