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Postgraduate

MA Sound Arts

Close up shot of moulded shapes in a variety of pastel colours
Marco Tarantino, 2019. MA Sound Arts, London College of Communication, UAL | Photography: Lewis Bush
College
London College of Communication
Start date
September 2023
Course length
1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

Intensive and specialised, MA Sound Arts is designed to further the development of your conceptual and contextual understanding of sound arts practice and its discourse.

Open Evenings

The next Open Evening for this course will be announced soon.

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Course overview

Intensive and specialised, MA Sound Arts is designed to further develop your conceptual and contextual understanding of practice and discourse relating to the field.  

Combining a strong taught component with ample opportunities for practical work, you’ll extend your portfolio within an academic context, engage in theoretical and practical research, develop your creative and critical skills, and explore your personal areas of interest.  

What to expect 

  • You'll be encouraged to adopt a personal, distinctive approach to your work.
  • You'll be taught by staff who are active practitioners and researchers specialising in areas including field recording and acoustic ecology, composition, sound installations, improvisation, and a variety of cross-platform work.
  • You’ll have opportunities to collaborate with other students both inside and outside the College.
  • The Sound Arts department is committed to extending the boundaries of this evolving field while developing links with other disciplines and institutions.
  • The course is closely connected to the Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice (CRiSAP ) and further underpinned by wider disciplinary contexts across LCC’s Screen School and UAL.

Work experience and opportunities  

We facilitate individual practice, guiding you towards a professional career as a sound artist, or into research.   

We host an extensive programme of visiting artists and performers who can provide broader insight into the field – recent guests have included Jennifer Walshe, Annea Lockwood, Robert Henke and Christine Eyene.  

For your Final Major Project, you’ll also have the opportunity to work with a professional curator of sound – a key way to develop your professional practice.   

Who is this course for?  

MA Sound Arts is designed for students who have a substantial background in producing sound-based work within the context of contemporary arts and media practice.   

You may have studied some aspect of sound arts at undergraduate level, such as sound design, music technology or sonic art, or have a background in other disciplines like fine art, digital arts, time-based art or performance art.   

Alternatively, you may not have formal qualifications but significant experience of producing creative work with sound instead, and wish to develop this further in an academic context.  

You’ll have already achieved a distinctive and enquiring approach to sound arts, and you’ll understand the areas you wish to develop further in our creative and experimental academic environment.  

Mode of Study  

MA Sound Arts is in Full Time mode which runs for 45 weeks over 15 months. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study.  

Course units

Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves 6 units, totalling 180 credits.   

In addition to focusing on the development of your creative practice, units on MA Sound Arts have been designed to help you consider how sound can be understood and used to critique and question relationships of power that are linked to critical themes of  gender, decolonisation and sustainability.  All units on MA Sound Arts are compulsory.  

Autumn, term 1  

Practice-Based Research (40 credits)

This unit helps you to plan, develop and realise an applied research project which results in the production of creative sound work. You’ll learn about different ideas of art as both professional practice and practice-based research before presenting your work and research ideas to your fellow students.  

Contemporary Themes in Sound Arts Practice (20 credits)

You'll build a practical understanding of contemporary themes in sound arts practice by exploring different genres and strategies, enabling you to develop an understanding of discourse in relation to creative production. You’ll also research and review how a particular artist’s practice is sited in the broader field of sound art.  

Spring, term 2  

Practice-Based Research (continued)  
Contemporary Themes in Sound Arts Practice (continued)  

Collaborative Unit  (20 credits)

This unit will enable you to explore collaborative practice and the social experience of sound, both from within sound arts - where you’ll develop a diverse range of collective responses - and between disciplines, where you’ll work with students from other areas on individual projects.  

Summer, term 3  

Project Development (20 credits)

In this unit, you’ll present a Development Proposal which will identify the area of work that you’re going to explore – building on, experimenting with and focusing the range of ideas, experiences, skills and interests developed in Terms 1 and 2.

You'll be supported to develop your ideas through practical and scholarly research as well as creative experimentation, and you’ll also consider the appropriate format for your final project.  

Curatorial Contexts for Sound Art  (20 credits)

This unit explores issues around the curation, exhibition and perception of work relating to sound arts. It provides an understanding of the contexts through which sound arts practice is presented, curated and distributed in the public domain - in the gallery, in the concert hall and other performance spaces, on the internet, on the radio, or in public spaces outside the traditional curatorial reach.  

Major Project (60 credits)  

This final unit of the MA consolidates your learning experience of the previous units through the completion and presentation of a Major Project. This will take place in the context of a curated show hosted in an acoustically and visually compelling public space, which maximises the appreciation of your work as a sound arts practitioner.   

Autumn, term 4  

Major Project (continued)  

If you are unable to continue or decide to exit the course, there are two possible exit awards. A Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on successful completion of the first 60 credits and a Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits.  

Learning and teaching methods

  • Individual and group tutorials 
  • Seminars 
  • Workshops 
  • Symposium 
  • Self-directed study 
  • Peer review 

Online Open Day

(Recorded March 2022)

Course Leader, Thomas Gardner, gives an overview of studying MA Sound Arts at London College of Communication.

Student work

DREAMSCAPE

DREAMESCAPE is an audio-visual installation which aims to record, reconstruct and present the personal acoustic experience of my dream during the lockdown period.

Work by Ziheng Qian

25 days of Quarantine Life

This work is about 25 days of quarantine life in non-hospital facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on personal experience, Yunwoo selected 25 objects to tell their quarantine soundscape.

Work by Yunwoo Nam.

Listen on SoundCloud

Two Aspects Of Roastbeef

Work by Nicol Parkinson.

Listen on SoundCloud

Student voices

Mathias Arrignon

Student voices

Mathias's final project, Oceanomicon, uses sound to demonstrate the process of ocean acidification.

Yifeat Ziv

Student voices

Yifeat talks about how doing an artist's residency at LABVERDE in the Amazon inspired their final year project.

Dan Beck

Student voices

Graduate Dan Beck talks about his installation, part of LCC Postgraduate Shows 2018, and his time on the course.

Course stories

Facilities

  • Red light indicating recording is taking place.
    Image © Vladimir Molico
    Lens-Based and Audio-Visual

    Find out about the workspaces and studios that support Lens-Based and Audio-Visual practice.

  • Student reading a book in between two bookshelves in the Library
    Students in the Digital Space. London College of Communication, UAL. Photograph: Alys Tomlinson
    The Digital Space

    The Digital Space is an open-plan, creative hub with computers set up with specialist software.

  • The mixing board in the Composition Studio.
    Image © Lewis Bush
    Sound Arts

    Find out about the range of facilities on offer to students studying Sound Arts.

Visiting Curator

Irene Revell - Irene is Director at Electra, which is an 'organisation-in-residence' at Wysing Arts Centre (Summer 2015). Other projects include Someone Else Can Clean Up This Mess (Flat Time House, 2014); Slow Runner (Badischer Kunstverein, 2013); Her Noise: Feminisms and the Sonic (Tate Modern, 2012); Sound Escapes (SPACE, 2009); The Wire 25 (2007).

Irene writes for various publications including The Wire magazine and is a member of the Cinenova feminist film and video distribution working group. Irene is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Kent (MA Sound and Image) and in Autumn 2014 was a Fondazione Adolfo Pini curatorial fellow at O', Milan.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£12,700

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£25,970

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The course team welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world.

Applicants to MA Sound Arts will have a good honours degree in a relevant subject such as sound arts, fine art, film and video or other related fields, or a professional or academic qualification recognised as equivalent to an honours degree.

We also welcome applications from prospective students with a background in fine art or other related fields and those who wish to move their practice or research in other areas towards sound art and sonic practices.

Key subjects in Sound Arts are:

  • Composition
  • Sound recording and mixing
  • Photography
  • Field recording and acoustic ecology
  • Interactive work
  • Sound installations
  • Live performance
  • Radiophonic practices
  • Sound for film
  • A variety of cross-platform work

Your educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree (named above);
  • Possession of equivalent qualifications;
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required, demonstrating relevant experience and an aptitude for film, television or other moving-image production subjects;
  • Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior Learning)

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • OR a combination of these factors

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score.

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required, with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills.
  • If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.

For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications page.

Selection criteria

Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:

  • An informed enthusiasm about sound arts and related sonic practices
  • A critical approach to working with sound

Apply now

All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider these key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:

  • The strength of your personal statement and portfolio
  • Your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Extra information required for applications to this course

You will need to supply:

  • Portfolio
  • Video task

Start your application now

The online application can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you press submit.

Apply now

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer.

The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.

Personal statement advice

You will be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study on MA Sound Arts. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject, and a well-articulated rationale for joining the course.

The personal statement is a very important part of your application and should demonstrate to the course team that you are interested in the subject and that you have thought very carefully about why you wish to study on the course.

Ensure that your personal statement it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your chance to impress the course team by showing a strong interest in the subject, demonstrating what you feel you would bring to the course, your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future.

This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience.

Application deadline

19 December 2022 and 3 April 2023

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply for 19 December 2022 for Round 1 or by 3 April 2023 for Round 2.

The round 1 deadline has been changed to 19 December to give you more time to make your application.

When you'll hear from us

If this course requires a digital portfolio as part of the application process, we will contact you to invite you to submit this through UAL’s online submission tool, PebblePad. For Round 1 applications, you will need to submit your portfolio by 9 January 2023 at the latest and by 20 April 2023 for Round 2.

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in 2 rounds, after each application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about the outcome of your application until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by (at the latest) end of March and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by end of June 2023.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider these key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:

  • The strength of your personal statement and portfolio
  • Your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  • There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Please note: we will ask you for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas). Read our immigration and visa information to find out if you need a visa to study at UAL.

You can only apply to the same course once per year. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn.  Read the UAL international application advice for further information on how to apply.

Extra information required for applications to this course

You will need to supply:

  • Portfolio
  • Video task

Start your application now

There are 2 ways international students can apply to a postgraduate course:

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, you can apply to transfer.

The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an Immigration History check. If you do not complete the Immigration History Check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.

Personal statement advice

You will be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study on MA Sound Arts. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject, and a well-articulated rationale for joining the course.

The personal statement is a very important part of your application and should demonstrate to the course team that you are interested in the subject and that you have thought very carefully about why you wish to study on the course.

Ensure that your personal statement it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your chance to impress the course team by showing a strong interest in the subject, demonstrating what you feel you would bring to the course, your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future.

This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience.

Application deadline

19 December 2022 and 3 April 2023

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply for 19 December 2022 for Round 1 or by 3 April 2023 for Round 2.

We recommend you submit your application as early as possible before these deadlines to allow the Admissions team to resolve any initial queries about your application as quickly as possible.

When you'll hear from us

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in two rounds. This means that offers won’t be sent to successful applicants until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by 31 March 2022 and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by 30 June 2022.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal. Please add @arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.

Please log into the portal, as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, and you can contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

Portfolio

All applicants will be asked to submit a digital portfolio (maximum 20 images). You should include work from a maximum of six projects and supporting material. These should be clearly annotated and organised.

Your portfolio can comprise of any work; visual, sonic or textual, as well as images of sketchbooks that demonstrates your mode of working, and interest in working with sound and/or a sonic sensibility.

If you have links to web projects or media assets, please note these in your CV.

Video task

We’d like you to submit a 2-3 minute video to help us learn more about you.

  • Please speak clearly in English and face the camera.
  • Your video task is submitted along with your portfolio via PebblePad.
  • Read our guidance for more information about how to submit your video task and the file types we accept.

As part of your video task, please respond to the following direction:

  • We would like you to identify one project from your portfolio which challenged you and your understanding of sound arts. Explain how this experience has inspired you to apply to MA Sound Arts at London College of Communication

Interview

Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will be held online, and details will be sent via the UAL Portal.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Applicant Portal.

Requesting feedback

This course receives a high number of applications. Unfortunately, we can’t provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you’ve had an interview.

We are only able to provide feedback to you directly, or to someone you have told us in writing can receive it on your behalf. If you would like to request feedback  please contact us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

Successful applicants will be guided through the rest of our admissions stages and towards enrolment on the course.

Careers

During the course you will have the opportunity to develop both your research profile and creative practice. Upon graduation there are a number of options. You may wish to apply for a research degree, or you might decide to work in the theatre, films, television, animation, games production or websites.

Some of our students work as freelance sound artists or musicians in a chosen area which could include performance, composition, sound art installation or curation. Others set up their own businesses.