Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BMus (Hons) or BSc (Hons) – 2018 entry

The Tonmeister degree at the University of Surrey combines elements of music, physics and maths.

Inspired by the unique nature of the course, I chose Surrey because of the excellent links established with companies across the audio profession, the fantastic facilities provided for students, and the teaching from a mixture of staff and current audio professionals.

What you'll study

The prestigious Surrey Tonmeister degree is unique in the UK, blending rigorous musical study, advanced investigation of audio engineering and mastery of sound-recording operation and practice. The programme enjoys superb links to, and reputation within, the industry.

Our Tonmeister degree is for exceptional students who are primarily interested in the theory and practice of sound recording and audio engineering. However, you will gain a breadth of experience, numerous practical skills, and invaluable initiative and adaptability that will prepare you for a career in any area of the professional audio industry.

Programme overview

Our degree comprises three areas of study: technical understanding of audio; practical experience of recording; and musical theory and practice. We believe that all of these components are essential for an audio engineer to be able to cope with the wide variety of tasks that the role entails.

The technical aspects of our degree cover the components that contribute to modern sound recording and reproduction, such as acoustics, electroacoustics, electronics, computer audio systems, sound synthesis and signal processing.

The practical elements of your studies will provide you with tuition in recording techniques and critical listening, as well as allowing you to apply technical theory by recording a wide range of music.

The musical components of the programme will develop your analytical skills and provide the opportunity for detailed study of creative disciplines such as performance and composition.

This is a challenging degree that has produced a stream of highly successful alumni during its long history, including winners of Oscars, Grammys and the Mercury Prize.

The high quality of teaching, professional studio facilities, equipment similar to that used in the best studios and talented student intake mean that the Tonmeister course is highly regarded in the industry. Consequently, as a Tonmeister graduate you will enjoy unrivalled career prospects.

Read about the experience of Music and Sound Recording student Jack Wensley.

Programme structure

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specification documents which include further details such as the learning outcomes. Please be aware that these specifications are applicable to the current academic year.

Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

Professional Training placement

The Professional Training placement begins at the end of the second academic year and finishes in time for you to begin the third year of study.

Professional Training placements offer students the opportunity to gain access to the world of work, including meeting employers, developing job search skills and acquiring the employability skills that employers look for. Find out more about Professional Training placements.

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)


The teaching methods that we use encompass a mixture of lectures, seminars, in-depth projects and practical work. In Years 2 and 3, you will spend a significant part of your time managing your own recording sessions, and in Year 1 you will learn by assisting other students.

We encourage all of our students to participate in the many practical opportunities that are available. These include a wide range of ensembles, recording sessions and performance/composition workshops.

Your final-year project gives you the chance to specialise in an area that is either of interest or of use in your chosen career; you will be supervised individually by a member of the academic staff.


Modules are assessed individually and credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports.

Contact hours

Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's Module Catalogue. See the programme structure section for more information.


The Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) degree programme benefits from a range of facilities that are of the highest professional standards and are unmatched in the UK university sector.

The majority of the facilities are housed in the Performing Arts and Technology Studios (PATS) building, which was built to stringent acoustical specifications and fitted with equipment to match the best professional studios.

Recording studios

As a student on the Tonmeister degree programme, you have access to three recording studios:

Studio one
  • A studio floor large enough to record a full orchestra and choir
  • A control room containing a 48-channel Sony digital console
  • A Pyramix multi-channel recording and editing system and a range of analogue and digital recorders
Studio two
  • A smaller studio floor which is less reverberant and a control room containing a 56-channel SSL 9000K series console
  • A 24-track 2” analogue multi-track tape, Apple Logic
  • A 48-channel Pro Tools HDX system
  • A 48-track hard disk-based recorder
Studio three
  • A small overdub booth and a control room containing an AMS/Neve 88-D digital console
  • Pro Tools HDX with 64 channel MADI I/O
  • A 24-track 2” analogue multi-track tape machine
  • Pyramix Native with 64 channel MADI I/O
  • Arange of outboard including Bricasti M7 reverb
  • Surround sound monitoring

You also have access to three edit suites containing a range of analogue and digital recorders and digital audio workstations, including:

  • Pro Tools HD
  • Apple Logic Pro
  • Pyramix
  • SADiE

In addition to these facilities, you are able to use our extensive range of over 100 microphones, our ITU BS-1116 standard listening room, 16 Apple Mac Pro workstations, mobile recording vans and an assortment of measurement and test equipment.

More information about the Institute of Sound Recordings facilities can be found at the Tonmeister website.

Academic support

You are allocated a personal tutor to guide you through the programme and advise on your option choices and future career, helping you to get the most out of your time at Surrey.

Global opportunities

We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad. In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV. To check where you can go, visit our Global Exchanges pages.

You could have the chance to go to institutions such as:

  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Central Florida
  • North Carolina State University
  • Monash University
  • Sydney University

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

Careers and Professional Training 

We are very proud of our track record for graduate employability. One of the main reasons for our graduate employability success is our Professional Training placement programme which is one of the largest in the World, with over 2,300 partner organisations in the UK and overseas. To find out more visit our Careers and Professional Training pages.

Your third year is the integrated Professional Training placement, which provide you with first-hand experience of working in professional audio and help you make important contacts in the industry.

The integrated Professional Training placement will provide you with first-hand experience of working in professional audio and help you to make important contacts in the industry. You will gain valuable experience by working for a year in a commercial company such as:

  • A recording studio
  • A broadcasting company
  • An audio consultancy
  • An audio manufacturer
  • A computer games developer
  • A post-production facility

We will maintain contact with you through formal visits by Professional Training tutors and other informal means. In recent years, students have obtained placements in top London studios such as:

  • Abbey Road
  • Strongroom
  • Air Lyndhurst

Classical recording companies such as:

  • Chandos
  • Floating Earth

Audio equipment manufacturers such as:

  • Harman-Becker
  • Dolby
  • Bang and Olufsen

You can expect to be employed in a variety of responsible tasks, often as part of a relatively small team, tackling work ranging from music recording and editing through technical maintenance to product support.

Graduate prospects

The broad range of subjects covered in the Tonmeister degree programme prepares you for work in any area of the audio industry, from musical roles through practical audio engineering to development of new audio technologies.

Our graduates have gone on to a wide range of careers, including:

  • Audio engineering for pop music, classical music, film, post-production, mastering and broadcast
  • Audio editing for film, television, radio, classical music and pop music
  • Specification, installation, operation and maintenance of live sound systems for music and theatre
  • Technical support for the recording industry – undertaking studio maintenance, equipment rental and technical installations
  • Manufacture of all types of professional and consumer audio equipment – research and development, technical support, product management, marketing and sales
  • Creative music roles, such as composition for film and television, freelance performing or sound design for computer games

Recent graduates entered employment in roles such as:

  • Abbey Road Studios, Runner
  • Banff Centre, Audio Engineer
  • BBC, Studio Manager
  • Calrec, Customer Support Engineer
  • Focusrite, Test Engineer
  • Metropolis Studios, Assistant Recording Engineer
  • Orbitsound, Sound Technology Engineer
  • RGB Communication, Technical Support
  • Roll to Record, Sound Engineer
  • Sonorous Post, Assistant Dubbing Mixer

In fact, given the large number of students that have graduated from the programme, each sector of the audio industry that you can think of probably employs at least one of our graduates.

2018 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?



Access to HE Diploma

45 Level 3 credits at Distinction

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma


European Baccalaureate

76 per cent overall

International Baccalaureate

34 overall including 6,6,6 at Higher Level

Science Practical Certificate

Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass

Scottish Highers


Welsh Baccalaureate

Pass overall with an A in the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and A-level AA

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year.

Select your country:

Required subjects

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent)

Mathematics, Music and Physics A-level are required

Music Technology A-level together with ABRSM Music Theory Grade 5 is acceptable in place of Music A-level.

Musical performance proficiency equivalent to ABRSM Grade 7 is desirable.

Selection process

Offers are normally made in terms of grades.

Suitable candidates may be invited to an Applicant Day where they will be interviewed.

During the visit to the University the candidate can find out more about the programme and meet staff and students.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each element.

If you are an international student and you are concerned that your English is not to the required standard, you may benefit from the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Please note that the University of Surrey offers English language programmes and is also an IELTS Test Centre.

See 2017 entry information

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
BMus (Hons) 4 years J931 View KIS data set
BSc (Hons) 4 years J931 View KIS data set

Tuition fees

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate programmes.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

Bursaries and scholarships

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.

Find out more

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

How to apply

Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.

More info


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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