Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BSc (Hons) or BMus (Hons) – 2020 entry
Why choose this course
This prestigious course is unique in the UK, blending rigorous musical study, advanced investigation of audio engineering and mastery of sound-recording operation and practice.
Our BMus/BSc Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) course is aimed at exceptional students who are primarily interested in engineering and music. You’ll 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.
We’re one of the UK's leading universities for music, with our courses ranked 2nd by the Guardian University Guide 2019.
What you will study
This course is made up of three areas of study: technical understanding of audio; practical experience of recording; and musical theory and practice.
The technical aspects of our course 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 course will develop your analytical skills and provide the opportunity for detailed study of creative disciplines such as performance and composition.
|Qualification||Course length||Professional Training||Start date||UCAS||KIS code|
|BSc (Hons)||48 months||Oct 2020||J931||View KIS data set|
|BMus (Hons)||48 months||Oct 2020||J931||View KIS data set|
Professional Training placements
A Professional Training placement provides you with the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, equipping you to be adaptable, resilient, globally minded, confident, entrepreneurial and digitally savvy in the workplace. These qualities are widely recognised by employers and many of our students are offered employment on graduation by their placement provider.
The Professional Training placement year gives our students an insight into their subject and career potential, and early access to professional experience. It can be invaluable in developing work-based skills and helping them secure a graduate career.
Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices.
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) placements
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’ll 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 with leading audio industry employers such as:
- Air Studios
- Abbey Road Studios
- Sky Post Production
- Peter Gabriel Ltd
- Spitfire Audio
- Mach Acoustics
- Dolby Content Services
- Floating Earth.
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.
Applying for placements
Professional Training placements are usually applied for and secured via our online placement opportunities platform called Surrey Pathfinder, within which students can select and apply for placement vacancies. Placement providers use their own recruitment and selection procedures and the majority of students will secure their placement in this way. However, support is also provided to students wishing to source their own placement, subject to university requirements being met.
Students are generally not placed by the University, however they are given thorough support and guidance alongside access to the vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.
Careers and graduate prospects
We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.
The quality of teaching, professional studio facilities and equipment, mean that the Tonmeister course is highly regarded in the industry. Consequently, as a graduate you will enjoy unrivalled career prospects.
This course has produced a stream of highly successful graduates during its long history, including Oscar, Grammy and Mercury Prize winners.
The broad range of subjects covered this course will prepare 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 – carrying out 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:
- Sound Editor and Business Development, Sound Disposition
- Sound Engineer and Composer, SNK Studios
- Audio Consultant, Yellow Technology Ltd
- Systems and Support Engineer, Solid State Logic
- Sound Engineer, Arena Television
- Studio Manager, Spitfire Audio
- Editor/Assistant Engineer, Chandos Records Ltd.
In fact, given the large number of students that have graduated from the course, each sector of the audio industry that you can think of probably employs at least one of our graduates.
Study and work abroad
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. View our study and work abroad exchange information to find out more and see where you can go.
Please note: the status of the Erasmus+ scheme is dependent on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
Our music and sound recording (Tonmeister) degree courses benefit 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 our Performing Arts and Technology Studios building, which was built to strict acoustical specifications and fitted with equipment to match the best professional studios.
As a student on the course, you’ll have access to three recording studios:
- A studio floor large enough to record a full orchestra and choir
- A control room containing a Studer Vista digital console
- A Pyramix multi-channel recording and editing system and a range of analogue and digital recorders.
- 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.
- 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
- A range of outboard including Bricasti M7 reverb
- Surround sound monitoring.
You also have access to five edit suites containing a range of analogue and digital recorders and digital audio workstations, including:
- Pro Tools HD
- Apple Logic Pro
In addition to these facilities, you are able to use our extensive range of more than 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 on the Tonmeister website.
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.
Academic year structure
The academic year is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each. Each semester consists of a period of teaching, revision/directed learning and assessment.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.
Please note: If there is an optional Professional Training placement as part of your course, you can view the full module listing for this on the relevant programme specification.
Year 1 (with PTY)
Optional modules for Year 1 (with PTY) - FHEQ Level 4
Choose one optional module in Semester 2
Year 2 (with PTY)
Optional modules for Year 2 (with PTY) - FHEQ Level 5
Choose one optional module in Semester 1 and one optional module in Semester 2
Year 3 (with PTY)
Optional modules for Year 3 (with PTY) - FHEQ Level 6
Choose one optional module in Semester 1 and one optional module in Semester 2
Professional Training Year (PTY)
|PROFESSIONAL TRAINING YEAR MODULE (FULL-YEAR WORK)||Core||Year-long|
Timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
Research students will sometimes help to deliver your modules. These students will be researching in a similar subject to the module, and will have undertaken training prior to being invited to teach. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.
This course is taught by academic staff from the Department of Music.
MASON RD Dr (Music & Med)
All taught students are assigned a personal tutor before beginning a programme of study. Personal tutors offer support and advice to students in the areas of:
- Academic progress
- Pastoral/welfare issues
- Personal/professional development and employability.
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. Check individual module information to see full details at a module level.
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 modules section for more information.
Learning and disability support
We have two services, Academic Skills and Development and the Disability and Neurodiversity Service which can help develop your learning.
Academic Skills and Development
Academic Skills and Development is a learning space in the Library where our learning development team is based. It comprises dedicated Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians who can help you develop your academic and research skills, including writing, presenting, revision and critical thinking.
Find out more about the study support available.
Disability and Neurodiversity Service
The University’s Disability and Neurodiversity Service supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (including autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).
If you tell us about any conditions and register with us, we can give you appropriate support during your studies.
We can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance, and test you for dyslexia and dyspraxia. We can also offer regular study skills and mentoring support.
English language support
Our English Language Support Programme (ELSP) provides tailored English language support during your studies. It is particularly valuable to students who speak English as a second or additional language, but native speakers are also welcome.
What qualifications do you need?
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in each other element.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.
Suitable applicants will be invited to an interview day. During your visit to the University you can find out more about the course and meet staff and students. Offers are normally made in terms of grades following a successful interview.
During your visit to the University you can find out more about the course and meet staff and students.
If you can demonstrate exceptional academic performance in your schooling to date, you could be awarded an unconditional offer following successful interview as part of the University’s Unconditional Offer Scheme.
Recognition of prior learning
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.
|Qualification||Start date||Course length||Professional Training||UK/EU fees||Overseas fees||Professional Training fees|
|BSc (Hons)||Oct 2020||48 months||To be confirmed||To be confirmed||To be confirmed|
|BMus (Hons)||Oct 2020||48 months||To be confirmed||To be confirmed||To be confirmed|
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.
How to apply
Learn how to apply for an undergraduate course, see details about the UCAS application process and determine the steps you need to take if you receive an offer to study.
Our undergraduate admissions policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.
Join a webinar and speak to our current students
"My time at the University of Surrey, being amongst inspiring research driven academics, tutors with extensive industry experience and outstanding recording facilities, was undoubtedly invaluable."
"A placement informs a firm understanding of the working environment and will hold one in better stead when looking for a job after graduating. Working for Sky was a fantastic experience, one I was very lucky to have."
Jim Abbiss graduated with a BMus in Music and Sound Recording in 1988 and has enjoyed a very successful career as a music producer. He is known for his work on records including Arctic Monkeys' Mercury Music Prize-winning debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, and both of Adele's albums 19 and 21.