Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BSc (Hons) or BMus (Hons) – 2021 entry
Why choose this course
Our prestigious course is unique in the UK. We blend rigorous musical study, advanced investigation of audio engineering and mastery of sound-recording operation and practice.
Our BMus/BSc (Hons) 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 9th by the Guardian University Guide 2021. We also achieved 100 per cent overall satisfaction for this course in the National Student Survey 2020.
What you will study
Our course is made up of three areas of study:
- Technical understanding of audio
- Practical experience of recording
- Musical theory and practice.
The technical aspects of our course cover the engineering components that contribute to modern sound recording and reproduction. This includes 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. You’ll also 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.
Our Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) degree course benefits from a range of facilities. These 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 our 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 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 88D digital console
- Pro Tools HDX with 64 channel MADI I/O
- Pyramix Native with 64 channel MADI I/O
- A range of outboard including Bricasti M7 reverb
- Surround sound monitoring
You’ll 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, two labs including Apple Mac Pro workstations, mobile recording vans and an assortment of measurement and test equipment.
View more information about the Institute of Sound Recording's facilities on the Tonmeister website.
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, and the success of our graduates, mean that the Tonmeister course is highly regarded in the industry. Consequently, as a graduate you will enjoy unrivalled career prospects.
Our 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 by our course will prepare you for work in any area of the audio industry. This can vary 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:
- Assistant Engineer, Abbey Road Studios
- Trainee Mastering Engineer, Assistant Engineer, Air Studios
- Technical Assistant, CTV Outside Broadcasts
- Graduate Engineer, Hoare Lea
- Recording & Mastering Engineer, K&A Productions
- Studio Technician, Real World Studios
- Studio Manager, Royal Academy of Music
- Technical Co-ordinator, Ableton Loop
In fact, given the large number of students that have graduated from our course, each sector of the audio industry that you can think of probably employs at least one of our graduates. You can find a list of graduate jobs and awards our graduates have won on the Tonmeister website.
Academic year structure
The academic year is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each.
The Tonmeister course modules run through the whole academic year and include a combination of teaching and workshop weeks so that you can learn theory and immediately put it into practice. The year ends with revision sessions and examination assessment.
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.
Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the 2020/21 academic year. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach. View detailed information on the changes.
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, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.
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.
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:
Course 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. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
Our teaching is supported by expertise and years of industry experience. Researchers who conduct cutting-edge research into recording, synthesis, reproduction, and perception of sound teach the engineering aspects. The practical aspects of our course are led by practitioners who are experts in their fields while world-leading researchers, composers, and performers teach the musical aspects of this course.
There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by graduate teaching assistants. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.
We assess modules individually and award credits 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.
As a guide, the Tonmeister course involves around 20 hours per week of contact hours in first year, 15 hours in second year, and 10 hours in final year.
As a student at Surrey, you can also sign up to our free courses in the following areas:
Living in student accommodation is a great way to meet new people and spark friendships.
Do I meet the requirements for this course?
We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).
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, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.
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.
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.
Please see our admissions FAQs for further information about what to expect at the interview day.
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 contact Admissions on +44 (0)1483 682222 with any queries.
The annual tuition fees for courses starting in October 2021
BSc (Hons) (with professional training year)
Professional training £1,850
BMus (Hons) (with professional training year)
Professional training £1,850
- Fees for UK students: The University will apply annual regulated increases in the fee rates as set by Government each year, in order to maintain the same value in real terms.
- Fees for EU students: The UK is now no longer part of the EU, we are awaiting further instruction from the UK government and we will publish this as soon as it is provided. Find out more information about Studying in the UK and the Scholarships for EU students.
- Fees for international students: Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.
- Fees for international students with an integrated foundation year: The programme fee for Year 0 will match the lowest Year 1 overseas fee rate from across the substantive programmes for that year of entry. Students subsequently progressing into Year 1 will be liable for the same fee as overseas students joining at Year 1 for the same programme in that year. Annual fees after Year 1 will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.
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.
- Students in receipt of a Tuition Fee Loan: will have their fees paid by the Student Loans Company in line with their schedule.
- International students, or UK/EU students who have not taken out a Tuition Fee Loan: are required to pay their fees either in full at the beginning of the programme or in two instalments as follows:
- 50% payable 10 days after the invoice date (expected to be early October of each academic year)
- 50% in January of the same academic year.
The exact date(s) will be detailed on invoices. Students on certain part-time programmes, where fees are paid on a modular or stage basis, are not eligible to pay their fees by instalment.
If you are sponsored: you will provide us with valid sponsorship information that covers the period of your study.
Professional Training placement fees
If you are studying on a programme which contains a Professional Training placement year there will be a reduced fee for the academic year in which you undertake your placement. This is normally confirmed 12 to 18 months in advance, or once Government policy is determined.
See the information about 2020/21 academic year Professional Training placement fee.
Scholarships and bursaries
We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.
The AIR Diversity Scholarship for Tonmeisters
Surrey EU Undergraduate Scholarships
You have the option to complete a Professional Training placement as part of this course. This will give you the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, helping to prepare you for your future career.
A significant proportion of placement students at Surrey are offered graduate-level jobs or go onto postgraduate study.
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
- Bang & Olufsen
- Martin Audio
- 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
You can apply for numerous opportunities via an open and free-to-all process. Placement providers use their own recruitment and selection procedures and the majority of students will secure their placement in this way.
Students are generally not placed by the University, however we offer support and guidance throughout the process alongside access to a vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. We also provide support if you wish to source your own placement.
Find out about more about the application process.
Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.
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 procedures, the student 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 an example of our offer terms and conditions and our registration terms and conditions (PDF) from the 2020/2021 academic year as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will generally 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 and changes for the specific academic year.
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 and before you accept an offer. Read more.
In particular we wish to draw your intention to the following matters affecting the academic year 2021/2022:
- Covid-19 - In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the 2020/2021 academic year. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach, details of which can be found here [link]. It is anticipated that these programme changes and the hybrid learning approach will be adopted throughout the academic year 2021/2022, however, given the changing nature of the pandemic, this is being kept under continuous review. Detailed information on all changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the coronavirus course changes page. The linked pages set out information relating to general University changes and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.
- Brexit - The UK is now no longer part of the EU. We are awaiting further information and instruction from the UK government and we will publish this as soon as it is provided. EU students applying for programmes in the academic year 2021/2022 and students applying for courses with placements abroad should visit our dedicated webpages for the latest information on how the UK’s departure from the EU will affect their courses.
Campus locationStag Hill
Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught.
As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement which would require attendance off campus, depending on where you secure your placement.