Sound Design - MSc


The Human Orchestra


If you've studied sound or music technology at university, been working in sound professionally, or if you've been experimenting with sound as a composer, sound artist or engineer and are looking for a way to develop your voice, this programme is for you.

We offer an interdisciplinary taught Masters programme at the forefront of the University of Edinburgh’s rich expertise in the creative arts, music and digital media design.

Uniquely, we balance challenging practical project work with theoretical and critical study. This creates an inspiring and motivating work environment.

Studying for an MSc in Sound Design will expand your appreciation of the potential for sound design across a range of musical and artistic practice. Crucially, you’ll develop as a sonic artist, be challenged to rethink what sound design is and why it is central to a number of developments in the arts, the media, critical theory and even science.

Where will it take you?

Graduating with an MSc in Sound Design will open up a range of employment opportunities.

You will be qualified to join industries involving film and TV production, web design, advertising, composition and film sound, industrial audio, radio, theatre, computer games, software design etc.

Crucially, you’ll be empowered to operate as a freelance sound designer and develop the skills to confidently run your own business.

You should be able to work effectively in almost any studio or location sound environment, and offer your collaborators and employers critical insights into the role sound plays in whichever media context you are in.

Top five reasons to choose the programme

  • Develop the artistic range of your sound designs
  • Make creative work across the spectrum of sound-related activity
  • Make contact with an international cohort of sound enthusiasts
  • Gain the confidence and skills to cope in any audio-related environment upon graduation, and feel able to survive as a freelance business as your portfolio develops
  • Join a programme that has over 10 years experience teaching and learning, exploring the limits of sound design as creative practice, academic discipline and career training

Graduate interviews

View the programme handbook >

Student work


The sound design MSc programme is designed and directed by Dr Martin Parker. A number of other staff are involved in the delivery of lectures, tutorials and the programme is augmented by a wide range of guest artists and sound professionals throughout the year. The core courses are enriched by a number of practice-based workshops, usually involving field recording, improvisation, performance or the development of new interfaces and tools for sound-making.

Key teachers on the MSc Sound Design

Guest speakers and workshop leaders have included...

  • Chris Watson (BBC sound recordists and sonic artist)
  • Fred Frith (improviser and film music composer)
  • Randy Thom (designing a film for sound)
  • Andy Farnell (Procedural Audio)
  • Varun Nair (mobile audio)
  • Yann Seznec (hardware hacking and sonic art)
  • Shackle (Anne La Berge and Robert van Heumann)
  • Agostino di Scipio (Audible Ecosystems)
  • Thomas Stronen (Nowegian percussionist and improviser)
  • Carl Edtröm (Sound designer for The Bridge)


Everything you need to know about finding perfect student accommodation.

Six purpose-built, acoustically-treated music studios, with tie-lines to a shared recording space.

A fully operational, entirely student-run 90-seat theatre housed in a neo-gothic church.

Recording equipment is available to students through BookIt, the online booking system.

Get information, advice and guidance about your career options.

The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) is the main space for anyone using the University of Edinburgh’s historic collections.

Work spaces are available across the University. ECA's computers include software tailored to the disciplines studied here.

At the heart of the Evolution House Learning and Research Zone, the ECA Library provides an innovative environment for learning, teaching and research resources in art and design.

ECAfé provides a full catering service to all staff, students and visitors to Edinburgh College of Art.

Edinburgh Global's mission is to encourage internationalisation, enhance the student experience, create and develop partnerships.

EUSA represent the student voice. They provide services, run events, and facilitate student societies.

Information and guidance on financial matters for all students of the University of Edinburgh.

A Georgian garden that doubles as a venue for performances in the centre of the city.

The primary collection of books, periodicals, manuscripts, and research material.

Edinburgh is home to a number of musical societies, bands, orchestras and dance troupes.

A technical support team is on hand to help you with any studio or equipment queries.

Information on the equipment available to students in the music studios and editing suites.

Nearly 1,000 items including stringed, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.

Includes organs, harpsichords, and instruments from the Musical Instruments Museum.

By day, a café, bar and study space, and by night a club venue. Potterrow’s dome is also home to the Advice Place and the Potter Shop.

A 218-seat Victorian venue built in 1859. Used for regular orchestral and choral rehearsals and performances.

Located beneath Reid Concert Hall, this studio is built to record live performances in the venue.

The neo-classical Sculpture Court in the ECA Main Building is home to the many pieces from the Edinburgh Cast Collection, and is regularly used for student exhibitions.

Studio equipment and software tailored for music students to be able to record, edit, and experiment with their work.

Caters to a diverse range of users from occasional exercisers to international athletes.

Offering counselling services for students, workshops, consultation and training for staff.

Supporting students with dyslexia, mental health issues and students on the autistic spectrum, as well as those who have physical and sensory impairments.

Talbot Rice Gallery is the public art Gallery for the University of Edinburgh.

Home to six distinctive bars, Teviot is the oldest purpose built students' union in the world.

A hub for the University Societies and setting regular live music, comedy, spoken word and poetry nights.

A bar at the Lauriston Campus which hosts regular events including club nights and gigs.

Scholarships & bursaries

Scholarships available for one academic year of postgraduate study at Edinburgh College of Art. (£5,000)

For full-time postgraduate taught masters students starting at Reid School of Music. (£5,000)

For current full-time music students. Students wishing to enter the competition must present a programme of organ music lasting 35-40 minutes. (£1,000)

For full-time postgraduate taught masters students starting at Reid School of Music. (£3,000)

News & events

Two Big Ears.jpg

Two Big Ears
Abesh Thakur (L) Varun Nair (R), founders of Two Big Ears
Image courtesy of Malcolm Cochrane

Two Big Ears grew out of a collaboration between students on the Acoustics & Music Technology and Sound Design programmes.

local setup.jpg

Gaby Yánez at her console at home in Ecuador
Photo: Gaby Yanez

"Don't limit your experience to what happens during lectures and/or assignments. Meet people, go places, discover the library... attend every concert and event you can."


Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4086


Email the Programme Secretary