BA (Hons) Sound Arts


Program Description


Launching September 2021

*Subject to validation

We are excited to launch this new course for 2021 as we enhance our well-established undergraduate curriculum. Degrees listed as subject to validation are in the final stage of our rigorous approval process, designed to ensure they accurately reflect course content and employment opportunities for students. Through close consultation with industry professionals, academics, students and alumni we can ensure that your learning prepares you for a dynamic and ever-changing future job market.

BA (Hons) Sound Arts is a dynamic studio course where you’ll explore sound in all its forms as a creative artistic expression within a critical and historical context. You’ll be immersed in the cultural evolution of sound and its use as a creative medium while developing an understanding of the objects, software and live aspects of making and performing.

Situated within an arts and media practice with natural affinities to fine art and film, this course places a strong emphasis on experimentation, where you can immerse yourself in all aspects of sound; including listening, field recording, editing, playing, exhibiting, composing and performing.  

Independently and in collaboration with peers, you will study a wide range of topics, from sound synthesis and acoustics to music composition and creating instruments. You’ll also analyse music, musical interfaces and audio manipulation. This course is mainly practice-based, however, you’ll also learn the theory and history of sound and alternative forms of music and scoring through a reflective learning process that includes critical writing.

To support a wide range of possible approaches to sound art, the course offers a number of specialist areas of study, where you’ll be supported in focusing your development and experience, including site-specific and environmental sound, multimedia and applied sound and live performance. To give you hands-on learning, the course will make extensive use of our Multimedia Lab, Digital Fabrication Lab, and the Materials Lab for testing the possibilities and limits of noise, sound, and experimental music.

Engagement with industry is fundamental to all our undergraduate programmes, with students regularly creating original works as part of London's Tate Exchange, engaging with filmmakers on projects led by the BFI, designing sound scores for Illuminate Light Festival and taking part in residencies at the iconic Venice Biennale.

You will have the opportunity to develop your understanding of sound as a medium of expression and develop the skills necessary to work professionally in the film, arts, design, and other creative sectors. 

Thinking & making

Study with us and you’ll expand your critical approach alongside developing skills in research and analysis. Our academically robust and intellectually stimulating degree programmes are delivered by our team of academics, technical demonstrators and invited experts who together deliver excellence in learning, teaching and assessment. Our programmes encourage diversity in thinking and making - from practical applications through to reflective, analytical writing.

We provide a dynamic, stimulating learning environment from which to test new models of practice while investing in the rich relationship between practice and theory - based on the potential in material and visual exploration, collaborative working, cross-fertilisation of ideas, and the exploration of histories and contemporary contexts.  

Opportunities for studying abroad are available at our partner institutions.


Our unit structure applies to all of our undergraduate courses and creates a culture that promotes curiosity and creative thinking that extends beyond subject boundaries. Thematic approaches encourage an environment of free-flowing creative learning and opportunities for collaboration. Each unit will be contextualised by the subject specialism, and delivery will manifest uniquely through the specialist lens of each course. 

Applying to a four-year Extended BA degree?

If you choose to study an Extended BA, this will provide you with a preparatory year that will support your creative development through a broad range of art, design and media skills, as the basis for continued undergraduate study in your chosen specialist degree. In Year 0 you will learn through experimentation, exploration and discovery. Successful completion of this year allows automatic progression to Year 1 of your chosen three year BA at Plymouth College of Art. 

Year 1

  • Unit 1: Methods & Materials
  • Unit 2: Encountering place
  • Unit 3: Exploring subject
  • Unit 4: Platforms of exchange

Year 2

  • Unit 1: Speculative Strategies
  • Unit 2: Global Challenges
  • Unit 3: Ideas & Audience
  • Unit 4: Emergent practice

Year 3

  • Unit 1: Research & Development 
  • Unit 2: Publication 
  • Unit 3: Positioning practice
  • Unit 4: Final project

Careers & alumni

Professional practice is embedded within all of our programmes. Throughout your studies, you will have the opportunity to develop the key professional, transferable skills for employability in the creative industries and potentially work in partnership with other sectors locally, regionally, nationally or internationally. From writing and making the most of your CV to gaining industry experience, the acquisition of professional skills has been written into the programmes of study by our staff teams, who have ‘real world’ experience. They are also supported by our Industry Liaison Groups, who help inform the development of the higher education curriculum.

You will have the opportunity to develop your understanding of sound as a medium of expression and develop the skills necessary to work professionally in the film, arts, design, and other creative sectors. 

Graduates can become:

  • Sound Artists
  • Media Artists
  • Filmmakers
  • Musicians
  • Sound Designers
  • Sound Producers
  • Fine Artists
  • Video Artists
  • Music Critics
  • Gallery and Museum Professionals


Our outstanding facilities include sound recording and post-production studios, vocal recording booths and Foley studio space, alongside state-of-the-art film studios and green screen. Our Equipment Resource Centre is comprehensively stocked with a wide range of professional sound design apparatus and extensive support equipment. Our professional post-production editing facilities utilise current professional software packages including Adobe Creative Suite (Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop), Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer and ProTools.

We have a team of enthusiastic and highly experienced lecturers and technicians, and we offer a visiting lecturer programme of internationally recognised experts from diverse sound art, film and media contexts, including writers, production designers, cinematographers, producers and editors from TV and film.

Facilities at the college include:

Animation, Film and Photography Studios

Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software.

Drawing Studios

With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.

Fab Lab

Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted-out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.

Fine Art Printmaking Studios

A fantastic facility supporting fine art printmaking, our dedicated space caters for a wide range of programmes and processes. You’ll get access to a 150-year-old Columbian press, an Albion press, a historic and rare wallpaper press, and an automatic FAG proofing press, plus a broad selection of metal and wood type, vacuum screen-printing beds, and four etching presses.

Jewellery Design Studio

Housed in our fantastic new Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, this stunning space provides everything for contemporary and traditional techniques in jewellery design, including benches supplied with gas and oxygen, in-house metal casting resources, hand and machine-forming tools, facilities for vitreous enamelling, and a separate chemical room for etching, anodising and patternation. We also have larger metalwork equipment for welding, brazing, cutting and grinding.

Digital Print Bureau and Equipment Resource Centre

Our Digital Print Bureau offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services. Our highly experienced Equipment Resource Centre staff can advise you on which of our 6,000 pieces of industry-standard kit – from underwater cameras to traditional large format cameras and all free to hire – will best meet your needs.

Textile Studios

With views out to sea and 35 metres of print tables to encourage experimentation, our Printed Textile Design Studios also boast a fantastic Mimaki fabric printer, digital embroidery resources, industrial sewing machines, sublimation printers, a dye lab, heat presses, a tufting gun and a Mac suite. It’s got to be one of the best-printed textile workshops in the UK.

Woods and Plastics Workshop

Alongside the latest in new technology, we value the long-standing traditions of making in wood and plastics – and have developed an excellently-resourced workshop that is open to all our students. It boasts a wide range of kit, including an impressive CNC router, plenty of saws and lathes, and strip-heaters, as well as greenwood-working facilities.

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

Founded in 1856, Plymouth College of Art is an art school run by artists and designers for artists and designers. We are home to a dynamic, cross-disciplinary community of makers and thinkers for whom ... Read More

Founded in 1856, Plymouth College of Art is an art school run by artists and designers for artists and designers. We are home to a dynamic, cross-disciplinary community of makers and thinkers for whom making is as important as reading and writing, and where the purpose of learning is inseparable from that of living your life. A place for making things, and making things happen. For making a difference. Read less