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Course content

There is increasing pressure to make life quieter and to gain a better understanding of how noise and vibration affect people. Our MSc in Acoustical Engineering is a full-time masters degree that offers an academically challenging exposure to modern developments in sound, vibration and signal processing.

Introducing your degree

Our MSc, hosted by the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR), requires no prior knowledge of acoustics. Graduates of science, engineering or mathematics will study vibrations in structures, applied signal processing and human effects of sound and vibration and have the opportunity to specialise in a Signal Processing or Structural Vibration pathway. Acoustical engineers are in great demand, and we will give you the chance to work on a wide range of real-world applications.


Learning and teaching

The programme is split into two components: a 'taught' component (October to June) and a research component (February to September). The courses are taught at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR), which is a world-leading centre for acoustical engineering.

Taught Modules

The 'taught' component will consist of a range of modules based on lectures, hands-on demonstrations, laboratory teaching and exercises in small groups.

You are encouraged throughout to contribute your own professional experiences and thoughts to the learning of the whole class through a free exchange of ideas.

Research Project

The research project is the climax of the MSc programme. The project offers an opportunity to perform advanced research supervised by a member of academic staff. A list of projects offered by members of teaching staff is posted during Semester 1. You may also propose your own project.

Work begins on the project in February with the Project Development module. The research itself is mostly carried out during the summer period. A planning and literature review report is submitted at an early stage in the project, and an interview/presentation with the internal examiner is held at around the mid-point. On completion a dissertation is produced. This has to be completed and submitted before the start of the new academic year.


Testing of the knowledge base is through a combination of unseen written examinations and assessed coursework in the form of problem solving exercises, laboratory reports, design exercises, essays, and individual and group projects.

Analysis and problem solving skills are assessed through unseen written examinations and problem based exercises. Experimental, research and design skills are assessed through laboratory reports, coursework exercises, project reports and oral presentations.

As a research-led University, we undertake a continuous review of our programmes to ensure quality enhancement and to manage our resources. As a result, this programme may be revised during a student’s period of registration; however, any revision will be balanced against the requirement that the student should receive the educational service expected. Please read our Disclaimer to see why, when and how changes may be made to a student’s programme.

Programmes and major changes to programmes are approved through the University’s programme validation process which is described in the University’s quality handbook.

View the programme specificiation document for this course


Through the wide choice of modules available on the MSc Acoustical Engineering course, you have the possibility to specialise in one of the two following areas, after enrolling on the course:

Signal Processing

The Applied Digital Signal Processing pathway provides in-depth training on modern signal processing techniques for biomedical applications and audio signal processing.

Structural Vibration

The Structural Vibration pathway emphasises the advanced techniques to model, measure and control vibration in mechanical systems such as railways and automotive applications.


Compulsory modules include: Research Methods; Fundamentals of Acoustics; MSc Research Project; at least one out of Fundamentals of Vibration and Signal Processing

Optional modules include: Musical Instrument Acoustics; Noise Control Engineering; Ocean Acoustics & Biomedical Ultrasound; Electroacoustics; Aeroacoustics; Architectural and Building Acoustics; Applied Audio Signal Processing; Human Responses to Sound and Vibration; Advanced Vibration; Biomedical Application of Signal and Image Processing; Active Control of Sound and Vibration; Numerical Methods for Acoustics

Visit the Acoustical Engineering - MSc page on the University of Southampton website for more details!





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