In a nutshell
Salford is an international centre for audio and acoustics research. Since 1965, our academics and researchers have led pioneering research that has set industry standards and influenced the design of audio products sold worldwide today. Featuring world-class testing facilities and research opportunities funded by industry partners, research councils, and government bodies, Salford can take your passion for audio further.
Our Acoustics and Audio Engineering postgraduate research programme nurtures students to conduct original research in the audio, environment, automotive, signal processing, materials, modelling and energy fields, including. Current fields for PhD study include: 3D sound reproduction and auralisation, noise control, acoustical engineering, audio quality, environmental noise and vibration, psychoacoustics, soundscapes and vibro-acoustics.
Browse some PhD research topics on the Research centre's homepage
- Take your passion for audio and earn a doctorate-level degree
- Carry-out professional research on a topic related to your interest or current employment
- Develop outputs that can be used in the workplace, can shape audio equipment or could influence industry standards
This is for you if...
You enjoy research and want to progress your studies to a doctorate- level to meet career aspirations
You see the value of bridging the gap between industry and academia
You are a critical thinker, keen to explore a particular element of sound and acoustics
All about the course
MSc by Research
One year full-time
Two years part-time
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
One year full-time
Two years part-time
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Three years full-time
Five years part-time
Distance learning (online Doctoral Programme)
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What Will I be Doing?
As a postgraduate research student at the University of Salford, you are required to meet a number of milestones in order to re-register for each year of study. These ‘progression points’ are an important aid for both you and your supervisory team:
Learning Agreement: this is completed by you and your supervisor collaboratively in the first three months of your research programme. It encourages both of you to develop a thorough and consistent understanding of your individual and shared roles and responsibilities in your research partnership.
Annual Progress Report: this report is completed by your supervisor at the end of each year of study, and reports on your achievements in the past year, the likelihood that you will submit on time, confirmation of the Learning Agreement and relevant training undertaken.
Self Evaluation Report: this is completed by you at the end of each year of study. It asks you to comment on your academic progress, supervisory arrangements, research environment, research training, and relevant training undertaken.
Interim Assessment: this is an assessment of your progress by a panel. It takes place towards the end of your first year, and is designed to ensure you have reached a threshold of academic performance, by assessing your general progress. The assessment comprises a written report, presentation and oral examination by a Panel. You must successfully complete it in order to register for your second year.
Internal Evaluation: this will take place towards the end of the second year and successful completion is required in order to continue onto your third year of study. You will be expected to show strong progress in your PhD study reflected in the submission of a substantial piece of work, generally at least four chapters of your thesis.
Research Centre Overview
The Acoustics Research Centre is one of two Primary Partners in the BBC Audio Research Partnership, a five-year Research and Development initiative advancing acoustics and audio research for broadcast. Several of our research active staff are Editors for major international journals and government publications.
The University of Salford has an outstanding set of audio and acoustics facilities and equipment for postgraduate students. Our full range includes: one full anechoic chamber and two semi-anechoic chambers, a transmission suite, two large and one small reverberation chambers, an ITU standard listening room equipped with a 96 channel Wave Field Synthesis system, a 3D-Ambisonic listening booth, audiometric test facilities and a range of advanced instrumentation and equipment.
We are accredited to perform no less than twelve types of test and the test chambers are managed by our team of commercially-funded technicians. We also have a UKAS accredited Calibration Laboratory which provides a full-scale commercial service to industry.
As part of the University’s Architectural and Built Environment submission, Acoustics achieved the top research rating of 6* in Research Assessment Exercise 2001. In the Research Assessment Exercise 2008, 90% of our research was rated at International standard, with 65% being International Excellent or above and 25% being World Leading. The University’s Architectural and Built Environment submission was ranked by Research Fortnight as number 1 in terms of Research Power from the result of the Research Assessment Exercise 2008.
Since 2000, three of our staff have won the prestigious Tyndall Medal awarded by the Institute of Acoustics biannually for achievement and services in the field of Acoustics. In addition, Prof Yiu Lam was awarded the Institute's premier award, the Raleigh Medal, in 2013.
What about after uni?
Acoustics and Audio are skills shortage areas globally and demand for expertise continues to grow rapidly across many sectors, for example due to expansion in communications, due to increased noise legislation and increased expectations of consumers e.g. in audio quality, sound quality in buildings, vehicles and domestic products. Career prospects for doctoral graduates in audio and acoustical engineering are therefore extremely good.
Postgraduate and PhD graduates find employment across a wide range of industrial sectors and, due to the specialist nature of the field, often climb the career ladder quickly. Some recent example postgraduate destinations include:
- Audio (Apple; Dolby; Harman International; Nokia)
- Academic/ Research (George Mason University, USA; University of Salford; University of Manchester; National Physical Laboratory; NIH, USA; EMPA, Switzerland; Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands; Kinnernet Academic College, Israel; New York University, USA)
- Automotive and industrial (Bentley Motors; ZF Lenksysteme; Opel; Cummins Turbo Technologies)
- Consultancy (Hayes Mackenzie; Sandy Brown Associates)
- Architecture and Building (Architettura Sonora MENA)
- Spinout company (Technical Director at CarbonAir)
Acoustics research at Salford has always been oriented towards industry and as such we have ongoing research partnerships with many large and small companies for example in audio (e.g BBC), environment (e.g. URS), industry (e.g. Bentley Motors), building and architecture (e.g. RPG), materials (e.g. Chemviron), energy (wind turbine manufacturers and their suppliers) to name but a few. In addition, through the commercial activities of our accredited Test and Calibration laboratories we have working links with literally hundreds of organizations including industry, consultancy, test laboratories, local and national government.
The University launched a successful spinout company Carbonair in 2012 to exploit novel technology developed in the Acoustics Research Centre. Ongoing collaboration with Carbonair provides a network of contacts amongst many industries.
What you need to know
Audio and acoustics engineering postgraduate applicants come from a variety of backgrounds due to the multi-disciplinary nature of the subject. Many have a first degree that provides a foundation in the principles of engineering and/or scientific practice. This could include a mechanical engineering, or physics degree, but also acoustical engineering, applied science degrees and other engineering disciplines such as electrical, architectural and civil engineering.
With perception playing an important role in many doctorates, PhD students in acoustics might also have first degrees in subjects such as experimental psychology or geography. Applicants from an audio production, music technology or architecture background need to have experience of engaging with scientific methodologies.
As a student embarking on a postgraduate research degree you will be assigned a supervisory team, to help guide and mentor you throughout your time at the University. However, you will take responsibility for managing your learning and will be expected to initiate discussions, ask for support and be proactive in your approach to study.
Applicants are required to attend an interview.
International Student – Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)
International Students are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin their course. You may need to obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK in order for you to comply with Home Office regulations.
Please refer to your offer conditions. You can find out if your programme requires an ATAS by checking the FCO website
PhD: first or upper second class undergraduate degree or equivalent or a relevant Postgraduate Diploma or Master’s degree.
Master Level study by research: a first or upper second class undergraduate degree or equivalent.
English Language Requirements
International applicants must provide evidence of proficiency in English. A minimum total IELTS score of 6.5, including a minimum of 7.0 in elements of academic reading and writing, with no less than 6.0 in any other element.
Salford graduates, including those who studied a programme delivered by Robert Kennedy College, are entitled to a 20% discount on programme fees.
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You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on residential travel and accommodation visits.