ACM (The Academy of Contemporary Music)

Creative Sound Design ACM (The Academy of Contemporary Music) Degree level: Undergraduate Awarded by: Middlesex University


Course options

There are other course options available which may have a different vacancy status or entry requirements – view the full list of options.

Course summary

This bespoke study option has been created for those wishing to pursue a career in Creative Sound Design. Elective Modules in Experimental Music and Sound, Sound To Picture, Interactive Audio and Ableton make it particularly useful for this career destination. Where you would like to personalise your studies further, our innovative curriculum means that these recommended Elective Modules may be switched for other Elective Modules listed on our website, according to your preferences and aspirations for the future. You will study towards a BA (Hons) in Music Industry Practice and join the Producer Route of the programme. Other Modules you will study include Audio Fundamentals, Studio Recording Technique, Acoustics, Media Composition, Music Information Technology, Creative Software Skills, Creative Audio Technology and Production Analysis. The programme is delivered in an accelerated fashion over two years (or available as a three year option with integrated foundation year for those who need / would like more time to develop academically, technically or creatively) and is validated by Middlesex University.

Course details


Our tripartite commitment to our students’ academic, professional and personal development is recognised in a brand new curriculum, specifically purposed to bridge the gap between what industry needs and what education has traditionally provided. ACM's pioneering Music Industry Practice programme framework treats our students as individuals. We build bespoke programmes of study for each of them, based on their own history and aspirations for the future, with over 100 different modules and numerous unique module combinations to choose from. On UCAS, we actively publish a certain number of career destinations that are commonly stated as aspirational by our applicants and desirable by our industry, advising you as to which module combinations you might want to consider in pursuit of those particular career goals. If you’d like to pursue something different, however, it’s also completely possible to build and personalise your own programmes, as you see fit. Of course, we also understand that not everybody has a specific career destination yet, and so for those of you who haven’t quite made up your mind, the first thing we ask you to think about and choose from is one of five broad study routes. These study routes are described as Musician, Creative Artist, Producer, Business & Innovation and Technical Services.
Choosing a route will dictate a selection of route-specific modules that you will study. Further into your course, in addition to the route-specific modules, you can then select from a suite of zero-credit elective modules and credit-bearing elective modules as you start to formulate your ambitions for the future more clearly. We also believe that there are some things that every music industry professional needs to learn about and understand. Things such as copyright, who the main players in music are and how the various sectors of artist management, records, publishing and live are changing in an ever more digital world. That’s why our Music Industry Practice qualification also includes a small number of mandatory modules that every student must engage with. Whether students choose to focus on music performance, songwriting, production, technical services or business management, we pride ourselves on delivering an immersive music industry education in which we match the highest quality of teaching and learning with an unparalleled student experience. With its students representing every corner of the field they one day hope to work in, ACM is a microcosm of the music industry in which they really can work together and learn by doing. We’re interested in our students’ careers as much as their studies, dedicating an entire department to supporting their professional development and helping them take their first steps into the music industry. ACM’s Industry Link team is headed up by Martin ‘Ace’ Kent (of Skunk Anansie fame). Through regular networking events, work placements, performance and audition opportunities, students are able to showcase their knowledge and talent to music industry executives (from labels, publishers, management companies and more) and gain first-hand feedback from those in the know. The department connects students to a network of top-tier industry partners in the music and wider creative industries, and also offers regular tutorial and masterclass opportunities with visiting guests.  ACM students also enjoy an access all areas pass to Europe’s largest recording complex, in which the likes of Queen, Adele, Amy Winehouse, and countless others have recorded, and some still record, today. This joining of educational and professional environments, where over 50% of the UK Music chart is recorded, mixed or mastered in an average year, has created a unique end-to-end proposition for those wanting to pursue a career in the music and wider creative industries, not to be found anywhere else in music education.

Assessment method

ACM uses real-world activity, learning and problem scenarios for all of its assessments. Our ethos is to embody learning-by-doing and students are therefore assessed through the demonstration of this learning by industry professionals who bring the latest knowledge, highest calibre of creativity and their entire experience into the classroom. Assessment methods are varied and balanced to suit a wide range of learners and may take practical, written, portfolio or other form. Students are often given the opportunity to work collaboratively with those studying other music related disciplines, representative of the way in which the Music and wider Creative Industries also require collaboration. Showcasing work to industry is inbuilt into the assessment process thanks to our unique link with Metropolis Studios and students will receive feedback from industry experts, supporting their professional and career development in addition to their academia. All written and portfolio assessments are submitted electronically by way of our Virtual Learning Environment and where possible, feedback is delivered in audio and video form, as well as written.

How to apply

Application deadlines

If your application is completed by the following date, it’s guaranteed to be considered:

15 January

*If you apply after this deadline, universities or colleges don’t have to consider your application if they’ve filled their spaces, so the sooner you apply, the better!

Application codes

You will need these codes when you add a choice to your application.

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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Foundation

International applicants

ACM welcomes applicants from the UK, European Union and European Economic Area, as well as wider international applicants already in possession of a Tier 4 Visa or with other entitlement to be in the UK and study for the duration of the programme. We are unfortunately unable to sponsor and/or accept international applicants who don't already have a right to be in the UK with an entitlement to study.

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Qualification Offer Further information
UCAS Tariff 18 points 18 UCAS points with at least 12 points from one six-unit award (60 UCAS Points on the 2016 tariff) . For those who are not from the UK, you will be required to submit proof of EU Citizenship and Proof of English Language Proficiency.

Additional entry requirements


Every applicant will have their suitability assessed by way of an on-site interview. Online interviews may only be offered in exceptional circumstances. Full preparatory materials will be sent to you upon confirmation of your interview. Your interview will be an enjoyable experience so you should not feel at all nervous. The candidates you are applying alongside are just like you and we are most certainly NOT looking for perfection. In fact, we believe that perfection, especially in the arts, is something that you are always on the road towards but will never achieve as your own standards grow with you, so don’t set yourself that impossible bar, now. Instead, rest assured that we are looking for those people with passion and potential. We’re looking for diamonds in the rough. We’re looking for people who are ready to learn. If you’re a musician who needs to brush up on your sight reading, that’s ok. We’ll give you support with that. Or maybe you’re a future business exec who gets nervous about presentations? That’s ok, too. We’ll give you coaching to help make it better. We’ll go above and beyond in our efforts to widen participation in every way possible, for as long as you show strength of character and commitment to your studies. Your interview day will also serve as an opportunity to discover and experience all that ACM has to offer. Your access-all-areas pass to our town-centre campus (comprising professional practice and recording facilities, a world-class teaching faculty, our vibrant Student Union and a dedicated Industry-Link department for professional and career development) gives you plenty to look forward to. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Channel Islands £9,250 Year 1
EU £9,250 Year 1
England £9,250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9,250 Year 1
Scotland £9,250 Year 1
Wales £9,250 Year 1

Additional fee information

For students to be eligible for Student Loan Company (SLC) funding, they must be studying on a designated course. Higher Education courses at ACM Guildford are designated by the Department for Education. Details regarding the designation status of ACM Higher Education programmes can be found at . Where we identify passion and potential for a career in music and issue you with an offer of study, we promise that we’ll do all we can to make sure that our immersive industry education is affordable to you. ACM also makes available flexible payment plan options, allowing you to spread the cost of your studies over the academic year at no extra cost. Our range of Scholarships reduces the cost of studying for those students who are academically, technically, creatively and/ or entrepreneurially gifted (see for more information) whilst those from low income backgrounds can access our Bursary Scheme, to further improve the accessibility and affordability of studying at ACM. Please note that the £9,250 fee is for the foundation year ONLY. Once a student has completed the foundation year, they will progress onto the 2 year accelerated course which is £11,100 per year. More information on matters relating to Student Finance can be obtained from our Student Finance team on 01483 500 800 or via email on . And so this is our pledge to you. If music is your passion, money will not stop you from choosing ACM.

Provider information

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ACM (The Academy of Contemporary Music)
The Rodboro Buildings
Bridge Street

Clearing contact details

ACM Admissions Team

01483 500 841

Course contact details

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