MFA Game Music
& Audio

We train you for the industry of the future.

Video games are evolving rapidly both technically and creatively, and this is creating enormous opportunities for game audio professionals. Our master’s degree in Game Music and Audio has been developed in close consultation with the industry to ensure you are learning the skills the industry requires.

The MFA course is an advanced degree and prepares you for a career as both a video game composer and as a game sound designer, the kind of full-stack game audio professional that is increasingly in demand. Scoring video games is rewarding and challenging but highly competitive. Our real-world project based approach, tutored by working professional game composers and sound designers, is designed to help you compete at the highest level. Being able to provide a complete audio service makes you much more employable.

    • Learn to use industry standard technology from active sound design and music veterans to get the most relevant learning experience possible.
    • Find your voice as a sound designer, with help from leaders in the field.
    • Learn to create work in an adaptive and interactive genre, tackling challenges unique to video games.
    • Personal 1-to-1 tuition from top professional sound designers and games composers.
    • Regular online workshops and tutorial groups, forum discussions and exclusive webinars.
    • Find your voice as a composer, with help from leaders in the field.

There is no other course in the world that offers tutors and support staff as well connected as ThinkSpace, and no offline campus can compete with our wealth of talent from around the globe.

What Will I Learn?

    • You will learn to create game sound both from your own recordings and sourced from commercial libraries.
    • You will learn the power of sound to tell stories and build character.
    • You will learn how to use inexpensive and readily available field recording equipment to produce atmos, spot effects and foley.
    • You will learn different ways of creating an interactive strategy to allow the score to respond seamlessly to the game play.
    • You will learn technical skills like creating and implementing foley, weapons, impacts and vehicle sounds.
    • You will learn to use FMOD to implement your music interactively in fully functional Unity games and game levels, many specially licenced for the course, including commercial releases.
    • You will learn business skills to help you produce a winning portfolio that will help you into a new career.
    • You will learn to compose music for a wide variety of different game genres from mobile puzzle games through to actions and racing games.

What Work Will it Prepare Me For?

The main destination for students is to video games companies, large and small, as a sound designer. Other students, who come from the music composition side of the business, want sound design skills to help boost their employability. Some students are teaching in academia and require a master’s degree to enhance their career progression.

Full Access to ThinkSpace Course Materials.

All our degree students have full access to the course materials on all our other courses, including all the degree and non-degree premium courses. Course text, videos, project materials, online workshop library, everything you could need. Choose the degree course you feel most comfortable with, and then explore new challenging areas like interactive composition for games, sound design, tv scoring and orchestration.

Who’s Teaching Me?

Our faculty are all current working professionals, many involved at the highest level in the business.

The instructors who will be giving you individual feedback, either in writing or at the student workshops, have composing and sound design credits including;

Batman Arkham Knight, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Dragon Age Inquisition, Need for Speed, Mass Effect 3, Bioshock 2, Project Cars, Elite Dangerous, Formula 1, Alien Isolation, Quantum Break, Harry Potter, Assassins Creed (trailers) Sim City, Drakensang, Sniper Elite 3 and Pokemon. They’ve worked for most of the major game studios including Electronic Arts, Sony, Rocksteady, Microsoft, Bioware and many others.

We are extremely grateful to our guest lecturers who have contributed either in person at seminars and live events, or on video and include Harry Gregson-Williams (Metal Gear Solid, Call of Duty), Charles Deenan (Call of Duty, Halo, Need For Speed) and Vincent Diamente (Journey, Flower).

It is a tribute to the generosity of all these composers and orchestrators that they are willing to share their expertise and insights with the next generation of professionals.

  • Dr Stephen Baystead

  • Andy Gibson

  • Frank Petreikis

  • Gina Zdanowicz

  • Peter Ward

  • Guy Michelmore

Your Degree

On successful conclusion of your course, you will be awarded a Master of Arts degree from the University of Chichester. All UK degrees, including those of the University of Chichester, are recognised worldwide. The qualification is full accredited in the UK and subject to regular quality control, review and external invigilation to ensure the highest academic standards are maintained.

The graduation ceremony takes place in Chichester each year where you will receive your degree alongside you fellow students and the rest of the university’s graduates.

Content

Your course falls into eight modules plus a final major project which lasts three months. Each module focuses on a different section of the orchestra or lineup, while at the same time developing specific compositional, technical and business skills.

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    Unit 1 – Game Audio Technology

    You start with an intensive course in audio middleware that you will use to implement your music in the game. You will also learn about memory budgets, CPU restrictions, game engines, different platforms and version control. There is information on who does what and how game audio teams are put together.

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    Unit 2 - Research Skills

    A rich and rewarding module that is closely tied to the practical projects. Designed by leading game music academic, Dr Tim Summers, this module leads you deeper into the conceptual thinking surrounding games. It gives you the research tools to reflect on your own work and to draw more meaningful conclusions about the nature, structure and future of video game audio and music.

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    Unit 3 – Foundations of Game Sound Design

    Your first practice based module and you’ll be creating sound for a range of puzzle games, an infinite runner and a simulator. It’s all about learning to work to a brief and finding a creative space inside the game aesthetic. You’ll be learning about atmos loops, spot FX and dealing choosing and implementing music. The business focus is on one of the fastest growing and most accessible sectors, mobile and handheld gaming.

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    Unit 4 – Sound, Music and the Moving Image

    Trailers and cut-scenes are an essential part of the gaming experience. This module looks at how to create stylized textured sound to picture. You will also learn music editing so you can take pre-existing tracks and incorporate them into the cut scene or trailer. We have a wide selection of cut scenes and trailers to work on including the triple A title Red Bull Air Race and the multi-award winning Armello.

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    Unit 5 – Elective 1

    A choice of one of the following: Sampling technology – How to produce top quality sampled music. Building a template – choice of libraries, use of controllers mixing and much more. Professional Development – How to make a living, get work and build a career. All the things you’ll need to know about money, copyright, networking and climbing the ladder. Kontakt Programming – The industry standard sampler and how to produce your own sounds. Whether as a composer or sound designer, a deep knowledge of Kontakt is a significant advantage.

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    Unit 6 – Adaptive Music 1

    Writing music that responds to game play and enhances the players experience is the aim of every composer. In this module you will be learning basic adaptive music strategies and implementing them inside the game using the audio middleware. Throughout the course, these two things, music composition and in-game implementation will become inextricably intertwined. The business focus is on working with very small indies, those bedroom developers who can go on to great things.

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    Unit 7 – Interactive Audio 1

    You will learn many of the fundamental tools of the sound designers trade from foley to idles, weapon and machine sounds to vehicles and impacts. All of this you will implement using middleware inside specially selected game levels. As with the music, you will be learning both to create engaging and distinctive sounds and how to implement the audio interactively inside the game.

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    Unit 8 - Adaptive Music 2

    In this module we extend the range of adaptive techniques and further reinforce the core skills as well as further developing creative and technical problem solving skills with yet more games and game levels to work on. The business focus is on working with medium sized indies and small teams.

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    Unit 9 - Interactive Audio 2

    How do you create the sound of a 3D world? What are the implications of VR and AR for game audio? In this module you learn how to create the sound and implement the audio to bring 3D worlds to life.

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    Unit 10 - Advanced Game Music 1

    This module brings everything together and extends your adaptive strategies to include compound techniques for creating innovative solutions to musical and technical problems. We look at the world of the AAA games, the workflows and what it takes to break into the big time.

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    Unit 11 - Advanced Game Audio 1

    This module brings together all the individual techniques you have learnt so far. You will be applying the problem solving skills you have been developing and following a complete project workflow through from start to finish.

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    Unit 12 - Elective 2

    In addition to Sampling technology, Professional Development and Kontakt Programming, you can also choose to learn a second middleware Wwise, or further cement your core skills with either of these project based module Advanced Game Music 2 or Advanced Game Audio 2.

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    Final Major Project

    The dissertation is a substantial piece of work taking 12 weeks to complete. It will take the form of a major project or portfolio of smaller projects in which you create the sound and implement all the audio inside the game. You will also write a commentary on your work to explain your choices and problem solving strategies.

“ThinkSpace serves an incredibly valuable function by connecting the practice of media music from the industry with the newest research on the topic coming from university academics.”

– Dr. Tim Summers
Ludomusicology Research Group

“ I would recommend [the ThinkSpace MA] to any composer who simply wants to be better at their job, whatever their experience level.”

– Amory Leader
IMDB

Time

Full time, 12 months – 30 hours a week

Part-time 24 months – 15 hours a week

Part-time 36 months – 8 hours a week

These are estimates and the exact amount of time will depend on each individual student. It includes, live workshops, one-to-one tutorials, reading and watching video tutorials and project work.

Prices

The course fee is the same for UK, EU and international students and includes the cost of a live orchestral session. Full-time and part-time students pay the same.

£6,875 / $10,050 / €8,995 per year for two years.

You can choose to pay in pounds sterling, US dollars or euros.

We offer an interest-free instalment plan where you can spread the cost of your course and graduate debt-free.

Students will be required to pay a deposit on enrolling. For more information on this, please contact the course manager.

For a more detailed summary of fees, loans and finance procedure, please visit the dedicated Student Finance page.

  • Interest-free monthy repayments
    start from £66, $96 or €87 a week.
  • Apply Now

Requirements

For FAQs and more information, please visit the Applications & FAQs, Student Finance and Study With ThinkSpace pages.


  • Academic

    Applicants should have an undergraduate degree.

    If you don’t have a music or audio based degree, then other experience can be taken into account, including work-based experience of making music, professional development courses and first degrees in other subjects. This RPL, as it’s known, is always assessed on a case-by-case basis. It also depends in part on how many other students in the cohort are using this route, as there is a maximum percentage of students we can take through this process.


  • Internet

    You will be uploading and downloading a large quantity of material so you should have access to a reliable broadband with a speed of at least 5Mbs or more.

    We have found that the Google Chrome browser is the most compatible with the Adobe Connect webinar software we use which will also be an important part of your course. All your assignments are uploaded through the Student Portal on our website. This can also be accessed with any standard FTP client, for example CuteFTP on a PC or Transmit on a Mac.


  • Software

    In order to mirror a real-world professional working environment, this is an intensive course with strict deadlines. As such, students must have acquired and be competent in the use of the minimum technical requirements prior to starting the course to get the most out of it. Students may be eligible for significant educational discounts.

    DAW (Digital Audio Workstation):
    We expect you to have a working knowledge of one computer based DAW:

    • Logic
    • Cubase
    • Nuendo
    • Protools
    • Ableton Live
    • Reaper

    Game Software:
    You need to have a copy of the following programs but we do not expect you to know how to use them. The exact version number of this software is important, and the version we support may change. Full information on the current approved course software version is available when on the course. Both Unity and Fmod are able to be downloaded for free.

    • Unity
    • Fmod

    Recommended Additional Software:

    • iZotope RX
    • Sound Forge
    • Audio database software such as Mutant or Sound Miner.

    For queries about any other platforms, please contact the Course Manager.


  • Hardware

    You will need a computer, software and ancillary equipment (monitors, hard drives both internal and external), Mac or PC, capable of producing professional quality music and audio, and recording equipment. This is the overriding principle and the following minimum technical specifications are given for guidance.

    PC:
    Windows 7 or above PC laptop / desktop
    Quad core 2.3 GHz processor +
    16 GB RAM +
    Graphics card, 1GB GPU (EVGA Nvidia GT 610 or equivalent), we recommend 2GB+

    Mac:
    OSX 10.8 or above
    MacBook Pro, iMac or Mac Pro
    Quad core 2.3 GHz processor +
    16 GB of RAM +
    Graphics card, 1GB GPU, we recommend 2GB+

    Audio Equipment
    As a Sound Designer you will be asked to capture your own audio as well as to use pre existing libraries. As minimum you will need the follow or equivalent alternative:

    Zoom H4n
    Two microphones or greater
    Sonniss GDC give away Sound effect libraries


  • Technical

    We expect you to have a good, solid knowledge of one computer based DAW like Logic, Cubase, ProTools, Ableton or Reaper. You should be able to complete tasks quickly and to a deadline within these softwares and be comfortable doing new tasks inside them. Your demos should be of good quality and we are happy to listen to your work and give you an opinion on this before you apply.

    A high level audio production standards is what we are looking for. You don’t need to be creating sound effects already, but should have demonstrable experiences with audio, whether through music, radio/podcasting, live audio or other audio production activities.

    You should be comfortable learning new softwares and troubleshooting problems. Becoming a Sound Designer is as much being a developer as it is about creating assets.


  • Books, Films, Scores and Recordings

    Throughout the course, you will be required to play games, read books, study scores and listen to recordings. These are, for the most part, not included in the price of your course. You should expect to have to purchase, rent or borrow games, films, recordings and printed material. The reading and listening list gives you guidance to the minimum reference material you will need. This list is a minimum and you should expect to have to access further resources during the course of your programme of study.

Contact Us

My name is Tim and I’m the MA course manager here at ThinkSpace. If you have any questions that you’d like answering, please don’t hesitate to fill in the contact form below, or email me at tim@thinkspaceeducation.com.

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