MFA Professional Composition
Video Game Music & Audio

We train you for the industry of the future.

Video games are rapidly evolving, 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.

Buy a Postgraduate Degree Application pack: $100
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Find out more about our programmes, hear about our open days and taster weeks first and learn more about the career opportunities open to you.

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 action and racing games.

What Work Will it Prepare Me For?

The main destination for students is video game 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.

One Thousand Videos.
Access All ThinkSpace Course Materials.

There are thousands of videos available to our students and every single one is available to master’s students. You have full access to all 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 interactive audio for games, sound design and scoring for other media.

Who’s Teaching Me?

Our faculty are all currently 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, Assassin’s Creed (trailers) Sim City, Drakensang, Sniper Elite 3 and Pokémon. 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, which includes 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 Baysted


  • Mark Angus
  • Frank Petreikis

  • Gina Zdanowicz


  • Erasmus Talbot
  • Guy Michelmore

Your Degree

On successful conclusion of your course, you will be awarded a Master of Fine Art degree from the University of Chichester. All UK degrees, including those of the University of Chichester, are recognised worldwide. The qualification is fully 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 your fellow students and the rest of the University Of Chichester’s graduates.

Student Stories

According to our 2019 Graduate Employment Survey and an amazing 80% of our graduates have found work in their chosen field. This is a fantastic achievement so congratulations to them all!

Our recent students have gone on to work at Mojang, Creative Assembly, Frontier, Dam Busters and many more. Our graduates have worked on the score for Spiderman PS4 and scored the latest Battlefield 1 Apocalypse trailer.

Combined with our 98.3% graduation rate, that means apply to ThinkSpace Eduation gives a really solid basis for anyone hoping to start a career in film composing, orchestration, game music or audio.

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.

  • Module 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.

  • Module 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.

  • Module 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.

  • Module 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.

  • Module 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.

  • Module 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.

  • Module 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.

  • Module 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.

  • Module 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.

  • Module 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.

  • Module 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.

  • Module 12 - Elective 2

    In addition to Sampling technology and Professional Development, 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.

  • 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, 24 months – 30 hours a week

Part-time 36 months – 15 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

Full-time and part-time students pay the same.

$19950

Interest-free monthly repayments
start from £69, $96 or €87 a week.

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 and finance procedure, please visit the dedicated Student Finance page.

Buy a Postgraduate Degree Application pack: $100

Requirements

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


  • Language

    For applicants whose first language is not English, we will need you to provide an English language test certificate.

    There are several English language tests, including IELTS, TOEFL and CAE. We require you to have an overall score of IELTS 6.5 or higher to participate in the programme, with no element less than a score of 6. This equates to a TOEFL score of 79 and a CAE score of 176.
    The test must be taken before your course start date. Applications may be accepted provisionally pending test results.

    If you have completed your undergraduate degree, or any other postgraduate degree that was taught in English you will not need to take an English Language test.


  • Hardware

    You will need a computer, software and ancillary equipment (monitors, hard drives), 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, Nvidia GTX 550 Ti or equivalent, 2GB VRAM.

    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+


  • Music 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 DAW.


  • 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. Unity, Fmod and WWise are able to be downloaded for free.

    • Unity
    
• Fmod
    • Wwise


  • 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. Unity, Fmod and WWise are able to be downloaded for free.

    • Unity
    
• Fmod
    • Wwise


  • Other Software

    Sampled instrumental libraries sufficient to produce a professional level sampled mock-up. Eastwest Composer Cloud, the Spitfire Audio libraries or Cinesamples Symphony Bundle will all give you that sound. You need samples of individual instruments or sections, not ensemble libraries like Albion.

    These other programmes are also recommended

    • Kontakt by Native Instruments
    • Wavelab
    • iZotope RX

    • Sound Forge

    • Audio database software such as Mutant or Sound Miner.

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


  • Academic

    Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in any subject. There is no entry by RPL for our MFA courses. If you do not have an undergraduate degree, you might be eligible to join one of our MA programmes instead.

Contact Us

My name is Tim and I am the postgraduate Course Manager here at ThinkSpace Education. 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 postgraduate@thinkspaceeducation.com.

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