Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 1 year

UK fee

£2,600 for 60 credit Independent Project (2022/23)

International fee

£2,715 for 60 credit Independent Project (2022/23)

Course level




Start date


Course description

If you’re a professional acoustician, you can top up your existing qualifications to achieve a highly regarded masters degree – all by distance learning

  • Study full-time or part-time at a leading centre with over 30 years’ experience of delivering acoustics courses
  • Boost your career prospects by gaining a recognised masters degree which will set you apart within the profession
  • Build on your basic acoustics knowledge and gain the high-level skills to review different methods of noise assessment and control
  • Adopt interdisciplinary approaches to solving acoustic problems and draw on real-world case studies
  • Undertake work-based projects which are tailored to your current role and the needs of your employer
  • Choose between full-time and part-time routes to the MSc and enjoy all the benefits and convenience of distance learning
  • Learn from experienced acousticians renowned for their wide-ranging consultancy work and influential research
  • International students are welcome to study the MSc Applied Acoustics by distance learning if they already hold the IOA Diploma in Acoustics or equivalent

Institute of Acoustics Accreditation Logo

Build on your experience

This course offers a convenient fast-track route to a masters degree for professionals who already hold the Institute of Acoustics (IOA) Diploma in Acoustics and Noise Control. 

You will enter the MSc at the masters stage, so your studies will centre on a research-based investigation – either practical or desktop-based – culminating in a thesis on an acoustics topic of your choice.

Throughout this independent study, you’ll be supervised and supported by an academic advisor.

Meaningful and relevant research

If – like most of our students – you are already employed in the acoustics field, the skills and knowledge you gain on the course will be directly relevant to your day-to-day work.

You can choose to undertake a work-based study which is of benefit to both you and your organisation. We will liaise with you and your employer to ensure that your study meets the right academic criteria for an MSc award. 

If you are not currently employed in a Noise related field, we can provide support regarding the selection and development of a Project.   

Rhino walking over grass

Glenn's research explores how noise can affect White Rhinos

Glenn examined the use of low frequency sounds and infrasound within the vocal repertoire of the White Rhinoceros population in a safari park.

Find out more about Glenn's research projectFind out more about Glenn's research project

An expert team to support you

You’ll benefit from the support of our friendly and approachable academic staff. Our teaching team is made up of experienced acousticians, all of whom are full and active members of the Institute of Acoustics. You’ll also enjoy guest lectures by key practitioners. 

We are regularly called upon to deliver bespoke acoustics courses and consultancy for industry, local authorities and government bodies. We have also conducted important research into subjects such as road traffic noise and noise associated with dog kennels. 

swooshes of lights from cars on the motorway

Flexibility and convenience

With distance learning you can fit your MSc studies around your work and personal commitments. You can complete the course full-time over a year or part-time over two years.

We provide high-quality online learning materials, recorded presentations by academic staff, online tutorials and online classroom sessions where you can share your views and experiences.

An image of a church tower

Tim's research looks at the impact of church bell noise

Tim’s thesis gave him the opportunity to use and challenge existing scientific processes, and led him to consider the perception of the impact of church bells and why both current and historical associations with the bells gives them a status greater in people’s minds than just that of noise.

Find out more about Tim's researchFind out more about Tim's research
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Environment and Sustainability News

We're in the fortunate position of having a wealth of expertise and knowledge to help tackle some of the world's greatest challenges. Take a look at examples of how we are responding to the climate emergency.

Read our news storiesRead our news stories
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Postgraduate Open Event

Join us at an upcoming Postgraduate Open Event, where you will get the opportunity to meet our expert academics and find out more about your course.

Book your Postgraduate Open EventBook your Postgraduate Open Event

What you will study

You’ll take this module:

  • Independent Scholarly Activity - This module is worth 60 credits towards the final award. You’ll complete a research-based investigation, either of a practical nature or a desk top review, into an acoustic topic of your choice. Throughout the module you’ll be supervised and supported by an experienced academic advisor

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

You'll study by distance learning, and all materials are accessed through our Blackboard facility. You'll also be supported by online tutorials, online classrooms, and online presentations.


You’ll be assessed entirely through coursework assignments. There are no examinations.

Learn from an expert teaching team

  • Dr John Pritchard MIOA Acoustics and noise control expertise; Member of the IOA; Member of various IOA Committees, including the Education Committee and External Examiners group
  • Alan Whitfield MIOA MIEH  Environmental noise expertise, and environmental health - also an active member of CIEH

Guest lectures from key practitioners in the acoustics field. 

Who will teach you

Dr John Pritchard

Dr John Pritchard
Programme leader

Dr Pritchard is a Senior Lecturer in Geoscience.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

You’ll be required to hold an undergraduate degree in a science or relevant discipline. If you do not have the IOA diploma in Acoustics when applying for the MSc it is essential that you contact the programme leader to discuss.

International students should have an undergraduate degree, postgraduate qualification in a science or relevant discipline, or an international equivalent. If English is not your first language, you will need to hold IELTS 6.0 or above. International students can only study this course remotely and must have completed or be in the process of completing the IOA Diploma in Acoustics and Noise Control or equivalent. Please note that the IOA diploma at the University of Derby is a part-time course delivered on Campus and is therefore unavailable to International Students.

Fees and funding

2022/23 Fees (August 2022 - July 2023)


£2,600 for 60 credit Independent Project



£2,715 for 60 credit Independent Project


Please note fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase after one year of study.

Additional fee information

UK applicants who already have the Institute of Acoustics Diploma or an equivalent qualification will enter at the Masters stage and only complete the project module (60 credits). The total fee for this will be £2,600.

Additional costs and optional extras

Funding your studies

Find out more about fees, postgraduate loans and support you may be entitled to.

Find out about funding your studiesFind out about funding your studies

Alumni discount for Derby graduates

We offer a discount on postgraduate course fees for all Derby alumni.

Find out about the Alumni discountFind out about the Alumni discount

Students chatting to each other

International student scholarship

We're offering a £2,000 scholarship for all eligible international students studying a full-time postgraduate taught programme (PGT). Terms and conditions apply.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply

Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.

UK students

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University
International students

On-campus courses starting in September 2022 and January 2023 are now closed to new applications from international students due to unprecedented demand. Applications for September 2023 will open in October. If you have any questions, please email

Apply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for a postgraduate degree


Gaining the MSc will enhance your career and promotion prospects, paving the way to more senior roles in industry, consultancy, local authorities and statutory bodies.

It will help you continue your professional development, bring you up to date with the challenges facing acousticians today and give you insights into latest methods of assessment and control.

You’ll also develop valuable research, critical thinking and analytical skills which will serve you well as you advance your career. 

If you’d like to pursue further academic research, the MSc is also an excellent platform for studying at PhD level.

Contact us

Course: John Pritchard (Programme Leader) +44 (0)1332 591745

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

Contact us Contact us

Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Please also note that due to the current Covid-19 situation, if your course offers fieldtrips, the location of these may change or be cancelled. If this happens, you will be communicated to in advance and we will do our very best to seek out other practical opportunities to ensure your experience is not affected.

The information provided on this page is correct at the time of publication but course content, costs and other individual course details do change from time to time and are updated as often as possible, so please do check these pages again when making your final decision to apply for a course. Any updated course details will also be confirmed to you at application, enrolment and in your offer letter.

Included in your fees
  • Costs of consumables for your independent project will be covered - up to a maximum limit
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
  • Costs for hard copies of your independent project - approximate cost is 5p per page
Optional costs not included in your fees
  • Personal copies of textbooks, most may be availble in our library or through inter-library loans

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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