Full-time: 4 Years
£9,250 per year (2023/24)
£14,900 per year (2023/24)
72 (September 2023 entry)
Markeaton Street, Derby Campus
One of the leading courses of its kind in the country, this degree prepares you for a technical career in the pulsating world of live events. With the technology involved becoming ever more complex, there is an urgent demand for more skilled engineers and technicians in the industry.
- Work in a challenging, stimulating and creative learning environment – harnessing world-class equipment in our dedicated facilities
- Learn from inspirational tutors who have vast experience in the industry and are experts in their fields
- Plan and deliver real live events as part of your studies, from festivals to fashion shows
- Take the chance to go on an optional industrial year to strengthen your practical skills further still
- Enjoy collaborative projects, working closely with other students specialising in subjects such as music technology, music, electronics and theatre
- Follow in the footsteps of our high-achieving graduates who have gone on to work internationally on everything from James Bond film premières to star-studded concerts
Find out more about the exciting projects being undertaken by staff and students in our Entertainment Engineering specialist subject group.
100%of students are satisfied with the course overall*
100%of students are satisfied with the teaching on their course*
1st in the UK for student satisfaction with the course*
1stin the UK for student satisfaction with teaching*
Top 20in Electrical and Electronic Engineering*
Foundation Year - helping you to achieve more
Including a foundation year as part of your four-year study programme will give you a head start in your academic and professional life. The foundation year offers the chance to strengthen your skills, knowledge and confidence – with extensive support from our expert staff – before you advance to stage one of your honours degree. It could also be beneficial if you are planning a career change and want to get to grips with aspects of subjects which are new to you.
Our degrees with a foundation year are continuous, meaning that you won’t need to apply again once you have successfully completed the first year.
This degree covers a broad range of subjects – from lighting technology, audio engineering, video systems, live streaming, power distribution and rigging to electronics, computer networks, acoustics, computer-aided design and simulation.
You will learn both the theory and practice relating to the underlying technologies and will develop hands-on skills by planning and delivering real live events.
Our BSc (Hons) Sound, Light and Live Event Engineering is an engineering-centred but practical-based course for anyone keen to embark on a career in the events industry. It is also ideal for professionals who have experience in the sector but want a deeper understanding of the theory, along with a recognised qualification.
The degree is built on close links with industry through ongoing contact with graduates who have taken up professional roles. You’ll benefit from regular guest speakers, from Sound Engineers to Tour Managers, and will have the opportunity to go on field trips to get real-life experience.
You’ll plan and deliver actual live events throughout your degree. Previous events have included Green Man in Wales, YNot festival, Derbyshire Sausage and Cider music festival and Back 2 festival. You will also get the chance to work on formal dinners such as Challenge Derbyshire, fashion shows, charity events, album launches and corporate events such as roundtable discussions.
You’ll graduate with multi-disciplinary skills, including technology, design, project management, manufacturing, environment and health and safety knowledge, which will open the door to a wide range of job opportunities, in and out of the industry.
The ideal learning environment
As this is an engineering course, you will study 'how it works' – learning about the underlying mathematics and electronics in our electronics and computing laboratories.
You will also learn ‘how to work it’ - developing professional skills in lighting design, sound engineering and event management, with practice in our dedicated production space and in venues around the city.
You'll get to grips with the latest technology, thanks to our links with AC Entertainment Technology Ltd. Our industry-standard equipment includes:
- Sound: An Allen & Heath dLive system, d&b audiotechnik Y series system with B-subs and a full max wedge monitor system
- Lighting: Three different brands of lighting console and over 30 moving lights
- Video: 270 LED video wall panels and a Roland V-8700HD video mixer
- Rigging: Litec 4 tower truss system
- Software: EASE (Enhanced Acoustic Simulator for Engineers), WYSIWYG and Capture lighting simulation systems, as well as standard free industry software such as Avolites Titan, Chamsys and d&b Array Calc
- Hemi-Anechoic Chamber: Our hemi-anechoic chamber is a specialist acoustic environment. The room has ‘dead sound’; there are no echoes or acoustic reflections which makes the space excellent for acoustic experimentation. The chamber has dedicated test equipment including a dummy torso used for testing
- Auditorium: The main teaching space for students on the degree. The room includes 12 1-Ton rigging points in the ceiling. In the last few years, £174,000 has been spent on new sound and lighting equipment and our kit now includes 130 panels of video wall and controllers. You’ll have hands-on practicals where you’ll design the rig and make everything – including lighting and sound – work
- Sound Technology Lab: A space that’s used for practising mixing audio or lighting design. The room includes a digital sound desk, and technical sessions in here are where you’ll judge the performance characteristics of equipment
- Multi-purpose Lab: An experimental lab with some permanently installed tests. You’ll also be able to programme and prepare shows in here using a small loudspeakers system, digital mixing console, small lighting rig and lighting desk
- Multi-Channel Sound Lab: The lab is a Dante audio equipped room containing 32 loudspeakers used for investigating future immersive audio applications. You’ll test surround sound decoders and create immersive auditory displays. The equipment is run through software created at the University
- Multi-purpose Lab: This lab is used for small scale acoustic testing and includes a small anechoic chamber and a vintage hearing test booth. There’s also a selection of loudspeakers in different states of deconstruction
You’ll also have access to our Makerspace – a workshop where you can work on any project and turn your ideas into a prototype. Equipment includes a laser cutter, 3D printers, soldering irons and CNC machines. It’s a fantastic place to collaborate with other students across the University.
Your teaching team
The teaching team has a remarkable range of experience across the sector with some still practising in the industry around their teaching. Some are also research active with an international profile. They include:
- Kit Lane: Kit joined the University in 2006 and has been working in live events and professional theatre for over 30 years. He has previously worked as a Production Manager at Derby Playhouse (now Derby Theatre), as a video and projection designer for over 20 years, and has worked on hundreds of shows across the UK as well as the USA, Australia and Ireland
- Ben Sams: A graduate from our very own BSc (Hons) Sound, Light and Live Event Technology degree, Ben gained experience in the industry as a Conference Technician and Classroom Audio Visual Engineer before returning to us as a lecturer. He is passionate about helping new students enter the world of live events
- Dr Adam Hill: Adam is an Associate Professor of Electroacoustics and works seasonally as a live sound engineer at Gand Concert Sound. His research interests span across the whole of the audio engineering area, and he uses his knowledge and experience in the industry to inform his teaching
- Jon Burton: Jon joined the University in 2019 having worked as a Sound Engineer for 35 years, primarily in concert touring. Having worked with the likes of The Prodigy, Bring Me The Horizon and Biffy Clyro, Jon is now using his experience to teach a new generation of engineers on the degree
- Dr Bruce Wiggins: Bruce completed his PhD at the University of Derby and has a research interest in audio signal processing and immersive audio. His software and algorithms have been used extensively in the industry, including for VLC, Codemasters and at Glastonbury festival. He also designed the 32 speaker Ambisonic Decoder now found in the Royal Opera House
- Mark Dring: Mark joined the University as a lecturer in 2013 having previously completed studies in Audio System Design and Acoustic Engineering. His research is focused on the reproduction and auralisation of sound in acoustically small spaces. He enjoys the diversity of experiences that teaching brings and seeks to enthuse students with their studies
The entertainment industry is one of the largest employers in the world. Whether through the live event or through recorded medium, it is enabled and driven forward by its underlying technology. Our innovative BSc (Hons) Sound, Light and Live Event Engineering degree is engineering based and draws on the technical basis of electronics, computer and software systems, acoustic, sound technology and professional practices. This really is a unique and exciting degree.
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.
Personally, the guest speakers have been the highlight of the course. It has given me an insight to what is expected of me in the real world when embarking on my career, from both the technical and social side of things.
Sound, Light and Live Event Technology student
Real world learning
You will have the opportunity to take an optional work placement between stages two and three, during which you will gain an additional qualification, the Diploma in Professional Practice.
In addition, you will benefit from guest lectures, product demonstrations and venue visits. Recent guest speakers have included:
- Ian Painter, a Sound Engineer at BBC, who spoke to our students about his work at Maida Vale studio and the many live events they broadcast like One Big Weekend and Glastonbury Festival
- Lighting Designer Richard Larkum, whose clients include Bullet For My Valentine, Biffy Clyro and the Prodigy, shared helpful tips and tricks of the trade, talking over some of the designs he has produced on tours. He also used the lighting system constructed by second year students to demonstrate in a practical way how to achieve lighting ‘looks’ quicky and easily during a show
- Paul Kell who came in to talk about his career and the many roles he has had in the industry from designer to operator to crew chief. He has worked on some of the biggest world tours, from George Michael to the Foo Fighter, and his client list spans from Adele to Iron Maiden. His master class session with our students focused on how to build drama using just light
- Chris Hill gave our students some insight into what it takes to get a job with one of the largest and most prestigious sound rental companies, Wigwam. He also talked about what it was like to work with some of the largest acts in the world, from Coldplay to the Pope, and at wide-ranging venues such as Wembley Stadium to Buckingham Palace
- Liz Berry came and spoke to our students about her career journey, starting as one of the first ever ‘moving light’ technicians at Vari-Lite before becoming an operator, then a designer for some of the biggest acts in the world. She also came up with the signature lighting look for the TV programme Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. Liz is now the Managing Director of Hologramica which recently designed and provided the technology for An Evening with Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Concert Tour. Liz also shared some great stories of her years working for Robbie Williams
In 2022, leading loudspeaker company Meyer Sound partnered with the University to deliver online masterclasses and an in-person training course for our Entertainment Engineering students. As a student at Derby you'll also have access to full-length seminars on topics such as acoustics, loudspeakers, audio networking, spatial sound and audio fundamentals.
Many of our students also take on casual work with production and hire companies in the area, adding a new dimension to their real world learning experiences.
How you are assessed
You will be assessed through laboratory and practical exercises, written reports and exams. You will also work on group projects, including venue and event evaluations, and will be assessed on the concerts and productions you manage and create.
Personal academic tutoring
Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.
Find out more about personal academic tutoring
These are the typical qualification requirements for September 2023 entry.
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|GCSE||GCSE Maths and English Grade 4/Grade C (or above) or equivalent qualification|
|Access to HE||Pass Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2|
English language requirements
IELTS: 6.0 (with at least 5.5 in each skills area)
How to apply
Please look at our application deadlines before you apply.
We have an excellent employment track record and our graduates work in all areas of the entertainment industry. You could work as an engineer at a hire or production company - specifying, designing and operating sound, lighting, staging and video systems - or as a theatre technical manager. Many of our graduates work as freelance engineers or set up their own businesses.
Some graduates also progress to roles in design and manufacturing, media, broadcasting, acoustics, technical sales and support, education and event technology. There are opportunities to advance to postgraduate studies too.
The foundations drilled into me throughout the programme are the cornerstone of my career. Now, more than ever it is critical to be a generalist, and I constantly draw on the wide range of topics that we covered.
BSc (Hons) Sound, Light and Live Event Technology graduate
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
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.
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
- Basic starter kit of CDs etc.
- Use of resources
- Extra-curricular activities
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Purchase of small toolkit approx. £5
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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