MA Record Production

Course summary

We stand at the forefront of the academic study of musictechnology in general and record production in particular. This course investigates the theoretical and practical production of recorded popular music.

Investigating the production of popular recorded music from both a theoretical and practical standpoint, you will learn to combine a creative vision of the whole project with the practical management of the technical and artistic process.

Situated within one of the largest university music technology departments in the world, the course is led by a team of world-renowned record producers, composers, arrangers and engineers all involved in the recording industry.

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Course detail

Designed to combine the technical skills of advanced recording techniques, digital signal processing and mixing with 'human skills' such as managing sessions, pre-production, developing your career, communication and performance in the studio.

Deconstruct and analyse the process of record production to develop the knowledge and skills necessary in understanding the contemporary, fast-changing music industry or as a springboard to further postgraduate study.


  • Developing Your Career
  • Advanced Recording Techniques
  • The Development of Audio Technology
  • Manipulating Sounds
  • Performing in the Studio
  • Combining Sounds
  • Research Methods
  • Dissertation/Project.

Developing Your Career
This module is based around personal development planning, where you create a career or business plan based on your personal goals. You examine and investigate current social and consumer trends in the industry, and how your commercial and entrepreneurial skills should reflect and interface with today's music industry.

Lecture topics include basic accounting, marketing, promotion, publicity, communication skills, market research, and technology. The module includes breakout sessions that deal with the specifics of production-related careers.

Advanced Recording Techniques
Here we analyse how and what recordists 'capture'. You will also study the history and theory of transducer design, and current and developing approaches to location and stereo/surround recording - including 5.1 and Ambisonics. The module examines a range of microphone techniques (and their accompanying pre-amps) - from close microphone placement to the capture of complex acoustic environments. Having discussed and explored the philosophies and beliefs of people involved in recording, you will research and develop you own surround or multimicrophone stereo recording systems. We then invite you to share your findings with your peers online and during playback sessions and seminar discussions.

The Development of Audio Technology
In this module, you study recording technology and the people who have used it over the years. This involves a survey of how recording technology has developed since the early 20th Century, taking into account geographical, social and cultural contexts. You will also look at how the record producer's roles have changed and the kinds of skills required to be successful in the industry today.

You investigate and join debates about the difference between analogue and digital sound, and the notion of audio 'quality'. You also study training, professional practice and communication in the recording process. For example, what were the advantages and disadvantages of the apprentice-based systems of training and work-based learning, compared with contemporary college and university education in the subject? How are power struggles between producers, technicians and artists negotiated in the recording studio? How can we use language to describe the sound of music? You then investigate how the design of the human/technology interface affects creative and practical processes in record production.

Manipulating Sounds
Techniques for manipulating audio have transformed the recording process, from one of simple documentation to the point where the recording studio - or today, a mere computer - is considered an instrument in its own right. Many contemporary forms of music owe their existence to the power of technology, to edit, transform and even recontextualise audio. This module involves the theoretical and practical considerations of manipulating audio, examining the history, social significance and psychoacoustics of manipulation in a wide variety of musical styles and contexts, from dub reggae to glitch, and from groove and rhythmic structures in dance music to spectromorphology in electroacoustic music. You will study a wide range of techniques, from the traditional - such as dynamics, time and frequency domains and timbral effects, to advanced techniques like vocoding, FFT, granulation, glitch and groove manipulation.

Performing in the Studio
This module investigates the idea that musical performance for recorded output is very different to concert performance. A record producer not only has to be aware of these differences, but also of what is required and how to achieve it. Alongside the technical issues of recording sound, there are also all the psychological and interpersonal issues involved in creating the right atmosphere for the communal activity of creating recorded music. How do participants engage with one another? How do they critically evaluate the process and results? What methodologies and theoretical frameworks are there for studying these phenomena?

Combining Sounds
This module explores the process of combining sounds, from simplistic mono tape recordings to multitracked, multichannelled environments. We deconstruct genres, focusing on the working practices and methods used to combine and mix sounds. You will have practical studio sessions, allowing you to experiment with and analyse sound construction and multilayering techniques. With you, we will evaluate distinctions and parallels, and the tactile and non-tactile differentials in methodologies. We also examine technical and non-technical intuitive approaches, together with linear and non-linear mixing methods in stereo and surround sound.

Research Methods
As preparation for research requirements later on in the course, in this module you will undertake a number of tasks related to your discipline. For example, a précis of an article, a critical commentary of two book reviews, a book review, and a proposal for your dissertation or project, with an annotated bibliography. There are weekly seminars in the first semester and then one-to-one supervision sessions for your dissertation or project.

Dissertation or Project
You choose to undertake either a dissertation or a project. Both incorporate a substantial research element. The dissertation is a piece of written work of around 10,000 words, on a subject you choose in consultation with your supervisor. The project structure involves a practical element and a shorter written piece, and is also is arranged in consultation with your supervisor.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have the following:

  • 2:1 Honours degree or higher in Music Technology or a related subject, or substantial industry or prior experience in the field.
  • This course requires advanced musical knowledge, but not knowledge of notation and instrumental skills. We will ask you to provide a portfolio of degree level or professional work, with a written statement.
  • Candidates will be required to provide a portfolio of degree level / professional work and a written statement.
  • International students need to meet our English language requirement at either IELTS at 6.5 or above, and a minimum of 5.5 for each of the 4 individual components (Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening).

    In some countries where teaching is in English, we may accept local qualifications. Please visit to check for local equivalencies.

    We offer pre-sessional English language courses if you do not meet these requirements. Find out more about our English Language courses


Fees for home and EU students

Main fee
Fees for our 2017 courses have not yet been released.


A range of loans, bursaries and scholarships are available to help you fund your studies.

Students on some Masters courses may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan of up to £10,000 as a contribution towards their course and living costs. Find out how to apply for a Postgraduate Loan on GOV.UK

Other loans available to postgraduate students include Professional and Career Development Loans, which also allow you to borrow up to £10,000.  Find out more about Loans on GOV.UK

Additional funding is available to some types of students, such as disabled students. Find out more about funding opportunities

Within the university, we offer a range of scholarships and bursaries including:

  • The William Brake Bursary: a £1,000 award for candidates on undergraduate or postgraduate degree courses
  • The Mollie Clay Scholarship: a £2,500 scholarship awarded to an outstanding student
  • Exclusive alumni discounts: a £2,000 discount on taught postgraduate courses or a 10% discount on research courses, exclusive to students who graduated from the University of West London.

Other scholarships are also available, including awards for specific subjects. Find out more and check your eligibility for the scholarships and bursaries listed above.

Please note that fees given are per academic year unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to change. Costs can increase each year.

How to apply


Applicants will be asked to provide a portfolio of degree-level / professional work and a written statement.

Apply for this course

UK and EU students

You can apply for most of our Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas and Masters’ Degree courses using our online application system.  Simply click the red ‘apply now’ button above.

Your application will be dealt with by our Admissions team who will be in touch with you.

If you are applying for a research degree (MPhil or PhD), you will need to submit: a CV, research proposal, transcript of academic qualifications and online application form.  Full details of how to apply for research degrees

International students

To apply for a Masters’ Degree course, please complete our online application form for international students or you can download the print version (Word, 186kb).

You can also review the relevant information about the qualifications we accept from your country and our English language requirements, as well as details about your visa application.

If you are applying for a research degree (MPhil or PhD), you will need to submit: a CV, research proposal, transcript of academic qualifications and online application form.  Full details of how to apply for research degrees

More about the application process for international students.

More about how to apply for postgraduate courses.


During the course

Special resources

The University of West London offers unparalleled technical facilities, which have been continuously developed since 1993. No other institution offers such an enviable range of high quality technical facilities and studios. Indeed, with seven studios, professionally equipped and with live rooms in which to record bands and ensembles, as well as numerous smaller studios and programming suites, all fully loaded with the latest industry software, every facility is provided to satisfy the enquiring mind.

Teaching methods

Modules comprise a combination of lectures, workshops, seminars and tutorials. There are also master classes from staff, visiting lecturers and practitioners.

Learning materials

We provide module study guides and course handbooks, and you will have access to Blackboard, the University of West London's online learning platform.



There are often at least two assignments for each module. We assess modules in a variety of ways. Written work is usually in the form of essays, critical self-reflections and learning journals. Practical assessment varies according to the nature of the practice – for example, CD recordings, although there will always be a substantial written component in the assessment.

Student support

The University offers a wide variety of support mechanisms, from accommodation support to special support for disabilities. For this course, we provide academic support through the Learning Skills Development Scheme. You will also have a personal tutor, who will be an academic member of staff – and a supervisor for your dissertation project.

What our students say

Jobs and placements

Career and study progression

Graduates from this course work in a wide range of professional roles. For example, as sound engineers, post-production engineers, recording artists, studio managers, company directors, product developers, product demonstrators, producers, composers and re-mixers. Our students have gone on to work with many prominent artists, including Lady Gaga, Peter Gabriel, Bloc Party and Blondie, and organisations such as the BBC, Norsk Films, The London Synthesis Orchestra and Warner Brothers.

Study progression

When you have completely this course successfully, you may choose to study for a PhD or DMus in Popular Music Production, or in Electronic/Electroacoustic Composition.

You may also be interested in our MA Advance Music Technology, which offers a wide-ranging education, covering advanced non-linear recording, surround sound techniques, acoustics and live recording, software programming with Max/MSP, and electroacoustic music composition.