Master of Science in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences - Acoustics and Audio Technology

General

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Program Description

The major in Acoustics and Audio Technology equips students with a fundamental understanding of human hearing, audio perception, and physics of sound. The skills they acquire enable, for example, reducing noise pollution, planning harmonic environments and designing coherent sound experiences.

Study objectives

Much of the built environment does not sound the way it does by chance but because someone designed it so. Acoustic engineering is an exciting future-proof field that shapes how the world sounds: it can, for example, help reduce noise pollution to make way for more harmonic environments and coherent sound experiences. The major in Acoustics and Audio Technology prepares students for outstandingly diverse career prospects and equips them with a fundamental understanding of human hearing, audio perception, and physics of sound. This is a one-of-a-kind Master’s programme with internationally renowned and award-winning professors as well as world-class study facilities, including the newly renovated Aalto Acoustics Lab.

Upon graduating from the Master’s Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences – Acoustics and Audio Technology, graduates will have:

  • A wealth of knowledge and skills to engineer a better sounding world. Graduates possess the knowledge and skills to take on leading positions in their desired career field.
  • Fundamental understanding of what is important from the human hearing point of view. Graduates are able to measure, understand perceptual aspects, and design the kind of acoustics that put the human listener first.
  • Extensive knowledge to conduct independent research and experiments. Graduates have the skills, understanding and support needed to practically solve acoustic and audio design cases.
  • Confidence in perceptual decision-making. Graduates know how to rely on the available sensory information and foster greater critical thinking when faced with problems to solve.
  • A sustainable approach to sound engineering. Graduates have learnt to master resource efficiency and some of them specialise in noise reduction which significantly contributes to better and more sustainable environments.

Language of instruction

In the Master's Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences – Acoustics and Audio Technology, the language of instruction is English. The entire programme is taught in English and over half of the programme’s students are from outside Finland.

Tuition fees

The tuition fee is €15 000 for non-EU/EEA students per academic year. More information on Scholarships and Tuition Fees page (aalto.fi).

Content of the studies

The programme provides students with vast knowledge, expertise, and experience for them to improve and transform the way we hear the world. Results from recent research in acoustics and sound engineering are integrated into the courses. Sustainability is deeply integrated into the studies, both in terms of resource-efficient learning methods and topics that contribute to a healthier environment. To give an example of the future-facing content, one growing field is audio engineering for telepresence and 3D virtual reality technologies. 

All the major courses of Acoustics and Audio Technology are intended to be studied during the first year of master’s studies. Thereafter, students can choose from a range of optional courses and specialise in an area of their choices such as audio processing, building acoustics, noise control, or speech technology. The spring term of the second year is dedicated to the Master's thesis.

Topics

All topics covered are targeted to enable students to excel in engineering for the human experience – there is always a human listener at the end of the acoustic communication channel. A central subject area is a technical psychoacoustics, which covers acoustical and audio technologies that are based on the understanding of human hearing mechanisms. In the programme, students have the opportunity to delve deeper in their areas of interests, that are listed, but not limited to:

  • Audio Signal Processing (5 ECTS)
  • Speech Processing (5 ECTS)
  • Noise Control (5 ECTS)
  • Computer Graphics (5 ECTS)
  • Building Materials Technology (5 ECTS)
  • Electroacoustics (5 ECTS)
  • Virtual Acoustics (5 ECTS)
Methods

The programme is characterised by cutting-edge research which is also strongly incorporated in the teaching. Students benefit from 24/7 access to world-class acoustic laboratories, including three anechoic chambers, a standardised multi-channel listening room, a variable acoustics room, soundproof listening booths, and immersive audiovisual environments.

Practical experiments and exercises are an essential part of the learning methods. Students have practical assignments, get involved in building prototypes, and keep learning diaries. Our personnel favours assessment through submission of coursework and projects rather than exam-based assessments. The programme is also known for its excellent links with the audio industry which further strengthens the invaluable hands-on and real-life learning experiences.

Structure of studies

The Master's Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences - Acoustics and Audio Technology is organised by the School of Electrical Engineering and comprises a total of 120 ECTS credits. The two-year programme consists of:

  • Major studies (40-60 ECTS)
  • Possible minor studies (20-25 ECTS)
  • Elective studies (25-30 ECTS)
  • Master’s thesis (30 ECTS)

Master's Thesis

Students are required to complete a Master's thesis, which is a research assignment with a workload corresponding to 30 ECTS credits. The topic of the thesis is agreed upon by the student and the supervising professor. Master's theses are typically written for one of the research projects of the department(s) in question or related industry.

Career opportunities

Graduates from the Master’s Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences - Acoustics and Audio Technology have an acknowledged advantage in the employment market and are set for a vast number of career opportunities in both vocational and academic fields. Since the topics taught are universal by nature, graduates can take their skills to any country in the world. Many of the students begin their career in R&D positions and later may move to sales and management positions. Some of our alumni have embarked on entrepreneurial journeys or pursued doctoral studies.

Examples of career paths our graduates have taken include:

  • Audio DSP engineer in the R&D department of big international companies, such as Nokia, Huawei, Microsoft, Apple, or Dolby
  • Acoustical consultant in the field of environmental noise or building acoustics in consulting firms such as Akukon, A-Insinöörit, or Helimäki Acoustics in Finland as well as in large international companies like Arup or AECOM
  • Acoustics and noise control expert in the heavy industry, such as ABB and Kone
  • Product development in small- and medium-scale firms and startup companies, such as Genelec, Neural DSP Technologies, Yousician, or Noiseless Acoustics
  • Entrepreneur in the field of radical innovation, with a focus on product innovation (e.g. speakers, headphones, or music technology)

Aalto University has well-established career services to support students’ employment in Finland and abroad. Thanks to the flexible curriculum, many Aalto students work already during their studies and guarantee themselves entry positions before graduation. There is also a very active entrepreneurship community at Aalto, working as a springboard for founding a company.

Internationalisation

The Master's Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences - Acoustics and Audio Technology brings together a highly multicultural group of students – over half of them come from outside Finland. There are multiple opportunities to develop one’s global competence, such as spending a semester or taking a summer course at one of Aalto University’s partner universities around the globe. Some students carry out their practical training or even a master’s thesis research abroad.

Aalto University is international by nature, welcoming thousands of degree and exchange students from abroad every year. These students join the diverse Aalto community not only through their studies but also through multiple free time events, celebrations and extracurricular activities around the campus. Active tutoring programs and support services work hard to help international students integrate to the Nordic culture and feel at home in Finland.

Post-graduate studies

The Master’s programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences - Acoustics and Audio Technology at Aalto is considered as a great foundation for doctoral studies. The same professors supervise doctoral students and teach courses in the research field of Acoustics and Speech Technology.

Programme-specific Eligibility Requirements and Evaluation Criteria

Applicants to the programme must meet the general eligibility and language requirements that are common to all Master's programmes at Aalto University.

Admission criteria to the CCIS - Acoustics and Audio Technology is a high-quality Bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, communications engineering, or electrical engineering. Excellent candidates with degrees in other fields such as information systems, engineering, natural sciences, mathematics or physics will be considered if they have sufficient studies and proven skills and knowledge in the required areas.

Required background for the Acoustics and Audio technology major:

  • mathematics (linear algebra, Fourier analysis, probability theory, and statistics)
  • physics (classical physics and mechanics)
  • digital signal processing
  • applied signal processing (audio and speech processing)
  • programming skills

Knowledge of the following areas is considered an advantage:

  • music or musical instruments
  • recording, mixing, and reproduction of sound
  • design and building of audio equipment

Evaluation Criteria

The applicants must first meet the general eligibility requirements of Aalto University.

Applicants meeting the general eligibility criteria for master's studies are evaluated and ranked according to the evaluation criteria listed here.

Firstly, the applications are evaluated based on the following, critically important criteria.

  • Academic performance
  • Relevance of previous studies

Only the applications that meet the requirements for these criteria will be evaluated further using the criteria below:

  • Recognition and quality of an institution
  • Suitability
  • Other areas of competence

The best applicants will be selected based on the joint evaluation of all the above criteria. The programme does not have a minimum quota to be fulfilled, and not all eligible applicants will necessarily be admitted.

Academic performance

Admission requirements/What we look for in an applicant

The CCIS programme is looking for applicants with excellent study success in their previous studies. In study options where the number and quality of applications are high, this means that the applicant has achieved consistently excellent grades throughout the degree studies (very high weighted average grade or GPA).

The applicant’s study success will be evaluated based on the grade point average (GPA) and grades in key courses. The time spent on previous studies will also be taken into account. All the applicant’s previous university studies, including incomplete degrees and non-degree studies, will be taken into consideration when evaluating study success.

The minimum GPA for applicants from Finnish universities of applied sciences is 4.0. Meeting the minimum GPA does not guarantee admission to the programme. Applicants with a GPA below the limit cannot be admitted unless they have other exceptional qualifications. Programme’s courses or equivalent courses completed in the open university or as non-degree studies with excellent grades may support the application.

What is evaluated? Grades of the previous degree(s) and pace of studies
Evaluated documents Transcript(s) of records, degree certificate(s)

Relevance of previous studies

Admission requirements/What we look for in an applicant

Applicants are expected to have a high-quality Bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, communications engineering, or electrical engineering. Excellent candidates with degrees in other fields including but not limited to information systems, engineering, natural sciences, mathematics or physics will be considered if they have sufficient studies in the required areas.

The required background knowledge, as well as areas of knowledge that are considered an advantage, are defined above under "study-option specific eligibility requirements".

The contents of the applicant’s previous degree(s) are evaluated based on the courses on the official transcript of records. Relevant work experience, professional certificates and online courses can also be taken into account in the evaluation, but they do not, in general, compensate for the absence of university-level studies covering the theoretical foundations of the knowledge areas.

What is evaluated? Content and quantity of previous studies in relation to the applied study-option-specific requirements
Evaluated documents Transcript(s) of records, course descriptions

Recognition and quality of an institution

Admission requirements/What we look for in an applicant We expect applicants to have completed their previous degree in a high-quality university and programme. The recognition of the applicant’s home university affects also the interpretation of the grades when evaluating the academic performance.
What is evaluated? Recognition and quality of the applicant's previous institution
Evaluated documents International and national rankings of higher education institutions

Suitability

Admission requirements/What we look for in an applicant

The applicant should be motivated to study the chosen subject and committed to full-time studies with a plan to complete the Master’s degree in two years. We are looking for applicants who are able to express clearly the reasons for applying to the study option and describe why they would be excellent candidates for the study option.

Studies in the Master’s programme should provide genuinely new knowledge for the applicant. If the applicant already has a Master’s degree, the motivation letter should clearly indicate why another one is necessary. In most cases, non-degree studies are recommended instead.

What is evaluated? Applicant’s suitability to the study option, motivation, commitment to the studies, and written communication skills
Evaluated documents Application as a whole including a motivation letter

Other areas of competence

Admission requirements/What we look for in an applicant

Beyond their academic record, applicants may have other experience, knowledge and qualifications that prepare them for the Master’s studies and distinguish them among their peers. 

We particularly value demanding work experience in the area of the planned studies, participation in scientific research leading to publications, entrepreneurship, and special achievements such as success in competitions (e.g. Junction Hackathon).

What is evaluated? Work experience, other qualifications and achievements
Evaluated documents Curriculum vitae, recommendation letters, proofs of employment, publications, other certificates, GRE or GMAT results (if available).
Last updated Oct 2020

About the School

At Aalto University, we believe in curiosity and we encourage our students to explore the unknown and do things in a totally new way. We offer the highest level of education in business, art and desig ... Read More

At Aalto University, we believe in curiosity and we encourage our students to explore the unknown and do things in a totally new way. We offer the highest level of education in business, art and design, architecture, and technology in Finland. Read less
Espoo , Helsinki , Pori , Mikkeli + 3 More Less