BSc (Hons) Sound, Lighting and Live Event Technology
Music at USW is rated top in Wales for learning opportunities, academic support National Student Survey 2023
The Sound, Lighting and Events Technology course will give you the technical and organisational skills to transform performances into inspiring events.
You'll study sound and video systems, lighting control and design, network technology, and rigging, for use in concerts, festivals, studios, corporate events, themed attractions and theatre. And you will gain valuable insights into project management and problem-solving along the way.
You will be interested in the backstage running of shows and making performances technically awesome.
The technical events industry is challenging and exciting, there is a certain buzz about working to the wire, and a camaraderie from that experience.
We have been running this kind of course for over 16 years, all of our staff are either currently involved in the industry or have been for many years. We don’t just do theory, we do it for real.
In your first year you will study the essential content for building your first event: sound, lighting, video, safety, preparation of designs, connecting up equipment and understanding your audience and their expectations. You will be involved in several collaborations with other courses.
In the second year you will get into the key technologies that make it all happen: next level lighting, larger scale sound, power systems, rigging structures and visual systems for performance. You will have an opportunity to follow a specialist path in either Lighting or Sound.
At this point, you can take a placement year to practice all of your knowledge so far and pick-up some real world experience working alongside other industry experts.
Your final year will be built around the more advanced and organisational skills you will need: project management and negotiation, festivals and tours case studies, installation techniques for the permanent facilities and the use of visual media on video walls and large-scale projection. There are 3 Advanced options in: broadcast systems, lighting systems and audio systems designed to take you to the next level and give you expertise not found on other courses. Lastly, the Singleton Project module gives you the freedom to choose a topic and make it your own.
The course will be delivered via lectures, tutorials, workshops and practicals.
Lectures tend to be where more formal teaching takes place in a traditional classroom setting. Workshops and practicals can be based in our event technology lab, lighting practice rooms, TV studio, theatre, or Zen music room. We make use of the multitude of performance spaces available in Cardiff and often teach subjects outside the classroom.
The course often collaborates with other departments, combining sessions to create realistic real-world scenarios. For example: a music performance rehearsal, with lighting, video recording and sound; or a drama performance, combining advanced microphone placement and the study of acoustics.
On average, contact hours are 12 hours per week across 6 modules per year, but collaborative events, additional practical sessions and other opportunities tend to increase that.
The course has made many links to industry over the years, and industry professionals often deliver exciting insights to their work via guest lectures on and off campus. Alumni who have become industry experts in their own right often return to share knowledge.
Similarly, the course has very good support from manufacturers, production companies and broadcasters. Backstage tours, product demos and work experience is embedded within the course thanks to these industry links.
The majority of assessment is through coursework with essays, reports and practical designs forming the larger part. Class tests have replaced more formal exams and can be set at any time of the year.
We have extensive facilities; a purpose-built technical lab for systems design, lighting and rigging spaces, a newly refurbished HDTV studio, theatre, computer labs both mac and PC. Most common software for the industry is available via the University licencing scheme. And as part of the Faculty we have sound and music spaces, motion capture and VR suites, news studio and more.
Rob Locke - Course Leader
To support our students, we have the University Advice Zone acting as gateway to may other support services. From a course perspective we have an open-door policy. Staff are available to help with academic questions and student progress. Many of the collaborations involve all three year groups creating and sharing knowledge.
We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement
At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.
If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.
The entry criteria below reflect our standard entry requirements for the course for September 2023. However, all applications received by the University are reviewed holistically and individually. Entry criteria for September 2024 is changing and will be published on ucas.com from 8th May 2023. Entry criteria for September 2024 will be updated on our website from the end of October 2023.
We may make you a lower offer based on a range of factors, including your background (where you live and the school or college that you attended for example), your experiences and individual circumstances (as a care leaver, for example). This is referred to as a contextual offer and we receive data from UCAS to support us in making these decisions. USW prides itself on its student experience and we support our students to achieve their goals and become a successful graduate. This approach helps us to support students who have the potential to succeed and who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Here is a link to our Contextual Admissions Policy.
Other qualifications and experience
We can also consider combinations of qualifications and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable. We can sometimes consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or advanced entry to year two or three of a course where this is possible.
To find out which qualifications have tariff points, please refer to the UCAS tariff calculator.
If you need more help or information or would like to speak to our friendly admissions team, please contact us here
Typical A-Level Offer
BCC - CDD to include a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points). Relevant subjects include Physics, Maths and Computer Science. The Course Leader is looking for applicants with a technical background supported by musical/performance based interests.
Typical Welsh BACC Offer
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level with a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points). Relevant subjects include Physics, Maths and Computer Science. The Course Leader is looking for applicants with a technical background supported by musical/performance based interests.
Typical BTEC Offer
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points). Relevant subjects include Physics, Maths and Computer Science. The Course Leader is looking for applicants with a technical background supported by musical/performance based interests.
Typical Access to HE Offer
Pass the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points. Relevant subjects include Physics, Maths and Computer Science. The Course Leader is looking for applicants with a technical background supported by musical/performance based interests.
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances.
International Entry Requirements
We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.
In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.
However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.
Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.
August 2023 - July 2024 Fees
Full-time UK: £9000
Full-time International: £14100
August 2024 - July 2025 Fees
Full-time UK: TBC
Full-time International: TBC
At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.
Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.
As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.
Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs
Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).
To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.
You can apply directly via the university.
You can also apply via UCAS if you are a UK residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly.
We have strong relationships with many technical production companies, most of whom employ our graduates. When they have a vacancy for either a full time position or placements, they approach us first because they trust us to supply, you, the student with the knowledge and expertise needed to do the job.
We organise visits to see companies or they come to us. The cross-section of industry link is vast, from technical production companies for events through to venues, sound/lighting design agencies, broadcasters and special project designers.
We recommend a placement year, but it is not compulsory. Placements can be local to Cardiff and have been as far away as Dubai, America and Australia.
The USW Careers Team work with us to identify employment opportunities and the contacts we have within the industry mean we have a good demand for our students.
Situated within the Caridff campus, we have the Startup Stiwdio, helping to match jobs with newly qualified freelance graduates.
The technical entertainment industry has a substantial number of career options, and you could well find yourself doing more than one.
Typical roles include:
- System Engineer – Sound, Lighting, Networks, Video
- Designer - Rigging, Lighting, Sound
- Operator – Lighting, Video, Sound, Streaming
- Project Manager (Technical)
And then a hundred other roles that have no name but join up technologies to create amazing solutions.
Our graduates have gone on to work for many different companies and organisations for example:
- Zero 88 – Lighting console manufacturer
- BBC – Technical and production roles
- Stage Sound Services – One of the largest suppliers of audio and video to West End Shows
- Solotech (SSE) - The largest audio company in the UK, suppliers to Download festival
- Coloursound – International supplier of lighting and special effects
- Kinetic Pixel – Largest supplier of gameshow technology for broadcast
- Ideaworks – High-end lighting and AV installations for commercial, residential and yachts
- ER Productions - international, award-winning laser show, laser system design, and special effects specialist
- Disney Cruises – Technical management roles
- Carnival Cruises – Technical management roles
- SR Productions – Graduate founders. Live production and specialist TV Lighting Design (Dr Who, Netflix etc)
- Wales Millenium Centre – Technical management roles
- Welsh National Opera – Technical management roles
- SWG Events – large supplier of technical solutions to festivals, heads of department roles.
- Project Power – Graduate founder. Fast-growing supplier of power solutions to the entertainment industry.
- Production Worx – Graduate founder. Front of house mix engineer for Rita Ora, Wu-Tang Clan, Lorde and Thundercat (RHCP Stadium Tour).
Large events take the collective effort of hundreds of people to stage. While many can claim to have worked on these events, we have seen our graduates take senior/key roles on events such as:
- Glastonbury Festival various stages: Heads of Audio, Heads of Lighting
- Ed Sheeran World Tour: System Engineers
- Slipknot World Tour: Head of Pyrotechnics
- Take That European Tour: Automation Engineer
- Olympic Games: Broadcast technicians from 2012 onwards
What kind of student would this course suit?
Our Sound, Lighting and Events Technology course will suit those who are keen to get involved in solving the technical challenges of delivering amazing performances.
You will have a keen eye and ear and be able to relate to performers and the technical team around you.
You will be a logical thinker, but also be able to find creative solutions when the standard methods are not available to you.