Sound and vibration, MSc

120 credits (2 years)

Contribute to a sustainable built environment and support the development of products and services with the right sound and vibration properties. The master's programme in Sound and vibration at Chalmers is unique in Sweden and with its breadth within acoustics engineering one of very few in Europe and worldwide.

Sound and vibration, the acoustics engineering master's programme at Chalmers

Sound and vibrations are a fundamental part of our daily life. Visual and auditory stimuli represent our main source of information from the outer world. Therefore, it is to no surprise that sound and vibration properties are critical for the experienced quality of environments or products such as high-speed trains, road vehicles, outdoor and indoor environments, sound reproduction systems, virtual environments, or communication systems. 

The lack of appropriate sound and vibration quality leads to dysfunctional products and environments. In the very end, it even may lead to adverse effects such as annoyance, sleep disturbance, and stress, impacting people's well-being and health.​

Therefore, the master’s programme Sound and vibration is aimed towards engineers who want to contribute to a "better acoustic world" by creating products with high sound and vibration quality as well as functional and sustainable environments that offer space for recreation, supporting people's well-being and health. To prepare for such challenging tasks, the programme offers a broad education in the interdisciplinary field of acoustics incorporating fields as diverse as physics, mechanics, physiology, signal processing, psychology, and electrical engineering.

Acoustics engineering​

The programme structure allows for a specialization in different areas such as noise control engineering, architectural acoustics, environmental acoustics, or audio technology. Cooperation with other master's programmes inside Chalmers and at Scandinavian and European universities enables the range of specialisations to be further extended. 

The master's programme has a strong focus on the link between theory and practical application. The focus is on identifying and solving problems by using experimental investigations, physical reasoning, analytical models, and numerical methods. This is accomplished through project work in small groups guided by experienced teachers, as well as through access to experimental facilities especially suited to this purpose. 
As a specialist in sound and vibration, you will have the possibility to work in many different sectors reaching from the vehicle industry to audio technology.​
Sound and vibration, the acoustics engineering master's programme at Chalmers

Topics covered

The subjects of acoustics, noise control and audio technology are fundamental areas in the Sound and vibration master’s programme. The courses included in the programme plan handle topics such as technical acoustics, sound planning, musical acoustics, vehicle acoustics and building acoustics.​

Master's programme structure

The master's programme runs for a duration of two years, leading to a Master of Science (MSc) degree​. During each year, students can earn 60 credits (ECTS) and complete the programme by accumulating a total of 120 credits. Credits are earned by completing courses where each course is usually 7.5 credits. The programme consists of compulsory courses, compulsory elective courses and elective courses.​

Compulsory courses year 1

During the first year the programme starts with four compulsory courses that form a common foundation in Sound and Vibration. Each course is usually 7.5 credits.​
  • Introduction to audio technology and acoustics 
  • Technical acoustics 1 
  • Sound and vibration measurements 
  • Individual preparation course ​

Compulsory courses year 2

In the second year you must complete a master's thesis in order to graduate. The thesis may be worth 30 credits or 60 credits depending on your choice. 
  • ​Master’s thesis​

Compulsory elective courses

Through compulsory elective courses, you can then specialize in a certain profile. During year 1 and 2, you need to select at least 4 compulsory elective courses out of the following in order to graduate.

  • Human response to sound and vibration 
  • Urban Acoustics​
  • Technical acoustics 2
  • Room acoustics
  • Digital signal processing for audio engineering and active sound and vibration control
  • Musical acoustics
  • Design of silent products
  • Electro acoustics ​​

Elective courses

You will also be able to select courses outside of your programme plan. These are called elective courses. You can choose from a wide range of elective courses.

Career opportunities

The educational profile in the Sound and vibration master's at Chalmers enables you to find professional opportunities as a specialist all over the world, especially in Europe where there is a strong need for specialists in the field. Typical examples of career opportunities as a specialist in sound and vibration can be found in:
  • Acoustic consultancies working with product development, environmental noise, architectural acoustics or building acoustics. Traditionally, the building industry does not have their own specialists in the area but relies on consultants. 
  • The automotive industry has their own departments dealing with sound and vibration properties.
  • The communication industry, where sound is important for the quality of products and services.
  • Audio equipment manufacturers who deliver both software and hardware for consumers and for professional customers. 
  • Public organizations concerned with environmental issues, housing, traffic planning and health.
Graduates from the programme can be found at companies such as Volvo Cars, Volvo Trucks, Sony Ericsson, WSP, AFRY, SWECO, Brekke & Strand, Cochlear, Sigma Connectivity, Zound Industries.

Research within Sound and vibration

The Division of Applied Acoustics at Chalmers is one of the leading acoustics laboratories in Europe. Having initiated and coordinated numerous projects that were funded by the European Commission, it is a strong international player in the research field. This includes research on tyre/road noise, railway noise, urban sound planning or a spearheading international research project on acoustic levitation. We have good relationships with all of the well-established acoustics laboratories in Europe (e.g. ISVR in Southampton, UK, ITA in Berlin, Germany, and INSA in Lyon, France), including regular exchange on both student and PhD level.

Industrial cooperation partners include Facebook Reality Labs in the USA, the Swedish vehicle manufacturer Volvo Trucks (AB) as well as companies in Europe such as Fiat, Volkswagen, and Continental, and the railway company Deutsche Bahn. We also work together with major consultancies, research institutes and public organisations in Sweden and abroad (Technical Research Institute of Sweden (RISE), VTI, Trafikverket, WSP, AFRY, Müller BBM in Germany, and CSTB in France).

Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Division of Applied Acoustics​​​​

​Sustainable development

We live our lives in a wide range of acoustic environments. Everywhere – from daily routine activities indoors, outdoors, and during transport, to special activities, e.g., experiencing a nature reserve or a music performance – the acoustic environment is ever-present. The programme provides a broad education in the field of acoustics, preparing the grounds for life-long learning in a professional career in a field with a clear external pull for experts within the private and public sectors. 

The interlinkage with the UN Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) ​is therefore of high relevance. In the table below, an overview of the sustainable development goals and the associated targets within the programme are provided.

UN Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) for Sound and Vibration master's Chalmers

Goal 3: Good health and well-being
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the health impacts of environmental noise are a growing concern, causing sleep disturbance, annoyance, and cardiovascular disease. At least one million healthy life years are estimated to be lost every year from traffic-related noise in the western part of Europe, making the noise issue second to only air pollution among environmental factors in Europe.
Throughout the programme, the students increase their knowledge and modelling capabilities of sound and vibration sources and propagation in our environment, including how to predict noise levels, how to reduce unwanted noise and vibrations, and how to seek a good acoustic environment. 

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
The learning in the programme concerns basic acoustics knowledge as well as application in a wide range of areas, e.g., concerning road infrastructure and road vehicles, rail infrastructure and rail vehicles and machinery as well as audio engineering, signal processing, active noise control, and human response to sound and vibration. 
With this toolset, the students can be part of future innovations, scientific research, and the development of sustainable and resilient infrastructure, products, and communications technology.

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
In the programme, the students work with concepts related to the transport system (e.g. what affects the sources of sound) as well as to the housing of residents (e.g. building acoustics). Also, the topic of acoustics within urban planning (urban sound planning) is an integral part of the programme. Through the understanding of acoustics theory and prediction models, the graduated students can, in their future professions, work with improving the acoustics of transport systems and housing as well as of the environment at large. 

Student interview

​“I got immersed in the subjects very quickly”​
Marija, Serbia, Sound and Vibration

Why did you choose this programme?
– I have always loved the natural sciences, especially mathematics and physics. I chose to study architecture for my bachelor’s studies because it is a good blend of art and technology. During my studies, I particularly enjoyed courses that involved physics and mathematics because they led to a deeper understanding of the architecture itself.  When I found the Sound and Vibration programme, I thought it would be a good continuation of my education. Studying the organization of space from another, acoustical, perspective seemed very fascinating to me. I am excited to incorporate this perspective into what I have already learned about architecture and civil engineering.

What have you been working on?
– The most interesting experience for me so far are the group projects I have worked on in the field of sound and vibration measurements. I am learning how to use matlab to analyze data and interpret the results of measurements. It is a very engaging, investigating process that requires good teamwork and long and exciting discussions with my peers. It is also a very interesting way of learning new subjects.

What do you like the most about your programme?
– From the beginning of the first period, I encountered different subjects that were unfamiliar to me. At first, it felt overwhelming, but since the courses are very well connected and complement each other well, I got immersed in the subjects very quickly. Since I come from a visualization-oriented background, it is very interesting to me how we cannot only plot graphs to see the results of our analyzing process but also hear them.  

What do you want to do in the future?
– I am very interested in research and sustainable development of architecture and technology in general. I would like to be involved in every aspect of this subject including, of course, acoustical measurements. 

​​Student Blogs

Page manager Published: Mon 04 Jul 2022.