Sound in New Media - Art and Media, Master of Arts (Art and Design)

The aim of the Major in Sound in New Media is to explore, discover and comprehend the emerging digital technology and its aural impact in society; to find and exploit the possibilities it opens to acoustic communication, sonic interaction and new interfaces for musical expression and to evaluate, understand and deal with the challenges it poses to art, design, and creative production in the auditory domain.


Taiteen maisteri


1.12.2021 – 3.1.2022




2 vuotta, täysipäiväinen


Soveltuva alempi korkeakoulututkinto


Taiteiden ala


120 opintopistettä


Taiteiden ja suunnittelun korkeakoulu


EU/ETA-alueen ulkopuoliset kansalaiset, €15000/v (maisteriopinnot)

Haku maisterikoulutuksiin

Major description

Please note! No intake in 2023. Next planned intake in 2024.

The aim of the Major in Sound in New Media is to explore, discover and comprehend the emerging digital technology and its aural impact in society; to find and exploit the possibilities it opens to acoustic communication, sonic interaction and new interfaces for musical expression and to evaluate, understand and deal with the challenges it poses to art, design, and creative production in the auditory domain. Furthermore, the major aims at developing artistic and design thinking, enriching the attractiveness and communicative and aesthetic qualities of applied sound and music.

In a technology-saturated world, it is indispensable to understand and study the impacts that technology has on individuals, organisations and society. The Sound in New Media major brings together a multicultural group of students with very versatile skills and backgrounds. By tailoring the degree according to their interests and choosing from a wide variety of areas, the graduates of the major have unique competences to take on new and emerging professions within the broad spectrum of the field. These areas include sound and music computing, sound art and auditory culture, sonic interaction design, artificial intelligence applied to sound design and music, game audio and acoustic branding. The pioneering work of our alumni is an undisputed manifestation of the impact of the major within the aforementioned areas.

The major also aims to provide a supportive and constructive environment for artistic, technical, and professional development. An environment where learning from failures is just as important as learning from successes. The students are encouraged to step outside of their comfort zones and get familiar with a variety of tools and skills, to understand the characteristics of auditory media. These tools and skills include creative coding, physical computing, digital fabrication, sonic interaction design, extended reality, generative composition methods and other emerging technologies.

After completing the programme the graduates of the Sound in New Media major should be able to:

  • Understand the complex demands and dynamics of the contemporary auditory domain. Graduates understand the fragmented and complex nature of various forms of digital media and technology, and their aural impact on the society. 
  • Describe and analyse how technology shapes sound art, design, acoustic communication, and self-expression. 
  • Apply a human-centric approach to digital design. Graduates are skilled in anticipating user values, translating them into product and service offerings and keeping humans at the center of the design process. 
  • Use broad understanding across disciplines and in-depth skills in specialisation areas of their choice. Graduates have the benefits of both breadth of knowledge and specialisation. Possible specialisation areas include sonic interaction design, physical computing, game audio, sound art, extended reality, as well as acoustic branding. 
  • Apply their skills in creative collaboration, concept development, design, and realisation. Graduates have strong interpersonal skills and they are able to do creative work as part of culturally diverse and transdisciplinary teams. 
  • Apply their technical knowledge and skills in sonic arts and sound design to create new experiences, services, and other creative productions. Graduates are skilled in not just using but also developing state-of-the-art tools for sound art and design. 
  • Extend and develop their professional competence throughout their career. Graduates embrace lifelong learning and curiosity to learn new skills, as the field is ever-evolving and new technologies emerge constantly. 
  • Understand and respect cultural diversity. Graduates understand that different cultures and traditions as well as social circumstances and conditions have a great impact on our auditory environment.
  • Apply an in-built sustainable approach to their profession. Graduates see planetary health, society and people as the starting point for successful design. 

Language(s) of instruction 

The language of instruction is English. Students can write their Master’s Thesis in English, Finnish or Swedish.  

Content of the studies

The education is project-oriented, combining practice with theory, hands-on with minds-on. The course modules emphasise interdisciplinary and collaboration, while individual skills are developed in intensive workshops, and through tutored studio work. Each student creates a Personal Study Plan (PSP), which defines their own study path, consisting of optimal selection of courses aligned with the student's interests and the degree requirements of the major.

The first year is dedicated to program- and major-specific studies, and during the second year a wide selection of other courses and minor subjects is available to choose from, in addition to completing the Master’s Thesis.  Research methods and academic writing are a part of the curriculum, and more research courses can be chosen if the student is planning to become a researcher.

Sound and Physical Interaction research group (SOPI) provides a strong research practice and approach to Sound in New Media studies. SOPI research group is involved in managing the major in multiple ways, including developing syllabus and execution of new courses, providing students opportunities for collaboration through its international academic and artistic networks and facilitating students’ Master’s theses. 

For further information on studies, see Study Guide 2022-2024.

Career opportunities

During your studies, you can specialise according to your personal skills and motivation. Your future careers can relate to the various fields of sound and music design both in private industries and public sector (academia, museums etc.), including game audio and music, sonic interaction design, sound design for animation and sound in media art. Aalto University supports entrepreneurship in various ways, and many graduates work as entrepreneurs. Across the wide range of positions, Sound in New Media graduates are independent professionals who have the capacity to lead and manage the development of their field internationally.

Postgraduate opportunities

Graduates of the Sound in New Media major are eligible to apply to continue their studies at doctoral level. 


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 studies but also via multiple free time events, celebrations and extracurricular activities around the campus

The Sound in New Media major provides an excellent basis for an international career. A significant number of the department’s applicants, students, teachers and researchers are from abroad, and all courses are taught in English. Students and researchers are encouraged to network internationally and have the option to spend a part of their studies abroad through any of the exchange programmes offered by Aalto University.

Focus areas of research

Sound and Physical Interaction research group (SOPI) focuses on the emerging role of sound in designing new ways of interactions in digital environments. It includes the design and implementation of novel interfaces for digital media, communication, audio-visual production, music and interactive art with a focus on embodied engagement in interaction. The research builds on ideas from real-world physical interactions in digital environments, audio-tactile augmentation, embodied interaction, smart technologies and new interfaces for musical expression.


In terms of pedagogy and general learning objectives the Sound in New Media major has a lot in common with the Major in New Media and the Major in Game Design and Development. Furthermore, we have close collaboration with the University of the Arts Helsinki, especially with the Sibelius Academy. Majority of our students take courses from the Sibelius Academy Department of Music Technology, and these studies can be included to the MA degree. In other schools of Aalto University our closest partners are the Department of Signal Processing and Acoustics, as well as the Master’s Programme in Information Networks. Furthermore, a lot of grass-root collaboration is taking place with all departments of Aalto ARTS.


Please note! Applying for New Media and Design is possible every second year. The next intake, after studies starting in 2022, will be in 2024 with the application period starting in December 2023.

Study-option-specific Admission Procedure and Evaluation Criteria

Applicants meeting Aalto’s general eligibility criteria for master's studies will be evaluated and ranked according to the evaluation criteria decided in advance for each study option. The applications to Master´s Programme in Art and Media - Sound in New Media are evaluated based on the following criteria:

Phase I


What is evaluated

Applicant’s further suitability to the study option, motivation, and commitment for studies / communication skills

What we look for in an applicant/Admission requirements


Applicants are expected to have strong motivation, good co-operative skills and capacity to commit to study full-time. We also expect the applicant to understand the potential of sound in applicable fields of art and design.

Method of demonstrating competence

Motivation letter



Other areas of competence

What is evaluated

Work experience and other acquired knowledge/achievements e.g. publications and exhibitions/ performances, non-formal education, competitions, grants, recidencies, teaching experience etc.

What we look for in an applicant/Admission requirements

We expect a CV (curriculum vitae) from applicants for background information.

Method of demonstrating competence

Curriculum vitae



Phase II

Artistic and/or design practice

What is evaluated

Demonstrations of artistic and/ or design work related to sound, e.g. artistic or commercial projects, publications, performance/ exhibition documentations or other works of art and/ or design in the audible domain. Proven musical competence of any kind (e.g. violin playing, DJ’ing etc) is a plus.

What we look for in an applicant/Admission requirements

We expect our applicants to have artistic and/ or design vision and development potential as well as to be goal-orientated and able to adopt new perspectives and working methods.




What is evaluated

Applicant’s further suitability to the study option, motivation, and commitment for studies / communication skills / assessment of second phase assignments.


What we look for in an applicant/Admission requirements

We require good skills in written expression and ability to conceptually reflect on questions related to the audible domain.

We also expect our applicants to have a good understanding of the sound as medium and sound culture, as well as personal artistic/ designer’s insight.


Method of demonstrating competence

Second phase assignment(s), interview, portfolio



Evaluation process

The applicants will be first evaluated based on Aalto’s general eligibility requirements. Applicants meeting the general eligibility criteria for master's studies will be evaluated and ranked according to the evaluation criteria thay has been decided in advance for each study option.

The selection process for those who meet the general eligibility criteria comprises of two phases: 

Phase I

In Phase I, the applicants are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Suitability/Motivation letter
  • Other areas of competence

Only the applicants who fulfill the requirements and are ranked highest in the first phase will be invited to the second phase in the selection process. However, the scoring and/or ranking of the first phase doesn’t affect the final, 2nd phase scoring.

Phase II

In Phase II, the evaluation is based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic and/or design practice
  • Suitability/Assignment(s) and interview

Part of the applicants are invited to the second phase. The invitation to the second phase is sent to the applicants at latest 7 days in advance.

In the second phase of the admissions procedure, applicants complete one or more assignments within the given time. The assignment(s) can be written or audible and is (are) based on the provided material and/ or given topic. The assignment(s) is (are) submitted in electronic from as text file(s) with possible supporting graphs and images and/ or as audio file(s).

The second phase also includes a 30-minute interview. The interview can also be carried out remotely.

Final selection

It is important to understand that from the Program’s point of view the application process aims at a balanced group of different kinds of students. In other words, even exceptional skills and talent in one field don’t automatically guarantee that the applicant would be selected. Furthermore, the more there are applicants with a similar profile, the harder the competition is (against similar applicants). In other words, if there are lots of applicants interested in game audio it is harder to get accepted with a game audio profile.

Study-option-specific documents requested

The documents requested from all applicants are listed on the Aalto University webpage (https://www.aalto.fi/en/study-at-aalto/applying-to-masters-programmes). In addition, applicants to this study option are requested to provide the following study-option-specific documents:

Motivation letter

Applicants provide a written motivation letter (max 4,000 characters, single PDF file) explaining why they wish to apply to the degree programme in question, what their particular areas of interest in this field are, and what their objectives and hopes are regarding the studies at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Applicants should specify their personal strengths and areas of interest, artistic/ designer’s visions and objectives.

Lack of this application document will adversely affect the evaluation of the application.


The portfolio is presented and discussed during the application interview. The form and format of the portfolio is free; however, the portfolio should be online so that it can be accessed via Internet with a common web browser (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari). The access to the portfolio might be password protected on the responsibility of the applicant.

The portfolio may consist of individual art/ design works, documentation of exhibitions and/ or performances etc. The portfolio must showcase the applicant’s previous academic, professional and/or scientific activity in a diverse and comprehensive manner. The applicant should be able to present the portfolio in 10 minutes.

Lack of this application document will adversely affect the evaluation of the application.

Maximum size of the file is 1.0 GB. Name the file Portfolio-lastname-firstname.pdf.


The applicant’s curriculum vitae (single PDF file) with personal data, educational background, work experience, exhibitions, possible published literature and articles, awards and grants, study trips and positions of trust must be included in the application.

Lack of this application document will affect the evaluation of the application.

Language of application documents

The application documents must be submitted in English.

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